The bus service from Manila to Sagada is quite popular. This transport option offers comfortable accommodations for the lengthy journey. The seats are standard (non-reclining), the cabin is air conditioned, and often WiFi is provided. Be sure to pack many layers of warm clothes, as the drivers often turn the air conditioner setting to low.
If you’re looking for a more private transport option and don’t mind paying a bit more for comfort, consider booking the private car option from Manila to Sagada. In comparison to other services, this option is also the fastest. Inside every car is well functioning air-conditioning. The price can include up to five people per car.
Asia's 'Pearl of the Orient', Manila, can seem like just another busy metropolis but look beneath its chaotic surface, and you will find a city where the old and new blend seamlessly. Wander the cobblestone alleys of the Intramuros or Walled City, with its Spanish colonial buildings and centuries-old structures. For a bit of green, head to Rizal Park, picnic basket in hand, and end the day with a stroll down the Manila Baywalk. Watch the sun go down as you enjoy some of the best cuisines from around the world.
Sagada, in contrast, is the perfect spot to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Take a jeep ride to Kiltepan Peak or Marlboro Hills to view the sea of clouds that the town is famous for, or trek the Blue Soil Hills for some nature therapy. You could also spend time at the Kapay-Aw Rice Terraces and surround yourself with the peace and calm of rural Philippines. Those looking for adventure can go spelunking at the Sumaguing Cave. The region is also famous for its 'Hanging Coffins', so do take the time to visit these.
To travel the 240 mile (390 km) distance from Manila to Sagada, it takes anywhere between eight and a half hours to twelve hours, depending on the mode of transport.
Those visiting the region can choose between buses and private taxis. Bus tickets are economically priced and are a popular choice, especially amongst backpackers and budget travelers. Private taxis are more expensive but offer a lot more comfort and flexibility. This might be an important factor to consider, given the long duration of travel.
Taking a bus
Buses are a popular way to travel this route. With ticket prices starting at $19, they are also the most cost-effective way to travel from Manila to Sagada. The buses offer night departure times and take around 12 hours to cover the distance, which means you go to sleep departing Manila and wake up refreshed in Sagada. A great way to save on hotel accommodation! You can choose from a Standard Tourist Bus and a more luxurious VIP Bus.
All of the coaches are air conditioned, and while the Standard Tourist Bus has regular, cushioned seats, the VIP Bus offers more comfortable, reclining seats with footrests. The buses make three to four stops during the journey - perfect to grab a late-night snack, take a restroom break, or simply to stretch your legs. Do note that it can get cold as the night progresses and the bus climbs into the mountain region. Though the VIP buses offer blankets, keeping a warm sweater or jacket handy is a good idea.
Hiring a private car/taxi
Travelers also have a choice of booking a private car to cover this distance. Though a more expensive option, it is an excellent choice for those who value comfort and convenience. You can choose from a standard-sized car that is good for up to three passengers or opt for a more spacious SUV that can accommodate up to 5 passengers. All of the vehicles are air-conditioned and offer hotel and airport pick up and drop off.
When you book a private taxi, you have the choice of picking your departure time and have the flexibility to make stops along the way, according to your convenience. This makes it perfect for families traveling with children and couples who don't mind paying a little extra for more legroom. It's also the right choice for those who prefer to travel during the daytime.
Those taking a private taxi during the day will get to see the quaint charm of the Philippines countryside. Given the long 8-hour travel time, your journey will involve a few stops to grab food or stretch your legs - the perfect time to interact with locals or enjoy the laid back pace of life in the country’s smaller towns and villages - a contrast to busy Manila.
Once you reach the mountain district, get ready for winding roads, twists and turns, and refreshing green landscapes and views of the region's rice terraces. Roll down your windows to take in the fresh mountain breeze, tinged with the scent of pine trees.
If you are taking the bus to Sagada, be ready for some unforgettable morning scenes - you will wake up to the sun peeking over the mountains and morning fog dancing up the valleys - the perfect start to your day and adventure in Sagada.