Dec 16

Tagaytay City and Lake Taal Featured

Planning a day trip from Manila? Tagaytay is a great spot for a day trip or a weekend stay from Manila. Easily accessible from Manila by bus or car, the Lake Taal area offers an interesting holiday location with a number of tourist attractions sure to appeal to people from all age groups.

Travelling to Lake Taal & Taal Volcano and Tagaytay

Where is Taal Lake located?

You can easily travel to Tagaytay by bus and use local transport including jeepneys and rickshaws to commute in the local area. I highly recommend booking a car from Manila for a day trip. This will save you plenty of time and you can stop over for a nice location to take pictures and change your itinerary based on your places of interest. Manila to Tagaytay's driving time is approximately 1.5 hours. 

I booked a car with an excellent driver from Manila. The benefits of travelling with a local driver are the local knowledge of the places. It is best to negotiate a daily rate with the driver including fuel and time of return. A day trip from Manila to the south or north should cost between 4500 Pesos to 6000 Pesos. In my experience travelling with a local driver is better than renting a car in Manila. 

If you are planning a self-drive to Lake Tagaytay it is best to rent a car from Nino Aquino International Airport. The online rentals guarantee the lowest rates and provide comprehensive insurance and roadside assistance. 

 Lake Taal - Drive from manila to tagaytay

Views of Lake Taal from the Picnic Grove Area

TIP: I travelled  with a local driver from Manila to Tagaytay for a day trip.   Travelling with a rented car with a driver is probably the best way to Tagaytay and surrounding areas.

We started early at around 5 am from Manila to beat the city traffic. With little traffic on the road, we covered the distance in under 1.5 hours and arrived at the Picnic Grove area as our first stop. The temperature at Tagaytay is much cooler compared to Manila because of its altitude. This is probably another important reason that makes Tagaytay a popular destination in Manila.

First stop in Tagaytay: Picnic Grove in Tagaytay

Picnic Grove area is probably the first stopping area when you arrive in Tagaytay from Manila. The hilly location is covered with plenty of vegetation and provides a shaded retreat for a picnic. The area seems a bit run-down as the modern part of the town is towards the Skyranch area. 

In the Picnic Grove area, you will come across many touts vouching for boat tours at the Lake Taal area. Most of these touts work for boat tour operators at the Lake and work for commission for bringing tourists to the Lake area s it is not readily accessible by transport other than rickshaws. 

There are a number of cafes located outside the picnic grove area offering cheap food. Some basic rental rooms are also available along with the bed & breakfast. I suggest renting a hotel room in the Tagaytay city area overlooking Lake Taal. 

picnic grove tagaytay
picnic grove tagaytay
picnic grove tagaytay
picnic grove tagaytay the philippines


Second Stop: Lake Taal Boating Trip

I finalized a price of 2000 Pesos for a one-hour trip to the Lake. The drive down from the hill to the lake area is very scenic and the road is surrounded by plenty of beautiful bungalows and private accommodation. This part of Tagaytay is popular with celebrities and many famous personalities from the Philippines live in the area. This area is named "Santorini of the Philippines" because of its similarity to the Greek Islands. 

I took some photographs with this picture-perfect scenic backdrop. There is plenty of resort-style accommodation along the lake offering a 3-5 star stay. If you like to explore Taal's active Volcano and enjoy the water sports along the lake area, I suggest exploring some resorts along the shoreline.  

