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World Travel Guide > Guides > Asia > Philippines > Manila

Manila Weather

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Local time Manila

Currency

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Travel to Manila

Flying to Manila

Philippine Airlines offers direct flights from the UK to Manila. Alternatively, there are plenty of options involving one stopover, including flights with Thai Airways via Bangkok and Cathay Pacific via Hong Kong. From the USA, there are also direct flights with Philippine Airlines.

Flight times

From London - 13 hours 40 minutes; New York - 20 hours (including stopover); Los Angeles is 14 hours 20 minutes; Toronto - 19 hours (including stopover); Sydney - 8 hours 30 minutes.

Travel by road

Traffic drives on the right and the minimum driving age is 18 (although ‘student permits’ are available to 16 year-olds). Speed limits within Manila vary from 40kph (25mph) to 100kph (63mph) on expressways.

An overseas national driving licence is acceptable but can only be used for up to three months after arriving in the Philippines.

Emergency breakdown services

Automobile Association Philippines (tel: +63 2 723 0808).

Routes

The two main roads in and out of Metro Manila are NLEX (North Luzon Expressway) and SLEX (South Luzon Expressway), both of which are toll operated. NLEX leads to Bulacan, Pampanga (Mt Pinatubo), Angeles (Clark) and Baguio City. SLEX leads to Laguna, Tagaytay, Batangas, Quezon Province and Legaspi City (Mayon Volcano).

EDSA (Epifanio de los Santos Avenue) is the main road through metropolitan Manila. It spans north to south allowing access to the major cities and the airport. EDSA begins in the south, along Manila Bay, and ends in the north in Caloocan City. For access to Manila Bay, Rizal Park and the international hotels of Ermita and Malate, use Roxas Boulevard.

Coaches

There is no central bus station in Manila so bus companies operate from multiple terminals around the city such as Cubao and Pasay City.

Philtranco (tel: +63 2 851 8078; www.philtranco.com.ph) operates buses between Manila and southern Philippines destinations such as Legaspi, Sorsogon, Tacloban (Leyte) and Davao on Mindanao Island.

Victory Liner (tel: +63 2 559 7735; www.victoryliner.com) operates services into Northern Luzon to Angeles, Baguio and Banaue (for the rice terraces).

Time to city

From Angeles - 1 hour 15 minutes; Baguio - 5 hours; Batangas - 2 to 3 hours; Legaspi - 10 to 12 hours; all depending on Manila’s chronic traffic jams.

Travel by Rail

Services

Few visitors arrive to Manila by train because of the limited services operated. The main railway station is Tutuban on Dagupan Street.

Operators

Philippine National Railways (tel: +63 2 319 0041; www.pnr.gov.ph) is the sole train operator. Its single operational line, Main Line South, runs infrequent services across Southern Luzon to Legaspi via Calamba and Naga. The journey takes around 10 hours but bus services are quicker and more comfortable.

Travel by boat

The Philippines consists of more than 7,000 islands, so hundreds of ferries pass through Manila each week bound largely for domestic destinations. Several major ferry accidents in recent years have created high-profile news, but put in the context of so many services, this shouldn’t deter you. However, you might think twice about sailing during typhoon season.

Larger ferry operators offer discounted advanced purchase promo fares on their websites.

Manila International Port is referred to as Pier or simply ‘Port Area’. It is divided into North and South Harbours. The South Harbour is located off Bonifacio Drive near the Manila Hotel. The North Harbour is off Marcos Road nearby Intramuros. