Manila tourist guide - what to see

As a buzzing metropolis that dates back as far as the 14th Century, Manila remains as popular today as a trade and commerce hub as its ever been. It’s because of the influences from its Asian neighbours and Western colonisers that the city has become a hodgepodge of people and culture. And there are plenty of sights to keep your stay in Manila fascinating.

Manila is slowly becoming a major destination for tourists thanks to recent efforts to protect cultural landmarks and also the impressive growth and development of establishments in the city. And the city offers activities and entertainment any time of the day. Early in the morning when the sun is still forgiving, take a walking tour of Old Manila and see picturesque buildings and intricately designed structures. Visit the walls and ruins that withstood the test of time and Second World War bombings.

Attractions

Visit Malacañang Palace, Ocean Park Manila, historic Intramuros or Asia’s oldest working University of Santo Tomas, there are diverse Manila tourist attractions for all ages and tastes...more

City tours

Tour the city in a horse-drawn kalesa or embark on a historic journey through the ages with thespian guides who act out for tourists the key moments from Manila’s past...more

Intramuros

The ancient walled city of Intramuros was built by Spanish colonisers in order to protect their prized asset from foreign raiders, and today is a living museum that harks back centuries...more

Chinatown

One of the world’s largest and oldest Chinatowns is contained in the Manila district of Binondo where there are oriental markets, fantastic food and temples galore...more

Museums & galleries

There are plenty of Manila museums which will provide visitors with a crash course on Philippine culture including The National Museum, Casa Manila or Bahay Chinoy Museum...more

Churches & temples

Manila is a constant reminder of the country’s Spanish colonial past and there are beautiful cathedrals, basilicas and churches all around the city for the Catholic locals to worship...more

More on what to see in Manila

Museums and galleries are a great place to seek refuge from the scorching Manila midday heat. And in the evening, head over to the Bay Walk and gaze at the infamous sunset over picturesque Manila Bay. After that, head on to the CCP Complex where you can either catch a play or chill at any of the restaurants and coffee shops in Harbour Square, right beside the theatre.

Suggested hotels near Manila Bay

By night time Manila gets ready to party. Numerous cafes, diners, nightclubs and bars stay open until the wee hours of the morning, with most located in the Ermita and the Malate districts. Manila churches are open from sunrise to sunset, and you are allowed to discreetly take pictures of the beautiful interiors except during masses.

Manila is also a good shopping spot for both tourists and locals. Bargain shop at ‘tiangges‘ or flea markets such as Divisoria. Go to Chinatown and shop for unique items and enjoy exotic delicacies. For an upscale and modern shopping, head to the Mall of Asia, one of the world’s largest shopping malls. Here you’ll also see an IMAX theatre, skating rink, bowling alley and other facilities.

In Manila, you’ll never run out of things to do. Each street holds a different kind of surprise. The best way to enjoy the city is by foot. You can also do as the locals do and ride a jeepney, a tricycle, a pedicab, or even a kalesa (horse and carriage). Don’t worry about getting lost, because it’s easy to get directions from locals who all speak English. Delve into this comprehensive guide for everything you need to plan your Manila holiday.

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