Rather than seeing Manila as a huge city, focus instead on enjoying its individual areas, and you will start to get a feel for the greater Manila, which really is a sum of its parts. Here, you can shop, eat and drink to your heart's content.

Getting to Manila

Getting to Manila
The main gateway to Manila and the Philippines is Ninoy Aquino International Airport, an important Asian travel hub that serves nearly 30 million passengers every year.

It is situated about 7km south of the Philippines' capital city, which is accessible via a railway line that can be reached by taxi from the airport.

Nino Aquino International comprises four terminals, three of which host international services provided by major carriers such as Cathay Pacific, Emirates, KLM, United Airlines and Delta.

Arriving passengers have access to amenities including banks with foreign exchange desks, a post office, restaurants, coffee shops and bars.

Get to know Manila

Manila spans an area of nearly 39 sq km and accommodates more than 1.6 million people, making it the most densely populated city in the world. It is the second most populous city in the Philippines after its neighbour Quezon City.

The metropolitan region that encompasses the capital is significantly larger, with nearly 21 million citizens inhabiting an area of more than 630 sq km.

Manila is a lively and vibrant city, home to everything from busy commercial districts and government institutions to historical landmarks and sports facilities.

One of the best ways for travellers to get around is to use the integrated railway line, which serves areas such as Malate, Ermita, Quiapo, Binondo and Santa Cruz. Taxis and bus services are also available for holidaymakers who want to see different parts of the city during their stay.

Top five attractions

Top five attractions
One of the best ways to familiarise oneself with Manila and get a feel of the city is by visiting some of its diverse and colourful neighbourhoods, such as Binondo, which is also known as the Chinatown district. Here, visitors can sample Chinese food, explore markets and see sights including churches and temples.

Situated at the northern end of the popular tourist hotspot of Manila Bay is Intramuros, which encompasses the remains of an old walled Spanish settlement. Cathedrals, churches and other historic sites are situated in the area, as well as some of the city's most interesting museums.

One of the most impressive sights the Filipino capital has to offer is the Coconut Palace. This grand building was commissioned by First Lady Imelda Marcos for the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1981.

Manila's range of indoor attractions includes Ocean Park, which is one of the largest sites of its kind in Asia, covering an area larger than that of the famous Sentosa oceanarium in Singapore. Visitors can see more than 300 different species of marine creature, many of which are indigenous to the Philippines and south-east Asia.

An insight into the capital city's past is on offer at Rizal Park, which has a history stretching back to the early 17th century, a time of Spanish rule. The park, which is also known as Luneta, is home to a monument to Dr Jose Rizal, who became a martyr and a hero of the Philippine Revolution when he was executed at the site in 1896.

Direct Flights travel tip for Manila

Enjoy a quintessentially Filipino experience in Manila by taking a ride on a Jeepney, the most popular method of public transportation in the country.

The distinctive vehicles were first made from US military Jeeps left over from World War II and are famous for their colourful decorations and crowded seating.

When to go?

The Philippines has a tropical climate and two seasons - wet and dry. The former runs from late May until November and is defined by typhoons and tropical storms, while the latter spans approximately five months from late November to late April.

December to February is the best time to visit Manila, with temperatures ranging from 24 to 30 degrees C. The city warms up from March to May, but rarely gets hotter than 37 degrees C owing to its coastal setting.