Manila is the capital of Phillippines and is one of the most urbanized cities on the Eastern side of the planet. This place is very urbanized and filled with all types of entertainment, citizens, tourists, culture and many other things that will make your vacation in Manilla quite a unique experience. Traveling to this kind of place will be like no other city you have ever been too. At least, that is what many people claim who have visited Manila.
Unfortunately, Manila is a bit underrated and it is not appreciated enough. This is why we decided to write this 2023 travel guide to help tourists have a great time when visiting the Philippines. If you feel like Manila is too overwhelming to explore by yourself, make sure you read this informative guide.
For all of those who are in love with history and older architecture, Intramuros is definitely the place to be. This old part of the city is filled with buildings, streets, and houses before the 20th century. It is heavily populated and oversaturated with buildings because it is closed off in huge walls from the 16th and 17th centuries.
Before this country of more than 7,600 islands was formed, it was ruled by the Spanish East Indies and made Intramuros their capital. During their ruling, Intramuros was constantly upgraded with new walls, new churches, buildings, palaces, parks, and gardens. This colonial architecture will take you back in time and make you feel like you are actually in 16th century Europe instead of Southeast Asia.
If you are unsure what exactly you should do in Intramuros, we recommend you visit the Casa Manila which is a huge house that is from beautiful stone and painted wood. The house is actually a museum and it is made out of three floors and every single one of them you can find all kinds of important ancient artifacts.
Just outside of the grand house are the tight streets that will be filled with both Filipino citizens and tourists. To fully experience the life in the Philippines, you definitely should spend some time walking and looking around the shops and the people’s lifestyle. Of course, you shouldn’t stare, because that is rude in every country, especially if you are an outsider.
2. Binondo Chinatown
It might not seem like a very provocative idea, but Binondo is considered to be one of the world’s oldest Chinatown which is interesting enough to convince you to roam its streets. Binondo isn’t exactly the most outsider friendly place because it is crowded with local, taxis, cars and people are constantly honking. But, that is simply just how the Chinatown works and it has been there for centuries.
It might not seem like much at first, but once you get to the restaurants, you will be glad you decided you should visit Binondo. Our personal favorites have to be the roast duck, the amazing noodle soups and a classic dim sum. If you are looking for a place to stay in Binondo, check out RedDoorz.
When looking around for the perfect restaurant, we recommend that you look for those that are filled with locals. Most tourists have no idea which one they should visit since it is their first time there, but the locals know what they like and what they get for their money.
3. Go on a bit of shopping
People would consider you crazy if you do not go on at least one shopping spree while in Manila. This city is very famous for its huge malls that are filled with hundreds, if not thousands of different shops that offer low prices. You should also keep in mind that there a lot of second-hand shops and street markets that can give you a cheap offer for branded clothing.
Before you set out to your shopping spree, make sure you know a bit about haggling and be confident when you do it. If the seller notices that you do not have any previous experience in haggling, they won’t go lower with their prices or might even go higher.
4. Check out Rizal Park and Paco Park for some relaxation
Everyone loves walking down the streets of a beautiful city for hours and hours, but after a certain time, it can get quite energy-consuming. The cars constantly zooming right next to you, locals talking in their own language confusing you, honking, yelling and a lot more. This does not mean that it is a bad experience, but you are probably not used to that kind of environment which is why it can get too much at times.
Fortunately, close to the center of Manila, you can find Paco Park which has its own garden. The garden is full of flat lawns where you can sit down a bit and enjoy the weather. The small forest in the park will provide you with enough shade to protect you in the sunny days.
If you do not like Paco Park or if there are too many people present then consider visiting Rizal park which we believe is a bit more relaxing. With just a ten minute walk you will be able to see anything from nature, statues, small lakes, fountains and even museums.
Wherever you go, it is important that you take it slow and relax.
5. Manila Ocean Park
A country that is filled with so many islands and with so much exposure to water, it is quite normal that it would have one of the best marine parks in the world. The Manila Ocean Park is not just a place to observe marine life. You are provided with lots of other entertainment options to satisfy your needs. You can go swimming together with a dolphin, maybe pet some penguins and a bunch of other things that you have probably never experienced. You simply cannot visit Manila without visiting its ocean park that is filled with all kinds of marine life.