La Union, Philippines · 29 hotels available
San Juan in the province of La Union is considered the prime surfing destination in the Philippines. The best times to go are during the rainy season, when the waves are high and the surf is good. Aside from being the Surfing Capital of the North, San Juan is also known for growing yellow corn.
From Manila, you can take any Partas or Dominion bus (either at Cubao or Pasay) headed to either San Fernando or Urbiztondo. Travel time is around 5-7 hours, depending on the number of stops. When you get off in San Fernando, you can take a tricycle going to La Union.
Tricycle is often the chief mode of transportation in San Juan.
Surfing is a must at San Juan, and you can go to Urbiztondo Beach to do that. Many experienced surfers just rent a board and ride the waves, while beginners can take classes by the hour.
When you’ve finally learned how to stand on a surf board, head to Flotsam and Jetsam – considered to be everyone’s favorite hangout in the area. Most people come here to drink and have some good clean fun.
You can also visit the Buddhist Ma Cho Temple in nearby San Fernando, a place of worship dedicated to the Hokkien goddess of the sea.
Surfing is definitely on top of anyone’s itinerary when visiting San Juan, and most experienced surfers come here to ride the high waves during the rainy season. After visiting the beach and surfing throughout the day, many travelers here go bar or restaurant-hopping, with many eating establishments flooding the town – and most are open until late into the evening. Finally, don’t forget to try grape-picking in Bauang, especially around March to May.
There are around 30 major restaurants around San Juan. If you’re pressed for time, best to try Great Gamble Seafood Shack and order their bestselling Classic Quarter Pounder made of crab, shrimp, and scallop in a brioche roll. If you crave for Filipino comfort food with a twist, try Tagpuan and their menu of rice bowls with local toppings such as bagnet. A visit to La Union is not complete without trying El Union Coffee, and sample their delicious horchata.
La Union has a rich nightlife with restaurants and bars open until late at night. Most foods pair perfectly with a bucket of beer – especially Red Horse. Flotsam and Jetsam may be a hotel but people gather here for some drinks, making it the most visited establishment in the area.
There are many budget hotels for backpackers which are quirky and unique. Try staying at Circle Hostel, where you can sleep in a hammock for only PhP500/night. Also, Flotsam and Jetsam is a comfy and affordable accommodation at PhP680/bed/night. For something more luxurious and private, book a stay at Kahuna Resort and Spa: for around PhP6,000/night for two persons, have a Balinese-inspired cottage all to yourself.