Want to know how to get from Manlia to La Union? In this post, we’ll share a summary of the two ways to get there and compare each option on duration, costs and level of comfort. For each option, we go into more detail to help you decide which transport provider to book with and where to buy your tickets.
What to expect when visiting La Union
Looking for a nice beach to chill, surf or have a little party? La Union is a great destination to visit with your friends as well as meet new people.
La Union is a little surfer town in northern Philippines and is only a 5 to 8-hour ride from Manila. This 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.
2 ways to get from Manlia to La Union
There are two ways to travel the distance of 265 km (165 miles) from Manlia to La Union: by bus (6h-8h) and private transfer (5.5 hours). The journey takes between 5h30m - 8h and the quickest way is by private transfer. The lowest priced tickets start from 590 PHP ($10.50) for the bus.
There are three bus companies offering trips from Manila to La Union: Partas Transport, Maria De Leon Transport and Viron Transit. All of these offer several departures from day to night.
We suggest taking either a late-night or an early-morning trip — between midnight to 02:00 in the morning. This way, you can avoid heavy traffic during the day and can sleep through the trip.
Bus prices start from 590 PHP ($10.50) for the 6 to 8-hour bus journey.
TOP TIP: When departing from Manila in the evening, say around 20:00-22:00, let your accommodation know beforehand that you’re arriving in the middle of the night. With fewer pickups and drop-offs at night, the bus journey could be as fast as 5 hours. There’s a high chance everything’s still closed when you arrive in La Union.
The three bus companies have different departure stations in Metro Manila:
Makati is the most popular area in Metro Manila to stay. All bus stations are accessible by Grab or taxi from anywhere in Metro Manila. Fares start from 250 PHP ($4.40).
There are two drop-off points in La Union.
Maria De Leon buses arrive at Bataan Transit Bus Terminal in San Fernando. From here, you can take a 10-minute jeepney or tricycle ride to San Juan Beach, the main surfing beach in the area. Fares range from 10 PHP ($0.10) to 120 PHP ($2.10).
The buses from Pasay operated by Partas Transportation make their last stop at San Juan bus stop. This stop is in front of the municipal hall, about five minutes drive from the popular San Juan Beach. You can ask the conductor to drop you off in this area. If you miss this stop, you can also take a jeepney or a tricycle back to the beach area.
Note: Beware of people in terminals offering van rides to La Union. Van drivers are known for driving too fast, and they often overcharge passengers. Also, the legroom and overall comfortability offered in buses are better than vans.
Tickets with Maria De Leon can be reserved via their Facebook page. Travel time usually takes 6 hours. Note that the first trip does not take the expressway, so the bus journey can take 7-8 hours.
When travelling with Viron Transit, tickets are only available at their terminal. You can buy tickets in advance, but still only at their bus station.
Fares are slightly more expensive for advanced booking, though. A ticket costs 633 PHP ($11.00) when you book up to 1 week before your trip.
For any inquiries, you can visit the Viron Transit Facebook page. They are very responsive!
Partas Transport offers Luxury, Super Deluxe and Deluxe buses. All of these feature good legroom and reclining seats, so you can expect a comfortable journey. You can book a night bus ticket online via 12GoAsia.
Partas has a terminal in Cubao and Pasay. It has several departures throughout the day. But note that those departing in the morning up to early afternoon are usually regular buses with very basic amenities and smaller seats. Also, they generally make more stops, which means longer travel time.
Tickets for these daytime buses are only available at the bus terminal. You can also check out the Partas Facebook page for more details.
Alternative: Bus from Manila to Ilocos or Abra via La Union
Duration: 6-8 hours
Costs: 590 PHP ($10.50)
Duration: 6-8 hours
Costs: 590 PHP ($10.50)
Most buses operating from Manila to La Union make their last stop in the town of San Fernando. This is still 10 km away from the surf town in San Juan. But the good thing is, these aren’t the only buses that can take you to La Union.
If you want a bus that goes direct to San Juan, you can catch any of the buses departing for the following areas:
Province of Ilocos: Narvacan, Vigan, Laoag, Candon, Cabugao
Province of Abra: Bangued
You should be able to see bus signs for these destinations as you arrive at the terminal. But if you don’t, an attendant can point you in the right direction.
Travel time is also 6-8 hours, the same as the buses travelling from Manila to La Union. The only difference is that these buses continue their journey north after dropping off passengers in La Union.
