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Like most big capitals in Asia, Manila is a sprawling metropolis of skyscrapers, local markets, car fumes and street hawkers. Yet if you delve deep into the heart of the city, you'll find some little gems that tell you more about the Philippines' historical and cultural heritage.

Top things to do in Manila

  • Intramuros
    This walled area of the city tells the story of Manila's colonial past. After being ruined in WWII, the walls are being restored. Take a Kalesa (horse-drawn carriage) and explore the history and culture of the area.
  • Rizal Park
    Manila's Rizal Park spans over 60 hectares of green space, ponds, paved walks and wooded areas. Take a walk around the grounds in late afternoons or evenings to get the real feel for the place.
  • Museums and Churches
    Manila has lots of great museums and churches for travelers to explore more of Filipino culture and history. Some of our favourites are the National Museum of the Filipino People and Manila Cathedral.
  • Chinatown
    Manila has a vibrant Chinese community, between Santa Cruz and Binondo. Brave the crowds and visit one of Chinatown's popular teahouses and try out some dim sum from the street sellers.
  • Videoke
    Karaoke is hugely popular in the Philippines and there are loads of 'ktv' bars in Manila where you can singalong with the locals...if they let you have the mic!
  • Volunteer with Street Kids
    Discover what life is really like in the slums of Manila. Check out the local organizations that arrange volunteering trips in the city.

How to get to Manila

You can fly into Manila from many major US airports. Top carriers like China Southern, Turkish Airlines, United and Cathay Pacific offer flights from the East and West Coast.

Best time to visit Manila

The coolest months to explore Manila are between December and February. The rains are the heaviest in July and August, but this can provide some welcome relief from exploring the city under the blazing sun.
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Our favorite Manila hotels

chillout guesthouse
Chill-out Guesthouse
This guest house has 12 shared rooms and a restaurant on site. Based in the district of Malate - you'll be surrounded by bars and restaurants.
Shared dorm fr $19
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sogo avenida hotel
Hotel Sogo Avenida
Located conveniently near the landmarks of San Agustin Church and Rizal Park, Hotel Sogo Avenida is a basic, clean hotel with a choice of double rooms.
Double from $30
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