Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Fall Vacation Thoughts

A weekend with a lot of research!  We decided to spend tons of time this past weekend doing research about potential destinations for our fall vacation. 

All we know for sure is that we'll go to India.  Whether we also go to any other country (or countries) is something we have yet to determine. 

We spent time trying to pick sights or cities we'd want to see.

I think we're going to leave on about October 8 and go for about three weeks. 

India -- need to get visas in advance. 
Only true must-see for me is Taj Mahal, any other destinations will be just to see and get a sense of more of the country. 

Other places that are in the running:
Goa (and/or Andaman or Nicobar)
Ajanta Ellora
Amristar, Punjab
and a royal palace somewhere in Rajasthan.

Nepal -- can get a visa at the airport on arrival.
Likely just Kathmandu.
Want to see:
Swayambhunath Stupa
Boudhanath Stupa
Durbar square
Pashupatinath Temple
Narayanhiti Palace Museum

Sri Lanka -- need to get visas in advance.
Have heard good things but did no research other than the visa stuff. 

Maldives -- no visa necessary.
Hotels looking very expensive, many are all-inclusive, which is probably good given some of them are on private islands, so no other options.
Also looking like it will take a long time to get there, almost a day from Delhi, given long connections, most flights in Sri Lanka.  Hmm, not loving this either. 
But it looks spectacular, beautiful beaches...

Qatar -- can get a visa at the airport on arrival.
Main reason this is on the list is flight schedules.  If we stop here, just a day or so on the way home to enjoy a direct flight back.  Hubby has already been here. 
Museum of Islamic Art
Villaggio Mall
Souq Waqif

UAE (Dubai) -- no visa necessary.
This would be a short stop on our way home, maybe 2-3 days if we do it.  Hubby loves the idea of calling this trip the Mumbai-Dubai Extravaganza.  Mostly just looking around in awe, but a few sights that sound cool:
Burj Khalifa (of course)
Waterfront in general, maybe a Dhow dinner cruise
Shopping at the Gold Souks
Saeed Al Maktoum House
Grand Mosque
Desert safari (preferably with a camel ride)
Dubai Fountai

As an exciting side note, just a mere week and change after completing our Global Entry applications so we can use expedited processing in US customs, we got our conditional approvals and have set our interviews! 

Unfortunately, DFW is one of the suckiest Global Entry interview options.  In Chicago (downtown or at the airport), you can get an interview this week.  Same with Milwaukee.  In San Antonio, the first appointment is two weeks away.  But in Austin, there's nothing until late April.  DFW is even worse -- nothing until late May!  And it's kind of frustrating because the appointments are weekdays from 8 until 5:30.  So I figured I'd look through the calendar for a day when we could get the 5:30 appointment.  Nothing.  Nothing until July anytime after 3:30.  Somehow, I don't think it's just that other people took all the 3:45, 4:00, 4:15, 4:30, 4:45, 5:00, 5:15 and 5:30 slots for every remaining day.  I think it's that they're not bothering to actually offer interviews at those times.  Very frustrating, but oh well.  We took a 3:30 slot on a Friday in June. 

1 comment:

  1. Ugh that sucks about the Global Entry interview at DFW. But the trip sounds awesome!! I want to go! ;)