If you’re looking for a nice beach to chill, surf or have a little party, check out La Union.
This little surfer town in northern Philippines is only a 4-hour ride from Manila what makes it easy to visit for a few days. The region is especially known for longboarding, but occasionally you also find some bigger waves that are perfect for intermediates.
When travelling this 265-km distance between Manila and La Union, the only option is to take the bus for 4 to 5 hours, depending on traffic. Fares start at $10.50.
Want to surf in La Union?
Are you visiting La Union because of the surf? We recommend checking out the forecast on MagicSeaWeed to check if there will be a good swell. 2-3ft is good for beginners and 3-5ft is great for beginners and intermediates. If the swell forecast only 0-1ft? Then don’t expect a lot of surf, but rather enjoy the chilled beach vibes.
So which beach to go?
Urbiztondo Beach in San Juan is a great beach for first-timers because of the calm and friendly waves while Monaliza Point offers the best waves for more advanced surfers.
Only Partas offers direct trips from Metro Manila to the surf town in La Union. Don’t worry about not having other options. Their buses feature good legroom and reclining seats, so you will have a comfortable 4-hour ride.
We suggest that you take either a late night or an early morning trip because there is less traffic and you can just sleep through it.
Partas buses bound for San Juan, La Union can be found in two terminals: one in Pasay City and one in Cubao, Quezon City. Tickets are available at the terminal for 530 PHP ($10.50) for a 1st class express bus.
Keep in mind that many locals head to La Union from Fridays through Sundays for a chill weekend, so make sure to purchase your ticket at the terminal hours before your desired departure time or book your ticket online with BookAway.
See below our recommended schedules for both terminals. There are other departure times, but you might not want to arrive in La Union in the middle of the night.
From Pasay City
00:15-04:15 (1st Class Express) 05:00-09:00 (1st Class Express) 13:00-17:00 (1st Class Express)
550 PHP ($11)
From Cubao, Quezon City
01:00-05:00 (1st Class Express) 06:00-10:00 (1st Class Express) 08:00-12:00 (Luxury 09:00-13:00 (Deluxe) 12:00-04:00 (Super Deluxe) 17:00-21:00 (Luxury)
Note: Beware of people in terminals offering van rides to La Union. Although this is safe, there’s no assurance that drivers will take the expressways. This can cost you about 1-2 hours longer. Also, the legroom and overall comfortability offered in buses are so much better than vans.
Drop off in San Juan
The bus drops you off at Sebay Surf Central in San Juan, La Union. If you’re staying in a different hotel, you can ask the bus conductor before drop-off or check via maps on your phones whether your accommodations are within walking distance. If not, you can ride a jeepney for around 10 PHP ($0.20) or a tricycle for 50 PHP ($1) – 120 PHP ($2.20) to your hotel.
Note: If the trip schedules above do not suit yours, you can also purchase a ticket going to Laoag (but mention that you are only riding until La Union) directly from the bus terminal. These buses to Laoag depart almost every hour.
Another option is to book your ticket online for busy seasons or around weekends. We recommend booking your ticket several days or at least 7 days in advance during festival days.
Although more expensive, you’ll be assured of a ticket even on busy days. Note that this only available for buses coming from Pasay City. A 1st class express ticket costs 810 PHP ($16) when booked on BookAway. Just click the link below.