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Travel Guide

Baywalk showing boating, a bay or harbour and a city

Manila is a chaotically colourful city, ripe with history and culture, from ancient ruins to lively nightlife.

Manila has a distinct vibrancy and energy that is the product of ongoing economic expansion and a continuously growing population. It is one of the biggest urban areas in the world – a fusion of 16 different towns – and a place where hustle and bustle energy are the order of the day.

Manila's history is one of instability, from being invaded by the British, Japanese and Spanish, to being partially destroyed by fires, earthquakes and wartime bombing. As a result, it has a unique character with residents full of charming survival instinct and fascinating local stories – as well as a mishmash of architectural styles.

Some of the most ancient sites can be seen in the city’s oldest quarter – Intramuros – where the defences built by the Spanish in the 16th century felt the force of the bombs of World War Two, and have now been rebuilt. Here you will find the Baluarte de San Diego, one of the oldest stone fortifications in the city, as well as the Baluarte de San Andres – built to protect the old Puerta Real.

Learn more about the history of Manila’s walled city at Spanish-built Fort Santiago, and admire the resilience of the Filipino people and their enduring faith in the rebuilt Manila Cathedral.

There are numerous attractions in the vicinity of Intramuros, including the ornamental gardens of Rizal Park and the National Museum of the Filipino People where visitors can learn more about this compelling country and its culture, including ancient discoveries, trading history and traditional burial rites. Casa Manila Museum is a reproduction of a Spanish colonial house full of period furniture and overflowing with history.

Manila is a city that has survived and thrived by its vicinity to the Pacific Ocean, s there are plenty of water-focused activities to enjoy – from taking a ferry ride along the Pasig River to exploring the buzzing bars and nightlife of Baywalk.

Manila is a busy city, and the light rail and metro are usually the best transport options. Travel by road tends to take a little longer but there are plenty of inexpensive, air-conditioned taxis, so if you do get stuck in a jam then take lesson from the locals and just sit back and relax.

Where to stay in Manila

Bayview Park Hotel Manila
Bayview Park Hotel Manila
3 out of 5
1118 Roxas Boulevard, corner United Nations Avenue, Manila, Manila
The price is NZ$108 per night from 18 May to 18 May
Located in Ermita, this hotel is steps away from U.S. Embassy and Rizal Park. Manila Bay and Manila Ocean Park are also within 10 minutes. United Nations LRT ...
3.9/5Very Good! (999 reviews)
Good hotel!
"My room was clean. My only concern was it smells cigs. It said it’s non-smoking. I don’t smoke, never smoke. I hate the smell of it. It lingers and hard to get rid of. The rug was looking old and stained. The service is great. The breakfast is fantastic. I would recommend it to others and really ..."

Reviewed on 28 Oct. 2020

Bayview Park Hotel Manila
Nichols Airport Hotel
Nichols Airport Hotel
3 out of 5
484 Quirino Avenue, Baclaran, Parañaque, Manila
Free cancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is NZ$71 per night from 21 May to 21 May
This family-friendly Parañaque hotel is located near the airport, within 3 mi (5 km) of SMX Convention Center, SM Mall of Asia and Embassy of Japan. Cuneta Astrodome ...
3.4/5 (725 reviews)
"Friendly and great service for my family to stay overnight."

Reviewed on 2 Jan. 2021

Nichols Airport Hotel
Holiday Inn Express Manila Newport City, an IHG Hotel
Holiday Inn Express Manila Newport City, an IHG Hotel
3 out of 5
1 Jasmine Drive, Pasay, Manila
The price is NZ$145 per night from 28 May to 28 May
Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 3 miles (5 km) of Resorts World Manila, Fort Bonifacio and Venice Grand Canal Mall. SM Makati is 3 mi (4.8 km) ...
3.9/5Very Good! (1,411 reviews)
"Me and my son stayed here for 7 days to comply with the government quarantine procedures for returning filipino citizen. So we don't have a choice but to be in the room for 7 days, fortunately the place is nice and the room is clean."

Reviewed on 21 Mar. 2021

Holiday Inn Express Manila Newport City, an IHG Hotel
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.
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 a 15-minute walk of Uptown Mall, St Luke's Medical Center Global City and Bonifacio High Street. Fort ...
4.4/5Excellent! (10 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
Aruga Apartments by Rockwell Makati
Aruga Apartments by Rockwell Makati
4 out of 5
Waterfront Drive, Rockwell Center, Makati, Manila
The price is NZ$154 per night from 17 May to 17 May
Located in Makati Downtown, this aparthotel is 0.1 mi (0.2 km) from Power Plant Mall, and within 3 mi (5 km) of Makati Medical Center and SM Megamall. Fort Bonifacio ...
4.5/5Wonderful! (435 reviews)
"Ease of booking Quite centrally located Connected to the Power Plant mall"

Reviewed on 17 Apr. 2021

Aruga Apartments by Rockwell Makati
JMM Grand Suites
JMM Grand Suites
3 out of 5
1622 Jorge Bocobo Street, Manila, Manila
The price is NZ$65 per night from 17 May to 17 May
Located in Malate, this aparthotel is within a 10-minute walk of Robinson's Place, Manila Bay and Baywalk. Rizal Park and U.S. Embassy are also within 15 minutes. ...
3.6/5Good! (398 reviews)
"Location in relation to St. Luke and free parking."

Reviewed on 30 Jan. 2021

JMM Grand Suites
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 activities in Manila

Reviews of Manila


Guest rating

5 - Excellent
5 - Excellent 16.666666666666668%
4 - Good
4 - Good 37.878787878787875%
3 - Okay
3 - Okay 33.333333333333336%
2 - Disappointing
2 - Disappointing 7.575757575757576%
1 - Terrible
1 - Terrible 4.545454545454546%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

8 Mar. 2020

An eye opener for sure.. so much activity

4/5 - Good


28 Nov. 2019

Good for a short trip to visit the National Museum, Old Manila and even Jones Bridge as it6 Christmas lights were magnificent with Parisian undertones! Just need trusted car/ van or Grab taxi to go around for convenience.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

19 Nov. 2019

Manila is a hot tropical place, full of lots of traffic and people. Be prepared where every you go there, always smile and say hello to people.

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveller

12 Nov. 2019

Not the safest place to go, especially in Makati. Keep your wallet and phone safe.

1/5 - Terrible


10 Nov. 2019

Really terrible traffic congestion. If you plan to visit, go outside of Metro Manila but do your shopping in the metro.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

3 Nov. 2019

I am from Australia and my wife and I live in the Philippines. I love the Philippines.

Cities near Manila