Travel to Israel for Filipinos - visiting the City of David

Israel Travel Guide for Filipinos with Philippines Passport

Kach Umandap - Howe Asia, DIY Travel, VISA for Filipinos 91 Comments

“I’m finally fulfilling my Grandmother’s dream,” told myself after we arrived in Israel on  February 28, 2016. Unexpectedly, Israel is an expensive country (Tel Aviv is actually among the most expensive Cities to live in the world), so you really need to have money to spend time exploring the Holy Land. In this article, I’ll be talking about the following topics:

  1. Free Visa for Philippines Passport Holder and Entry Requirements
  2. The Israel Stamp Problem – Visa Issues if you are working as an OFW in the Middle East
  3. MONEY – How much pocket money should you take?
  4. How to get there from the Philippines, Middle East or Europe?
  5. Where to go?  Israel Highlights that you should not miss (Holy Land and Adventure Activities)
  6. DIY Travel vs. getting a Travel Agency in Israel
  7. Food Trip Recommendations
  8. SAFETY ISSUES – Is it safe for Filipinos to Travel to Israel?
  9. HOLY LAND TOURS 2016 for CATHOLICS/ CHRISTIANS

If you have other questions about travel to Israel, comment below and I would be happy to answer you! Watch my Israel trip video below!

Free Visa for Philippines Passport Holder to Israel

Having a Philippines passport should let us travel within Israel for up to 90 days Visa Free. However, there are a lot of Filipinos working in Israel (some of them illegally) which is the reason why they are quite strict when it comes to our nationality.

Related Article: Here are 20 other countries where you can go Visa-free

Travel to Israel for Filipinos - visiting the City of David

You have to prepare the following documents for the Israel Immigration:

  • Valid Passport for 6 months (Here’s how to get your Philippines passport)
  • Confirmed Return Flight Ticket or any onward ticket to your next destination
  • Travel Itinerary – I highly suggest you book with a travel agency (directly in Israel to get a cheaper deal, I highly recommend Puzzle Israel)
  • Confirmed Hotel Booking – you can book it online if you are not travelling with a Tour company. You can check our list here for the cheapest hostels/hotels to stay in Israel
  • Cash or Credit Card – you don’t need the printed bank statement but you need to be able to answer them how you can fund the trip. If you already booked your tour, just mention that you already paid the whole cost of the tour and the only money you need is for shopping. (As I told you, Israel is expensive!).
  • Travel Insurance – this is not required by the immigration officials but is necessary in general as always when travelling abroad. Here’s the International Insurance company that we recommend (we’re an affiliate partner of this company)

Travel to Israel for Filipinos - Philippines Passport Holder Traveler

The Israel Stamp Problem – Visa Issues if you are working as an OFW in the Middle East

One thing that is discouraging a lot of OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) from visiting Israel despite the fact that flying there is really cheap and close is the worry of getting their passport stamped and being banned from entering any GCC countries or the Middle East. NO PROBLEM anymore because the Immigration office of Israel does not stamp your passport now. Instead they will just give you a BLUE card as your entry permit (your Israeli visa).

Travel to Israel for Filipinos - Blue card for Entry stamp

My Philippines Passport and Jonathan’s British passport with our Israel Blue Card (Entry Permit)

You still need to be aware that if you enter Israel via land over the borders of Jordan or Egypt they will stamp your passport so remember to request this to be separate from your passport if possible. Otherwise entry through the airport immediately gives you your visa stamp on a blue card which you must keep in order to leave the country without risk of delay or a fine.

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MONEY – How much pocket money should you take to Israel?

The Israeli currency is called Shekels and the conversion to dollars is currently roughly 1 shekel to 25 cents(USD). While on an organized tour many of the souvenir stops along the way are likely to display their prices in dollars which, of course, will work out more expensive than if you manage to sneak away to a less touristy stall showing prices in Shekels for the same product. Organized tours will usually cover all costs except for lunch, and it’s safe to budget around $20 for this per person per day, as well as $20  tips to cover the driver, tour guide, and hotel staff if not included in your tour package. As long as you have enough money on a debit/credit card to cover this, you will be able to withdraw cash in local currency throughout the trip at ATMs, but I always enter a country with a couple of hundred dollars in varying notes as a back-up.

