We all love traveling, don’t we?? That’s one of the motivating factors for us to work day and night. Some of us even chose to leave our country to seek greener pastures in a foreign land. For those kababayans working in the UAE, I have some good news! I know there’s a lot of you working in Dubai.. Pag lapag ko pa lang sa airport dinig na dinig ko na ang mga Pinoy. Haha. :)
Your GCC Residency card, aside from being used to access Secure eServices and as a portable personal database is more powerful than you think. It could be your gateway to these countries which doesn’t require any visa, only requires Visa on Arrival, or has an easy visa process for holders thereof. Bonus is that these countries are just a few hours from Dubai and flights are pretty cheap-- that’s probably one of the perks of living in a country with the world’s busiest airport by international passenger traffic (there are a lot of connecting flights here) and which is the home base of Emirates and FlyDubai. :)
Hey, you’re working in a country which is situated between Europe, Central Asia, Africa, and in the hub of the Middle East-- that’s like the perfect starting point to go anywhere in the world so lubus lubusin nyo na! :)
The Montenegro Government has recently been strengthening the bilateral relationship between them and the UAE especially in terms of tourism. This made them decide to abolish all visa requirements for UAE citizens. With your UAE Residency Card, you can now go sailing at the Bay of Kotor, explore their beautiful beaches, be mesmerized by their astonishing landscapes and hike up the Proliktije Mountains.
Flying time from Dubai: 8 hrs and 55 minutes
Visa Requirement for Filipinos: Visa required but Visa on Arrival are given for those with UAE Residency Card
Visa Fee: N/A
Required Documents: Return direct flight ticket (UAE-Montenegro-UAE), proof of accommodation, and the Residency Card which must be valid for at least 30 days counting from the date of departure from Montenegro.
Validity: Up to 10 days
Turkey will always be one of my favorite countries. This is where I’ve met very good people and have seen one of the best landscapes. I’m telling you, this should be on your bucket list. The architecture is beautiful, the food is amazing, and their traditional hammam is a must try! :) Aside from Istanbul, I highly suggest that you also visit Gaziantep, Izmir, Bodrum :)
Flying time from Dubai: 4 hrs and 30 minutes
Visa Requirement for Filipinos: If you have a valid visa or residence permit from any one of the Schengen countries, or for the US, UK or Ireland, then you may course your application online at www.evisa.gov.tr. Otherwise, you need to do a personal application and set an appointment at the Consular Procedures of the Republic of Turkey.
Visa Fee: It depends on the duration of stay. Here is a complete list of visa fees.
Required Documents: Here's a comprehensive guide for e-visa and sticker application as well as the documents required. Just submit the documents at the nearest Consulate in where you are based.
Validity: Visa is valid for 180 days and allowable stay is maximum of 30 days unless you applied for a longer stay.
India is a very raw and versatile country. It is where you’ll see polar opposites in one place-- rich and poor, good and bad, chaos and calm. The crazy thing is amidst the opposites, you’ll find serenity. The Taj Mahal is a must visit. Go on a Yoga Retreat too and I swear you’ll have the best version of yourself-- aside from being more flexible, you’ll be more positive and relaxed. Trust me, it’s good for the soul :)
Flying time from Dubai: 3-4 hours
Visa Requirement for Filipinos: E-visa required
Visa Fee: $60
Requirements: Passport should have at least six months validity from the date of arrival in India and at least two blank pages for stamping by the Immigration Officer. You should a have return ticket or onward journey ticket and sufficient money to spend during your entire stay in India.
Validity: It is valid for 60 days from the date of first entry in India and can be used to enter India twice within that period. Be it noted that A maximum of two e-Visas may be issued within one calendar year.
Nepal is every hiker’s dream destination precisely because this is the gateway to the World’s Highest Peak, Mt. Everest. For non-hikers, you’ll love Nepal just the same-- it has beautiful and luscious valleys, lakes with a scenic backdrop, ancient temples, rich history and friendly locals. If you want to see the Himalayas up-close but you don’t have the guts to climb it yet, then what about taking a flight at an 18-seater plane and soar up through their majestic mountains including the Mt. Everest?
Flying time from Dubai: 4 hrs and 15 mins
Visa Requirement for Filipinos: Visa on Arrival
Visa fee: 15 Days – 25 USD, 30 Days – 40 USD, 90 Days – 100 USD
Documents required: An application form which can be obtained and filled out on arrival and a passport photo.
Validity: 15, 30 or 90 days.
Tipid Tip: You can change your single-entry visa to Multiple-entry at Kathmandu’s Central Immigration Office for 20$. This can be very useful if you are also planning to travel to Tibet, Bhutan or India.
As per Wikipedia, Armenia is home of the following UNESCO heritage sites inscribed on the World Heritage List: the Monasteries of Haghpat and Sanahin, Cathedral and Churches of Echmiatsin and the Archaeological Site of Zvartnots, as well as the Monastery of Geghard and the Upper Azat Valley. That’s enough reason for you to visit, right?