Things to do in Tagaytay
Beautiful views of Lake Taal
Places to go in Tagaytay
Stopping on the way to take some views of amazing scenery of Lake Taal
Places to visit in Tagaytay - Lake Taal
Many celebrities have properties along Lake Taal.
Lake Taal and Taal Volcano in Tagaytay
Ozasiatraveller at Lake Taal
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The Tom Jovi resort contains bamboo shacks for guests to enjoy meals. I ordered breakfast before boarding the boat tour as we started early from Manila and did not stop anywhere for breakfast. Rooms can also be rented for a day stay for nominal rates at this resort. 
The rates for the boat tour were fixed at 2500 Pesos for one hour including the commission for the agent who accompanied us to the resort. The weather was quite nice and there was a cool breeze which made the trip very enjoyable. 
For an additional cost, you can rent a horse once you reach the islands near the crater and trek up to the crest of the volcanic peak. I decided to leave this activity for some other time as I wanted to explore some more popular tourist attractions in Tagaytay.   
Talapia Fish farms are visible from the hillside restaurants and hotels in Tagaytay City
Talapia Fish Farms in Lake Taal
Talapia Fish farms are visible from the hillside restaurants and hotels in Tagaytay City
taal volcano location
Boat tours in
A round trip boat tour can cost from 2000-2500 pesos.
View of Volcanic craters from the shores of Lake Taal in Tagaytay
Views of mt taal from the Lake Taal
View of Volcanic craters from the shores of Lake Taal in Tagaytay
Mt Taal volcano tours are quite popular in the area.
Views of Tagaytay City from Lake Taal
Mt Taal volcano tours are quite popular in the area.
5 Star accommodation at the shores of Lake Taal
Club Balai in Tagaytay
5 Star accommodation at the shores of Lake Taal
Taal Vista hotel
Ozasiatraveller @ Club Isbel Balai
Waterfront at Club Balai Resort in Lake Taal
Taal Batangas
Views of Lake Taal from Picnic Grove
Amazing view of mt taal from the hills of Tagaytay
Boat tours are popular activities in Tagaytay
Single engine boats in Lake Taal
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Mt Taal Lake Facts

  • Lake Tall is located South-West of Manila in Luzon and is a major tourist attraction in the region
  • Lake Taal surrounds the active Taal Volcano and covers an area of 94 sq. km and is approximately 24 long
  • The centre of the lake has a crater with a small lake which last erupted in 2000
  • The tip of the volcano is accessible by tour operators from Tagaytay
  • There are several resorts located at the edge of Lake Taal that organize group tours to Lake Taal 

The Taal hike difficulty level is medium and a return hike should take around 2.5 hours. The trail length is around 1.7 km. It is best to do the hike early in the morning as the daytime temperature can be very high. The summit of the mountains commands a great view of the circumference of the peak.

Popular Lake Taal Tours: Taal Volcano Tours & Tickets

Where to stay in the Lake Taal Area?

Club Balai Isabel is a great location if you are planning a weekend excursion to this area with your family. Private apartments and rooms are available for large groups. This is a very well-maintained property and a great place to stay for the weekend.

club balai isabel tagaytay
club balai isabel tagaytay
beautiful lake side hotel at club balai isabel hotel
beautiful views of lake taal from club balai isable
watersports at club balai isable

Club Balai Isabel Outdoor Pool facing Lake Taal

Kids attractions include an inflatable island and water sports on Lake Taal. Club Balai organizes its tours to Lake Taal and Taal Volcano. Staying at this amazing location you can enjoy a great view of the look or simply soak in the outdoor pool overlooking the volcanic craters. 

Third Stop in Tagaytay: The Pink Sisters Chapel in Tagaytay

Pink Sisters Cathedral is located in Tagaytay City surrounded by pine trees. The stone structure with a green roof is a sanctuary of peace and an amazing place to reflect meditate and connect with God. There are some very nice hotels located adjacent to the chapel for people who plan to spend some quality time in this place of worship. 

