How to plan a Manila Trip

Manila: Plan your trip

Manila, the vibrant capital of the Philippines, beats at the heart and soul of this archipelago. A dynamic hub that seamlessly fuses the old and the new, the East and the West, and the ordinary and the extraordinary. This article is a comprehensive guide to help you plan a memorable trip to Manila.

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When to Visit Manila:

Manila’s weather is tropical and can be visited throughout the year, but the best time to visit is from January to April, when the weather is mostly dry and rainfall is rare. December to February are the coolest and most comfortable months to explore the city.

The wet season from June to November is not an ideal time to visit Manila, as the weather can be uncomfortably hot and humid, although rain doesn’t fall every day.

If you’re interested in shopping, the winter months after Christmas are a great time to visit, as many stores offer discounts and promotions.

Attractions You Should Consider Visiting:

The most popular activities in Manila:

Explore Intramuros on a bamboo bicycle

Experience the historic neighborhoods and scenic destinations of Intramuros on a bamboo bike.

Ride a Jeepney

Riding a Jeepney is a quintessential part of Philippine culture. Just flag down a jeepney driver and hop on for a unique mode of transportation.

Discover Manila’s museums

On a rainy day, visit Manila’s museums and art galleries that showcase the rich history and culture of the Philippines.

Shop ’til you drop

Shopping malls in Manila are a shopper’s paradise. Make sure to include a visit to one of these malls in your itinerary.

Try your luck at a casino

If you’re feeling lucky, visit one of Manila’s many casinos located near the airport.

Discovering Manila in 4 days:

Day 1: Arrive Manila – Intramuros
Upon arrival, check-in at your hotel and have some rest. In the afternoon, explore the historical walled city of Intramuros, which is filled with centuries-old churches, government buildings, and museums. You may opt for a guided tour or rent a bamboo bike to explore on your own. End the day with dinner at Barbara’s Heritage Restaurant, known for its Filipino-Spanish cuisine and cultural performances.

Day 2: Tagaytay
Head to the highlands of Tagaytay to see the famous Taal Lake and Volcano. Afterward, visit the heritage village of Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar in Bataan, a beautiful resort and open-air museum showcasing traditional Filipino houses and structures. Return to Manila in the evening.

Day 3: Mt. Pinatubo
Take an early morning excursion to Mt. Pinatubo, an active volcano that offers a challenging hike to its crater. A 4×4 ride will take you through the scenic valley, lahar canyons, and rocky streams. After the hike, head back to Manila for some leisure time in the afternoon.

Day 4: Depart Manila
Depart Manila, but if time permits, visit one of the city’s modern shopping malls or experience the thrill of a casino.

Where to stay:

A night scene of the City of Pasay with panoramic view of Manila Bay

Manila offers a diverse range of accommodations to suit every traveler’s needs and budget, from luxurious hotels to affordable options.

Luxury hotels such as The Peninsula Manila, Shangri-La at the Fort, and Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila offer five-star amenities and services. For mid-range options, there are several boutique hotels and apart-hotels like The Picasso Boutique Serviced Residences and City Garden GRAND Hotel Makati.

Budget-conscious travelers can choose from a wide range of affordable hotels, hostels, and guesthouses. Backpackers may also opt for the various backpacker hostels in the city, offering shared dormitory-style accommodations.

No matter what type of accommodation you choose, Manila has something to offer for every budget and preference.

The Peninsula Manila is a luxury hotel located in the central business district of Makati, Manila. It offers 5-star amenities and services with a blend of traditional and modern design. The hotel features 351 rooms and suites, each elegantly designed and equipped with the latest technology and amenities.

The Peninsula Manila boasts of several dining options, including The Lobby, which serves traditional Afternoon Tea, Old Manila, which offers modern European cuisine, and Spices, which serves Asian cuisine. The hotel also has a bar, a patisserie, and a poolside bar.

Other facilities at the hotel include a fitness center, a spa, a swimming pool, and a business center. The hotel also has several event spaces, including ballrooms and meeting rooms that can accommodate up to 1,000 guests.

Overall, The Peninsula Manila is known for its excellent service, luxurious accommodations, and prime location in the heart of Makati, making it a popular choice for both leisure and business travelers.