Travel to Israel for Filipinos - Tel Aviv

The beautiful Tel Aviv, Israel

If you decide to book everything with a travel agency then you can expect to pay between $2500 to $5000 for a 10 day trip, if you manage to find something cheaper than that you will most probably be one of those tourists wearing the same t-shirt as the rest of your big group of 60 to 100 people taking the same trip. I personally don’t like it but it’s up to you. You don’t want to wait 25 minutes just to get your turn taking a selfie in Jerusalem.

Israel for Filipinos - walking around the old city in Jerusalem

If you decide to do a DIY trip, you need to budget at least $70 to $100/ day to cover your accommodation, transportation, tours and meals unless you have relatives/ friends there where you can stay for Free, just walking everywhere or using the public transportation. You can do it cheaper but it’s up to you!

IDEAL POCKET MONEY – Bring at least $100/day, especially when asked by the Israeli Immigration. You don’t necessary have to spend it all but at least have it available!

Related Article: Here’s my 50 Tips on How you Filipinos can travel the world with less money

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How to get to Israel?

There’s no direct flight from the Philippines to Israel yet but I have a few flight suggestions for you to reach Israel without the hassle of transiting and being required another visa. (You can contact me to help you find cheap flights, message me here)

Flight routes suggestions where you won’t be needing to apply for Transit visa, usually a flight would cost around Php 40,000 above ($1000 and up). Please also note that you can’t fly from any GCC countries because of political reasons (UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar etc)

Travel to Israel for Filipinos - Landed at the airport welcome to Israel

If you’re coming from the Philippines:

  • Manila – Thailand – Israel
  • Manila – Hongkong – Israel
  • Manila – Turkey (no need for a transit visa if you will not leave the airport) – Israel
  • Manila – Jordan (you will need a visa) – Israel

If you’re coming from the Middle East:

  • Fly to Istanbul then Israel
  • Fly to Jordan (you will need a visa) then you can travel by land or short flight

If you’re coming from Europe

There are a lot of direct and cheap flights which are usually less than $200 for roundtrip tickets. So maybe, you could also go to Israel after your Europe trip.

If you’re coming from USA:

There’s a direct flight from New York and also a 15-hour direct flight with Turkish Airlines via Istanbul from Los Angeles, California.

(If you have any other flight route tips, feel free to comment below)

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Where to go?  Israel Highlights that you should not miss

Aside from the Dead Sea and the Masada tours there are other cool things to do in Israel for Filipino travelers. (You can also check my 15-day Itinerary in Israel)

Israel for Filipinos - visited the Dead Sea

The beautiful scenery of the Dead Sea

If you’re Catholic then you should go to (in alphabetical order):

  • Bethany- here you’ll find the home of Martha and Mary and of course the Tomb of Lazarus
  • Bethany Beyond the Jordan– The site where Jesus was known to be baptised
  • Bethlehem– one of the most visited sites of Catholic interest where you can visit the Church of the Nativity and of St. Catherine, The Milk Grotto and Shepherd’s Field
  • Cana– where the Wedding Feast at Cana was held
  • Capernaum– Many of Jesus’s miracles were performed here, a site also home to John the Baptist
  • Ein Kerem– Here you will find both the Church of St. John the Baptist and the Visitation
  • Emmaus– is where Jesus revealed  Himself after the Resurrection
  • Jericho– home to Mount of Temptation  
  • Jerusalem–  undoubtedly one of the most popular religious sites in which Catholics flock to visit the Churches of the Holy Sepulchre and the Sisters of Zion, the Way of the Cross and the Upper Room

Travel to Israel for Filipinos- Jeep tour in Israel

If you like Adventure Activities:

  • Rappelling/Abseiling: Israel’s landscape and geology provides ample opportunity for this sport through a variety of situations like caves, canyons, tunnels and can be combined with other adrenaline inducing activities. Most popular spots are: Gesher B’not Yaacov close to the Jordan River, Keshet Cave at Israel’s highest point and Nakik Hashakar, a deep canyon of volcanic stone within a national park.
Travel to Israel for Filipinos - Rappelling in Israel

