The Philippines is a country in Southeast Asia, located in the western part of Pacific Ocean. The country is an archipelago consisting of more than 7,000 islands.
The islands of the Philippines are grouped into three main geographical divisions called Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The Philippines offers rich biodiversity to country’s visitors as there are many wonderful islands, beaches, diving spots, mountains and rainforests for tourists of any taste.
The Philippines were colonized for many years and the influence of westerners is still widely felt around the country. The Philippines were under Spanish rule for 333 years. In the early 20th century the country was taken over by the USA and ruled for almost 50 years. After the World War II the Philippines finally got the independence. The rule of Americans is the main reason why English is decently spoken in the country, making traveling in the Philippines easier.
Places to visit in the Philippines
Manila - the capital of the Philippines where are nice mix of Spanish colonial architecture and modern business centres can be found. The heart of Manila and the main tourist attraction in this huge Asian metropolis is Intramuros - a walled city from colonial times with old churches, palaces and fort.
Boracay is the island which is a worldwide famous beach destination and one of the top places to visit in the Philippines. Even if Boracay is suffering from overdevelopment and big numbers of tourists, the island still offers soft white sand beaches, clear waters and magnificent sunsets. A buzzing nightlife scene is another thing why people choose Boracay.
Cebu is the island in the central Visayas region which is considered to be a perfect place for underwater enthusiasts. Cebu is the place where you can get up-close to coral reefs, sea turtles, various fish and even whale sharks. The capital city of the island Cebu City is also worth to visit as here you can find various tourist attractions from colonial era.
Palawan Island is considered to be the most beautiful island of the Philippines. Palawan is a tropical paradise where you will find pristine white beaches, clear waters, limestone caves and even a five-mile underground river. Palawan is surrounded by scenic rock islands and the nearby Coron Island is one of the top diving destinations in the world.
Bohol Island is located in central Visayas region, not far from Cebu. In Bohol you will find nice white sand beaches that are far less crowded than in more touristy islands of the Philippines. Bohol is also the place where one of the most unique natural wonders in the country, the Chocolate Hills, can be found. Bohol is also home to the smallest primate called Tarsier and these tiny nocturnal mammals can be met at the sanctuary.
Banaue Rice Terraces are one of the most impressive things to see in the Philippines as the landscape of the emerald-green terraces is really breath-taking, especially at the sunrise.
Most nationalities can enter the Philippines without a visa. Holders of passports issued by 157 countries, including all European Union countries, the United States, Canada, Australia and others, are allowed to enter the Philippines visa-free. Nationals of majority countries can get 30 day entry permit with an exception of Brazil, Israel (59 days) and Hong Kong, Macau (14 days).
If you plan to stay in the Philippines longer than 30 days, you must apply for an extension at the Philippine Bureau of Immigration.
A visa must be obtained before entering the Philippines if you’re a citizens of Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Cuba, Egypt, Georgia, India, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kosovo, Lebanon, Libya, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Nauru, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Palestine, Sierra Leone, Serbia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Taiwan, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Ukraine or Yemen.
Getting to the Philippines
Options for getting to the Philippines from Thailand are limited to air travel. From Thailand you can take direct flights to Manila and Cebu. Direct routes to the Philippines are offered only from Bangkok.
Most international flights land at Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL). There are directs flights to Manila from both Bangkok’s airports – Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) and Don Mueang Airport (DMK). From Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) you can fly directly to Manila with full service carriers Thai Airways, Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific. Low cost airlines AirAsia offer direct flights to Manila from Don Mueang Airport (DMK).
Flights from Bangkok to Manila can be found here: Flights from Bangkok to Manila.
The second busiest international airport in the Philippines Mactan–Cebu International Airport (CEB) also receives direct flights from Bangkok. The route is only served by Philippine Airlines making flying directly to Cebu quite an expensive option.
Flights from Bangkok to Cebu can be found here: Flights from Bangkok to Cebu.
Weather in the Philippines
The climate in the Philippines is tropical meaning that hot weather and high humidity is guaranteed all year round. Temperatures are usually cooler in the highlands, like in Baguio and the Cordillera region in northern Luzon.
The Philippines has only two seasons - the wet and the dry. The dry season in the Philippines lasts from November to May, and the wet season takes place between June and October. During the peak of the wet season from August through to October there’s a possibility of typhoons in the country.
The best time to visit the Philippines is the dry season from November to April, when rainfall is at its lowest and plenty of sun can be expected.
Useful tips for traveling in the Philippines can be found here: Philippines Travel Tips.