The world is opening up again, and more and more Filipinos are thinking about taking a vacation abroad. To match this regained freedom, many flight and tour operators are making competitive offers to get Filipinos on board.
There’s always been a good selection of low-cost flights available in Southeast Asia, but the destinations have been growing; and now, it’s easier than ever to get from the Philippines to a variety of exciting countries.
We’ve thought long and hard about the most accessible, fun, and varied international travel destinations for Filipinos. So, here’s our list of top 10 places to go!
Note: Before planning a trip to any of the following destinations, do make sure to read up on their updated travel requirements.
Also read: COVID-19 Travels: 5 Visa-Free Countries for Filipinos
Must-visit international travel destinations for Filipinos
Fly time from Manila: Just over three hours to Bangkok
Cost of vacation: Cheap to moderate
Entry requirements: None
There’s a reason Thailand is the most visited country in the Southeast Asian region for tourism — it’s basically got everything you could want for a perfect holiday experience. For a first-time traveller out of the Philippines, you won’t find a country that’s easier to get into quickly and hassle-free.
There are thousands of miles of sandy beaches to the south of the country, with many islands and resorts geared to all types of tourist activities. Inland, you’ll also find ancient cities and temples which have stood for thousands of years and demonstrate the huge history and culture of Thailand.
The thriving capital, Bangkok, is also much more than an airport stop. It has royal palaces, lively markets, significant cultural attractions and a vibrant nightlife. As such, make sure to spend a few days there as well as heading to the more holiday-focused spots.
Also read: Thailand Travel Requirements: How Filipinos Can Visit Quarantine-Free
2. Jeju Island, South Korea
Fly time from Manila: Four hours to Seoul
Cost of vacation: Moderate
Entry requirements: Visa-free entry to Jeju Island for 30 days
South Korea is more than just the bustling metropolis of Seoul. The country has diversified its tourism offering a lot in recent years. Perhaps the most popular destination is the stunning Jeju Island, which welcomes up to 15 million visitors a year from across the globe.
Some come for the surfing opportunities, and there are plenty of beaches and tourist spots to choose from. But if sea-based adventure isn’t your thing, then there are three UNESCO World Heritage sites to explore, as well as museums and theme parks. For natural wonders, check out the lava tube caves or the beautiful waterfalls.
The good news for Philippine passport holders is that you don’t need a visa to visit Jeju — making it one of the top international travel destinations for Filipinos. Although there are no direct flights from Manila to Jeju, you can change in Seoul without a visa, provided you don’t leave the airport.
Fly time from Manila: Four to six hours, depending on which island
Cost of vacation: Cheap to Moderate
Entry requirements: None
Most visitors to Indonesia hit the Hindu island of Bali, which has earned its reputation as one of the most beautiful isles in the world, right up there with Boracay or Palawan. But it also comes with big crowds of holidaymakers. If that’s your thing, then Bali is definitely the Indonesian location for you, and it’ll leave you wanting to return for more fun.
But if you want a quieter and less hectic sort of vacation, then another of Indonesia’s thousands of islands is probably better for you. Close to Bali is the equally beautiful Lombok, which has a strong tourist economy without the crowds. If you want even more remote locations, though, then head to the Bangka-Belitung Islands off Sumatra or the breathtaking island of Flores, named for the variety of flowers it has around huge crater lakes.
Also read: Bali Souvenirs: 25 Unique Items & Where to Buy Them
Fly time from Manila: 2.5 hours to Ho Chi Minh City
Cost of vacation: Cheap to moderate
Entry requirements: Visa-free for 14 days; but Filipinos are also eligible for the Vietnam eVisa, which is valid for 30 days. Learn more about it here.
Vietnam may look small on the map, but it is big on vacation potential. Most travellers from the Philippines fly to Ho Chi Minh City, spend a few days there, and then tour around.
The Mekong Delta is an absolute highlight if you have plenty of time and want to experience the best in natural wonders or just shop in the floating markets. Meanwhile, the whole eastern coastline is scattered with vacation hotspots and a wide range of hotels; accommodation prices can vary a lot depending on where you stay, so you can design your vacation to suit your pocket.
Many people try and cover the whole coast over 10 days or so and end up flying back from the northern city of Hanoi. Doing a vacation like that, south to north, also means you can build in a trip out to the staggering karsts of Halong Bay or the primaeval forests of the Central Highlands.
Fly time from Manila: Over 10 hours via connecting flight
Cost of vacation: Cheap once you get there
Entry requirements: eVisa in advance
India is one of the most incredible and varied countries in the world, and easily one of the top-recommended international travel destinations for Filipinos. With over a billion people, it offers a welcome that is warm in every part, but you’ll be surprised at how different the various regions of India are.
Many people choose to go backpacking here and take in a variety of experiences. But you can get around relatively easily by cheap internal flights, buses, or the incredible Indian train system, which is a wonder in itself. Few visitors to India don’t try and travel around.
You’ll also notice how quickly the country can change even if you stay in one region. For example, there’s the hustle and bustle of the 20 million people city of Mumbai on the west. Meanwhile, just a few hours north, you’re in the temperate and cooling hill fort country; if you go south for a few hours, you hit the beach paradise of Goa.
