Located in the east of the Philippines, Siargao is a humble and remote island that few people get to. But Siargao is well worth your time to go here. So, is Siargao worth visiting, what to do in Siargao and how to plan a perfect budget trip to Siargao island for the first-time? Let’s check out our Siargao travel blog (Siargao blog, Siargao island travel blog, Siargao island blog) with the fullest Siargao travel guide (guide to Siargao, Siargao guide, Siargao island guide, travel guide to Siargao) from how to get to Siargao, best time to come, where to stay, best places to visit and top things to do in Siargao as well as the suggested Siargao itinerary 5 days 4 nights to find out the answer!
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Among the more than 7,000 islands of the Philippines, Siargao is like a paradise for sea lovers. Not only possessing dozens of ideal surfing spots, this teardrop-shaped island also has a series of picturesque beaches, many clear blue bays overlooking the bottom, as well as lush mangrove forests, vast coconut forests next to the marine ecosystem is preserved intact.
Why should you visit Siargao? (#siargao blog)
In 2019, surpassing famous names such as Tahiti, Hawaii, Bora Bora, Bali… Siargao was voted the most beautiful island in the world by Conde Nast Traveler magazine. Siargao has just developed tourism, still remaining wild, rustic, peaceful and clean, so it is easy to understand why this is one of the destinations that should not be missed in the journey to visit the country of thousand islands.
Siargao is one of the favorite destinations in the Philippines for many reasons. First of all, this is the most ideal surfing spot in the country, even according to some experts, Siargao can be ranked in the list of the most beautiful islands in the world. However, even for those who are not love surfing or diving, this island of Siargao is still stunningly beautiful despite the few tourists visiting. The emerald green beaches, excursions to the deserted islands will give you a feeling of excitement and serenity. Not to mention, the prices on Siargao Island are surprisingly cheap. You’ll find a great place to stay for just a few dollars a night and traveling around will cost almost nothing. Therefore, today Living Nomads will share details of Siargao island self-sufficient travel experiences and suggest places to explore on the island.
Overview of one of the most beautiful islands in the world – Siargao (#siargao blog)
Siargao Island is located about 800km southeast of Manila, in the province of Surigao del Norte. This island of Siargao has an area of up to 437 km2 and a population of only about 200,000 people.
Siargao Island is the best surfing paradise that you should not miss when coming to the Philippines. In addition, Siargao Island was also voted by many readers of Conde Nast Traveler magazine in the US as the most beautiful island in the world in 2019.
Siargao has just developed tourism, still retains its wild and rustic look, so it is easy to understand why this is one of the favorite destinations in the Philippines. After a relatively short time when it was discovered, this place has quickly turned itself into a destination that attracts a large number of tourists, both foreigners and locals, and still holds an important position in the Philippine tourism industry.
For those who come to Siargao for the purpose of relaxation, this island will also make you absolutely satisfied with its peaceful, tranquility, clean beach, calm waves, emerald green water, lush green of coconut trees, forests and open space. And yet, the prices here are surprisingly cheap. You’ll find a great place to stay for just a few dollars a night, and traveling around is also pleasant.
The most special and tourist attraction is probably because of Siargao’s shape. Siargao is also nicknamed by many travelers as “the teardrop-shaped oasis”. Because Siargao has a very unique and attractive water drop-like shape.
After being explored and invested in tourism. Siargao Island has quickly become a place that attracts many domestic and foreign tourists. And since then, Siargao’s position in the tourism industry has also increased a lot.
Siargao owns an isolated location, without an international airport, so it still retains the wild, natural beauty that many other islands have lost due to the tourism boom. The number of visitors to Siargao every year is moderate. This helps the island with a population of about 200,000 avoid overcrowding, pollution and commercialization.
When to come? (#siargao island blog)
With any trip, it is also extremely important that you choose the right time to visit, conquer and explore. And so is Siargao island self-sufficient travel.
There are two seasons in Siargao: Dry season and rainy season:
- Dry season: From April to October every year.
- Rainy season: From November to March next year.
You can consider to come based on these two seasons and choose the most appropriate time to travel to Siargao. We recommend that you go in the period from April to October. The weather at this time is very pleasant, not too hot and suitable for scuba diving, bathing, playing sports, etc.
You should not going in the rainy season, ie from November to March next year. Because in this season, it’s not just light rains. And sometimes there are big storms. If there is a storm, Siargao will suspend sea activities until the safest time. Therefore, if you go in this season, you will not be able to enjoy a sunny and windy Philippines.