Flying time from Dubai: 3 hrs and 10 mins
Visa requirement for Filipinos: Visa on Arrival or E-visa
Visa fee: 3,000 Amd or $ 6.25
Documents required: Duly filled out application form which can be obtained at the airport and onward/return ticket
Validity: Single entry for 21 days
Georgia is a country which is perfect for an old soul. There are lots of fortresses for you to discover like the Narikala Fortress which was built in the 4th Century and is still stands majestic up until this time. Churches and monasteries built on hills and caves will make you want to climb them all. Lakes and waterfalls are also all over the country and with your 90-day free visa, you’d certainly want to explore them all :)
Flying time from Dubai: 3 hrs 30 mins
Visa requirement for Filipinos: No Visa Required if you have GCC Residency. Otherwise, you need to apply for an E-Visa here.
Visa fee: E-visa fee is 20 USD + 2% service fee
Documents required: For e-visa, you need a return/onward ticket, proof of health insurance, sufficient funds to cover your entire stay which must be in cash, hotel booking, your passport which should be valid for at least 6 months. If you have a GCC Residence permit, then you have to present this together with your travel document/passport at the Georgian Border.
Validity: Up to 90 days in any 180-day period.
If you want to experience the African Wildlife, you don’t have to go far. Just a few hours from Dubai is the Nairobi National Park-- this is home to lions, rhinos, zebras, giraffes, elephants, buffalo, gazelles and a whole lot more! There are lots of Safaris around so if you’re spending more time in Kenya, you can also go to Masai Mara and Amboseli. The Karura Forest, Brown’s Cheese Factory, and Karen Blixen Coffee Garden is also a must-visit.
Flying time from Dubai: 5 hrs and 30 mins
Visa Fee: Single entry is 51 USD and Transit visa is 21 USD
Documents Required: Clear passport biodata page, clear passport photo, travel itinerary and hotel bookings
Validity: Valid for 3 months and you may stay in Kenya up to 90 days
8) SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka has a diverse landscape which I’m sure everyone would love to see. They have pristine beaches, towering waterfalls, and historic temples, sleepy villages as well as National Parks where Elephants and other wildlife creatures are well-protected and taken care of. Some National Parks like the Elephant Freedom Project allows you to play with the elephants (strictly no riding!) and you can even get the chance to bathe with them. Get your hiking gear ready and climb up to the Pidurangala Rock where you can get a breathtaking view of Sri Lanka.
Flying time from Dubai: 3 hrs
Visa Requirement for Filipinos: No visa required
Visa fee: N/A
Documents required: Return/Onward ticket
Validity: Up to 30 days from the date of arrival
Home to mankind’s earliest settlement, you’ll feel like going through a time machine when you’re in Jordan. A must-visit is the Dead Sea which happens to be the lowest point on earth. You’ll feel like you’re in the outer space in Wadi Rum Protected Area where you can catch the gorgeous sunset and the milky way. The Petra World Heritage Site (now one of the seven wonders of the world) is a half-built half-carved monastery surrounded by mountains. It is culturally, architecturally, and historically enticing.
Flying time from Dubai: 4 hours
Visa requirement for Filipinos: As per Emirates Website, Nationals of Philippines with a residence permit or a re-entry permit issued by United Arab Emirates can obtain a visa on arrival.
Visa fee: 40 JOD or 56.50 USD
Documents required: Return/Onward ticket
Validity: Up to 2 months
Additional info: Make sure to book with Gulf Air, Qatar Airways, Emirates, or Royal Jordanian as the visa on arrival for GCC residents is clearly stated on their websites. Do not book with Fly Dubai or you’ll just get offloaded!
Bishkek, unknown to many, is the Greenest City in the world due to its numerous parks and tree-lined avenues. Mosques are plenty waiting to be explored. Altyn Arashan is a place you must visit to get to experience hot spring in the middle of snow capped mountains in the winter. For outdoor junkies, then you’ll love exploring Mountain Sulaiman-too, Karakol Gorge and Alamedin Gorge.
Flying time from Dubai: 4 hrs
Visa requirement for Filipinos: Visa on Arrival
Visa fee: 70 USD payable only in cash at the International Airport “Manas” at Bishkek
Documents required: Return/Onward Ticket
Validity: 30 days
If you’re a fan of taking the road less travelled, then you’d certainly fall in love with Tajikistan. It is raw and historically rich. There are tons of museums for you to explore. The landscapes seem to be a photo taken out from a postcard. Lake Alexander is soooo beautiful you just have to see it! The market stalls are vibrant you’d be happy to shop for just about anything.
Flying time from Dubai: 3 hrs and 30 mins
Required visa for Filipinos: Visa on Arrival/E-visa
Visa fee: 52 USD
Validity: Up to 14 days
For those who love the wildlife, get your cameras ready and you’ll go crazy to see the Saiful Muluk National Park in Northern Pakistan which is home to the snow leopard and asiatic black bear. Pakistan is also blessed with beautiful scenic views-- the Saif-ul Muluk Lake, Pir Sohawa, Margalla Hills and Hunza Valley are among the top destinations.
Flying time from Dubai: 2 hrs
Required visa for Filipinos: Visa required but as per Wikipedia, E-Visa can be obtained online for ordinary passport holders holding valid GCC residence permit (subject to white collar profession being mentioned on permit).
That’s all for now! Anything else that I missed? Feel free to share in the comments below :)
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