Many visitors flock to northern India too, and a tour of the so-called Golden Triangle can take in the splendours of the Taj Mahal in Agra or the Indian capital in Delhi. They are all very well-visited by tourists from across the world, including the Philippines.
6. Sri Lanka
Fly time from Manila: 6 to 11 hours, depending on whether the flight is direct or not
Cost of vacation: Very reasonable
Entry requirements: Visa on arrival
Off the tip of India is the busy but beautiful island of Sri Lanka, which is one of the hidden gems of Asia. The beaches are some of the best in the world, and so is the depth of the vacation experience.
Sri Lanka has it all: from bird watching to wild elephant safaris to whale watching, you will be amazed at the variety and natural beauty of the country. You’ll also be blown away by the temples and religious shrines of many faiths.
If nightlife and beaches are your thing, there are also plenty of options on the west and south coasts. Try and travel around by private driver when you’re there — or hire a car, because there is literally so much to see in Sri Lanka that not even a month’s trip will cover everything!
Also read: Sri Lanka Is Now Open for Tourism: No Quarantine for Fully Vaccinated Tourists
Fly time from Manila: Just two hours
Cost of vacation: Cheap in every way
Entry requirements: Visa-free for 30 days
Cambodia is definitely one of the most exciting places you can go within just a few hours’ flight from the Philippines. You can also enter without a visa for up to a month; and in that time, you’ll find a really different sort of vacation experience with something for everyone.
The temples of Siem Reap are an absolute must-do for any tourist itinerary, and you’ll probably have seen them before on the TV or internet. You could easily spend three or four days exploring here.
Cambodia’s best-kept secret, though, is its beach resort area around the southern city of Sihanoukville. This area is a vacation hotspot, and it has the feel and prices of a less commercialised beach location. But like everywhere else in Cambodia, prices are never much of an issue for Filipinos because the cost of living is so reasonable and competitive.
Also read: Fully Vaccinated Travellers Are Now Quarantine-Free in Cambodia
Fly time from Manila: Two hours
Cost of vacation: Cheap to moderate
Entry requirements: Visa-free for 14 days
When someone invites you to come and visit, it’s rude not to go, isn’t it? That’s exactly what has happened with Taiwan. From 1 Nov 2017, Taiwan abolished visa controls with the Philippines and now welcomes Filipinos to enter for up 14 days. Since then, the number of Filipino tourists making the two-hour, 10-minute flight to Taipei has massively increased.
In Taiwan, you’ll find a busy island with a strong economy and everything you imagined from Chinese culture. There’s plenty of cut-price accommodation and food options if you need to manage your budget, especially if you’ve just headed to Taiwan for a long weekend, maybe as a last-minute getaway.
There’s certainly plenty to see in the tourist metropolis of Taipei including museums, temples and skyscrapers, while further out you’ll find the idyllic Yangmingshan National Park. Taiwan gets about 10 million tourists every year, and once you’ve been there, you’ll understand why.
Fly time from Manila: Four hours to Tokyo
Cost of vacation: Moderate to expensive
Entry requirements: Visa required
There’s a reason many thousands of Filipinos have decided to relocate to Japan, and it has gained a reputation for being one of the best countries in the world in welcoming Pinoy expats and workers. That reputation can easily extend to Japan one of the best international travel destinations for Filipinos.
The country is one of the world’s most fascinating, combining huge cities with exciting day and night experiences with tranquil and welcoming rural getaways. Japan is so much more than the big cities like Tokyo, Osaka or Kyoto; but no visit to the country is ever complete without taking in at least one of these cities, too.
The whole experience of Japan is often one of shocks and contrasts, which will leave many travellers even more enamoured of Japanese culture than before you came. Although Japan has a reputation for being expensive, at the same time there are ways of managing your budget, such as staying with families or friends (many Filipinos know Japanese residents!).
You can also get good quality fast food at a fraction of restaurant prices, so you can help keep within budget. Japan basically caters to everyone and every type of experience, cheap or expensive. That said, you’ll need to organise a visa in advance at the Japanese embassy before travelling here; but the extra paperwork will be worth it when you experience a country like no other in the world.
Also read: These Pinoys Share Why They Keep Coming to Japan, Korea, and Taiwan for More
Fly time from Manila: Three hours
Cost of vacation: Moderate
Entry requirements: 30-day Visa on arrival
Filipinos also have an Oceanian country much nearer than you think. The tiny island nation of Palau is just three hours away, and there are several flights a week — some of them direct. It is already becoming an alternative Pacific island destination with a growing tourist economy.
With over 500 islands and a laid-back and happy lifestyle, this country might feel at home to many Filipinos, especially since English is widely spoken. But you’ll notice one big difference anywhere you go in Palau compared to any Philippine town — the entire population of Palau is less than 20,000 people!
This means that when you’re sunbathing, island hopping, scuba diving, or just chilling out, you’ll really feel that you’ve got away from the crowds. Many visitors head out to the beautiful Rock Islands, where you can experience the world-famous Jellyfish Lake and go swimming with these rare creatures. Even though Palau is small in most senses, it is big in terms of making memories and bringing smiles.
Also read: 7 Underrated VISA-FREE Countries Every Pinoy Must Visit
In brief, wherever you go on your next vacation abroad, these varied international travel destinations for Filipinos are sure to inspire you! Have a fantastic time.