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 Manila find that the cosmopolitan capital of the Philippines is the most exciting city in Asia, offering a blend of cultures, a good supply of historic sights and places to see, and famously friendly locals. It is an old city with a rich colonial and military history and some fantastic traditional sightseeing. Another plus for a holiday in Manila is that the city is as lively at night as it is during the day. 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. 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 during the wet season the city can be subject to typhoons and tropical storms. 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 your way through 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.

Beyond Manila

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.

Getting there

The largest airport and primary gateway to the Philippines, Ninoy Aquino International Airport is situated just over four miles (7km) 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.

Become our Manila Travel Expert

We are looking for contributors for our Manila travel guide. If you are a local, a regular traveller to Manila or a travel professional with time to contribute and answer occasional forum questions, please contact us.