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Posted on Apr 18, 2012 in Living Abroad, Travel |

Do You Need a Visa for Thailand?

Bangkok, Thailand is considered one of the top hubs for backpackers for the Southeast Asian region. Getting there, however, usually requires a special type of visa which depends on your nationality, the amount of time you’d like to stay and the activities you’d like to partake in. Some countries are exempted from visa requirements if visitors from these countries will not stay in Thailand longer than 30 days and their purpose for visit is just tourism. Here’s a list with countries that do not need a visa when entering Thailand for tourism purposes for less than 30 days, according to Learn4good.com: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil*, Bahrain, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea*, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Peru*, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Singapore, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Vietna. *Thailand holds bilateral agreements on visa exemption for holders of diplomatic, official and ordinary passports for a visit of not exceeding 90 days with Brazil, the Republic of Korea and Peru. Therefore, nationals of these 3 countries are exempted from visa requirements and are permitted to enter and stay in Thailand for a period of not exceeding 90 days. Thailand being among the top destinations for backpackers, however, is not accidental. Visiting that country for just a month is simply deficient. One needs longer time to be able to really sink in the atmosphere and experience the lifestyle of the locals. What is awaiting visitors in that country requires a little bit of free spirit in order to fully understand the surroundings as it may come a bit shocking to the ones used to an orderly everyday routine. Here’s what the solo backpacker Chris, who is based in Bangkok, Thailand, had to say about his first visit in Banghok’s most famous street among travelers – Khao San Road: “I still remember the sense of almost complete terror that I felt when I first arrived, on my own, at Bangkok’s Khao San Road. It sounds...

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Posted on Apr 17, 2012 in Travel |

Various types of Chinese Visa

If you want to visit China, first of all, you have to figure out, which type of Chinese visa you need. As one of the largest and most popular destinations in the world China receives a large number of foreign visitors, who have different motives for entering the country. Therefore the Chinese government has established several different types of visa. Some nationalities do not require Chinese visa when entering the country for short periods (not more than 15 days). These include passport holders of Japan, Singapore and Brunei. For people, who require Chinese Visa, the most common type is the L Visa (L from Leisure). This visa is issued to people who want to visit China on holiday. Its validity expires 90 or 180 days after the date of issue. The maximum duration of the stay, allowed by the L Visa is 30 days. The next type of visa for China is the F type (Business Visa). The holder of the F type visa may visit China for a period up to 6 months in order to participate in commercial activities including training or internship. The F visa is valid for 90 or 180 days after the day on which it has been issued. The Z type visa is the working visa for China.  This visa is suitable for people, who want to work in China for more than six months. In order Z visa to be obtained, the Chinese authorities could  require a copy of the invitation or admission letter/notice sent by the potential employer. For people, who want to undertake long-term studies in China the X visa will be the most suitable type of  visa. It is important to note that Students holding an X Visa  are not allowed to work in China. If the Chinese authorities detect, that a person  engages in an unauthorized working activity, he or she may be deported. If you are interested in visiting China, Visa First can assist you in obtaining the necessary type of Chinese Visa. For more information please visit the Chinese Visa section of our site. blog.visafirst.comMore...

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Posted on Apr 12, 2012 in Travel |

A Social Travel Guide with Soul

What is more fulfilling than traveling and writing about your adventures? It’s knowing that your traveling stories and advice inspire, help and motivate others. And, as a reward you get paid for it. A new type of social travel guide application for mobile devices is already allowing every travel-lover to create his/her own travel guide called “Essential plan” and share it with others. That is why people call it “a social travel guide with soul” because it’s user-generated and thus – it has more personality and soul. The great thing about this new application is that travelers can create their own travel plan which will be available to everyone. So, if you are a shopaholic, you can create your own route with best places to shop around in a certain area. When a user wants to have your plan, for example, s/he can access it via in-app purchase system, through which s/he downloads it on a mobile device, just for $0.99. This way you generate income which is split between all the travelers participating in this guide so that you all can finance your travels and continue traveling. To find out more about the minube application, go to minubeapp.com. blog.visafirst.comMore...

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Posted on Apr 11, 2012 in Travel |

What really changes when you change your address?

More and more people today move and emigrate in an attempt to ‘escape’ from or solve their problems. Psychologists call this attempt for personal reinvention through relocation a “geographic cure” or “pulling geographic”. The question is, do people really solve their problems simply by moving out, and what really changes when they change their address? In an article in NYTimes.com, Elizabeth Stirling, a psychologist in Santa Fe, N.M., specializing in helping people make life changes, stated, “No matter how much you move, you still take yourself with you.” Why is moving then so common in modern times? Practically, people are not likely to ‘solve’ their problem or ‘escape’ from it by relocating. As an experienced traveler and a person who has been to places and met folks from all around the world, Izabel explains her view: “Any such experience out of the routine refreshes you and brings you to life as a broad concept. It is not about solving problems but it is about changing perception and this is what can solve your problems. The taste of freedom, even the temporary taste of freedom is a creative force. It lies within us but we just grew up and forgot about it. Traveling is a good ‘red pill’ to get back to it.” So, if traveling can change people’s perspective so much that it can help them brighten up their routine and taste freedom, why don’t they take the time to travel a bit before they take the step of emigrating or relocating? After all, moving may be a solution, but it may be a lot more stressful than people could imagine. In that same article in NY Times.com, it is said that according to psychologists, “those who never or rarely move can be frozen by a fear of change.” In addition, “The prospect of leaving the place that is the center of your universe or the one constant in your life can be frightening.” In short, if you are bored out of your mind, or you seem to be experiencing a series of unfortunate events, before you take the...

