Christmas in the Philippines is magical, but one of the things many Filipinos have on their bucket list is a white Christmas. Every child (and quite a few adults) has fantasized about playing in the snow and building a snowman.
Most of the world’s snowy destinations require a visa, but those who don’t want the hassle or the fees can choose from a wide selection of visa-free countries. Because it’s never too early to plan your next winter getaway, here are our favorite visa-free countries for Filipinos dreaming of spending the holidays in a winter wonderland in Asia and beyond!
Yes, the Philippines’ close neighbor Vietnam is a fantastic destination for snowy holidays. Unlike most parts of Southeast Asia, the northern region of the country experiences all four seasons! Head to Sapa, a charming town north of Hanoi that gets covered with a cozy blanket of snow from December to February.
Sapa is a wonderful place to visit all year round with picturesque rice terraces and hiking trails, but the icy landscape makes it a truly unique escape in Southeast Asia. It’s the perfect destination for travelers who are dreaming of a snowy Christmas, but also want to keep it close to home.
Book a two-day trekking tour in Sapa via KKday to explore the picturesque mountain town.
One of the countries without a visa requirement for Filipinos is Israel and a lot of devout Catholics already visit Jerusalem to see key religious sites. What better time to make the trip than Christmas? Not only is it especially meaningful for Catholics to spend the season in the actual birthplace of Christ, but it also allows travelers to experience the country as a winter wonderland.
Several parts of Israel get snow from October all the way to February, including famous tourist destinations such as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Skiing is also a popular activity in Mount Hermon.
Jeju Island, South Korea
For now, there’s one place in South Korea that Filipinos can visit without a visa: Jeju Island. The isle is famous for its pristine beaches and lush verdant vistas, but the snow-coated Hallasan or Halla Mountain is a stunning sight to behold in wintertime. Hike up South Korea’s highest mountain to marvel at the peaceful white landscape and the frozen crater lake at the peak. Besides trekking, other popular winter activities in Jeju Island include horse riding and sledding.
Join KKday’s Jeju World Natural Heritage Day Tour for a hassle-free experience of seeing the Hallasan and other beautiful natural sights on the island.
While visa-free Filipinos are limited to Jeju Island at the moment, soon you’ll be able to get to other major cities in South Korea as well. In 2020, Filipinos will be granted visa-free access to tourist favorite spots in the country like Seoul, Busan, and Nami Island.
Set off on a unique adventure in the epic wilderness of Mongolia with its dreamy white landscape all year round. While snowfall isn’t all that common in the region, the glacial terrain is the perfect white Christmas setting.
With its vast sprawling land extending as far out as the eye can see, travelers will not run out of things to do in Mongolia. Explore the breathtaking country with winter activities like hiking, horse riding, dog sledding, and even setting out on an expedition to spot the elusive snow leopard.
Vibrant and exotic Morocco is the ideal winter escape for Filipino travelers looking for variety. In this North African country, you can ride a camel across the golden desert, then hit the slopes in the Atlas Mountains the next day.
Many of the most famous spots in Morocco like Marrakesh, Fez, and the Sahara Desert are snow-free, but take the time to wander through these exotic cities, too. After getting your fill of bustling medinas, beaches, and sand dunes, make your way to the ski resort Oukaïmeden, which is about 80 kilometers from Marrakech. An even better alternative is the snowy town of Ifrane in the Middle Atlas Mountains, which transforms into Morocco’s winter wonderland from December to February.
Colombia may be famous for its sunny beaches and verdant vistas, but it’s also one of the visa-free countries Filipinos can visit to touch snow. Set off to the Colombian Andes to frolic at the peak of snow-capped volcanoes in Los Nevados National Park. The summits of Nevado Santa Isabel and the slightly more challenging Nevado del Tolima both offer the priceless opportunity of snow to hikers who manage to reach the top.
Itching for a true winter adventure? Head to Peru and be sure to make space in your itinerary for more than just the awesome Machu Picchu when you visit the winter season from May to November.
Visit Huaraz, a city that sits at the foot of the Cordillera Blanca, one of the most impressive mountain ranges you’ll ever see. The snow-capped mountains surrounding Huaraz features hundreds of glaciers and endless trails that make for a dazzling expedition for outdoor lovers. Experienced mountaineers and skiers can also attempt climbing and hitting the slopes of Huascaran, the highest mountain in Peru.
Not quite sure about a full-on winter adventure? Visit the Singapore Snow City for an indoor arctic experience via KKday instead!
*Featured image by Nikitin Victor on Shutterstock