6 international side trip destinations near Manila for balikbayans
Coming home to the Philippines for a vacation is an important moment in every balikbayan’s life. It’s not just about returning to your roots, it’s also about reaping the fruits of your hard work and having a blast with the people you’re coming home to.
When balikbayans come home for a vacation, they usually want to make the most of their time, and that includes side trips to international destinations near Manila to maximize being halfway across the world. This rings especially true for balikbayans coming from places like North America and Europe.
Here are a few international destinations near Manila if you’re planning a side trip while visiting home.
Singapore is an easy side trip to make if you’re traveling from the Philippines. It’s usually a three and a half hour flight from Manila and there are several airlines that offer flights daily. The city state is a great option for families with small children because of the number of child-friendly establishments and activities. It’s also a heaven for food lovers.
Depending on what you’re looking for in a side trip, Thailand has lots to offer. If you’re looking for nature and beaches, you can head to places like Koh Samui, Pattaya, or the famous Phi Phi Islands. If you’re more of a city person, Bangkok is your best bet.
A flight from Manila to Bangkok usually takes three and a half hours, with flights departing daily. Another great thing about Thailand is how affordable it is, so it’s perfect for shopaholics.
For young, backpacking balikbayans, Indonesia is a must-go destination. Bali is one of the most popular places in the country that’s filled with nature and adventure. For beach lovers, Bali is where the sea and nightlife meet for a memory-filled time. For surf enthusiasts, Bali is also a world-renowned surfing spot. And trust us, there’s nothing like soaking up some surf and sun after the four hour flight to get there.
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Vietnam is another backpacker’s dream destination. The country boasts both nature and lively city environments depending on what you’re looking for. Another reason Vietnam is so popular with travelers is how budget friendly it is. Your currency (and even Philippine pesos) will take you very far in the country.
It takes a little less than three hours to get from Manila to Ho Chi Minh, the country’s capital. Vietnam doesn’t require Philippine passport holders to present a visa upon arrival for stays of 21 days or less, but American and Canadian citizens must apply for an e-visa at least five days prior to their arrival in order to be allowed in the country.
Hong Kong has been a long-time favorite destination for Filipino travelers, and the city still holds the same charm to this day. It’s not difficult to get around in Hong Kong, and the city has something to offer for everyone. Single travelers and families alike can find a whole host of fun activities like shopping, food trips, and of course, Hong Kong Disneyland.
It takes a little less than two hours to get to Hong Kong from Manila.
Food lovers and anime enthusiasts alike find common ground in Taiwan. It’s a place known for spectacular eats and even more spectacular views. Fans of the anime “Spirited Away” will be excited to know that the location where the story takes place closely resembles a real place in Taiwan: Jiufen.
Taiwan is only a little over an hour from Manila, and one of it’s other main cities, Kaohsiung, is only about an hour and 50 minutes away. Canadian and American passport holders can enter the country visa-free for stays of up to 90 days. Philippine passport holders can travel visa-free to Taiwan for up to 14 days until July 2024.