How to get to Siargao island & getting around (#siargao travel guide)
Siargao does not have an international airport, so you will have to fly to Manila, then catch another flight to Sayak airport. In addition, you can also fly from many other Asian cities such as Singapore, Taipei, Seoul, Shanghai or Hong Kong, with a flight length of about 1 and a half hours. From the Sayak airport, it will take you about an hour to reach hotels and tourist areas. Therefore, you will have to fly on several routes before reach Siargao.
Note: The airfare below is the regular fare, I booked 2-3 weeks away. If you book closer to the departure date, it will be more expensive, and if there is a promotion, it will be cheaper)
Itinerary: Saigon (or Hanoi) – Manila – Siargao (if you come from another province, you must go to Saigon or Hanoi).
From Saigon (Ho Chi Minh city) to Manila has 2 airlines: Cebu Pacific and Air Asia. Just check when it’s cheap to book. The fare around $130 is ok (round trip price).
From Hanoi to Manila there is only Cebu Pacific (price is slightly higher from Saigon because there is no competition). Around $180 (round-trip fare).
Note: The flights from Vietnam (both from Saigon and Hanoi) to Manila all depart late at night. Remember to pay attention to the date!!!! For example, if you fly at 1AM on the 10th, that means you have to depart on the night of the 9th!!!!
Manila – Siargao: Currently only has Cebu Pacific (domestic airline called CebGo) (high price due to no competition). Around 10,000 pesos (about $171.19) is ok (round trip price). From March 29, 2020, there will be Skyjet airlines operating this route. Skyjet flies faster and the plane is better than CebGo, you can refer to this airline.
From Manila to Siargao flying with CebGo, there are only 2 direct flights to Cebgo (9:35AM and 12:30PM, the other flights have to transit in Cebu. If direct flights are expensive, you can fly through Cebu for cheap!!!). Similarly, the return flight (Siargao – Manila), Cebgo also offers only 2 direct flights (12:20PM and 3:55PM). Remember to pay attention to the time of the flight back to Vietnam, remember to arrive at least 3 hours in advance to brace for delay!! And Skyjet flies Manila – Siargao at 9:50AM and Siargao – Manila at 11:40AM.
Important note: The international flights from Vietnam to Manila will land at Terminal 3, while domestic flights from Manila to Siargao land at Terminal 4. After landing at the airport in Manila, you must take a bus or Grab ride from T3 to T4. Distance between 2 terminals is about 15 minutes if you take Grab (cost is about $2). There is also no need to go to T4 too early, because the domestic terminal is small, and there is not much food for sale. After landing in Manila, just sit at T3 (international terminal) to eat and drink comfortably, about 1 hour 30 minutes before the flight time, it is ok to be at T4!
Tip: Ask the driver for the price before get on the car (go to the counter to get a taxi number or Grab service, don’t take an unlicensed taxi or illegal taxi). On the day we came back, we rushed out, so we ran to an illegal taxi, after going a distance they said the price was 200 pesos/person (1 car for 4 people was 800 pesos), we didn’t agree, so we got off and walked in line to get the airport taxi number which cost 160 pesos/taxi.
By road: Or after arriving in Manila, you can also use motorbike, bus or coach to get to Siargao by road. But this journey will take a lot of time and the cost is also close to travel by plane. For the most convenience, you should take flights, so that you can spend more time on Siargao Island.
From within the Philippines
Currently only Manila and Cebu have direct flights to Siargao. If you live in one of these two cities, it’s fine, just fly direct. There are 2 airlines flying to Siargao: CebGo (Cebu Pacific) and Philippines Airlines. You just need to check the date of departure and return.
If you living in another city, you have to move to Manila or Cebu and then fly to Siargao. Tickets from Cebu-Siargao are cheaper than Manila-Siargao, so you just have to calculate how to go reasonably and economically.
Also, you can also take a boat from the neighboring islands to Siargao. This way is quite confusing, so if you want to go on this way, message me and I will guide you.
From another country (#siargao blog)
The aim is to get to Manila or Cebu, as only these two cities have direct flights to Siargao. So you have to check the airlines to get to one of these two cities. Remember to calculate the landing time to avoid delay.
