To give advices from our travel experience

Getting the Indian Visa in Kathmandu

By Telma | 30 December 2016 | India | Travel Advice

Getting the Indian Visa in Kathmandu wasn’t as difficult as we thought it would be. We had envisaged long queues, communication breakdown, answered questions, filling the form wrongly, stress, etc. But everything ran smoothly.
Perhaps it helped that we were staying in Nepal for three months, so we did go to the Embassy to enquire about the process beforehand. Once we left with all the answers, we knew that getting the Indian tourist visa in Kathmandu was going to be fairly easy.
There is no way around it, unless you are a Bhutan or Nepali national, all other nationalities MUST obtain a visa before arriving in India.
Things change – prices go up and new requirements are implemented. At the time of writing (December 2016), this was the process for obtaining the Indian Visa in Kathmandu.

Please note: Not to be confused with the eTourist Visa (eTV), which the citizen of 113 countries are entitled to apply for a visa prior their arrival, for visits not exceeding 30 days. For more information, please click here.



Directions to the India Embassy in Kathmandu

From Thamel is about fifteen minutes walk heading north just off Lazimpath.

Address:
Embassy of India
,
336 Kapurdhara Marg,
Kathmandu, Nepal

Application hours are from Monday to Friday between 9.30am-12pm.

location of indian embassy

What you need to know before applying for the Indian tourist visa in Kathmandu (VT):

  • Allow 8-10 days as a minimum
  • Don’t apply for the tourist visa during the festivals or holidays in India (Either the office will be closed or the waiting time can take up to 1 month)
  • Bring the right amount of money  to pay for the visa in Nepalese Rupees
  • Apply in person at the India Embassy. Paying an agency will cost you twice as much
  • Don’t waste money on getting new passport pictures if these do not match the official requirements
  • Buying flights/bus tickets to India doesn’t necessary mean that you will obtain a visa nor will it speed up the process
  • Your passport MUST be valid for a period of six months or more before entering India
  • The visa starts from the date of issue, not from the date of arrival in India. So do not apply for the visa once you arrive in Nepal as that will be a waste of days from the visa itself

indian embassy

It requires 3 visits to obtain the Indian Tourist Visa. Let us tell you how we got ours:

Because we had time to spare in Kathmandu we chose to apply for the visa in person and visited the India Embassy nearly one month before applying for the visa as we wanted to know the official requirements, the waiting time and the costs. We couldn’t believe how much Thomas had to pay for his visa, a whopping Rs17,500/USD$155/GBP£125. Whereas I had to pay Rs4,850/USD$40/GBP£35 because I have a Portuguese Passport. 
Paying an agency was never an option, but we did pay for some help on filling out the form. During our first and second visit four people got their application rejected due to some errors. As we didn’t want that to happen to us, we opted on getting some guidance from the shop next to the embassy.
The staff are helpful and very quick; they have been doing it for years and know exactly the correct way of filling out the form. Getting some guidance and paying a small fee for it was better than having the visa process rejected. It saved us time and stress.
Showing that you have purchased a ticket to India before getting the Visa does not help you obtaining the Visa and it can still be rejected. Actually, they suggest only booking the tickets after the Visa is issued. This can be an expensive decision as the Visa starts on the day of issue. You must buy an outward ticket from Nepal within a few days or weeks after receiving it from the embassy.

indian visa in kathmandu




How to apply for the Indian Visa in Kathmandu:

  • Knowing the hostel/guesthouse address in India is an advantage
  • “No Religion” it’s not an option! 
  • “Unemployed” it’s also not an option! You must provide your Employer’s Address, but if like us, you don’t have a job back home, the last employer will suffice. I guess it’s a reassurance you make ends meet to travel.

Next door, at the shop, they will:

  • Download and fill in the form for you – Cost: NPR500
  • Take 2 passport pictures (Size 2-inch x 2-inch, 51mm x 51mm/white background) – Cost: NPR250
  • Make a copy of your passport front page and the Nepali visa

At the Embassy

Simple steps for obtaining the Indian Visa and Documents needed:

  • Application Form
  • 1 picture, 2×2 white background
  • Passport
  • Copy of Passport (first page)
  • Copy of Nepali Visa and/or last Indian Visa

There are 3 visits: 1st day, 5th working day and 6th working day

On the 1st day, after getting everything ready next door, we waited for our turn. Once they called our number, we handed in our application forms, paid and got a receipt with a stamp date, for the second visit, on the 5th working day. (First visit from 9.30am-12.30pm only)

On the 5th day, the lady told us the Visas got approved. We left our Passports at the Embassy and received the same receipt as day 1, with a second stamp date, for the 6th working day.
(Second visit from 9.30am-12.30pm only)

On the 6th day, we collected our Passports with our Visas! (Third visit from 5.00 pm-5.30pm only)

That’s it…We both got our 3 months India Visa!

