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LIST: Exotic visa-free destinations for Filipino travelers

By Kara Santos Published Jun 01, 2024 1:33 pm Updated Jun 03, 2024 7:00 pm

Need some travel inspiration for your next out-of-the-country adventure? In case you didn't know, Philippine passport holders currently have visa-free access to 69 countries and territories around the world. 

While many travelers tend to pick popular destinations in neighboring Asian countries with direct and cheap flights from Manila, there are loads of other exotic destinations that don’t require a visa for Philippine passport holders. Granted, getting to these destinations may be more challenging or expensive to get to, but they’re worth the memories and adventure according to those lucky enough to have traveled there. 

Here are just a few exotic visa-free destinations Filipino travelers can consider with practical tips from world travelers PhilSTAR L!fe spoke to.


Kazakhstan is the typical starting point for exploring Central Asia, famous for its Silk Road between Europe and the Far East. This rich multicultural region with vast mountain ranges, historic sites, and natural wonders offers a paradise without the typical crowds of tourists found in Europe and other parts of Asia. Philippine passport holders can travel visa-free to several countries in Central Asia including Kazakhstan and Tajikistan and stay for 30 days in each. They can also get an eVisa for 30-day stays in Uzbekistan and an eVisa or visa on arrival for Kyrgyzstan, and stay for 60 days.

Glen Santillan of Escape Manila, who recently spent 18 days traveling solo around all four countries, said Filipinos seeking a unique travel adventure are in for a “world packed with fresh experiences” and “breathtaking natural wonders that will leave you speechless.”

“Here, you'll encounter a contrast to the tropical paradise of the Philippines: winters with landscapes painted in snow, a rich history stretching back to the Silk Road era, and a unique blend of Asian and European influences,” he told PhilSTAR L!fe.

Santillan recommends tourists head to Kolsay Lakes and Kaindy Lake, which offer crystal-clear waters and dramatic mountain backdrops. 

“For those who love a challenge, exploring the rock formations of Charyn Canyon is an unforgettable experience. You can also ski during winter at Shymbulak Ski Resort,” he said.

Glenn Santillan of recommends Central Asian countries like Kazahkstan for those looking for fresh travel experiences.

While exploring Central Asia used to be a bit complicated and expensive for Filipino travelers, it’s now within easier reach with the recent launch of AirAsia's direct flight from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to Almaty, the former capital and largest city in Kazakhstan, making the region more accessible for Southeast Asians, including Filipinos. 

“Simply hop on a flight from Manila to KL and connect seamlessly to your Central Asian adventure in Almaty,” he said.

Surprisingly, Central Asia is “easy on the wallet,” said Santillan, who only spent a total of P106,690 including the RT flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Almaty, accommodations, transportation, tours, food and other expenses for his epic 18-day trip. Check out his detailed itinerary and expense breakdown for Central Asia here


With wide open spaces covered by grassy steppes and mountains and deserts surrounding it, Mongolia, a vast country in East Asia (the same geographical region as Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan), happens to be visa-free for Filipino travelers. Philippine passport holders can enjoy a short-term stay of 21 days in Mongolia.

According to an international consultant that L!fe spoke to, who traveled to Mongolia twice during winter (February-March) and spring months (May), the entry process was smooth, immigration officers were nice, and most speak good English. 

While Mongolia is an expensive destination because of the airfare and hotels, they said it’s a worthy destination for those willing to spend because of “its history and the places which you will not see anywhere else.”

“I think I was lucky during my first visit because I saw the snow-covered mountains going to the airport, beyond words in terms of beauty,” they said.

In Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, tourists can check out the train station where Crash Landing on You was filmed, the Genghis Khan Park and museum, art galleries, bookstores, and shop for genuine cashmere shawls. Tours to the Genghis Khan Center, camping trips in Ger, and monastery visits outside the city can be arranged with local tour groups, with day tours costing roughly 300 USD (P17,000) excluding food.

Beyond Mongolian barbecue, Mongolia has a lot to offer in terms of cuisine with many Korean and Japanese specialties and “beef to die for” at “much cheaper rates than in the Philippines in terms of quality, quantity, and service.” Fast food, including burgers and pizza, is generally cheaper as well.

From Manila, multiple airlines fly to Ulaanbaatar, with stopovers in either Seoul, South Korea, Beijing in China, or Hong Kong. 


South America has been described by National Geographic as “a continent of extremes,” since it’s home to the world's largest river (the Amazon), the longest mountain range (Andes), the world's driest place (the Atacama Desert), and wettest places on earth (Lopez de Micay in Colombia). In case you didn’t know, Pinoys can travel to multiple countries in South America including Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Suriname either visa-free or with a visa on arrival, with stays ranging from 30 days to 183 days.

Angel Juarez of, who went on a two-week trip around Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Peru said Filipino travelers can find familiar comforts because of the Spanish influence while still being “awed by the differences and uniqueness ingrained in their culture and traditions.” The avid traveler and mountaineer recommends first-time tourists get their fill of hiking trails, lakes, ancient cities, and food.

