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 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 or 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.
Views of Lake Taal from 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 a little traffic on the road, we covered the distance under 1.5 hours and arrived at the Picnic Grove area as our first stop. The temperature at Tagaytay is much cooler as compared to Manila because of its altitude. This is probably another important reason that makes Tagaytay a popular destination from Manila.
First stop in Tagaytay: Picnic Grove Area
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 provided 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 a number of 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 accessibly 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.
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 a number of famous personalities from the Philippines live in the area. This area is named "Santorini of Philippines" because of its similarity to 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 active Volcano and enjoy the water sports along the lake area, I suggest exploring some resorts along the shoreline.
Beautiful views of Lake Taal
Stopping on the way to take some views of amazing scenery of Lake Taal
Many celebrities have properties along Lake Taal.
Ozasiatraveller at Lake Taal
The Tom Jovi resort contain bamboo shacks for the guest to enjoy meals. I ordered breakfast before boarding on 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 in Lake Taal
Talapia Fish farms are visible from the hillside restaurants and hotels in Tagaytay City
Boat tours in
A round trip boat tour can cost from 2000-2500 pesos.
Views of mt taal from the Lake Taal
View of Volcanic craters from the shores of Lake Taal in Tagaytay
Views of Tagaytay City from Lake Taal
Mt Taal volcano tours are quite popular in the area.
Club Balai in Tagaytay
5 Star accommodation at the shores of Lake Taal
Ozasiatraveller @ Club Isbel Balai
Waterfront at Club Balai Resort in Lake Taal
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
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 has 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.
Where to stay in 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.
Kids attractions include an inflatable island and water sports in Lake Taal. Club Balai organizes their own tours to lake Taal and Taal Volcano. Staying at this amazing location you can enjoy a great view of the look or simply soak on the outdoor pool overlooking the volcanic craters.
Check Latest Rates at Club Balai Isabel
Club Balai Isabel Outdoor Pool facing Lake Taal
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 and 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.
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
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
A hotel within walking distance from the Pink Sister
Pink Sisters Chapel Tagaytay
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
5th Stop in Tagaytay - Sky Ranch Tagaytay
Sky Ranch Tagaytay is a great location for kids with plenty of rides including Ferris wheel, zipline rides, bumper cars, express trains and many others. There are a number of 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
Souvenir Shop at Skyranch
Skyrach is a fun place for the entire family
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.
A number of cafes and restaurants have located 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 tradition in Tagaytay serving popular Filipino dishes including Bulalo ( beef broth ) and Tiwilis ( deep-fried fish unique to this region). The ambience is great and the lunchtime is quite crowded with families. You will spot some local singers (mariachis) signing popular tunes and birthday songs for some customers. I thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere and food.
The menu is pretty impressive and there are plenty of local dishes to try. I order some stir-fried seafood dishes, bulalo (beef broth with vegetables), tiwilis (deep-fried sardines served with chilli sauce) with a coconut drink. Really enjoyed the food.
OzAsiatraveller at Leslie's Tagaytay
Leslies Restaurant in Tagaytay
Tiwalis is a speciality at Leslie's Restaurant
Beautiful Views from Leslie's Restaurant
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
Other places of interest include Ayala Shopping Mall, Fruit Market and definitely Rowena's Cheese Tarts. I would recommend staying in Tagaytay for at least two nights to explore all attractions. There are a number of boutique hotels located on top of the hill overlooking Taal Lake. The view is definitely unique and makes this city an amazing place to stay.
7th Stop: Ayala Mall in Tagaytay
Tagaytay is a modern city with all amenities including top-end hotels, shopping malls and restaurants. I plan to visit this location next year for an extended period to enjoy all the major attractions. Ayala Mall is a popular shopping area located very close to SkyRanch on the main road in Tagaytay. There are plenty of boutique hotels located on the hillside facing the amazing views of Lake Taal.
The Ayala Mall is a modern mall with a number of speciality stores, food markets, cafes and restaurants. This spot is definitely the place to shop if you are staying in Tagaytay for a couple of days. For a day trip, pop into enjoying coffee at one of the coffee shops on the ground floor.
If you plan to stay for an extended period in Tagaytay, Ayalaya Mall is a great place to shop for grocery and food items. I definitely want to plan a longer holiday with family to this amazing part of Luzon.
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 breath-taking scenery of Tagaytay.
There is plenty of cheap accommodation available in the Tagaytay and Lake Taal area. Some people visit Tagaytay to enjoy the chapels and church for which this city is so famous. There are a number of 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.
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.
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 the view of Lake Taal, I explored during my trip:
Tagaytay Hotels with a view
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.
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