Manila is the second most populated city in the world and a popular tourist destination. It has a rich history and culture, beautiful beaches along its coast, and plenty of interesting things to see and do. However, Manila has a reputation for being dangerous, crowded, and dirty—which can lead some people to avoid visiting altogether. This guide, all about solo travel in Manila, will help you navigate your way through this city like a pro, so you don’t miss out on any of the best places or experiences!
Check the weather before you travel
As a solo traveller, you should always check the weather in the city you are travelling to and from. This is important because if a typhoon hits Manila while you’re there, you might not get back home.
While checking the weather forecast is easy enough on your phone (or on Google), this can actually become more complicated when trying to find out about other cities, too. If it’s raining in Chicago but sunny in New York City, does that mean it will rain during your flight? What if it rains at LAX but not at SFO? Are these airports far enough apart that airlines don’t care about this kind of thing?
Book an airport transfer
Book an airport transfer in advance to make your stay as smooth as possible.
- Always book an airport transfer to the city center if you’re staying there. The most popular destinations include Makati, Ortigas, BGC and Bonifacio Global City (BGC).
- Make sure to book an airport transfer to your hotel if you want more privacy or if it’s too far from the city center. There are plenty of hotels around major landmarks such as Fort Santiago, Intramuros and Luneta Park where tourists can stay for cheap prices during their holiday trip in Manila.
Stay in a hostel or guesthouse close to public transport and amenities
This is especially important if you don’t have a car. It’s much easier to get around Manila this way, and you can meet other travellers who can help show you the sights. You’ll also save money on taxis, which are notoriously expensive in the Philippines. And if you’re travelling alone, it’s nice to have someone else around after dark, plus they may be able to recommend cool places that aren’t on Tripadvisor!
Visit the famous Intramuros walled city
This is one of the fun things to do when on a solo travel to Manila. Intramuros is a walled city within the city of Manila. It’s technically not an attraction per se, but it is definitely worth checking out when you visit Manila. This UNESCO World Heritage Site has been around since 1571 and it was built to protect against invaders from China, Japan and later on Spain.
In addition to being a popular destination for tourists, Intramuros has many attractions that locals love as well such as Fort Santiago (the former Spanish prison), Binondo Church (the oldest Chinese church in the country) and Plaza Mayor – where you can find beautiful architecture and art pieces displayed by local artists!
Be mindful of scams
- Avoid taking taxis from the airport.
If you’re new to travelling, especially by yourself, and especially in Manila, it can be tempting to take a taxi from the airport. However, this is one of the most common scams in Metro Manila and should be avoided at all costs. Instead, book an Uber ride or hire a GrabCar (which is slightly less convenient but much safer). Note these when on a solo trip to Manila.
Visit the Philippine National Museum of Fine Arts
The National Museum of Fine Arts is at the Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex in Pasay City. If you’re coming from Manila, I suggest taking a jeepney or FX (a type of taxi). It’s only a 15-minute ride and costs around 30 pesos ($0.60 USD) one way. The museum has free entry on Tuesdays so if ever you’re in town on that day, check it out!
The museum has an extensive collection of art pieces including paintings, sculptures and photographs from Filipino artists such as Fernando Amorsolo, Juan Luna and Felix Resurreccion Hidalgo among others. There are also featured exhibitions now and then that showcase foreign artists and events such as film screenings for documentaries about Philippine history or culture.
The hours for this facility are 10 am to 6 pm daily except Sundays when they close earlier at 4 pm because most Filipinos attend church services on Sundays so visiting museums would be considered disrespectful by many locals here in Manila who practice Catholicism religiously (again with the religion thing…). This can be inconvenient if your flight leaves later than 6PM but there are still plenty of things to do while waiting around before heading back home, like checking out other attractions within walking distance such as Intramuros or Chinatown where there’s an abundance of street food vendors serving up delicious treats like pancit noodles with chicken or shrimp toppings!
Eat out at local food carts on your Solo Travel to Manila
To truly experience the food of Manila, you must eat out at the local food carts. These are the places where you will find people eating their lunch or dinner. They’re not fancy; they’re just great places to grab a bite to eat!
Here are some tips for finding and eating at local food carts:
- Look for signs that say “Eat here.” You can also look for groups of people outside with plastic chairs sitting around tables on the sidewalk, especially in neighbourhoods with lots of businesses nearby, like Makati City or Cubao (the largest public transport station in Metro Manila). This is a common sight, as many Filipinos love to socialize while they dine together!
- Be prepared to wait your turn since these places get very busy, especially during lunchtime when everyone wants a quick bite before heading back home after work. Sometimes there may even be some waiting lines outside due to lack of space inside so try not to bring too much stuff with yourself like bags or purses because it might take longer time before being seated once all those items are checked by security guards first so don’t forget bringing cash instead
So what should one expect from these types of establishments? During your solo travel in Manila, think comfort food served fast — think chicken adobo made with coconut milk instead milk (or soy sauce), lechon kawali cooked over charcoal grill instead frying pan/skillet but still crunchy skin texture!
Learn some basic phrases in Tagalog to help you get by
You’ll find that the locals in Manila are very friendly and helpful. However, you should learn some basic Tagalog phrases to help you get by. Here are some examples:
- “Hello.” – “Mabuhay”
- “Goodbye.” – “Susunod na araw”
- “Please” – “Paki basa”
- “Thank you” – “Salamat”
- Note: You can use these phrases while traveling in the Philippines if you know how to speak Tagalog.
Get a Filipino massage
- Filipino massage is a type of bodywork that uses the hands, forearms and elbows to apply pressure to muscles.
- Many people enjoy Filipino massage because it’s relaxing, but it can also help relieve pain and improve circulation.
- You can get Philippine massage at many spas in Manila. Massage prices vary depending on where you go; some salons offer half-hour sessions for around $20 USD. If you’re interested in getting your first session with a new masseuse, ask for recommendations from friends or locals at your hotel or hostel—they’ll likely have good suggestions!
- For example: “I just had my first experience with a Filipino massage yesterday and I loved it! It was very relaxing.” The word “experience” here means I’m talking about something specific that happened: my first time getting one.
Visit the Manila Baywalk for a sunset cocktail or coffee
The Manila Baywalk is a scenic waterfront promenade that stretches for almost eight kilometers along the heart of Manila Bay. It’s a great place to go for walks, runs, and dates. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants there too if you want to grab dinner or drinks. And if you’re up for it, they have karaoke bars at night!
Manila is worth visiting, once you overcome your fears.
The Philippines is a beautiful country with friendly and welcoming people who will make you feel right at home. They love to eat, so there are plenty of great food options to choose from. The weather is hot and humid, but there are plenty of beaches where you can relax in the shade or swim with the dolphins! Manila has great shopping venues as well as nightlife options if you’re looking for entertainment beyond museums and historical monuments. And lastly, Manila’s history is fascinating because it was colonized by Spain (and later by the U.S.) for several hundred years before being granted independence at the end of World War II in 1945 – which means that many sites still exist from this period!
Manila is a great place to visit, and it’s worth overcoming your fears. The city is full of culture, history and interesting things to do. You can easily get around with public transport, and there are plenty of places to stay that won’t break the bank. I hope these tips have helped you on your way towards solo travel in Manila!