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Flights to Manila (MNL)

Like all the best cities, Manila is a big, busy and bustling metropolis – that much is clear from the moment your flight lands.
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Manila, Philippines

What to do in Manila

Watch sunset at Vieux Chalet

Manila is famous for having one of the best sunsets in the world, and there's no better place to see it than at Vieux Chalet. It’s a family-run, homely restaurant that serves European cuisine, the highlight of which is the cheese fondue .

Taktak Road
Antipolo
Rizal
+63 2 697 0396
vieuxchaletswissrestaurant.com

Visit the National Museum of the Philippines

It's all too easy to come away from a place without learning too much about its history and culture. The Museum of the Filipino People – part of the larger National Museum of the Philippines – offers a fascinating insight into the lives of the locals through the ages. It’s worth the trip for the incredible architecture alone.

Padre Burgos Drive
At Taft Avenue
Rizal Park
1000
+63 2 527 1215
nationalmuseum.gov.ph

Tour Intramuros

A tour of Intramuros – the ‘walled city’ – is a must for anyone visiting Manila. For the best alternative guide, take a tour with the very knowledgeable, very funny, very theatrical Carlos Celdran. If he can't get you excited about the city's history, no one can.

Santa Clara Street
Fort Santiago
Intramuros
+63 2 484 4945
celdrantours.blogspot.co.uk

Take a jeepney tour

A jeepney is what public transport looks like in Manila – old US military jeeps painted all the colours of the rainbow. They each have their own names – Delilah, Rosa – and they're basically the boss on Manila's busy roads. Jeepney Tours' shopping and spa tour ticks many a box.

2414 Medical Plaza
San Miguel Avenue
Ortigas Center
+63 2 401 4332
jeepneytours.com

Shop at Salcedo Market

Manila has some of the most exciting markets in Asia. Salcedo Market runs every Saturday; its fresh produce is unbeatable, and it also attracts the city's trendsetters. Go there on an empty stomach – from local fare to crepes and baklava, there's delicious food on every stand.

L P Leviste Street
Jaime Velasquez Park
Salcedo Village
Makati
facebook.com/SalcedoMarket

Hike Taal Volcano

Taal is an active volcano – the world's smallest. It is an hour or so out of Manila (depending on traffic), near Tagaytay. Once you’re there it's a brisk 30-minute hike to the top, taking in the fresh air and stunning scenery. Go with the Filipino Travel Center for an unforgettable day trip.

Filipino Travel Center
Malate
+63 2 528 4507
filipinotravel.com.ph

Where to eat in Manila

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Vask Modern Tapas & Gastronomic Cuisine (Spanish/Asian fusion)

Prior to the launch of Vask, Chef J Luis Gonzales earned his stripes in the kitchens of three of the 10 best restaurants in the world. He brings all that experience to the table, mixing Spanish cooking with Asian ingredients. The highlight is a 14-course taster menu.

5th Floor
Clipp Center
11th Avenue Corner
39th Street
Bonifacio Global City
Taguig
+632 217 6563
facebook.com/VaskManila

Peking Garden (Chinese)

Very popular with Manila's foodies in the know, Peking Garden is a fine-dining Chinese restaurant that serves the best Peking duck in town. The lunch menu is also good value, but if you're feeling flash you can reserve your own VIP room.

Legaspi Street
Legaspi Village
Makati
+63 2 729 0820
pekinggarden.com.ph

La Cocina de Tita Moning (Filipino)

This restaurant came to life when Chef Suzette Montinola gathered together her late grandmother's recipes and started serving them to friends. It still offers authentic, home-cooked Filipino delights, now in the stunning setting of a former family home, the Legarda Mansion.

San Rafael Street
San Miguel
1005
+63 2 734 2146
+63 2 734 2141
lacocinadetitamoning.com

Green Pastures (International)

Combining two of Manila's favourite pastimes – shopping and eating – Chef Robby Goco proves it is possible to find great food in shopping malls. Green Pastures serves organic, farm-to-table food, from exotic pasta dishes to amazing tuna burgers. The homemade cheeses are not to be missed.

4/F East Wing
Shangri-La Plaza
Shaw Boulevard
Mandaluyong City
+632 654 3219
facebook.com/greenpasturesresto

El Chupacabra (Mexican)

If you're looking for a relaxed place to grab a bite head to El Chupacabra, a dive bar that serves superb Mexican street food – tacos, quesadillas and lots of meat. Try the Super BBQ Stick. This is one of the best, not to mention cheapest, eats in town.

5782 Felipe
Makati City
+63 2 895 1919
facebook.com/Elchupacabraph

Champetre (French)

Chef Marc Aubry is the main man at this authentic French restaurant. Champetre means ‘country living’, which gives you an idea of not just the food it serves, but its cosy, rustic atmosphere as well. French favourites such as lamb chops and coq au vin are paired with beverages sourced from the old country.

Fort Bonifacio G/F Net One Center
Bonifacio Global City
Taguig City
+632 815 8801
facebook.com/pages/Champetre-Boutique-Restaurant

Places to stay in Manila

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The Bayleaf Intramuros

This boutique hotel offers five types of rooms and five-star service, so there's something for every budget. Located in the gorgeous Intramuros district, where all the best attractions are, this makes a great base for those wanting to see the most historic sites in Manila.

Muralla St
Intramuros
+63 2 328 3170
thebayleaf.com.ph

Orchid Garden Suites

As you might be able to guess from the name, Orchid Garden Suites sits in its own tropical gardens. It's a little oasis off the busy streets, and because of this some locals describe it as a ‘secret hotel’. The renovated pre-war mansion is small, subtle and very stylish.

620 Pablo Ocampo Street 
Malate
+63 2 708 9401
orchidgardensuites.com.ph

New Miramar Hotel

The Miramar is one of the most beautiful budget hotels in Asia. This 40-room hidden gem, with its Art Deco atrium and hallways, offers all the facilities you'd expect. It's so colourful, quirky and stylish, it almost feels like you’ve stepped into a scene in a Wes Anderson film.

1034-36 Roxas Blvd corner UN Avenue
1000
+63 2 523 4486
miramarhotel.ph

Manila Hotel

This five-star luxury hotel in Manila has seen a lot of famous faces during its 100-year history. Everyone – from Marlon Brando and the Beatles to Richard Nixon and the Rockefeller Brothers – has checked in over the years, and after a night in one of the grand suites you'll understand why.

Bonifacio Drive
1 Rizal Park
0913
+63 2 527 0011
manila-hotel.com.ph

Hotel H2O

Hotel H2O invites you to ‘sleep with the fishes’. At the top of Manila Bay, part of Manila Ocean Park, its marine-themed rooms and suites come with all the mod cons, while the Aqua Rooms feature huge aquariums. Lots of fun, with excellent service.

Roxas Boulevard
Behind The Quirino Grandstand
Luneta
1000
+63 2 238 6100
hotelh2o.com

Casa Bocobo

With rooms well under $50, Casa Bocobo Hotel is one of the best mid-range properties in town. You're just a short walk from Rizal Park and around a kilometre from Intramuros, so all the best sites and places to eat and shop are on your doorstep.

1000 Bocobo Street
Ermita
1000
+63 2 526 3783
casabocobo.com.ph