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Posted on Apr 11, 2012 in Travel |

“Earth Did Her Best to be Beautiful”

You know that you are a citizen of the world when you have visited tons of places and still can’t name your favorite spot as you believe that Earth is beautiful wherever you go. According to Izabel,“Favorite places are rather a function of your mood and condition in a certain moment, therefore I cannot name one.” Being quite urban, Izabel loves legendary cities such as New York, Paris, Rome. However, picturesque villages like Radha di Chianti where people don’t know the meaning of “stress”, are also a quite fulfilling experience for her. When Izabel traveled to South America, she was so absorbed by the new worlds that opened before her eyes, that she said she completely forgot vanity ever existed. “I trekked on glaciers; Reached 5000m of altitude where only chewing coca leafs will help; Got hypnotized by the powerful Iguazu; Crossed a flood, bare feet at 6AM, somewhere in Bolivia at 4 degrees Celcius; Lost reality in Salar de Uyuni; Smiled, when they were calling me Shakira; Did vertical climbing for the very first time in my life; Saw a true wild life (flamingos… and I don’t know what the rest even were!)…And many more!” Earth is beautiful, yes. But not only literally. It positively affects your being if you could just let it enter your soul for a bit. Izabel here best described how she was feeling mindless when she returned from her trip, and what she went through emotionally from the moment she took off to South America to the moment she returned back to her routine: “The very first days I was worried about work, still feeling ‘dressed up’ with a desk, a chair and a PC, you know how it is…The first day back at work, I couldn’t even logon to my Inbox. In between – contemplating surreal beauty, tasting freedom, drowning in adventures, even literally. At some stage you end up like a Buddhist – just nothing in your mind but being ‘now’.” blog.visafirst.comMore...

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Posted on Apr 11, 2012 in Travel |

Plan your Trip – Ensure Your Peace of Mind – Enjoy the Adventure

While some prefer to travel without planning, to “save the magic of the unexpected”, it’s still not a bad idea to be prepared when you hit the road – especially when it’s a huge trip like the one Izabel did – from Southeastern Europe to South America – Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru. Of course the more you travel, the more prepared you become for each new trip. According to her, “There is no preparation without information – whether we are talking about budget or gear, or just packing your luggage.” The “Official Side” of Traveling She suggests that reading official information is a must when it comes to organizing the access to a particular country. In this case, although she normally prefers to handle things on her own, her advice is, “never cut the cost as far as official institutions are involved – you’d better pay more if this will buy you peace of mind and security.” Visa First, for example, does just that – takes care of the “official part” of your trip to ensure your peace of mind and security. That includes everything you need before you leave home such as visas, bank accounts, arrival packages, SIM cards, and more. The “Fun Side” of Traveling So, once the official part is all sorted out, it’s time to have the fun. Still, however, a small portion of planning is not redundant and it definitely won’t kill the adventure. In fact, reading forums, the ‘Lonely Planet’, as well as considering some rumors, may even bring a bigger adventure when you visit the particular place. Here’s why: If you have no idea where you are going, and what you may expect, you may simply miss the exciting places because you are not aware of their existence. By reading, however, that “the Milky Way seen from Atacama can literally spill on you”, as Izabel described, you will know that going to Atacama – the driest desert in the world – will bring you this unforgettable experience. Well, of course you will have the element of surprise regardless of your planning...

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Posted on Apr 10, 2012 in Living Abroad, Travel, Travel Stories |

Why Do You Need a Visa for Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand is considered one of the top hubs for backpackers for the Southeast Asian region. Getting there, however, usually requires a special type of visa which depends on your nationality, the amount of time you’d like to stay and the activities you’d like to partake in. Some countries are exempted from visa requirements if visitors from these countries will not stay in Thailand longer than 30 days and their purpose for visit is just tourism. Here’s a list with countries that do not need a visa when entering Thailand for tourism purposes for less than 30 days, according to Learn4good.com: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil*, Bahrain, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea*, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, Peru*, Philippines, Portugal, Qatar, Singapore, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Vietnam. *Thailand holds bilateral agreements on visa exemption for holders of diplomatic, official and ordinary passports for a visit of not exceeding 90 days with Brazil, the Republic of Korea and Peru. Therefore, nationals of these 3 countries are exempted from visa requirements and are permitted to enter and stay in Thailand for a period of not exceeding 90 days. Thailand being among the top destinations for backpackers, however, is not accidental. Visiting that country for just a month is simply deficient. One needs longer time to be able to really sink in the atmosphere and experience the lifestyle of the locals. What is awaiting visitors in that country requires a little bit of free spirit in order to fully understand the surroundings as it may come a bit shocking to the ones used to an orderly everyday routine. Here’s what the solo backpacker Chris, who is based in Bangkok, Thailand, had to say about his first visit in Bangkok’s most famous street among travelers – Khao San Road: “I still remember the sense of almost complete terror that I felt when I first arrived, on my own, at Bangkok’s Khao San Road. It sounds...

Read More