Wow Davao! Tourist Attractions, Food Guide, and More

Jay Pagkatotohan

Jay Pagkatotohan

Last updated June 26, 2024

Davao City is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southern Philippines, and it’s easy to see why. Everything you want in a city is here, from serene nature spots to a developed urban area with creature comforts within your reach. 

Adding to Davao City’s favorable reputation is its safety. It is Southeast Asia’s second safest city,[1] so you can comfortably explore everything it has to offer. 

If you’re planning a tropical vacation in this city, check out this ultimate Davao travel guide!


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Davao Travel Guide: Your Destination at a Glance 

Located in Mindanao’s Davao Region, Davao City serves as the island’s central hub of commerce and trade. It measures more than 2,400 square kilometers, making it the largest city in the Philippines in terms of land area.[2]

Just like the rest of the Philippines, the city enjoys a tropical climate. So what’s the best time to visit Davao? 

If you want to enjoy the hot sunshine and the cool beach waters, late March to May makes a good choice. June to October is usually rainy, and you may not be able to explore as much. But if you want to enjoy the Kadayawan Festival, visit in August. 

Fly to the city between December and February to enjoy cool temperatures and dry days. 

Read more: Religion, Culture, and Heritage: Festivals in the Philippines

How to Go to Davao 

davao travel guide - how to go to davao

Major airlines like Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, and AirAsia operate direct flights to Davao. The travel time from Manila to Davao City takes around two hours. 

Alternatively, you can travel by sea via 2GO. The company operates a Manila-Davao City trip, which takes almost two days.

But if you want to save money, ride a bus from the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX) bound for Davao City. Two bus companies operate this route: Davao Metro Shuttle and Philtranco. The journey usually takes three days and two nights.

How to Get Around Davao 

Davao City has a few transportation options that will make it a breeze to get around. Check out the following: 

  • Taxis - To get to your destination within the city quickly, hail metered taxis on the roadside. 
  • Ride-hailing services - Book a car or a taxi using the Grab app. 
  • Car rental - Tourists who want to take the trip at their own pace can rent a car from one of the city’s many car rental companies. 
  • Buses - Ride a bus if you plan to visit other towns or provinces outside Davao City.
  • Jeepneys - If you want to save money and get from Point A to Point B within the city, this mode of transportation is a good option. 
  • Tricycles - This transport option is perfect for short-distance trips, usually within barangays and small villages. 
  • Boats - Ride one of these to reach the islands off Davao City. 

Related: Things to Do in Boracay in 2024: Top Activities on the Island

How Much to Budget for a Davao Trip 

That will depend on your activities and the number of days you’ll be staying here. If you plan to stay for at least five days, a budget of ₱12,500 to ₱15,000 should suffice. If you’re a wise spender, this can also cover pasalubong

Note that this budget assumes your flights are already booked and you’re traveling with someone. 


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Where to Stay in Davao 

davao travel guide - where to stay

Photo: Dusit Thani Residence-Davao website

Davao City has a lot of places you can call home away from home. Here are some of them: 

🏠 Davao Accommodation Options for Budget Travelers 

Check out the following accommodations if you’re on a budget:  

  • ALU Hotel Davao
  • Go Hotels Lanang Davao 
  • The Manor Hotel 
  • Red Planet Davao
  • Davao Persimmon Suites
  • Napsule Suites
  • The Strand Suites and Dormitel
  • Davao Airport View Hotel
  • Orchard Hotel Davao
  • RedDoorz Plus @ Roxas Street

🏠 Davao Accommodation Options for Luxury Travelers 

Got some money to spare? Upgrade your vacation by staying at one of these accommodations: 

  • Dusit Thani Residence
  • dusitD2 Davao
  • Seda Abreeza
  • Waterfront Insular Hotel Davao
  • Acacia Hotel Davao
  • Apo View Hotel
  • Crown Regency Residences Davao 
  • Malagos Garden Resort
  • The Royal Mandaya Hotel
  • Discovery Samal 
  • Pearl Farm Beach Resort

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Davao Travel Guide: Where to Go in Davao City 

Excited to make your Davao itinerary? Here are the best places to visit in the city: 

📍 Mount Apo 

davao travel guide - mount apo

This Davao travel guide won’t be complete without Mount Apo, the country’s highest mountain. This is one of the best destinations for thrill-seekers and seasoned mountain climbers. 

