There’s plenty to fit into 48 hours in the vibrant Filipino capital of Manila. From soaking up the city’s rich culture and heritage to strolling through the world’s oldest Chinatown and feasting on fine local food, Manila has it all.
The busy and energetic capital city of Manila is where old and new collide. Famed for its diverse culture and history, while embracing a new modern world, the capital is a heady mix of Spanish colonial architecture and striking contemporary skyscrapers. With plenty to pack into 48 hours, here’s how to explore some of the city’s top attractions.
Day 1: Morning
Take a step back in time and explore Manila’s walled city, Intramuros. The most common way is by foot, strolling along the cobblestone streets at your own pace. Alternatively, ride a kalesa – horse-drawn cart – to explore the historic area that sits at the heart of old Manila. The walled city houses the famed citadel Fort Santiago, Manila Cathedral, St Agustin Church and various colonial houses.
There are also several luxury dining venues in the area, often attached to the five-star hotels. From Wolfgang's Steakhouse to luxurious interiors, a wide selection of cuisines, and the Cheese Room at the Spiral - Sofitel Philippine Plaza Manila.
Day 1: Afternoon
After lunch at one of the delightful eateries that dot the area, spend the afternoon museum-hopping. The National Museum of Fine Arts is home to a range of artefacts and historic artworks presented in 29 glorious galleries and hallway exhibitions.
Closeby are the informative National Museum of Natural History and National Museum of Anthropology. Sprawling Rizal Park is within walking distance and spans 58 acres, making it one of Asia’s largest urban parks. To the south of the park area is the Rizal Monument and several other popular attractions such as the Open-Air Auditorium, Independence Flagpole, Central Musical and Dancing Fountain.
The perfect way to cap a day over the bustling city of Manila is with a helicopter tour taking in aerial views of Metro Manila, Fort BGC, Pasig, Quezon City, La Mesa Eco Park, Makati, Greenhills, Manila Bay, Entertainment City, and the Ortigas CBD! We have several tailored charter packages also available.
Day 1: Evening
Shopaholics will be in their element in Manila, with the city sprinkled with elegant and designer malls.
Greenbelt in nearby Makati City spans 250,000 square meters and features outlets from L’Occitane, and Lancôme, Bottega Veneta, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Marc by Marc Jacobs, and Prada.
Alternatively head to SM Mall of Asia and browse the variety of shops spread over six floors before heading to the Sunset View Deck to watch the sun sink into Manila Bay.
The area is also home to a delightful collection of food stalls serving a variety of local dishes. Sampling Manila’s seafood dampa is a must. This involves buying fresh seafood and handing it over to the small kitchens that populate the area to have it cooked up as you like.
If you want something more exclusive, try one of the luxury hotels that offer world-class dining and often have events and on-site exclusive bars:
- The Peninsula Manila
- Makati Shangri-La Manila
- Nobu Hotel Manila
Day 2: Morning
Awaken the senses and spend the morning exploring lively Chinatown. Binondo holds the title of the world’s oldest Chinatown and is home to a colourful network of shopping streets.
Save some space after breakfast, because this bustling trading hub is where locals flock to buy authentic Chinese food and ingredients. The area is peppered with food vendors, small eateries, and restaurants.
Day 2: Afternoon
Afternoon tea at The Writers Bar located at Raffles is the perfect way to enjoy one of Manila's best spots which change themes, surrounded by elegant comfort.
You can also kick back at the Director’s Club Cinema which is inside The Conrad Hotel. Styled as Manila’s first hotel-based cinema, it offers La-Z-Boy inside the five-star hotel which also has a high-end shopping mall called S Maison on-site.
Day 2 Evening
There are excellent cocktail, cigar, and prohibition-style bars serving fantastic drinks in Manila. The Peak, which is located on the 80th floor of Grand Hyatt Manila offers stunning views and well-crafted cocktails, a wine selection, imported fresh oysters, among a tasty sampling selection.
If you are seeking more thrills, there are many casinos in the city which include the City of Dreams, Resorts World Manila and Solaire Resort and Casino which all have VIP and member deals.