Manila is more a collection of towns with no finite centre than a traditional city. These diverse areas, though, combine wonderfully to create a fluid, buzzing metropolis that’s teeming with life and things to do.
Composed of sixteen of these distinct neighbourhoods, Manila is large and best explored by part, rather than undertaking the entire city as a whole. It also means that, wherever you are, you’re more than likely to be close to a ‘mini’ hub with numerous shops, bars and restaurants.
The more popular districts for visitors are Ermita and Malate, where you’ll find the hustle and bustle of city life at its height, with varied accommodation and all the night-time entertainment you could hope for. Culture and history lovers will enjoy the historic old walled-town of Intramuros; centuries-old dungeons, gunpowder rooms and fascinating architecture all remain, alongside relatively modern additions like art galleries and theatres.
Of the northern districts, the city’s Chinatown, Binondo, is also worth a visit and the area of Quiapo – although downmarket in comparison to more cosmopolitan areas in the south – has a certain energy to it thanks to its assortment of unique markets. Various traditional festivals take place throughout the city during the year, so try and coincide your trip with one to join colourful celebrations in the streets.
Located on Manila Bay in the South China Sea, Manila has a climate that stays consistently warm throughout the year, rarely dipping below 20°C. Together with the rest of the Philippines, the city sits entirely within the tropics and has a relatively long wet season, usually between the months of May and December. As a result, if you’re wondering when might be the best time to book your flights to Manila, you should try and visit outside of these months to escape the wetter weather.
If exploring this charming, intriguing city interests you, Carlton Leisure offers great deals on flights to Manila, starting as low as £340.46 GBP .