The mountain is part of the Mount Apo National Park, a natural reserve that boasts towering trees and hundreds of animal species. There are also lakes in Mount Apo. Lake Venado is a particularly popular campsite or pitstop among mountaineers. 

📍 Samal 

davao travel guide - samal

Formally known as the Island Garden City of Samal (IGaCOS), Samal is part of Davao Del Norte. But its proximity to Davao City makes it a good destination. 

Composed of Samal Island and Talikud Island, this city boasts long stretches of pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters. Among the most popular places here are The Pearl Farm Resort, Starfish Sandbar, Babu Santa Beach Resort, and Dayang Beach Resort, among others.


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📍 Malagos Garden Resort 

What to do in Davao City if you’re a big chocolate lover? Head over to Malagos Garden Resort. 

This sustainable resort offers not only luxurious and relaxing stays. Its 12-hectare estate also houses a bird-feeding dome, a birdwatching deck, ponds, and a contemporary art gallery. More importantly,  Malagos Garden Resort has a chocolate museum where you can appreciate the process of chocolate making, from tree to bar. 

📍 Eden Nature Park and Resort 

davao travel guide - eden nature park and resort

Photo: Eden Nature Park and Resort website

Eden Nature Park and Resort is one of the most popular Davao tourist attractions, thanks to its high elevation and cool breeze. This is a great spot if you want to escape from the heat and humidity of the city. 

Measuring more than 70 hectares, Eden Nature Park and Resort offers guests both relaxing spaces and exhilarating activities. If you want to commune with nature, simply walk around to enjoy the trees or admire the colorful blooms in the flower garden. Adventure seekers can try some of the park’s activities, such as ziplining and cable cycling. 

📍 Davao People’s Park 

Love people-watching? The Davao People’s Park is one of the best places to do it. 

This four-hectare public park features a mini forest, fish ponds, a playground, and man-made falls.[3] If your hotel is close to this park, you can do some stretching and jogging here in the morning or afternoon. You and your travel buddies can also enjoy a picnic here while watching the locals go about their day.


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📍 Philippine Eagle Center 

Where to go in Davao City if you’re into nature conservation? Book a tour at the Philippine Eagle Center, the only breeding and rehabilitation facility of the Philippine Eagle in the world.[4] Here, you can witness the national bird fly and catch prey. 

However, the Philippine Eagle Center is not only home to the critically endangered bird. It also houses a mini rainforest where you can walk and relax. Plus, it has a monkey island where you can watch the Philippine Long-Tailed Macaques minding their business. 

 

Read more: 12 Famous and Underrated Tourist Destinations in the Philippines

📍 Davao Crocodile Park

davao travel guide - davao crocodile park 

Photo: Davao City Tourism website

One of the best Davao City attractions for wildlife lovers, the Davao Crocodile Park boasts a modern crocodile farming system. But it offers more than just public viewing of crocodiles. 

The Davao Crocodile Park is also home to various animal species like snakes, monkeys, raptors, and turtles. With that, the park is a popular venue for educational and wildlife conservation tours.  

📍 Davao Chinatown 

Dubbed as the only Chinatown in Mindanao, Davao Chinatown is an exciting place to visit in the city. While here, get a snap or two of its many recognizable archways. 

At the Davao Chinatown, you’ll find many businesses, from stores selling groceries to shops retailing goods from China. Include Chinese restaurants within the large neighborhood as part of your food crawl. 

📍 Jack’s Ridge 

Located in Shrine Hills in Matina, Jack’s Ridge was once the haven of retreating Japanese soldiers as World War II drew to a close. But now, it’s a popular destination for those who want to relax.

Since it’s located atop a hill, Jack’s Ridge gives you a panoramic view of Davao City. It also has a variety of restaurants where you can dine and enjoy the urban vista. Among the most visited is Taklobo Restaurant, which serves kinilaw, sinigang, grilled tuna, and other Pinoy dishes.  

