Take me to...Paoay's sand dunes

Travel ideas: head to the wild dunes of Ilocos for sandboarding, thrill rides, or simply to watch the sunset

By Mari-An Santos. Photo by Jocas A. See

Photo by Ferdz Decena

If you haven't been to Paoay Sand Dunes, located in Barangay Suba, Paoay, Ilocos Norte (near Malacanang of the North), then it's about time to pack your bags and head to this stunning landscape. 

The spectacular 88 hectares of sand dunes attract not just tourists and budding sandboarders and surfers, but also filmmakers. It was the setting for films such as Mad Max and Born on the fourth of July.

The stretch of sand has trails for thrill rides on a four-wheel drive, and two allotted areas for sandboarding, a sport using a skimboard to ride down a sandy hill. One sandboarding area is for beginners, with the ride starting at a 10-foot point, and the other for the more experienced rider, with the jump off point at about 20 feet. Sandboarding is also allowed at night.

At sunset, you can simply stand at the top of the dunes, watch the sun go down the South China Sea, and the landscape change colors, a perfect canvas for the flight of birds such as the shrikes and brahminy kite.

An hour on a 4×4 truck costs P2,500 (about US$55) for up to six people, and includes fees for sandboarding. ATV rental costs P800 for 30 minutes. Book Paoay Sand Dunes Adventures

Originally published in InFlight Traveller  April to May 2011. Updated August 2015