One of the most popular places that Filipinos dream of traveling in East Asia. I think it started with the Taiwanese hit, Meteor Garden, and probably anime. Many then became interested in Korean, Chinese, and Japanese dramas as well. I, for one, would not deny having a crush on Watsi Lei when I was a kid and would always go home to watch anime like Dragon Ball on TV.

Media has indeed influenced us to visit countries in East Asia, as they are quite remarkable and different from South East Asia. Here’s a quick guide to traveling to East Asia for Filipinos.

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East Asia is composed of 8 Countries and Territories; China, Japan, Mongolia, North and South Korea, as well as Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. Each has different cultures, but more or less got influence or influenced their neighbors. East Asia is also near the Philippines flights are about 2 to 6 hours. Some countries, you can even travel affordably, especially if you score on-sale tickets. If you want to complete this part of the world, here’s our guide!

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Visa Free

1. Hong Kong

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Visa-Free Days: 14

How to go there: Direct flights from the Philippines via Cebu, Clark, Davao, Iloilo, Manila, Puerto Princesa

Hong Kong is one of the easiest countries to go to from the Philippines, especially if you are a family or a group. Just be careful if you have no job or solo, though, as there are many Filipinos who work illegally there, the IO is a bit strict. It’s a bit expensive in Hong Kong, so watch your budget. If you get lost, don’t worry as there may be fellow Kababayans who will help you. Don’t forget to check out Hong Kong Disneyland or climb Victoria Peak. You could also visit the sites featured on Hello, Love, Goodbye.

2. Macau

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Visa-Free Days: 30

How to go there: Direct flights from the Philippines via Manila, Cebu, Clark or you can visit from Hong Kong

If you want to gamble or see some gorgeous buildings, visit the Las Vegas of Asia, Macau. However, there is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is the Historic Center of Macao with Portuguese-Chinese buildings. Macau is tiny, so you could fit in a day or two in this lovely region.

3. Mongolia

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Visa-Free Days: 21

How to go there: There are no Direct Flights from the Philippines to Mongolia; you can fly and stop at Hong Kong or Travel to China and ride a bus or train to Mongolia

In this list, Mongolia is probably not in the top priority as it is not a very famous destination for Filipinos because it’s expensive to visit from the Philippines. If you want the road less traveled, Mongolia, for me, is the most interesting and mysterious one. With history and culture like Nomads and the Khans, plus their breathtaking landscapes, this should be something worthwhile.

4. Taiwan

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Visa-Free Days: 14 Days (up to July 2021)

How to go there: Direct flights from the Philippines via Manila, Cebu, Clark, Kalibo, Puerto Princesa

Yes, Taiwan has extended being visa free for Filipinos until July 2021. Get to eat delicious food and drink milk tea in this dazzling country. And if you grew up with Meteor Garden, just like me, then perhaps you could tour the sites like the Chung Cheng University. It’s also nice to go there during the Spring and Autumn season as it is similar to Japan and South Korea.

Visa Required

5. China

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How to Apply: China Tourist Visa For Filipinos

How to Enter China Visa Free:

  • Sanya (SYX) – 30 days maximum and stay only at the Hainan Province – you will need a stamped name list or invitation letter from an accredited Tourist Agent registered in the Province. You will also need a hotel reservation and return or onward ticket.
  • Haikou (HAK) – 30 days maximum – you will need a stamped name list or invitation letter from an accredited Tourist Agent registered in the Hainan Province
  • Guilin (KWL) – 6 days maximum – you must be 2 or more people on tour organized by an accredited travel agent in China
  • Dongguan (DGM), Guangzhou (CAN), Huizhou (HUZ), Shantou (SWA), Shenzhen (SZX) or Zhuhai (ZUH) – 6 days maximum – if you have toured with a Chinese International Tour operator or registered agency and arrive from Hong Kong or Macau and are going to Zhujiang Delta (Pearl River Delta)

How to go there: Direct flights from the Philippines via Manila, Cebu, Clark, Kalibo, Puerto Princesa

China is the third-largest country in the world and the most populous. Not only is it so big, but it also has 55 UNESCO World Heritage Sites being top 1 with Italy. The Great Wall, the Forbidden City, temples, palaces, gorgeous natural wonders, and the cuddly Pandas – that’s just a few of the reasons why to go there.

6. Japan

How to Apply: Japan Tourist Visa for Filipinos

How to go there: Direct flights from the Philippines via Manila, Cebu, Clark

The Land of the Rising Sun, Japan, was the first country I ever visited regardless of the visa requirement and the expense. It has been my dream to go here after so much influence of Animes, Mangas, and JDramas. Japan was nothing but spectacular; great food, unique sites, and beautiful people. Don’t also forget to go to one of the Happiest Place on Earth, Tokyo Disney Resort. If you only have a day to spare, Tokyo Disney Sea is superb!)

7. North Korea

How to Apply: Apply through a Travel Agency (most are in China)

How to go there: There are no direct flights from the Philippines, but you could go by train from China

Many find North Korea interesting, and so do I, mostly due to the influence of Crash Landing on You. You’ll need to have a tour through a travel agency as it’s pretty strict to travelers. However, you can actually enjoy this peculiar country; just stick to the rules and respect their culture.

8. South Korea

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How to ApplySouth Korea Tourist Visa for Filipinos

Enter South Korea Visa FreeSouth Korea Visa Free for Filipinos

How to go there: Direct flights from the Philippines via Manila, Cebu, Clark, Kalibo

South Korea has been at the top of most Pinoys list because of the influence of Kpop and KDramas. Don’t forget to try their traditional wear like Hanbok and roam around their castles. The food is also spicy and delicious. People are also friendly, so even though I don’t speak Korean, people talked to me in English and helped me in directions.

Additional Tips in Traveling to East Asia

  • There are places where Google Map is inaccurate; it’s better to download a Map that is generated by the country and helps you in riding public transport (e.g., Naver for South Korea)
  • Most of these countries do not speak English, it’s better to download Google Translate to help you
  • Prepare your VPN, especially in China, as applications and websites may be blocked
  • You may need to read Do’s and Don’ts of the country so that you would not be found disrespectful or rude
  • Travel Insurance is highly recommended – try SafetyWing

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I hope this article will help you travel all of East Asia! I’m still 2 out of 8 on this list, but hopefully, when it’s safer (no more rallies or pandemic), I’ll travel to 3 in the next year. East Asia is very convenient to travel to for many Pinoys, and all are very fascinating, too. Which countries would you like to visit first? Comment below!

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About the Writer

Lyza Paloma

Hey, I’m Lyza! I once was a person who just imagined going to places “one day” but decided to pursue my dreams. My first travel abroad was in Japan, solo, last 2018, and fell in love with the journey since. I’m aiming to visit 10 countries before turning 30 and 2 new places in the Philippines every year. Besides traveling, I love organizing trips, photography, reading, and making new friends. Follow my adventures through my Instagram.

 

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