Jonathan and I went rappelling in Makhtesh Ramon with Puzzle Israel

  • Hiking: with multiple climates and ecosystems hikers have huge choice in Israel, through deserts, mountains, waterfalls, rivers and canyons and these hikes are best combined with some of the other adventure sports found along the way. Israel is one of the countries with the most marked hiking trails, reaching 6000 miles in total, as well as 67 national parks and 190 nature reserves. Some recommended hikes are The Hexagon Pools, Nachal Darja, and Mount Arbel.
  • Zip-lines: Many zip-lines are to be found along the routes of the above-mentioned hikes, recommended are Gesher B’not Yaacov over the River Jordan, Agam HaNistar and Shilal Cliff in Ben Shemen Forest.
  • Caving/Spelunking: With a rich and spectacular collection of caves throughout which you can explore deep tunnels and narrow crevices leading to many stalactites and stalagmites most famously at Ma’Arat Nikavot, Fox’s Chimney and Abirim Stalactite Cave.
  • Rock Climbing: All levels of climber can scale the routes Israel has to offer all over the country, most famously Keshet Cave, Yonim Cliff, Gitta Cliff (the biggest for climbers) and the Upper Galilee Canyon.
  • Skydiving: Those brave enough to jump from a plane at 11,000ft can make this once in a lifetime leap over the Mediterranean Sea and the Western Galilee. From here you’ll see Haifa Bay, Acco Coast, Achzeiv and Lebanon beaches and in winter, snow capped Mount Herman.
  • ATVing, Jeep tours: If you’ve exerted yourself enough, take to 4 wheels to explore desert, mountains and forest paths. You can visit the Lebanese Border at the IDF army base, the Naftali Mountains or Central Israel’s Judean desert.

Travel to Israel for Filipinos - Jeep Tour

  • Rafting/Kayaking: This can be done on two different routes, the first shorter and at a gentler pace along the Jordan and Hatabani Rivers, the second longer option adds small waterfalls to the route for extra adrenaline rush.
  • Water sports: Many activities can be enjoyed in the Kinneret Sea including speed-boating, banana-boating, tubing, water-skiing and wake-boarding as well as pedal-boats, inflatable kayaks and jet skis for hire.
  • Horseback riding: This can be done combined with other activities along the way to take in the views of the Kinneret Panorama and the Sea of Galilee.
Israel Trip for Filipinos - Horseback Riding near the lake where Jesus walked

Horseback Riding in Sea of Galilee with Puzzle Israel

  • Paintball: This fun activity for private groups can be found in North Israel’s forests, the woods above Shilat Cliffs or even in a mock battlefield setting.

If you like Food Trip:

Travel to Israel for Filipinos - eating street food in Tel Aviv

Tel Aviv dining:

  • Nalagaat – the first restaurant of its kind in the world, guests are served in complete darkness by blind waiters in order to sharpen the senses of smell and taste while also creating a connection and interaction between the seeing and hearing community with the deaf/blind community.
  • Blue Sky – a romantic rooftop location with views over Tel Aviv, it serves only vegetarian and fish dishes on its menu by renowned chef Meir Aden. There is also an indoor restaurant.
  • Meat and Eat – the staples of this simple, high quality concept are meat and Taboon oven baked bread. Meat and Eat can be found in the airport and is much appreciated for its simplicity and skilfully prepared meat dishes.

Travel to Israel for Filipinos - yummy bread

Jerusalem dining:

  • Eucalyptus – one of the most memorable dining experiences you will have, it’s menu is a modern interpretation of biblical cuisine with each dish linking to a bible scene. The ancient stone building does justice to the grandeur of the experience.
  • Lara – this new bistro has a really home-like ambiance and offers an international menu prepared by chef Lior Hafzadi, who has previously worked in Michelin star restaurants
  • Ima – this local restaurant is loved by all from tourists to market workers for its traditional old Jerusalem stone building and the classic dishes sold.
  • Kedma – just outside of the Old City is a new open-air mall and promenade called The Gap and here you will find this Kosher deli offering views across the Jaffa Gate and City of David
  • Hamiznon – meaning ‘cafeteria’ this restaurant. Location within the First Station compound  is the station’s first Kosher restaurant and offers wonderful dairy dishes.
  • Tavshilim – housed in a Neo-classical building built in 1906 the restaurant has been in business since the 40’sty very original recipes and great prices.
Travel to Israel for Filipinos - Yummy breakfast

Yummy Israeli breakfast!