For more information, check the India Visa online website.

application for the indian visa

Further reading: Lonely Planet India (Travel Guide) is a complete and all-inclusive guide for those wanting to experience and explore India. We strongly recommend reading this guide as it helped us planning our own trip.

Happy Travels!

Have you ever applied for the Indian Visa before?

applying for the india visa in kathmandu

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We are Thomas and Telma – the writers, photographers, videographers and founders of Blank Canvas Voyage.

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Packing List – What to Pack for Everest Base Camp

By Telma and Thomas | 20 October 2016 | Nepal | Travel Advice

The clothing required will depend on when you go to Everest Base Camp. During the warmer months, a down jacket might not be a necessity but when trekking in the winter, when temperatures drop below zero from sunset to sunrise, bringing one is definitely a must. The same goes for hiring a sleeping bag. Teahouses will provide blankets but it might not be enough for the freezing nights. Having trekked in November and having brought a -20 sleeping bag for below zero temperatures at high altitude was without doubt, worth it!
Some people would rather have their own, and if you are into outdoor activities during extreme weather, taking yours is much better, as you can always use it again.

It’s always best to have your own equipment since you will be familiar with it and know what works for you or not. Ensuring we had the adequate clothing and our feet comfortable and dry was our main priority. A trekker’s nightmare is to have blistered feet and we were lucky with our trekking boots, we just made sure they were well broken in before going on the trek.
There are endless lists online of “what to pack for Everest Base Camp”, and to be honest some are just outrageous, not only it’s excessive but the overall budget for it is enough to put someone off Trekking to Everest Base Camp. We didn’t want to splurge but made sure all we had was necessary.

Now, talking about our Packing List for Everest Base Camp: Did we need every single item on the list? No. And it wasn’t until the night before that we realised that perhaps we had selected way too much. But, I think we did well to be honest. Comparing to some lists online, we couldn’t figure out why on earth people were choosing to carry so much! And because ultimately we were the ones that would be carrying it, we tried to keep everything to a minimum. We managed 10 kilos/22 pounds each. Not ideal, but reasonably good. The heaviest items we just couldn’t leave behind were the sleeping bag, that weighed 2 kg/4 pounds and the down jacket 1 kg/2.2 pounds.

Below is EXACTLY what we packed for trekking to Everest Base Camp. Items on the list below are per person, unless otherwise specified.

Everest Base Camp Packing List

Note: Although the windbreaker trousers are specified for men only, these can be used as unisex.

Note: We never used the body towels, only the microfibre facial towels.

  • Toilet paper (x10) / Wet wipes (x2)
  • Plasters
  • Ibuprofen / Diarrhea & Constipation Tablets / Flu Tablets
  • Face Mask
  • Throat lozenges
  • Sunscreen
  • Deodorant
  • Cotton Buds
  • Tooth Paste / Brush
  • Gel Sanitiser
  • Carmex Lip Balm
  • Menstrual Cup
  • Inhaler
  • Bepanthen
  • Nail Clippers / Filer
  • Pocket Mirror / Tweezers
  • Elastic bands / Hair Clips

Important: From 3,000mt/9840ft onwards people should look after their electronics, specially phones and batteries. We strongly recommend this Organiser Case, as it helped us with our own equipment. At night we slept with the case inside the sleeping bag.

  • Digestive Biscuits
  • Oreo Biscuits
  • Snickers
  • Peanuts
  • Sweets

Where can you hire the best down jacket and sleeping bag in Kathmandu?

During our stay in Nepal we met several people and were lucky to have been introduced to a Sherpa family, who have a trekking shop. The owner trekked to Everest Base Camp hundreds of times as a Guide and has been as far as Camp 4. The last camp side before the Summit of Mount Everest. The shop is called Ama Dablum Trek Shop, located in Jyatha (North side of Thamel, next to Hotel White Rose).

 

Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links, from Amazon Affiliate Program. Which means, we will get a small commission if you buy something from those links. Don’t worry, It doesn’t cost any extra to you and we ONLY recommend products that we trust or have used ourselves. We really appreciate your support!

