Fantastic round the world trip planned, except...
January 8, 2014 2:00 PM   Subscribe

The plan was to fly into Mumbai and make my way down the cost to Cochi. I just realized that my visa to India is not going to happen. I now have a 10-14 day gap. I'm leaving Tel Aviv on Feb. 3rd and staying in Kuala Lumpur on Feb. 14th, dates somewhat flexible. Where should I go? Things to know: -No countries that require anything other then VOA for a US born citizen please. -In addition to Israel and Kuala Lumpur I'm also going to Hong Kong, much of Japan, Australia and New Zealand. -Have visited western Europe and northern S. America on previous trips. Bonus points if it involves hiking, learning how to sail or involves getting to see the countryside in safety, though perhaps not comfort.
posted by rip to Travel & Transportation (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
FWIW, I got an Indian visa in about 8 business days in November using an expediter in the states (and have a friend who got it in 2-3 trips to a consulate in southeast Asia). It was touch and go for a while and I ended up having to go to the consulate myself for a few hours so I'm hesitant to just recommend the firm, but MeMail me if you want some ideas on ways to get it faster.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 2:04 PM on January 8, 2014

I had a great time in Sabah this year, which is a short and cheap flight from KL. I'd go back in a heartbeat. Not sure about sailing, but there are lots of snorkelling/diving opportunities. On the hiking side there's Mount Kinabalu, and the national park that surrounds it (with hot springs for after the descent!).
posted by pompomtom at 2:11 PM on January 8, 2014

Thailand - "ENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS FOR U.S. CITIZENS: If you are a U.S. citizen tourist staying for fewer than 30 days, you do not require a visa, but your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your entry into Thailand. Thai Immigration officials may ask for your onward/return ticket, and airlines may ask for this information when you book or check in."

Plenty of countryside, and although I've never been there, 'safety but not comfort' is how I think of it.
posted by the agents of KAOS at 2:27 PM on January 8, 2014

Best answer: Nepal has Visa On Arrival for US citizens, and is a pretty damn good replacement for India in a travel itinerary.

I'd also be curious to know what the hurdle is to an India visa. I got mine same day by bringing my paperwork directly to the Indian consulate in New York. Yes it involved a lot of waiting in lines and such, but all in all India is not a difficult country to get a visa for. I guess it depends where you are right now, but if you're still in the US and near a major city, I'd highly recommend going in person to your nearest consulate.
posted by Sara C. at 2:46 PM on January 8, 2014 [3 favorites]

Best answer: You would probably be interested in this map of visa requirements for US citizens. I think Maldives might be up your alley -- lots of water sports and beautiful scenery.

I'll also nth that getting an Indian visa for a US citizen is easy if you live in one of the cities with a Travisa site. These are Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, NY, SF, DC. If you have to mail it in, it can take up to 9 days, but you still have time if you already have your passport.
posted by tinymegalo at 4:05 PM on January 8, 2014

Peninsular Thailand is lovely, especially Phuket.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 5:09 PM on January 8, 2014

Response by poster: Ended up picking Nepal! Thanks everyone. Special award to tinymegalo for the map.

The VISA not going to work out because (due to procrastination) I ended up with the decision between staying longer in the US (not near a Travista site) or visiting two more countries. Still might have pulled it off but decided it wasn't worth the extra stress. Hopefully I'll get to explore India another time. Thanks again!
posted by rip at 5:28 PM on January 8, 2014

Good to hear! I was worried you'd done something dumb like list "journalist" under the occupation blank on your tourist visa form and been flat out denied. Enjoy Nepal!
posted by Sara C. at 5:34 PM on January 8, 2014

Just want to say, if you have got an Israeli stamp in your passport you won't be able to go to Malaysia or Indonesia.

If you avoided the stamp then there are lots of amazing places to hike/trek in those countries.
posted by xmaspudding at 3:03 AM on January 9, 2014

I want to post an update to this thread re: getting an Indian visa, for people who might find this through a search engine:

My information regarding Travisa was outdated -- they have been replaced by the Indian government. Since July 2013, Indian visas are being handled by a company called BLS. Visa turnaround is atrociously inconsistent, and at least 45 US passports have been lost by the company. BLS is doing such a bad job that they're being replaced. But for now, I recommend that any US citizens trying to get Indian visas to start the visa process at least 2 months in advance. (Hopefully when BLS is fired in July 2014, things will be better.)

(Mods: Feel free to remove if this seems like a derail, just want to warn future travelers.)
posted by tinymegalo at 12:42 PM on January 30, 2014

Just want to say, if you have got an Israeli stamp in your passport you won't be able to go to Malaysia or Indonesia.

If you avoided the stamp then there are lots of amazing places to hike/trek in those countries.

For future travelers.
Not necessarily true. Have Israeli stamp and had no issue in Bali or KL. Officials didn't even blink. I'm a US Citizen.
Only place the Israel stamp was even questioned was Poland, oddly and that was a cranky inspector on an overnight train.
posted by TravellingCari at 11:25 AM on March 15, 2014

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