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8 things to see, do in island getaway, Saipan

Vernise Tantuco

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8 things to see, do in island getaway, Saipan

Leslie Ladan

PAL has announced new direct flights to Saipan. Here we explore its famous sights and various activities for tourists. Go diving, watch the sunset, or plan your second honeymoon in Saipan, an island just a few hours away from Manila

MANILA, Philippines – If you’re craving a trip to the beach and wanting to explore a different culture, Saipan could be your next travel destination.

The island is just a 4-hour plane ride from Manila and it’s the capital of the Northern Mariana Islands in the North Pacific Ocean. And Philippine Airlines has just announced it will start flying to Saipan in June, making it more accessible for those based in the Philippines. (READ: PAL to start flying to Saipan in June)

Saipan isn’t just about sun and sand, the island has an interesting history too, because of its location. The island is now a US territory in the Pacific, as the Americans won it from the Japanese during World War II.

Because it’s a part of the US, you do need a visa to get to Saipan, but legislators have petitioned for Filipinos to get in without a visa, according to senior advisor of the Marianas Visitors Authority (MVA) Jemy See. He added that it’s because a third of Saipan’s 53,000 population is Filipinos working abroad.

Philippine Airlines recently announced that it will open twice weekly flights from Manila to Saipan starting on June 15. Curious about the place, we had a look at what one could see and do there on a few days’ vacation. 

Here’s what we found.

Head to the beach

BIRD ISLAND. Climb up an overlook to enjoy the view of this island, which is home to thousands of birds. Photo courtesy of Marianas Visitors Authority

A day at the beach in Saipan is nothing like the seaside parties you’ll get in Boracay. Saipan’s beaches are peaceful and more secluded. Book a hotel near the beach and relax in the sun and sand.

Snorkel and dive

MANAGAHA.The island and its beaches are a a popular snorkeling site. Photo courtesy of Marianas Visitors Authority

When you’ve had enough of the beach, you can visit the white sands of Managaha, a 15-minute boatride away. Managaha is one of the best snorkeling and diving sites in Saipan.

The Grotto, a large cavern opening with underwater passageways, is also a popular spot for diving. At The Grotto, you can see barracuda, turtles, titan triggerfish, parrotfish, colorful corals, and whitetip sharks. 


See the sunken ships

BANZAI CLIFF. Banzai Cliff is known as the location where Japanese soldiers committed suicide during World War II to escape capture by the Americans. Photo courtesy of Marianas Visitors Authority

Because of the part it played in WWII, there are many sunken Japanese warships in the water surrounding the islands. You can see them, and the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, up close by taking a submarine tour.

Another historical attraction is Suicide Cliff, an 800-foot cliff that some Japanese soliders jumped off of during the second World War, rather than be captured by the Americans. 

Play golf

Golf#golf #love #saipan #instagood #laolaobaygolfresort

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For the golfers, Saipan’s Laolao Bay golf course is a must-visit. The 36-hole golf course is situated on a cliff, sandwiched between the ocean and a forest.

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A photo posted by ᴇ ᴜ ɴ s ᴇ ᴏ ɴ (@j_jj___) on


Like Guam, Saipan is a good place for shopping for luxury goods tax-free. According to Alex Stutely, vice president of Luxus Pacific,  LBC services are available in Saipan, and he said it takes around $50 to ship a balikbayan box from Saipan to Manila by boat.

Watch the sunset


Saipan has its fair share of gorgeous views and sunsets, too. Relax by the water or enjoy an early dinner as you watch the sun disappear into the horizon.

#sunset #beach #saipan

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Special occasions 

Saipan is a popular place for romantic beach weddings, too. The island could also be the perfect place to renew your vows or for your second honeymoon.

Take part in the festivals, visit markets

30th Annual Walkathon #RedCross #HapiTheClown #Saipan #gopro #goprohaps #RedCrossWalkathon2016

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There’s always something going on in Saipan, whether it’s a festival, a marathon, or a street market. The MVA website has a calendar of activites that you can use to plan your trip. 

Saipan is just a few hours away from Guam and its neighboring Mariana islands, Rota and Tinian too, so you can give those islands a visit after Saipan.

Will you be planning a trip to Saipan soon? Let us know in the comments! –

Planning your next vacation in Saipan? These travel coupons can help you out.

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Vernise Tantuco

Vernise Tantuco is on Rappler's Research Team, fact checking suspicious claims, wrangling data, and telling stories that need to be heard.