Manila's metropolitan area actually encompasses several small cities and towns so each area has its own special vibe and atmosphere. The size of the city can prove daunting to visitors, but if you pick the places you want to see and give yourself enough time to ease into Manila's pace of life, you will soon start to enjoy the incredible sights, sounds, flavours, and energy that this city has to offer.
The walled Intramuros area is an ideal place to start your exploration as this is where you will find dozens of historic buildings and monuments from Manila's colonial days. Shopaholics can bargain for discounts in Binondo and Quiapo, those looking for the city's nightlife hotspots should make their way to Malate, and for the best combination of all the best bits of Manila, the vibrant Makati area provides an interesting glimpse of everyday life in the city.
Stroll along the banks of the Pasig River, delve into Spanish history at Fort Santiago, see if you can witness the colour and fanfare of a local wedding at San Agustin Church, or buy souvenirs of your trip from one of the many art galleries here. Whatever you choose to do once you touch down in the city, start your trip off on a great note with cheap flights to Manila from FlightNetwork®.
Manila's Ninoy Aquino Airport (MNL) is located about 16 km away from the city centre and spread out over four large terminals. Airlines that fly to this airport include several Asian carriers like Eva Air and China Airlines as well as international carriers like KLM, Delta, Lufthansa, and Gulf Air. Passengers flying from Canada's west coast can book with Philippine Airlines and take advantage of their direct flights to Manila from Vancouver.
When booking your return flights, check to see if the mandatory departure tax is included in your airfare as you might need to pay this separately when you leave the country.
Temperatures in Manila do not vary much and the average for the year is about 26°C. Manila is located in the tropics and is therefore always humid, but this is especially so in the wet season which extends from June to November. Manila often gets flooded during this time so it's best to avoid booking flights to Manila during the monsoons.
Manila's dry season runs from December to May, and that is when most tourists plan their trips to the city. Flights and hotels are are cheaper after Christmas and New Year's, when the holiday shoppers have left, so if you want to avoid the crowds and get a good deal on your airline tickets, this is the time to book.
Terminal 2 of Ninoy Aquino Airport (MNL) is served exclusively by Philippine Airlines while all other international airlines operate out of Terminal 1. Terminals 3 and 4 receive domestic flights only. Passengers who need to travel between the terminals for connecting flights can use the free airport shuttle service which runs on a loop between all four terminals. Bear in mind that this service is not available between 1:30 and 3:30 a.m. so if your flight to Manila arrives during this time, you will have to take a taxi to the connecting flight's terminal.
Public Transit: Metro-Rail Transit services for the airport operate from the the Epifanio De Los Santos Avenue (EDSA) Taft Station and there is an airport shuttle which operates between the station and the airport. Those who prefer travelling by road can use any of the buses on EDSA-MIA route. A one-way fare on either mode of transport will cost less than $1 CAD, making this an extremely cheap way to travel to and from the airport.
Hotel Shuttle: While most major hotels in the city offer shuttle services to their guests arriving on Manila flights, very few of these are complimentary. If you opt for a hotel shuttle, be sure to check on the price for the service as it might be cheaper to just take a cab or even use the public transit service if you don't have much luggage with you.
Taxi: Besides metered cabs, you can also find 'coupon taxis' outside all the airport terminals which operate on a fixed rate basis. Depending on your destination, the coupon taxi fare could be much more expensive than a metered cab. However, the situation could also be reversed if you're travelling during peak hours, which means you pay a high fare for simply being stuck in a traffic jam. Most travellers recommend taking a coupon taxi if this is your first time in the city and then moving on to metered cabs. Fares range from $5-$10 CAD from the airport to the city's main areas.
Car Rental: Several car rental companies have booking kiosks at Terminals 1 and 2 including Alamo, Nissan Rent A Car, and ASSI Transport Services, Inc. To save time, it is advisable to carry a photocopy of your driver's licence with you so that you don't have to wait for a copy to be made at the airport.