Philippines

Philippines - Luzon by bike: overview

Of the thousands of islands that the Philippines encompass, Luzon is the largest and boasts a spectacular landscape, which is one of high mountains and volcanoes along with flat plains, pristine lakes and a dazzling coastline.

The north is mainly home to mountains, greenery, eye-popping vistas and old Spanish-colonial towns. In this lush region is the ancient town of Vigan on the coast and the incredible Banaue and Batad, known for their lofty rice terraces.

Luzon is also home to the capital and largest city of the Philippines, Manila - a bustling and vibrant place of malls and suburbs. The more easily accessed central and southern parts of Luzon also have stunning scenery and historical sights to visit. There is a variety of terrain in the south in particular, from high conical volcanoes, to quaint beaches and cute fishing villages. Those into bike touring can get to see all the great facets of Luzon.

Best attractions in Luzon

There’s a lot to get in. If you’re planning on hanging around in Manila for any length of time, the partying there is pretty good, as is the shopping in Makati City. The Cordillera Mountains in North Luzon are a major highlight and also open up the rice terraces of Banaue and Batad. South Luzon tours take in the Bicol peninsula, complete with beaches and mountains and natural wonders such as whale sharks.

Manila, Makati, Quezon and Angeles have the best shopping, eating and accommodation, though to experience the more cultured side of Luzon, try to hit Vigan, Sagada, Lucban or Taal during one of the big festivals. One final attraction of the Philippines worth mentioning is the people themselves, noted as some of the friendliest in Asia and quite approachable since the vast majority speak English.

Weather and tourist seasons

The Philippines is a tropical paradise and the mercury rarely goes below 25°C, unless at altitude. Humidity is high year round and this is one of the beauties of touring this island owing to the loftiness of much of the terrain and the relief it brings. Anytime between November and May is good for a visit as it is mostly dry and clear, but avoid the June-October rainy season when eastern Luzon regularly gets visited by typhoons.