A bustling megacity comprised of skyscrapers and modern shopping malls, Manila offers a range of shopping bargains, fabulous food options and a buzzing nightlife scene. Nestled along the eastern shore of Manila Bay, this city offers an equally hefty serving of modern culture presented in the form of artisan markets and soulful speakeasy bars.
Things to do
Fort Santiago is one of the most prominent tourist destinations in Manila, situated on the edge of the Pasig River. A combination of fountains and plazas enclose the Rizal Shrine Museum, enacted in honour of a national hero. Other points of interest include the dungeon cell blocks and Rizaliana Furniture Hall.
The National Museum of the Filipino People is where you can learn about the history of the area’s first people, while the Metropolitan Museum of Manila juxtaposes exhibitions of premier modern art.
Travellers are spoiled for choice when it comes to shopping malls. Visit the Mall of Asia, one of the largest shopping malls in the world, where you can try your hand at ice-skating at the Olympic-sized rink or take a scenic ride on the 55-metre high Mall of Asia Eye. In addition to shopping for international brands, you can also dine, catch a movie, and often see live performances.
If you’re looking for some family fun or perhaps you just enjoy oceanariums, the Manila Ocean Park boasts more 14,000 sea creatures from around Southeast Asia, including a captivating jellyfish exhibit and penguin park.
For an authentic local experience, you can travel around Manila in a jeepney, a brightly painted taxi loosely modelled on a U.S. army jeep. For short distances, an electric tricycle is much more environmentally friendly. The Manila Light Rail Transit System (LRT) is a good way to avoid traffic in peak hours, while the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) is handy for reaching destinations outside of the city centre, such as Makati and Quezon City.