📍 Roxas Night Market 

Visiting the Roxas Night Market is one of the most fun activities in Davao. It’s a must-visit place for grilled meat and seafood lovers. After dining, wash down your fill with fresh juice, milk tea, or fruit cuts.

The Roxas Night Market is also a great shopping destination. Various stalls sell items like souvenirs, clothes, toys, and more!


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What to Do in Davao City

davao travel guide - what to do

Photo: Rekado Davao (Facebook)

With the city’s expanse of interesting places, you’ll have a lot of activities to enjoy. Here are some of them: 

  • Enjoy water activities - If you’re close to the sea, fun activities in Davao City include swimming, snorkeling, and island hopping. 
  • Go mountain climbing - Serious and experienced climbers can set their personal record by reaching the summit of Mount Apo. 
  • Go shopping - Shopping is one of the most exciting things to do in Davao City, especially since there are plenty of malls like Abreeza Ayala Mall, SM City Davao, SM Lanang Premier, and Gaisano. Where to buy pasalubong in Davao? The likes of Apo ni Lola and Poblacion Market Central may have what you’re looking for. 
  • Attend Kadayawan Festival - Celebrated every August, Kadayawan Festival is a thanksgiving feast for the bounty the locals receive.
  • Go on a food trip - Looking for a Davao food guide? Explore Davao City through your taste buds at the following restaurants: 
    • Rekado Filipino Comfort Cuisine - Pinoy food fans will love this restaurant’s crispy pata in kare-kare sauce, chicken adobo sa gata, chicken galantina, and more! 
    • Blue Posts Boiling Crabs & Shrimps - Seafood lovers will have a great time at this restaurant, which serves crabs, shrimps, prawns, mussels, and scallops. These are then boiled and served with the restaurant’s signature sauces.  
    • Bondi&Bourke Davao - If you want some posh Australian dishes, Bondi&Burke Davao serves steaks, pasta, burgers, salads, and cocktails. 
    • Kalye’t Kusina - This place is popular for its cheesy chicken and fries.   
    • Seoulga - Those who want the grilled goodness of Korean barbecue should visit this restaurant.  
    • Tsuru Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar - Craving Japanese food? This restaurant makes delicious sushi, tempura, and more. 
    • Jack’s Ridge - Other than Taklobo Restaurant, Karlo’s Gourmet is a great place to dine in at Jack’s Ridge. This restaurant serves all-day breakfast, baked goods, and coffee.  

Read more: Beaches, Parks, and More: Outdoor Activities for ₱3,000 or Less

Davao Travel Guide: Practical Tips for a More Exciting Trip

davao travel guide - tips

Photo: Davao City Tourism website

Take note of the following for a more memorable and comfortable Davao trip: 

  • Wear sunscreen. Whether you’re strolling around the city or frolicking on the beach, sunscreen will protect your skin from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation. 
  • Pick thin and lightweight clothes. Linen shirts, shorts, and sleeveless clothes will keep you comfortable, especially during the summer. 
  • Travel with a friend when visiting Samal Island. If you plan to stay for a night or two on the island, it’s better to do so with a friend since accommodations there tend to be expensive. 
  • Pre-book your tours. Websites such as Klook list different Davao tour packages. Book a tour ahead of the trip to make planning less stressful. 
  • Bring cash. While Davao City is a developed region, some restaurants and shops may not have the facility to process card payments. 
  • Bring anti-motion sickness medication. This comes in handy when you’re traveling to Davao from Manila. You can also rely on it if you're island-hopping. 

Read more:

Final Thoughts 

With Davao City’s massive land area, you have a lot of places to visit, activities to enjoy, and people to meet. A few days may not be enough, so consider extending your stay. Who knows—you may want to stick around in one of the places listed in this Davao travel guide!   

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Sources: 

Jay is a marketing communications professional who specializes in short-form and long-form content. He has written ads for TV, radio, print, and digital. He has also produced corporate blogs, magazine features, white papers, product listings, reviews, and press releases for clients here and abroad. When he’s not writing, Jay plays the piano or takes pictures for his visual diary. Follow Jay on LinkedIn.

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