Further reading: Lonely Planet Trekking in the Nepal Himalaya (Travel Guide) is a complete and all-inclusive guide for those wanting to experience and explore Trekking in the Himalaya. We strongly recommend reading this guide as it helped us planning our own trip.

Happy Travels!

What do you think of our packing list?

trekking gear for everest base camp

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Thank-You for Readingfiji islands travel blog

We are Thomas and Telma – the writers, photographers, videographers and founders of Blank Canvas Voyage.

Let us inspire you to explore the world through the sharing of our experiences, stories, videos and useful tips. Click here to know more about our journey.

Is it Safe to Travel to Honiara?

By Telma and Thomas | 15 June 2016 | Solomon Islands | Travel Advice

Let’s be honest, Honiara it’s not one of those cities that you will fall in love at first sight. If you are researching online about the latest travel advice and how to stay safe in Honiara, you will be happy to read this article as well as our Honiara Travel Guide.

Upon arrival you will quickly notice that it’s crowded, there is litter everywhere, people are spitting betel nut in the streets and from children to the elderly most are barefoot.
It’s overwhelming at first, “but if you past the dirt to the friendly locals, the smiling children, the naturally blonde hair that some of them have, the relaxed pace of life and the strong traditional culture of wantok, then it is a really special place” by Morgan Hannah, The Eco Backpacker

Many people quickly catch a connecting flight to the Western Province, but don’t be too hasty. Honiara deserves some time. The National Museum, various coffee shops along the high street and Honiara Central Market are some of the best spots to spend an afternoon. You don’t have to buy anything, you just need to observe the locals, and believe us it’s a hell of an experience!

The variety of cultures and customs is striking, and the traditional ways are remarkable alive. The bustling atmosphere gives a real taste of what is life like for Solomon Islanders.

We wrote down a few suggestions, but please don’t let them put you off visiting Honiara. Remember to be street aware, walk in a group and during the day.
You might come across a few drunkies, and if you do just ignore them and keep walking. There are so many wonderful people in town that you will be pleased to meet them.

faces of honiara



Around Honiara Town

  • There aren’t street lights, so always carry a torch/lantern (we don’t suggest using the phone for security reasons)
  • Around town there are a lot of ditches, so be very careful at night
  • It’s common to see young adults smoking and chewing betel nut
  • Solomon Islanders don’t treat dogs as pets
  • Bus fares are between SBD$2-$3 (USD$0.25/GBP£0.19), depending on distances, but if it happens that you are overweight, the bus driver has the right to charge you more
honiara street aware



Honiara Street Awareness

  • Don’t walk around the streets alone at night, best to go in a group
  • Visiting the suburbs around Honiara on your own is a no-go
  • Wear bags across your body, not hanging out on the shoulder (you will notice the locals have their bags on their necks)
  • Don’t display phone or money
  • Leave the expensive watches and expensive jewellery at home
  • Always carry small change

When I say that we were both lucky to have Solomon Islanders with us at all times, I mean it. They took care of us, as we walked in town freely, and had no worries. Whereas if we had to do it again, on our own, it would be different. But not THAT much of a difference to be honest. If we were on our own we just had to be more street aware, and that’s it.
Not once, we felt threatened or in danger. People will stare but that is just normal, come on we are tourists!
Our advice is to be confident when walking around town, as there is no need to keep looking over your shoulder. And finally, do not believe in everything you read in the Media.

safety in solomon islands

Note: – Do not let these points put you off visiting Honiara. Some are just common sense, and can be taken into consideration pretty much everywhere in the world when visiting a capital city.
Honiara is not a reflection of what life is like amongst the other islands. We decided to stay locally because of the Deaf Community and the strong bond we developed from our week over there. Apparently the other islands are breathtaking, so if you do have the time and the money, because flights are expensive, please do explore this little gem in the South Pacific.

Did you find this article interesting? Let us know in the comments below.

a guide to travel safety in honiara

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We are Thomas and Telma – the writers, photographers, videographers and founders of Blank Canvas Voyage.

Let us inspire you to explore the world through the sharing of our experiences, stories, videos and useful tips. Click here to know more about our journey.

Vaccinations for Long Term Travel

Note: This topic is debatable and there will be someone with a different opinion or approach to it, so the aim of this post is only to share our findings.

Planning your long-term travel adventure is without a doubt very exciting. Although, figuring out which vaccines you need can be a daunting task.
During the planning stage we found a lot of information regarding which vaccines we would need for each country and the risks by not taking them. But we did struggle to find one post that covered everything that we were looking for.
So below is a combined research of what we gathered and chose to take ourselves.

