Banaue rice terraces in Luzon are part of the world cultural heritage and so beautiful. Even before the first time I came to the Philippines, I fell in love and wanted to go ther. In December 2016 I was the second time in the Philippines, visiting my family for four weeks. I decided, this time I should do it and on my own to learn how to get around alone.
How to get to Banaue
The best way to get there is by bus from Manila. Every night at 9 pm a bus goes directly to Banaue. Detailed information you can get here
. The bus takes around 9 hours. I recommend to take a jacket, my bus was very cold, it was 18 degrees Celsius, outside in Manila it was around 35 degrees. It is the only reasonable way to get there. This trip with a motor bike or a car can take much longer and can be dangerous because of the road conditions. Maybe it is dangerous with the bus as well, best not to think about it too much…
When, after a long, cold and tiring bus ride, you finally reach your destination, be prepared for the next shock. If you travel like I did in January, it can be cool and rainy there. The best time to travel there is from June to November.
The bus stops on the road, which is above the center of Banaue. It is possible to walk down stairs, but I would not recommend to search for it. At six am it is dark and the stairs are hard to see when you don’t know exactly where they are, and can be slippery. There are plenty of trycicles
waiting to bring you to town.
Because Banaue is a small tourist spot, this is easy. There is a hotel a little outside the city, where I stayed two nights because I wasn’t feeling well. It is nice, big rooms, hot shower. But it is very touristic, I saw many families and travel groups. In the evening they had a “cultural event” with performances from native people, the Ifugao
. I don’t think it is very authentic, in any case I didn’t care much for it.
Besides the Banaue Hotel are plenty of Inns in the village, which cost around 10 Euro per night. After I felt better, I moved down to the village. My room was simple, but clean and had a cool shower. But I liked it better than the Hotel, because from there you can access everything by foot.
What to do in Banaue
The landscape is stunning and definitely visit the Banaue rice terraces. In the town you will find many tour offers, from the Inn or tourist offices. In my case I was lucky, I liked one trycicle driver I took a ride with and made a deal with him. I paid him 20 Euros for a whole day to take me around with the trycicle. He was a great person and definitely more educating than the silly folkore in the Hotel.
I learned a lot about the people and the history in two days. And I learned how to chew betel
, but one time is enough…
I have a good intuition with people because I am experienced in travelling. It does not mean I never misjudged, but usually I am lucky, so I take my chances. If you are not so experienced or insecure, I recommend to search a tourist office or speak with your host who will organize you a guide. Maybe it costs some more, but feeling comfortable with your environment should be your first priority. In any case, it is a very safe place.
I really enjoyed the Hot Spring in Hapao. If you don’t have a tour guide already, you can take a trycicle to Hapao and there you can hire a guide. I would not recommend to do the trail alone, it’s not worth getting lost to save a few euros. The trail goes through the Banaue rice terraces, very beautiful and not too hard.
There is also a museum
in Banaue, which I found great and you find good information about the culture and history of the Ifugao people. And of course, my favorite thing to do, walk around, watch people, talk to people and enjoy the beauty of the country.