During the last quarter of the year, many countries in the northern region of the world turn into winter wonderlands. But the Philippines? It still continues to have tropical weather with occasional rain.
If you’d like to experience a merry white Christmas soon, here are the best places you can visit. And guess what: Even with a third-world passport, you can easily fly over to these places… visa-free! Cool, isn’t it?
Also read: Cold Places in the Philippines to Feel Winter in the Tropics
1. Jeju Island, South Korea
Here’s your chance to visit South Korea without applying for a visa! Sure, it’s pretty easy to apply for a visa to visit the country (plus it’s free!). But nothing beats travelling with just a passport, right? Jeju Island is best known for its beaches, but you can also head on to the northern regions such as Eorimok and try sledging downhill. The winter sport is popular among children, but the kids-at-heart can always join in.
Winter season: January to March
Also read: This Is What It’s Like For Filipinos to Experience Winter For the First Time
Winter in Mongolia is surreal with its vast landscapes and open countryside. You will have to be extremely prepared for the conditions; although it doesn’t snow much in the area, the temperature stays below zero for months so the snow stays even until the summer months. Mongolians often celebrate the winter with ice sculptures, but you can also enjoy the scenery inside the train.
Winter season: November to February
Snow is common in Israel, happening in January and February, although it mostly happens in the northern region. Most Filipinos are Catholics, so you will most likely go on a pilgrimage to the birthplace of Jesus Christ at least once in your life. While you’re at it, why not head up north and experience their winter wonderland? That will surely make your Christmas more exciting!
Winter season: October to March
Morocco isn’t always the first thing that comes to mind when experiencing snow, but its mountainous regions have a few resorts. You can check one near Fes and another near Marrakesh, but most of their resorts have unreliable snow and not-so-great skiing gear. Regardless, you will still have a great time here especially since you can travel with your Filipino passport visa-free.
Winter season: December to March
Also read: A Filipino Traveller’s Journey to Morocco: 3-Week Itinerary & Trip Highlights
Another South American country where Filipino travellers can experience snow visa-free is Colombia. Los Nevados, or Snow-Capped Mountains, is the only place in the country to have a white Christmas. You can even go skiing if you are lucky enough (and there is enough snow)!
Head over to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, located near the Andes regions, and hike up and ski from down there (although this is mainly recommended for experienced ski mountaineers).
Winter season: December to March
Also read: Backpacking in South America For 14 Days: Cost Breakdown
Another place for experienced Filipino ski mountaineers to consider would be Peru. Now, there are no resorts or basic ski areas in the country, but you can visit Huaraz near Lima, which has a long history of skiing. If you are brave and experienced enough, you can also ski down the slopes of Huascaran, which is Peru’s highest peak standing at 6,768 metres.
Winter season: May to November
It sounds weird to see snow in Ecuador, seeing that it is located right on the equator. But, it actually does happen, albeit limited to the peaks that go as high as 6,000 metres or more. The Ecuador Andes’ highest point is the Cayambe Volcano. It is permanently covered in snow and frequented by people who love mountain climbing.
Winter season: June to September
Also read: 12 Mountains in the Philippines to Add to Your Bucket List
Craving for a snow rush? Head over to the mountains surrounding La Paz, the third most populous city in Bolivia and the highest national capital in the world. You will need to have a certain level of fitness in order to climb to the top of the glacier. You don’t have to worry about having zero skiing experience because there are slopes available for beginners and experts!
Winter season: May to October
Brazil is not just all about beaches and bikinis because there are actually a number of cities located in higher altitudes of the southern region that experience snow every year. Among the places in Brazil that you can visit to experience snow would include the Rio Grande do Sul, Parana, and Santa Catarina.
Winter season: June to September
Surprise, surprise! Yes, it does snow in Vietnam. And of course, Filipinos can experience snow without a visa in the country. With temperatures going as low as -5 degrees, Sapa experiences lots of snow cover. Other areas in the country such as Tam Dao, Dong Van, and Mau Son Mountain also experience snow during the later part of the year.
Winter season: November to April
Also read: Vietnam Travel Requirement For Philippine Passport Holders
Philippine passport holders are also granted visa-free entry to the transcontinental country of Kazakhstan. With its relatively dry climate, winters here tend to be very cold. Here, snowfall lasts for about a hundred days in northernmost regions like Petropavl, 60 days in the central region, and approximately 20 days in the southern region. Kazakhstan is also home to modern ski resorts where you can experience gliding across the snow and feel the cool winter breeze!
Winter season: October to April
Also read: Winter 101: Winter Survival Tips For Filipino First-Timers
As of writing, Taiwan has resumed its visa-free entry for Filipinos. This country is by far the closest and the most practical destination to experience winter. Most of the notable spots for witnessing winter are situated in the mountainous regions found in the northern part of Taiwan. These include Yushan (Jade Mountain), Hehuanshan, Guanshan, Xueshan, and the Yangmingshan National Park, an easy day trip from Taipei.
Winter season: December to February
If you love to experience the chilly weather but hate dealing with the snow, Asian countries such as Thailand and Hong Kong are your best bet.
Also read: Winter Checklist: 10 Items to Pack on Your First Snowy Vacation
That about sums it up for this list of destinations Filipinos can experience snow without a visa! Before you head on to any of these places, be sure to pack the right clothes and bundle yourself up. Surely, you would rather want to experience a white Christmas outside instead of shivering under the sheets. Happy holidays!
Featured image credit: Sanaga Park via Canva Pro