Saying that, please bear in mind that we both live in the United Kingdom, so prices will differ from country to country. Also we are not medical professionals and all the information was taken from reliable sources, e.g: Fit For Travel Website.

Vaccinations for Travel – Where to start:

  • Make sure your childhood vaccinations are up to date
  • Contact your local GP or Family Doctor and find out if you are due a booster dose
  • Write down a list of countries that you are planning on visiting
  • Before you pay for your travel vaccines privately make sure you check with your GP or Family Doctor which vaccines they offer free of charge.

What did we already have?

  • BCG
  • MMR (measles, mumps and rubella)
  • Diphtheria, Polio & Tetanus

Because we are both UK residents the following vaccinations were free of charge:

  • Diphtheria, Polio and Tetanus (combined booster every 10 years)
  • Typhoid (3 years cover)
  • Hepatitis A – including when combined with Typhoid or Hepatitis B. (combined booster every 10 years)

Which jabs did we have from the Travel Clinic:

Japanese Encephalitis
Japanese encephalitis is a type of viral brain infection that is spread through mosquito bites. It’s most common in rural areas throughout South East Asia. These mosquitos are normally found in rice paddles, as well on pigs and birds. Recovery in slow and long-term debility is common.
Costs: GBP£85/USD$110 per dose
Dosage: 2 shots – First at Day 0, next at Day 28.
Vaccinated for: 1-2 years’ cover

Rabies
Rabies is a fatal and incredibly painful disease which is spread through animal bites and saliva. The risk for humans occurs with animal contact. Transmission concurs from someone being bitten by the infected animal, and the virus then transfers through the animal’s saliva. The incubation period is between 20-90 days.
Costs: GBP£55/USD$70 per dose
Dosage: 3 shots – First at Day 0, Day 7 and Day 28
Vaccinated for: 10 years cover (if animal contact occurs, must be vaccinated every 1-2 years)

Other Vaccines that people might consider and how long to the vaccines last:

Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever is spread via infected mosquitos in Tropical Areas – Africa & South America. Single injection. Prices vary between GBP£50-£80/USD$65-$100. Requires a booster every 10 years.

Cholera
Regions of the world with poor sanitations & water hygiene. Vaccine given as a drink in two separate doses. Price – GBP£35/USD$45 per dose. Lasts 2 years.

Meningococcal Meningitis
If you are a long-term traveller who will be in close contact with the local population around sub-Saharan Africa. Single injection. Price GBP£50/USD$65. Requires a booster every 2-3 years.

Tick-borne Encephalitis
Has similar symptoms to meningitis and is spread by ticks or drinking unpasteurised milk from infected animals. Two separate doses one to three months apart. Prices vary between GBP£70-£90/USD$90-$115 per dose. Lasts 1-3 years.

What vaccines do I need for where I am going?

Hepatitis A is present in all countries with poor sanitation and public hygiene and Hepatitis B is found in South East Asia, the Middle East, South and Western Pacific and parts of the Caribbean.

Polio & Diphtheria are mainly found in developing countries in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and South America.

Tetanus is present pretty much worldwide.

Japanese B Encephalitis can occur following the rainy season in China, regions of Nepal, northern Burma, eastern and southern states of India, northern Sri Lanka, northern Thailand, Laos and Vietnam. Also can be found in Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea, Singapore, southern parts of Thailand, southern Sri Lanka and all of India.

Tick Borne Encephalitis is found in European Russia, Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Scandinavia. It can also be found in eastern parts of China.

Rabies has a greater risk in Asia, Africa and South America.

Typhoid is present worldwide, however it is worse where food and water may be contaminated with sewage — in Africa, Far East and South America.

Yellow Fever is present in tropical Africa and South America. You may be required to show a Yellow Fever vaccination certificate to enter certain countries if you are traveling from an infected area. (the certificate is any extra cost from the vaccine itself).

When shall I start taking my Travel Vaccinations?

6 months – In order to get long-term protection for Hepatitis A & B you should get it done at least 6 months prior to your travels, so you can complete the full course. If this is not possible the you can have the first two shots, 30 days apart, and have the booster whilst you are on the road.

1-2 months – Tick-Borne Encephalitis requires 2 doses, one at 0 days and the other 4-12 weeks apart.

1 month or less – Japanese B Encephalitis, days 0, 7 and 28. Rabies, days 0 and 28. Typhoid, one single injection. Yellow Fever, must be given 10 days before leaving.