“The Machu Picchu, of course, should be on top of your list, you can get to it on a budget! Once you have crossed it off your bucket list, hike the mountains and lakes of Cordillera Blanca, see for yourself the Nazca Lines and the White City of Arequipa, visit the desert oasis of Huacachina, explore the ancient cities of Cusco and Lima, and more. In between these activities, don't forget to try and appreciate the local food and delicacies,” Juarez told L!fe.

Angel Juarez of says countries in South America like Peru will leave you in awe.

Are countries in South America expensive to explore? While the airfare will "surely eat up a big chunk of your travel budget," Juarez said: “Once you get there, everything is reasonably priced or even cheaper compared to other countries, even the Philippines.”

The usual route to South America involves passing through the United States, which offers lots of cheap flights from there to Lima, the capital and largest city of Peru. Juarez flew back via a short layover in Mexico before flying back to San Francisco and Manila, which requires a US visa. However, there’s another possible route for Pinoys.

“Another option is via Ethiopia [in East Africa] which would require a transfer in Hong Kong and an onward connection to Sao Paulo, Brazil. You will be needing an e-visa in Ethiopia which can easily be applied for online, while Hong Kong and Brazil are visa-free for Filipinos,” said Juarez.


Mention Nepal and you immediately think of Mount Everest, the world's highest mountain. Philippine passport holders can travel to Nepal easily with an online visa/visa on arrival and stay for 90 days. Located in South Asia, home of the Himalayas and the origin of some of the world's oldest civilizations, Nepal is a culturally enriching destination. Other countries in South Asia such as India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan only require electronic visas or visas on arrival as well, making it easier for Filipino travelers to plan trips.

Fred Lubang, a long-time advocate for peace, human rights, and disarmament issues, said Nepal is a fantastic destination for Filipino travelers due to its “cultural richness, natural beauty, and affordability.” 

“Unlike more common winter destinations like Japan or Korea, Nepal offers a budget-friendly alternative that doesn't compromise on experiences. Additionally, Nepal is known for its welcoming and inclusive atmosphere, which extends to the LGBTQ community, making it a comfortable and enjoyable place for diverse travelers,” he said.

“Nepal also offers Filipinos a chance to learn about Hindu religion, which is very different from the Philippines' dominant monotheistic Catholic religion. The experience will definitely enrich their knowledge and appreciation to explore the world. That, and the Himalayas will take your breath away,” he added.

Top activities to do include trekking to get a glimpse of the beauty of the Himalayas, without necessarily having to climb up Mt. Everest. He also recommends Kathmandu Valley for its cultural heritage sites, Pokhara for stunning lakeside views and adventure sports, traditional villages, and good food.

Nepal is “generally very affordable” especially compared to popular destinations like Japan or Korea in winter time and is relatively easy for Filipinos to visit.

“Accommodation ranges from budget-friendly guesthouses to more luxurious hotels, and food is inexpensive. Transportation within the country is also affordable, they also have a local app-based transport service and the usual taxis, or domestic flights to other equally interesting cities,” Lubang said. 

Philippine passport holders can obtain a visa on arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu (the capital of Nepal). English is widely spoken in tourist areas, so communication is rarely a problem. Various airlines offer flights from Manila to Kathmandu with connections in Guangzhou, Bangkok, or Kuala Lumpur.


Maldives, the smallest country in Asia, is a popular destination for honeymooners and luxury travelers because of its remote location and tropical appeal. The country, located south of India, is made up of 1,190 coral atolls, each encircling a lagoon with deep channels. Male, the capital and most populous city of the Maldives, is the main entry point for all travelers. All nationalities, including Filipinos, get a 30-day free visa on arrival to the Maldives.

Backpacker and freelance writer Kat Cortes of Tara Let’s Anywhere said her experience with immigration was smooth and she was just asked to show her passport when she traveled there. 

“In terms of scenery, Maldives is a lot like the Philippines but a bit more exotic. It has world-class beaches and accessible snorkeling areas where you can see not just the usual corals and fishes but also manta rays, dolphins, and sea turtles. And best of all—it offers numerous beautiful water villas,” Cortes told L!fe.

As a tropical paradise, beach bumming, island hopping, picnicking in a sandbar, and snorkeling/diving are the order of the day. 

Kat Cortes of says the Maldivss offers amazing beaches and snorkeling sites.

Since Maldives is on the expensive side when it comes to flights, Cortes recommends travelers plan their trip well in advance, taking advantage of resort discounts and promos, and cutting costs by staying in backpacker-friendly islands like Maafushi. Foodies will also be happy to find “reasonably priced buffets and delicious local fare” there. You can also find public beaches and free tourist spots to visit in Maldives.

So how do you get to the Maldives from the Philippines? There are currently no direct flights from Manila, but Pinoy travelers can take a connecting flight to Kuala Lumpur or Singapore to get to Velana International Airport in Male. Check out her travel guide to Maldives for full details.