Manila Travel Guide
Manila Travel Guide
Manila is chaotic, polluted and thrilling; an old city but one overflowing with life, which is steadily increasing in popularity with adventurous travellers and making every effort to attract tourists:
Many who travel to the Philippines find that its cosmopolitan capital, Manila, is the most exciting city in Asia. The destination's blend of cultures, wealth of historic sights and famously friendly locals are all drawcards.
Manila is an old city, where visitors will encounter a rich colonial and military history, as well as some fantastic traditional sightseeing. A lively nightlife adds another dimension to its appeal. A vacation in Manila is recommended for young, energetic travellers who enjoy sightseeing, shopping malls and plenty of after-dark activity in the city's infamous go-go clubs and wild nightspots.
All told, Manila may be smoggy, polluted and overcrowded, but it is also lots of fun.
Best time to visit Manila
Peak season for a holiday in Manila is between November and February, when the generally high tropical temperatures drop to reasonable levels. This period also falls in the dry season, which is a big consideration because the city can be subject to typhoons and tropical storms during the wet season. Read more on Manila's Climate and Weather.
What to see in Manila
-Explore the medieval walled enclave of Intramuros, which is full of historic attractions.
-Take a guided tour of the lavish Malacanang Palace.
-Visit Manila's oldest stone church, San Agustin.
-See the famous Taal Volcano at nearby Tagaytay City.
What to do in Manila
-Stroll around the beautifully landscaped and moving American Cemetery and Memorial.
-Eat and shop in Binondo, the oldest Chinatown in the world.
-Picnic in the lovely Rizal Park, the heart of Manila.
-Go scuba diving and game viewing in Subic Bay.
Manila is perfectly situated for daytrips, and popular excursions from the city include visits to the fascinating Banaue region and the 16th-century Spanish town of Vigan, both on Luzon Island. The best islands to visit from Manila include historic Corregidor, stunningly beautiful Palawan, and the resort hub of Mindoro.
The largest airport and primary gateway to the Philippines, Ninoy Aquino International Airport, is situated just over eight miles (13km) south of Manila. There are connecting flights to Manila from the UK and the US. Get more information on Airports in Manila.
Did you know?
-Manila was originally called Ginto, meaning Land of Gold.
-The University of Santo Tomas is 25 years older than Harvard.
-Manila is one of the most polluted cities in the world.
Manila Cathedral © Philippines Department of Tourism
Manila is the somewhat daunting capital and pulsating hub of the Philippines. Situated on the east coast of Luzon Island, it was founded on the site of a Muslim settlement in 1571. The city's major tourist attraction is the old Spanish walled city known as Intramuros, where visitors can see some marvellous historic buildings.
Manila was once known as The Pearl of the Orient and was an important centre for South East Asia. It suffered some of World War II's most destructive urban battles, though, and much of old Manila disappeared in the conflict. Today, expansive parks, polluted slums, congested traffic and modern high-rises make up a city that has risen from the ashes to become the archipelago's cultural and political centre. Tourists will encounter a truly enchanting destination, and should definitely pause to appreciate Manila Bay's sunsets. A combination of clouds and high-humidity conditions make them unforgettable.
Most visitors use Manila as a springboard to explore the country's islands and provinces. Flights generally land at Nino Aquino International Airport, but select airlines from particular locations fly into Cebu and Aklan.