Some travellers choose not to receive many of the vaccines and have never had any problems, and although it is true that the chances of contracting these diseases are quite rare, if you are unlucky enough to become sick in a foreign place, you will regret it for the rest of your life.
So remember…better safe than sorry!

Tip: When planning your pre-trip budget, make sure you DO include these charges. The costs for just one person can be as high as GBP£400-£500/USD$520-$650.
Visit the following websites Fit for Travel and Vaccines.gov for more information.

Did you find this post useful? Let us know if you have any further questions or you would like to offer advice regarding this topic.

which vaccines tot take for long term travel

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We are Thomas and Telma – the writers, photographers, videographers and founders of Blank Canvas Voyage.

Let us inspire you to explore the world through the sharing of our experiences, stories, videos and useful tips. Click here to know more about our journey.

31 Ways to Save for Long Term Travel

By Telma | 8 August 2016 | Travel Advice

“You are so stingy”
“Your life must be so boring!”
“Oh come on, not again!”

Yes, I heard that all the time. And honestly, I really didn’t care.
I have been saving for as long as I can remember. The way that I was brought up taught me many things that helped me saving, taking care of my belongings (because I never had a lot) and to be responsible.
So in a way I feel pretty much confident writing this post and giving my “very basic” advice on how to save money on a daily basis.

It is about commitment and making priorities, and sometimes a few boring days, I admit.
But if you take your “Savings Plan” with a pinch of salt, all can be balanced and you can STILL have fun, go places, meet your friends and eat at your favourite restaurants.
No matter where you are on your financial journey, it is possible for anyone to turn their financial life around. Believe me, the hardest is to start, so stay focused and you will achieve it!



Ultimate List to Save Money for Travel

long term travel saving tips

31 Saving Tips

Cook your own meals, it works out much cheaper than buying your lunch every day. Also having food at home will make you cook more. Cooking in bulk, is a way of planning your meals and spending less money eating out. Do online grocery shopping, as going to a store is very tempting and you will end it up buying unnecessary food. Give up your vices, do you really need to have a hot drink every day? Or have a chocolate bar? Don’t carry cash, you will eventually give up on the purchase. Cancel your subscriptions, Sky+, magazines, newspapers, as you can rely on the internet for news, articles and ideas. Cancel your cable tv subscription, get FreeView instead. Find meal-deals, dinning 2-1 vouchers or meet your friends for a drink instead. Stop upgrading everything. Do you really need to have the best phone/computer in the market? Get a pay-as-you-go travel card instead of paying monthly, if you are going home after work, there is no need of having a multi-travel card. Stop collecting and start selling your old things, books, dumbbells, bike, treadmill, dvd’s, etc. Move in together (for a couple), or move back to your parents’ house for a short period of time. Open a savings account and set up a standing order from your current account. Cancel your gym membership, go for a run instead. Seek for extra income, work as freelancer in various projects or get a part-time. Drink tap water, seriously it won’t kill you! Book your own accommodation & flights when going on holidays, you don’t need to pay a travel agency to do it for you. Stay in budget hostels or book through Airbnb for cheaper accommodation. Join free tours when visiting a new city. Have breakfast at home before leaving for work. Cut your own hair. Drink less alcohol, or drink slower when out with friends. Turn off the Data on your phone and use free Wi-Fi. Pay off your credit card every month in full to avoid those unwanted charges. Or just quit using credit cards at all if you don’t trust yourself! Keep track of all your spending’s on a notebook, that will help you a lot. Suggest doing some outdoor activities with your friends, prepare your own food and share with them in a picnic style.

Remember, no sacrifice is ever too much to live the life you dreamed of. Don’t beat yourself when you make a mistake, have a treat day(s), don’t let negativity spoil your dreams, be firm and strict with yourself but leave room for flexibility, keep in touch with your loved ones, don’t ignore them just because you have started saving money, surround yourself with good people and people who have ambitions in life and never give up.

Note: This article was written according to our life and jobs in London. Obviously not all these tips will apply to everyone. We are aware that people’s lifestyles, jobs, wages, family circumstances are different from person to person and from the country that you live in. This is a guide on how WE both saved and how we hope these tips can make people save money as well.

What are your top tips for saving money for travel?

suggestions on how to save money for travel

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Thank-You for Readingfiji islands travel blog

We are Thomas and Telma – the writers, photographers, videographers and founders of Blank Canvas Voyage.

Let us inspire you to explore the world through the sharing of our experiences, stories, videos and useful tips. Click here to know more about our journey.