Rosa Pina dining:

  • Meatbalim – since May 2006 this Upper Galilee restaurant has been serving many unique combinations of meat and fish with various tasty dips.

Tibia at Vered Hagali:

This non-Kosher restaurant has homemade sausage and cured meats served in a stunning location looking over the distant Galilee hills.

Acre dining:

  • Uri Buri – this understated Ottoman building close to Acre’s beach offers more than 100 fine Israeli wines to accompany their fish and seafood dishes.

Travel to Israel for Filipinos - Food in Israel

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DIY Travel vs Travel Agency in Israel

Jonathan and I love to DIY travel as much as we can but we feel differently about doing this in Israel. It is a pretty small country but it’s expensive so you’re way better off getting your tours organized. Elsewhere on our travels we have always found our own cheaper, more personal way of doing things, seeing the country at our own pace and meeting locals by using public transport and couch surfing and I’m sure we’ll continue to travel like that in the future.

Travel to Israel for Filipinos - Cycling in Negev Desert

Specialized Dinner set up with Puzzle Israel in Negev Desert

Israel is probably the first country we’ve been to together where we have felt that an organised trip through an agency offers an advantage in every area, and although not an expansive country travelling between the many important religious sites on the must-see list of visiting Catholics takes quite some coordination. Combine this with the cost of travelling or even just living costs makes it extremely expensive to travel as and when you please. Traveling with Puzzle Israel or another travel agency like what we did guarantees you will make it to each destination without complication or risk of extra hidden or factored costs.

Travel to Israel for Filipinos Negev Desert Tour

Off the beaten destinations we visited with Puzzle Israel

If you decide to do DIY travel, you can check all the cheapest backpackers hostels/ budget hotels in Israel here.

How to choose the correct Travel Agency for Israel?

I traveled around Israel for almost two weeks with PUZZLE ISRAEL, unlike the other tour companies with 60 other people and wearing the same t-shirts, Puzzle Israel is mostly customized according to the group or their set schedule.

Travel to Israel for Filipinos - Cycling in Negev Desert

Fellow travel bloggers enjoying the Negev Desert with Puzzle Israel

There are different tours you should consider when visiting the Holy Land – do you want history? Adventure and hiking? or just follow the path of Jesus Christ?

I personally recommend Puzzle Israel, and they are now organizing some Christian tours after I mentioned to them that Israel is one of the top dream destinations for Catholic Filipinos.

Brown TLV Hotel Israel

You can check out all of their scheduled tours here. You can also mention Kach/ Jonathan of Two Monkeys Travel to get a discount or please contact me at kach.twomonkeystravel@gmail.com so I can help you and your family find a great deal for this dream trip!

SM Monkey Section DividersSAFETY ISSUES – Is it safe to Travel to Israel?

Travel to Israel for Filipinos syrian border with 4x4 jeep tour

Golan Heights

We traveled to the Gaza Strip and even to Golan Heights, the Syrian border. I felt safe, and we left the country safely!

I always believe that everything happens for a reason, I don’t know what will happen today or tomorrow but as always believe in your gut and buy that TRAVEL INSURANCE. Not just to protect you but for your family if the worst case would happen.

How about visiting the West Bank for Filipinos?

Israel for Filipinos - Visiting the West Bank

Jericho and Bethlehem are both located in the West Bank of the State of Palestine, as Filipinos, we can easily enter there without any problems.

You can either add it to your Israel Tour, DIY by renting a car in Tel Aviv or just take the public transportation. What I highly suggest is that you go on a packaged tour or pre-arrange this side trip before you arrive in Israel.

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HOLY LAND TOURS 2016 for CATHOLICS/ CHRISTIANS

I’m currently arranging a specialized tour with Puzzle Israel for Christians/ Catholics to explore the Holy Land and Biblical & New Testament sites with a twist this June, September, and December. (Sample Itinerary here)

Kibbutz in Israel

On this tour, you will visit the most important and sacred sites for Catholics yet; this will not just be another “Hop-on / hop-off the bus” type of tour. Puzzle Israel is dedicated to offering its travelers an “off-the-beaten-path” experience that gives everyone the opportunity to truly get to know the REAL ISRAEL in addition to all the “must sees.”