Some of the companies operating on this route are Partas, Maria de Leon, Viron Transit and Fariñas Transit. Bus ticket prices from Manila to Ilocos/Abra via La Union start from 590 PHP ($10.00). We recommend buying your tickets at their respective bus stations.
Although some tickets are available for online booking, most likely they will charge you the full price to Ilocos or Abra even though you’re getting off in La Union.
See below the different bus terminals for the companies operating from Manila to Ilocos/Abra via La Union:
When staying in Makati, you can get to any of these bus terminals by Grab or taxi with rates from 250 PHP ($4.40).
The advantage of taking a bus going to Ilocos or Abra is that you can get off at any of La Union’s major bus stations — may that be in San Fernando, Sebay, or the tourist centre in San Juan.
If your hotel is along the road, you can even ask the bus conductor beforehand to drop you off there. This saves you the hassle of walking to your accommodation or spending extra cost on a tricycle ride.
Of the choices above, only Fariñas Transit does not operate direct trips from Manila to La Union, but it does offer daily bus trips to Laoag in Ilocos Norte.
With fares from 1,000 PHP ($17.50), it’s more expensive compared to the other choices. But it’s worth noting that Fariñas is known for its reliable bus service. It also offers clean buses that come with wide seats and good legroom. Some even have lazy boy seats.
Manlia to La Union by Private Transfer
Duration: 5.5 hours
Starts from: 6,000 PHP ($105.00)
Duration: 5.5 hours
Cost: 6,000 PHP ($105.00)
Travelling in a group? You can also consider taking a private transfer from Manila to La Union.
We think it’s worth getting a private transfer for convenience. When you divide the cost among your group, it’s only a little more expensive compared to taking the bus. Plus, with this door-to-door transfer, you save on taxi costs because you don’t have to find your way to/from bus stations
Rates start from 6,000 PHP ($105.00) for a car that can fit 4 people. There are also vans that can accommodate up to 10 people with prices from 11,000 PHP ($195.00).
For long-distance trips like this, we don’t recommend hailing just any taxi from the streets. There are plenty of companies operating private transfers from Manila to pretty much any province in Luzon. You can ask your hotel for referrals or you can check out Facebook groups dedicated for private transfers from Manila to La Union.
Normally, we’d recommend online booking platforms like BookAway or Klook. But for this route, their rates are quite expensive with prices from 16,000 PHP ($285.00) for a 3-seater car.
Frequently Asked Questions about Manlia to La Union
How do I commute from Manila to La Union?
You can take a bus from Manila to La Union. Buses depart from three terminals in Metro Manila: Avenida, Pasay and Cubao. Bus fares range from 580 PHP ($10.00) to 1,000 PHP ($17.50).
How long is the trip from Manila to La Union?
When travelling by bus from Manila to La Union, the journey takes 6-8 hours. Driving your own car is faster (around 4 hours) because you can take a series of expressways: the North Luzon Expressway (NLEx), the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx), and the Tarlac-Pampanga-La Union Expressway (TPLEx).
Which is better San Juan or San Fernando La Union?
Both San Juan and San Fernando in La Union have their own unique attractions and offer different experiences.
If you’re looking for a quick beach getaway from Metro Manila, La Union is one of the best options. You’ll find here scenic beaches, good waves (from October to April), a wide array of accommodations (from budget-friendly guesthouses to luxurious resorts), and a long list of restaurants and cafes (which makes it a popular food trip destination, too!).
Do I need a negative RT-PCR test to enter La Union?
The last time we checked (January 2023), you don’t need a negative RT-PCR test to cross the border to La Union. But, you need to show your vaccination card, NAPANAM QR code, and your booking confirmation from an accredited accommodation.
Rounding it up
We hope this guide was helpful in planning how to get from Manlia to La Union. If there's anything else you're wondering about, drop us a comment and we'll do our best to answer you within a few days.
PS: If you've recently travelled this route, share your experience with fellow travellers and help us improve this post. Thanks for helping out our travel community!
Ela is a storyteller, content producer, solo traveller and a mermaid-in-training. When she’s not in front of her laptop, you will find her barefoot and living her best tan on some island in the Philippines… Or exploring the depths of its seas as a budding freediver. An island girl at heart, she’ll be happy anywhere there is sea, sand, sun and coffee.
Abby is a writer who finds joy in mountains, beaches, and road trips. She considers her solo backpacking trip to the rice terraces of Bontoc one of the most fulfilling moments in her life. She’s loyal to the islands of her home country, the Philippines, but Thailand’s beaches also have a special place in her heart.