If you’re looking for a nice beach to chill, surf or have a little party, La Union is a great destination to visit. It’s a great beach destination to visit with your friends as well as meet new people.
La Union is a little surfer town in the northern Philippines and is only a 5 to 6-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.
COVID-19 Travel Advisory: Since the beginning of 2022, the Philippines eased travel restrictions for foreign travellers and locals alike. The main requirement is to be fully vaccinated.
Taking a flight? As of November 2022, all international travellers bound for the Philippines are required to register an eArrival Card. You can fill it out upon arrival, but it’s recommended to register 72 hours prior to your flight to avoid queues and delays at the airport.
Upon arrival at La Union, you are also required to show your vaccination card, NAPANAM QR code, and your booking confirmation from an accommodation accredited by the Department of Tourism.
Bus from Manila to La Union
The distance from Manila to La Union is 265 km (165 miles). You can travel from Manila to La Union by bus (6-8 hours) with rates from 580 PHP ($10). Travel time is 6-8 hours, but it still depends on the traffic conditions between Manila and La Union.
Keep in mind that many locals head to La Union from Fridays through Sundays for a weekend and during holidays. This means buses can easily get fully booked. We suggest booking your ticket at least a week in advance to secure your seat on the bus.
Want to surf in La Union?
If you are visiting La Union because you want to surf, then we recommend checking out the forecast on MagicSeaWeed. On this website, you can check whether the days you want to visit La Union are good days to catch some waves.
2-3ft is good for beginners and 3-5ft is great for beginners and intermediates. Is the swell forecast only 0-1ft? Then don’t expect a lot of surf, but rather enjoy the chill beach vibes.
San Juan Beach or 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 intermediates. Check out Carrile Point if you are an advanced surfer.
Manila to La Union by Bus
Duration: 6-8 hours
Cost: 580 PHP ($10)
Duration: 6-8 hours
Cost: 580 PHP ($10)
There are 2 bus companies offering trips from Manila to La Union: Partas Transport and Maria De Leon Transport.
Maria De Lion offers many departures from day to night, while most Partas buses depart at night. We suggest taking either a late-night or an early-morning trip. This way, you can avoid heavy traffic during the day and can sleep through the trip.
Fares start from 580 PHP ($10) for the 6 to 8-hour bus ride.
The two bus companies have different departure stations in Metro Manila:
Makati is the most popular are in Metro Manila to stay. All bus stations are accessible by Grab or taxi from anywhere in Metro Manila. Fares start from 250 PHP ($4.35).
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 ($0.15) to 120 PHP ($2.05).
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 travel time can take 7-8 hours.
Partas Transport used to offer different types of buses before the pandemic, such as 1st class, Luxury, and Super Deluxe buses. All their buses feature good legroom and reclining seats, so you will have a comfortable journey.
The last time we checked (October 2022), Deluxe and Super Deluxe buses can be booked online via 12GoAsia. These buses depart from the Partas Terminal in Cubao. Based on their Facebook page, they also have morning trips departing at 06:00 and 11:00.
There are also buses available in the Partas Terminal in Pasay. For this route, online booking is not available, and there is only one bus trip at 09:00 daily.