Manila

Travel Guide
Baywalk showing a bay or harbour, boating and a city

From the hectic pace of its high-rise business district to the tranquillity of its flower-filled parks, Manila is a city of strong contrasts.

Vast and sprawling, Manila at first sight can be daunting. One of the largest cities in the world and still growing, this metropolis of sixteen towns seems impossible to navigate. With no obvious centre, the new visitor can find themselves bewildered by the crowded streets, dense traffic and frantic pace. But spend a little time among its friendly people, learn a little of its fascinating but volatile history, and its charms will soon get under your skin.

Manila has been under occupation by the Spanish, British, Japanese and Americans, and has been destroyed many times by natural disasters including fires and earthquakes. More recently, the tragic devastation wrought by bombing raids during the Second World War brought the city to its knees. Now, thanks to an ambitious programme of reconstruction, many of the city’s historic buildings have been preserved for posterity.

Intramuros is the oldest area and one of the main focuses for tourism. This ancient walled city is surrounded by sturdy fortifications built by the Spanish in the 16th century to repel hostile invaders. Most of the walls were left in ruins by wartime bombing, but the remaining parts have been sympathetically restored. Follow the walkways to the Baluarte de San Andres and the Baluarte de San Diego to appreciate their strategic position overlooking Manila Bay and the Pasig river. Nearby Fort Santiago houses the Rizal Shrine, dedicated to national hero Dr José Rizal, who lost his life in the struggle for independence. See the place of his execution in Rizal Park, one of the largest recreational spaces in Asia.

Learn about the fascinating archaeology and anthropology of the region in the National Museum of the Filipino People, or visit Casa Manila Museum for a close-up view of the domestic life of an affluent Filipino family during the colonial era. Believers and non-believers alike can’t fail to be moved by the sight of faithful pilgrims flocking to Quiapo Church to pray to the Black Nazarene, one of the most important icons in the country. Take time to visit Manila Cathedral, still proudly serving the Catholic community despite being destroyed many times.

Getting around on foot is hard in this huge metropolis, but taxis are cheap and plentiful and the light rail links most of the main sites. For the authentic Manila experience, hop on a colourful jeepney and hold on tight!

Where to stay in Manila

Dusit Thani Manila
Dusit Thani Manila
5 out of 5
Arnaiz Ave, Ayala Center, Makati, Manila
This family-friendly Makati hotel is located near the airport, within a 5-minute walk of SM Makati and Glorietta Mall. Ayala Center and Ayala Museum are also ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (986 reviews)
"Great to stay! Friendly staff"

Reviewed on 28 Nov,2021

Dusit Thani Manila
City Garden Suites Manila
City Garden Suites Manila
3 out of 5
1158 A. Mabini St. Ermita, Manila, Manila
Located in Ermita, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Rizal Park, U.S. Embassy and Manila Bay. Robinson's Place and Manila Ocean Park are also within 15 ...
3.9/5 Good! (935 reviews)
"The staff gave an outstanding customer service. They have accommodated us even we arrived early at the hotel. The room was clean, good AC, and comfortable bed. Quick response for all the things we need except for the food. It was cold, small portion of meat/fish, vegetables, desserts and no fresh ..."

Reviewed on 1 Dec,2021

City Garden Suites Manila
Conrad Manila
Conrad Manila
5 out of 5
Seaside Boulevard, Corner of Coral Way, Mall of Asia Complex, Pasay, Manila
Located in Barangay 76, this luxury hotel is within 3 mi (5 km) of SM Mall of Asia, Mall of Asia Arena and SMX Convention Center. World Trade Center Manila and ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (999 reviews)
"The location of the property was perfect right along Manila Bay. The views from the hotel were amazing. It was very clean and modern looking that had a very relaxing feeling to it."

Reviewed on 25 Nov,2021

Conrad Manila
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
JMM Grand Suites
JMM Grand Suites
3 out of 5
1622 Jorge Bocobo Street, Manila, Manila
Located in Malate, this aparthotel is within a 15-minute walk of Robinson's Place and U.S. Embassy. Manila Bay and Manila Ocean Park are also within 1 mile (2 ...
3.6/5 Good! (407 reviews)
"Amazingly friendly staff. Love staying here."

Reviewed on 22 Sep,2021

JMM Grand Suites
Gotophi at One Uptown Residence
Gotophi at One Uptown Residence
3 out of 5
36th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig
Located in Bonifacio Global City, this condo is within 2 miles (3 km) of Uptown Mall, St Luke's Medical Center Global City and Fort Bonifacio. Venice Grand Canal ...
4.5/5 Wonderful! (11 reviews)
"Overall our stay was satisfactory. Pros:-rooms and area where clean - condo was in vicinity of upscale mall, restaurants and grocery store. -"

Reviewed on 1 Mar,2020

Gotophi at One Uptown Residence
Ascott Makati
Ascott Makati
5 out of 5
Glorietta 4, Ayala Centre, Makati, Manila
This family-friendly Makati aparthotel is located in the business district, just steps away from Glorietta Mall and SM Makati. Makati Medical Center and St Luke's ...
4.3/5 Excellent! (714 reviews)
"The staff was very responsive and quick to assist on some minor problems."

Reviewed on 30 Sep,2021

Ascott Makati
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Manila

Top things to do in Manila