Originally, Convent of Divine Mercy, Pink Sisters Chapel is an important religious Pilgrimage site for devotees from across the Philippines
Pink Sisters Chapel in Tagaytay
Originally, Convent of Divine Mercy, Pink Sisters Chapel is an important religious Pilgrimage site for devotees from across the Philippines
Calm and peacful surrounding of Pink Sisters Chapel in Tagaytay
Exterior of Pink Sisters Chapel Tagaytay
Calm and peacful surrounding of Pink Sisters Chapel in Tagaytay
Pink Sister is surrounded by pine trees and plenty of vegetation
Peaceful atmoshphere in Pink Sisters
Looking for a place to stay close to the The Pink Sisters Chapel. 
 Check Rates online
A hotel within walking distance from the Pink Sister
Looking for a place to stay close to the The Pink Sisters Chapel. Check Rates online
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Pink Sisters Chapel Tagaytay

Rangya Hotel 3-star hotel

9061 Gen. Maitim 2 East, Emilio Aguinaldo Hwy, Tagaytay, 4120 Cavite, Philippines +63 917 638 5762
4th Stop in Tagaytay- Starbucks in Tagaytay 
Starbucks at Tagaytay is probably one of the best locations for a Starbucks I have come across in my travels. Located on the top of the hill, the location enjoys amazing views of Lake Tagaytay. I stopped by an interesting location to enjoy a nice cup of coffee while viewing the beautiful locations. 
starbucks in tagaytay
Starbucks in Tagaytay 

5th  Stop in Tagaytay - Sky Ranch Tagaytay 

Sky Ranch Tagaytay is a great location for kids with plenty of rides including a Ferris wheel, zipline rides, bumper cars, express trains, and many others. There are many nice cafes and restaurants located outside the park. The best way to enjoy this theme park is a keep an eye on the special promotion going on during the time of your travel. 
Kids rides at Skyranch Tagaytay
Zipline at Skyranch Tagaytay
Ozasiatraveller at Sky Ranch
Ferris Wheel at Sky Ranch
Kids Attractions Skyranch
Popular Tagaytay restaurants at Sky Ranch
Beautiful Views of Lake Taal from Skyranch
Kids rides at Skyranch
Souvenir Shop at Skyranch
Skyrach is a fun place for the entire family
Skyranch Tagaytay
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The park is ideally located on a hilly crest overlooking Lake Taal. You can enjoy amazing views of Lake Taal from the top of the Ferris Wheel and Zipline in the park.  
Several cafes and restaurants are located at the entrance which is ideal for a brunch or lunch break during your adventures in Sky Park. Each ride is priced separately. There is an entrance fee that has to be paid at the entrance of the facility. Here are some interesting pictures of Sky Ranch in Tagaytay.  

6th Stop in Tagaytay: Leslie's Restaurants in Tagaytay 

Leslie's Restaurant is a renowned establishment in Tagaytay that proudly serves beloved Filipino delicacies such as Bulalo, a comforting beef broth, and Tiwilis, a delectable deep-fried fish exclusive to this region. The restaurant exudes a delightful ambiance, particularly during lunchtime when families gather to enjoy their meals.

It is not uncommon to witness local singers serenading guests with popular tunes and heartfelt birthday songs. I found myself captivated by the enchanting atmosphere and the delectable flavors of the dishes.

The menu at Leslie's Restaurant is truly impressive, offering a wide array of local culinary delights to tantalize your taste buds. During my visit, I had the pleasure of savoring some expertly prepared stir-fried seafood dishes, alongside the comforting goodness of bulalo, a hearty beef broth infused with flavorful vegetables.

Additionally, I indulged in the unique delight of tiwilis, succulent deep-fried sardines served with a tantalizing chili sauce. To complement my meal, I opted for a refreshing coconut drink, which perfectly enhanced the overall dining experience.

Leslies Restaurant in Tagaytay
Tiwalis is a speciality at Leslie's Restaurant
Beautiful Views from Leslie's Restaurant
Enjoy local cuisine at T
Bulalo a popular beef broth dish at Leslie's Restaurant
Leslie's Restaurant in Tagaytay
Another creation of Leslie's
Ozasiatraveller Enjoying lunch at Leslie's
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 OzAsiatraveller at Leslie's Tagaytay

Other fascinating sites to visit in Tagaytay include the Ayala Shopping Mall, the Fruit Market, and the absolute must-try Rowena's Cheese Tarts. To truly immerse yourself in the city's charm, I highly recommend staying in Tagaytay for a minimum of two nights.
You'll find a selection of charming boutique hotels perched atop the hill, providing breathtaking views of Taal Lake. This distinctive panorama truly sets Tagaytay apart and guarantees an unforgettable stay in this remarkable city.