Visiting a Holy Pilgrimage Site in Israel - Filipino Traveler

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Some Tours That You Can Do in Israel

1. Masada and the Dead Sea Day Trip from Jerusalem.  You can book it, here.

2. 7-Night Israel Highlights and Biblical Tour: Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Galilee and Optional Dead Sea Day Trip. You can book it, here.

3. Jerusalem Three Religions Holy City Walking Tour. You can book it, here.
4. Little Town of Bethlehem Half Day Trip from Jerusalem. You can book it, here.

Israel Travel Guide for Filipinos with Philippines Passport

Comments 91

  1. Hi I’m planning to go there to have vacation. I’m in dubai now which route I need to go ? And do they ask a lot questions before entering Israel?

  2. hi…im kim. imtraveling to Israel nxt month…my route would be manila to hk – frankfurt – tel aviv…some of my frnds told me I dnt need transit visa since Im not leaving the airport in frankfurt. I also have a frnd that will cover all expenses during my travel there for a month. I will stay in his house in Jerusalem. Im also a teansgender woman but ofcourse my passport still says “male” ….I hve cash and money in my debit card aswell…so I guess I wanna know if there will be a problem for me entering the country. thanx…I love ur blogs by the way ?

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      Author

      I think Israel is a really open country! As long as you will not work illegally and you have a money to show the immigration (at least $100/ day) then you’ll be okay. I know your friend will pay and support you there, you need to get all of his contact details and everything when the immigration would ask you about it but please be ready and have some money with you too.

  3. Such a thorough and helpful post! Even though I’m not Philippino it’s helpful to know these things when visiting! I actually didn’t realise you needed a visa to go to Isreal! It’s actually one place I’ve never thought of visiting but your pictures are gorgeous and now I’m intrigued!

  4. Great pics! You look like you had a great time! I’m not a Filipino but your post is very informative, i think everyone can apply your recommendations and tips from ‘Where to go?’ and ‘If you like a Food trip’ 🙂

  5. Wow. Israel is very beautiful. What I like in this place is its architecture. And this post of yours is very helpful for those Filipinos who are planning to visit the place.

  6. Israel is a small country like the Netherlands. Lovely to see how much you enjoyed it. I would like to visit this one time because of religious reasons. I am a little bit afraid of the culture too. Did you feel safe all the time?

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      Author
  7. What an extensive guy. It’s a good thing that the visa is free, one less expense to worry about. I’d love to go to Israel someday.

  8. I am so impressed with how thorough you are with your information. I had never thought of traveling to Israel unless it was on a tour but now I feel like I have so much information. I love how you went through each category and gave suggestions on where to go and what to eat. This was an amazing resource for all travelers!

  9. I’m not sure that I’ve ever been to this site before, but it is lovely!! I love when travel bloggers get as detailed as this in their shares. Not only does it inspire me, but it gives me an idea of what to expect in certain places and that is super helpful!!

  10. This is a very detailed post on the what to do and eat at Israel. You have covered everything from places to visit, things to do, food to eat and even how much money to bring. I like how you presented everything. Even the safety issues are included.

  11. I still have friends in Israel and I have learned so much from them during the time they were in the Philippines. It’s nice to see the photos you posted and clearly, there is much to see even in a small country.

  12. Hi kach,
    I am working in Saudi Arabia. I wanna know how can I travel from here. I am planning to take my vacation on October this year. I want to take a trip like from ksa-Israel-Phils then back to ksa. Would it be ideal this way?

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      Author

      yes, there’s a direct flight with Turkish Airlines to Istanbul from Manila! The only issue, the immigration officials in PHL will ask for your return flight ticket.

  13. Hi Kach! I’m flying to Tel Aviv from Istanbul and plan to stay 15 days in Israel then I will fly to New York right after.
    When you say confirmed return tickets it doesn’t have to be return to Manila right? I hope an onward ticket will suffice. I am traveling for a year or two and Israel is the 7th country on my itinerary so I cannot produce a ticket back to PH. I hope that the immigration officer in tel aviv will let me in if I show him my onward flight to NY & US Visa?

    Thanks for your help!

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      Author
      1. Hi mam Akira gusto Po ko Sana mag travel sa Kurdistan my one week. Kaya Lang Po Hindi ko Alam Kung saan mag hanap Ng travel bench. At makakuha Ng Visa permit or boarding past to travel erbi Iraqi Kurdistan

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