Important note if going to Manila: The domestic flight from Manila to Siargao will landing at Terminal 4. T4 is not located next to other terminals so you have to take a bus or grab to Terminal 4 (not too far, about 15-25 minutes with a Grab ride. There is also no need to go to T4 too early, because the domestic station is small, and there is not much food for sale. After landing in Manila, just sit at the international terminal to eat and drink comfortably, about 1 hour and 30 minutes before the flight time, it is ok to be at T4!
If you are familiar with booking air tickets, you can go directly to the website of the airlines to check tickets. If you are not familiar, you can go to skyscanner.com or Kayak.com or Google Flights to search information. These websites will give you accurate information with fares as well as compare prices, flight times… for you refer to.
Getting around Siargao (#siargao travel guide)
When coming to Siargao island, you can rent a motorbike for about 350-400 pesos/day) to travel around the island and to Magpupungko beach. In addition, you can also choose to take a tuktuk, which is a 3-wheeled vehicle that can carry 3-6 people at a relatively low cost. Each trip is usually costs around 20-30 pesos/person.
Siargao is a small island located in the southeast of the Philippines. This place is famous as an ideal destination for surfers. But besides the waves, Siargao has many other interesting things waiting for you to discover! Here are the fun activities in Siargao you can experience (note that all experiences are equally “great”, in no particular order).
Siargao 3-Island Tour: Naked, Guyam, Daku
This is the most popular tour in Siargao: Hopping tour to 3 small islands closest to Siargao, all 3 of these islands are interesting.
Naked Island: This is actually a sandbar – a sandy beach floating on the sea surface. Besides sand, there is nothing but it is a perfect place for “virtual living”, very stunning, because of the white color of the sand, the blue of the sky, plus the clear water that is perfect for “background” for photography enthusiasts.
Daku Island: This is the largest island in the 3-island tour, the whole island is covered with coconut trees! Here you can rest, have lunch, swim comfortably. People sell coconuts on the island. The coconuts are freshly picked from the tree, still full of strong gas, very pleasant to drink!
Guyam Island: This is a tiny, private island, all covered with coconut trees, just a few dozen steps from one end to the other. This place looks like an oasis, very interesting.
Riding a motorbike around the island
Of course you can rent a tour to take you around the island of Siargao, but it will be much more interesting to rent a motorbike and sit behind the wheel yourself. A full round of the island is about 120km, there will be a lot of interesting things along the way: high cliffs, blue sea, cool air, you can stop anywhere to take pictures as much as you like, and riding a motorbike is also a best way to feel the life-style on the island. Riding a motorbike on the island is no need wearing a helmet, you will even see many Western brothers topless, many Western sisters wearing bikinis running around on the road, looking very stylish.
In addition to motorbikes, you can also rent 4-wheel all-terrain vehicles (Quad Bikes), cars and even Tricycles (the vehicle is “modified” with an additional compartment next to it)!
In the middle of the way, if you see people picking coconuts, you can go to… ask for a drink. They will gladly give you some freshly picked coconuts, still with strong gas, very delicious! Known as “please drink” but we also send people a little money, but who drink like that :))
If you don’t like the motorbike rental service, you can book a trip with BinGo – a private tuk tuk rental service (with a driver or drive on your own) or book a tour with Bathala Land Tours to go to the places you want to visit. paradise beyond. You can also get around the island by jeepney (the Philippines version of the bus). While visiting Siargao, don’t forget to stop by the Northern Burgos textile mill run by NGO Lokal Siargao or local coffee with a tasting session at MA + D x 1543.
Flying Drone (flycam)
Drone is an indispensable device for those who love to travel, even sometimes it’s better than a camera. “The limit is the sky” – the view from the top looks very strange and beautiful, you can freely create creative shooting styles, cool clips from above. Siargao has a lot of beautiful scenes that can only be enjoyed through the drone’s perspective.
Even those who owns drone racing can “show off” their flying skills in the coconut forest. Very challenging and awesome!
Cloud9 is a major resort of Siargao, and their surf spot is one of the most popular on the island. They built a 3-storey wooden jetty out to the sea that looks very nice. Here you can watch the surfing scene, watch the sunrise and sunset. Very relaxing and comfortable.
Sugba Lagoon is a lagoon area located to the west of Siargao. You will go to Del Camen (about 40km from General Luna – Siargao’s “capital”), then take a small boat to Sugba Lagoon. It doesn’t sound like much, but here’s one of the island’s best attractions: The boat will take you to a small wooden house where you can play springboarding, paddle boarding, kayaking or simply swimming in the middle of the sea. The water is clear, surrounded by beautiful small mountains. This is also a “sanctuary” for believers who like to live virtual.