7th Stop: Ayala Mall in Tagaytay

Tagaytay is a contemporary city equipped with all the necessary amenities, such as luxurious hotels, vibrant shopping centers, and delectable restaurants. I am eagerly planning to embark on a long-term visit to this captivating destination next year, eagerly anticipating the opportunity to indulge in its remarkable attractions.
Ayala Mall, a renowned shopping haven, is conveniently located near SkyRanch, right along the main road of Tagaytay. Moreover, the hillside is adorned with numerous boutique hotels that offer breathtaking vistas of the enchanting Lake Taal.
For those planning an extended stay in Tagaytay, Ayala Mall is the ultimate shopping haven for all your grocery and food needs. As an expert blogger, I can't help but be drawn to this incredible part of Luzon, and I'm already envisioning a longer holiday with my family to immerse ourselves in all that Tagaytay has to offer. 

Where to stay in Tagaytay?
Planning to stay for a couple of days in Tagaytay, there is plenty of choice in hotels in all price ranges. Some luxury resort-styled hotels provide world-class amenities with amazing infinity pools and skyline views of the breathtaking scenery of Tagaytay.  
View from Escala Tagaytay - Tagaytay Hotels

There is plenty of cheap accommodation available in the Tagaytay and Lake Taal area. Some people visit Tagaytay to enjoy the chapels and churches for which this city is so famous. There are many quality hotels located right next to Pink Sisters Chapel.
Other visitors keen on exploring Lake Taal and Taal Volcano tend to rent resorts along the Lake. I highly recommend Club Balai Isabel, an excellent property located on the shores of Lake Taal. 
+Taal Vista Hotel in Tagaytay
+Twin Lakes Hotel Tagaytay

Twin Lakes Hotel, Tagaytay ****

Highly rated hotel by couples, this establishment is somewhat of the landmark of Tagaytay and a benchmark for quality, service and comfort. 

Enjoy an infinity pool with an amazing view of the rolling hills of Tagaytay. Some of the major attractions in the city of Tagaytay include Picnic Grove and Peoples Park in the Sky located at a driving distance from the hotel.

+de baron resort langkawi
+Taal vista hotel

Taal Vista Hotel *****

Taal Vista hotel represents the rich cultural history of the Phillipines. The Tudor-styled building is located near PACGOR Casino and other major attractions in the region.
The room is luxurious and furnished with modern amenities.

A stay in one of these hotels is a must if you want to enjoy the best of the Tagaytay Holiday. Here are some interesting hotels with a view of Lake Taal, that I explored during my trip:

Interesting foodie adventures in Tagaytay
On our way back to Manila we stopped by the popular Rowena's Tarts to buy some popular tarts for our trip back to the city. This store is located across from the Tagaytay Fruit Market. This region is popular for plenty of tropical fruit including pineapples and bananas. I bought some local fruit and tarts from Rowena's store. 
 The return trip took around one hour and we were lucky not to have enough traffic after six pm. 
visiting tagaytay near manila
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I have been exploring South-East Asia for over twenty years and have visited some of the best destinations in the region. Through my blog, I want to share some interesting travel tips, my experience of driving across Asian destinations and some of the best places to explore in this region. I have undertaken hundreds of road trips, across Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Australia. Most of the information in this blog comes through my own road trips and adventures in the exotic locations I have visited. 

I have, in the past followed in Anthony Bourdain's footsteps and visited most of the restaurants his team explored in their shows. Join in on my adventures and follow my trails on Instagram & Facebook Page. 


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