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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 travellers 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 all over Australia. Direct flights are available from Sydney, Melbourne, Darwin and Cairns with airlines like Philippines Airlines, Malaysia Airlines and Qantas.

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 welcome relief from exploring the city under the blazing sun.
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Our favourite Manila hotels

chillout guesthouse

Chill-out Guesthouse

A stay at Chill-Out Guesthouse places you in the heart of Manila, minutes from Malate Church and close to SM Mall of Asia. This hostel is within close proximity of Baywalk and Manila Zoo.  
philippines manila

Manila Old and New Sightseeing Tour

Immerse yourself in Manila’s past and present as you travel by comfortable air-conditioned vehicle through the City of Makati and on to Old Manila. Step back in time as you stroll through ancient ruins in historic Intramuros, where you’ll visit UNESCO World Heritage-listed San Agustin Church and Fort Santiago. From your expert and friendly local guide, hear about the Philippines’ interesting Spanish colonial period, as well as its modern-day culture.
Some of the images above are provided courtesy of the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines and Beautiful Destinations