Best International Trips to Take on a Long Weekend Getaway
After the 14 years that was January 2020, it feels like it’s time for a break. With 12 long weekends in the pipeline this year (excluding still-to-be-announced holidays), it seems a crying shame to spend those long weekends on an accidental staycation at home. And while a Philippine passport still means you need to apply a visa or two, there’s no denying that Filipinos are traveling internationally now more than ever.
Between seat sales and early-bird discounts, it’s possible to travel on a budget (Asia, especially is a popular choice for Filipinos). Nowadays, you’re likely to run into a friend or two in Japan, choose to meet up with a friend in Taiwan, or find yourself in the middle of the oldest restaurant in Milan with your cousin’s neighbors. The world is only as small as we want it to be, so here are a couple of ideas to explore.
Travel Time: 2 hours and 10 minutes
The lure of the night market and the visa-free entry make Taipei a top destination for a quick weekend away. If you feel like you’ve seen everything there is to see about the main city, we recommend taking day trips to the districts outside Taipei. The Beitou district, famous for its tranquil hot springs, more laid back environment, and gorgeous library is accessible via the MRT (Xinbeitou Station). If you’re not quite ready to strip in foreign countries, a day trip to the Taichung district provides something new—Miyahara Ice Cream, the Gaomei Wetlands, and Xinshe Castle are all popular stops, but if you’re there at the right time, it’s worth it to take a few Instagram shots at the little Rainbow Village or go all out at the Xinshe Sea of Flowers.
Travel Time: 4 hours, 15 minutes
Admit it. Bali was one of the first places you had in mind when we used the words “international weekend getaway,” and why not? This little slice of heaven in Indonesia has the familiarity of home, but amped up to about a hundred. If you’re the kind of person who likes exploring cafes and the nightlife, you can spend your day in busy Seminyak posing for photos at Mexicola, trying the coffee at Revolver, or grabbing a drink at the Potato Head Beach Club. For those who really want to get away, travel an hour from the airport to get to the artisan villages in Ubud. Commune with nature by walking along the rice fields or pick up a woven bag or two (or 10) on the way. You’d be hard-pressed to find a hotel in Bali that doesn’t instantly bring relaxed vibes. You may just find yourself wondering where the long weekend went.
Hoi An, Vietnam
Travel Time: 2 hours, 55 minutes, plus a 1.5-hour flight from Ho Chi Minh to Da Nang and a 45-minute ride to Hoi An
A long journey north of Vietnam, Hoi An has the feeling of being untouched by time, credited mostly to the stilt houses on the Thu Bon river. It’s a heritage town that still has classic Vietnamese chaos, but has a special kind of charm that you won’t be able to find anywhere else.
Cross the river on An Hoi to look at the gorgeous silk lanterns for sale, or better yet, see them lit up at night against the backdrop of the old town. Hoi An is all about little eateries and side streets, so consult your favorite guides for recommendations. The banh mi at Madam Kahn’s has received top marks from friends. If you’re feeling up for a whole day of bike rides, the flat areas of Hoi An make it easy to go around by bike. Taking a trip around the Old Town comes highly recommended. You can take pictures of the Japanese Bridge, one of the most photographed bridges in Asia.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Travel time: 6 hours, 15 minutes
While the travel time seems long, trust us when we say a couple of days in Chiang Mai are worth it. Far away from the hustle of Bangkok to the north, Chiang Mai has a completely different charm. You may have seen the famous Wat Rhong Khun temple on Instagram, but after having traveled so far, a slower pace might be more welcome. Have afternoon tea at the Dhara Devi (too pretty not to explore) or hop on over to the Chiang Mai Women Correctional Institution Vocational Training Center for a massage at an actual women’s prison. We’ve heard people rave about the Khoa Soi from Tamarind Village, but an Instagram-friendly stop at the Queen Sirikit Botanical Gardens or the Grand Canyon (with a car!) also seem like good options.