Banaue is a small town in The Cordilleras in the northern part of the Philippines. Although the town is very small (it has a marketplace, a few hostels and guesthouses as well as souvenir shops), the scenery of the rice terrace fields around the town, at just over a thousand meters above the sea level, is simply amazing. Within walking distance of no more than two kilometers, you have really nice lookouts to the rice terraces, considered by many as some of the best in all of Asia.
The rice terraces are the icon of the region; parts of them were built more than two-thousand years ago with very primitive tools and are considered masterpieces of engineering for that; they are part of the UNESCO World Heritage list. The local people –- called Infugao –- call the rice terraces "The Stairway to Heaven." To take in the best of this area, visit during the end of June, before the harvest. In Banaue, there will be plenty of tricycles to take you to the fields -– and the drives can be really annoying –- but it's just get a way of getting there! You will find a lot of local people and you may be tempted to take photographs with them, but you can expect them to ask you for a small fee for exposing them to photographs. The town is completely different from the usual in the Philippines -- there's not much traffic and there's definitely a solitary feeling when enjoying the landscape.
The best way to arrive in Banaue is by bus, as it's just two-and-a-half hours from Bontoc and three-hundred kilometers and sometimes ten hours from Manila. There are no ATM machines in Banaue, so make sure you have enough pesos with you (you can also find currency exchange offices).
There are a few hostels in Banaue with very good conditions considering the average in the Philippines. Banaue's hostels can get a little bit crowded in high season, so it's better to book in advance. Some of Banaue's hostels have the “bonus” of having rice terrace views, and that is worth a few pesos more.
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the Hostelz.com local expert for Banaue hostels. Welcome.