Take a boat trip and watch the sunset in the mangrove forest
Sailing along the river on a small boat, the river is wide, the boat is small, the water is calm, very poetic! Remember to watch the sunset, you will enjoy a beautiful sunset with perfect reflections on the water! I rate this spot as the most beautiful place to watch the sunset in Siargao.
This area is located between General Luna and Del Camen. You can visit this place after spending time in Sugba Lagoon. To find this spot you have to pay attention: There is a small jetty, you have to deeply pay attention to see it (I have google map coordinates below). You can negotiate the price with the people here to go rent a boat. Last time I went it was 300 pesos for a small boat.
Google map coordinates (copy this sequence of numbers and paste into google map):
Magpupungko Rock Pools
If you haven’t been to the “pool” of Magpupungko, you have not been to Siargao!
This is a system of natural rock holes. When the tide is high, the water will flood the holes, and when the water recedes, we will have natural “pools” of salt water, with fish and coral, just like a miniature ocean! And rest assured that there will be no waves or currents in these pools so you can bathe with peace of mind! There are about 7 large and small rock pools for you to freely swim, have fun (there are pools with private white sand!). And don’t think these pools will dry up, there are sections up to 5-6 meters deep! You can take a bath, jump from the rock into the water, live virtual freely.
Ride a motorbike for about 45 minutes from General Luna center, you will reach this interesting place. But note: Remember to watch the tide time, the pools are only beautiful when the sea recedes (last August when I went, the water receded around 11AM, depending on the time of year, the tide will be slightly different).
Address: V367+G55, Siargao Circumferential Rd, Pilar, Surigao del Norte, Philippines
This is a true adventure for the adventurous lovers. Warning those who are afraid of the dark and narrow spaces should consider before going!
When you arrive, you will pay the entrance fee (I don’t remember exactly how much but it’s a little). They will ask if you hire a guide, I recommend YES, because you won’t be able to find your way. The tip for the guide is around 100-200 pesos depending on how crowded you go with.
You will go into the cave, cling to the wire, submerged under water for about 15 minutes (flooded to the chest, some have to swim), in a dark space, only the faint light of the guide. Did I just mention the cave? Ah, in the cave there will definitely be bats hehehehe.
The last section of the cave opens up to a brighter, wider area. You can play jumping from the cliff into the water, the height is about 7m. This place has 2 jumping points: 2m (children often jump at this point), and 7m (have to climb up the tree stumps to reach it). The feeling of jumping from 7m is very awesome.
Tayangban Cave is a very, very satisfying experience. Not dangerous, but very exciting and thrilling. Those who are careful can bring their own flashlight (headwear and waterproof are best), because the guide’s lights are not very bright. And you should bring a waterproof bag to put your phone or camera in (unnecessary items you can send back to the gatekeeper – rest assured, they are very benign and cute).
Corregidor Island (#siargao guide)
This is an island with only 1 beach, stretching the entire island! Smooth white sand, next to the jade blue water, it will be a pity if you come to Siargao without visiting Corregidor. There are also a few residents on the island. And because there are quite a few tour operators to Corregidor, almost no tourists are seen. You can also trek up to the high hills of the island, which is covered with tall grass, surrounded by coconut trees. So beautiful.
To get to Corregidor Island, it will take you 30 minutes by boat from General Luna
Sohoton Cove (#guide to siargao)
Okay this is a great experience! Great both the beautiful scenery and the activities you can participate in. It can be said that this is the highlight when you come to Siargao. It will be tiring for sure, but it will be worth it!
Sohoton Cove is located in Bucas Grande (aka Socorro), a smaller island southwest of Siargao. Travel time from General Luna to Sohoton Cove is about 2 to 2 hours and 30 minutes.
Activities in Sohoton Cove you can participate in:
Blue Lagoon (Titikan Lagoon): This is a lagoon area similar to Sugba Lagoon (but much nicer and wider!). The emerald green water is surrounded by low hills. If you have a drone and can see it from above, you will fully enjoy the beauty of the Blue Lagoon.
Crystal Cave: This is a pretty deep cave. When the lights are on, the ceiling of the cave will have many glowing points like crystals! In the cave there are stalagmite columns. Those who love to explore will be delighted. Ah, of course, there are bats in this cave.