City Garden Grand Hotel is a modern and luxurious 4-star hotel located in the bustling district of Makati, Manila. The hotel features 311 spacious and contemporary rooms and suites, each fitted with modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs, air conditioning, and high-speed internet access.

The hotel boasts of several dining options, including Spice Cafe, which serves international cuisine, Firefly Roofdeck Bar, which offers a stunning view of the city skyline, and The Pool Bar, which serves light snacks and refreshments.

Other facilities at the City Garden Grand Hotel include an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center, a spa, and a business center. The hotel also has several meeting rooms and a grand ballroom that can accommodate up to 1,000 guests, making it a popular venue for events and conferences.

The hotel’s prime location in Makati puts guests within easy reach of the city’s top attractions and business districts, making it an ideal choice for both leisure and business travelers.

Belmont Hotel Manila is a modern and stylish 4-star hotel located within the vibrant Resorts World Manila complex, just a few minutes away from Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The hotel features 480 well-appointed rooms and suites, each equipped with flat-screen TVs, minibars, and high-speed internet access.

The hotel boasts of several dining options, including Cafe Belmont, which offers a buffet of international and Filipino cuisine, and Rooftop 11, which serves Mediterranean-inspired dishes and offers a stunning view of the city skyline. The Belmont Lounge, located in the lobby, also serves light snacks and refreshments.

Other facilities at the Belmont Hotel Manila include an outdoor swimming pool, a fitness center, a spa, and a business center. The hotel also has several meeting rooms that can accommodate up to 200 guests, making it a popular venue for events and conferences.

The hotel’s location within the Resorts World Manila complex also provides guests with easy access to various entertainment and leisure options, such as a casino, shopping mall, and cinemas.

Manila: A Culinary and Nightlife Adventure

Inside a Buddah Bar in Manila

Manila’s culinary scene is a delightful blend of Filipino, Spanish, Malay, Chinese, and American influences. With countless restaurants and street vendors scattered around the city, there is no shortage of dining options.

For the adventurous foodie, Manila is the perfect place to explore daring culinary delights like balut, taho, fishballs, and dirty ice cream. Wash it down with San Miguel Beer or, for the more adventurous, try tuba, gin bulag, or Tanduay Rhum.

For a luxurious dining experience, Manila offers five-star hotels and upscale restaurants perfect for special occasions.

Manila’s nightlife scene is also a must-see, offering a range of options from cultural shows to futuristic discotheques, karaoke bars, lively casinos, sensational entertainment lounges, and fashionable cafes. As the Entertainment Capital of Southeast Asia, Manila truly has something for everyone.

Shop till you drop: Exploring the vibrant shopping scene of Manila

A jeepney circulating in Manila

Manila is a shopper’s paradise, with the highest concentration of malls and shopping complexes in the Philippines. Some of these malls, like SM Mall of Asia, are even considered among the world’s largest. They offer quality local and foreign merchandise at affordable prices.

Aside from high-end retail boutiques, there are also small bazaars, trade fairs, shops, sidewalk stalls, and markets all over the city. From South Sea Pearls to fashion accessories, ready-to-wear clothing, shoes, and bags, to housewares and home decoration items, shoppers will be pleasantly surprised by the amount of savings they can make. Don’t forget to haggle as well, as it is not only acceptable but a protocol when shopping in Manila’s bustling flea markets.

Roll the Dice: Exploring Manila's Best Casinos

Roll the Dice: Exploring Manila's Best Casinos

There are several casinos in Manila, making it a popular destination for tourists and locals alike who enjoy gambling and gaming. The most famous and largest casino in Manila is the Resorts World Manila, located near the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. This casino offers a variety of games, including slot machines, table games, and poker.

Other popular casinos in Manila include the Solaire Resort and Casino, City of Dreams Manila, and Okada Manila. In addition to gambling, these casinos also offer entertainment, dining, and shopping experiences for visitors.


Scenic view of Manila Bay

Which district to stay in Manila?

If you’re planning a trip to Manila, choosing the right district to stay in can greatly impact your overall experience. This article highlights the best districts to stay in Manila and the top hotels within each district to help you plan your perfect trip.
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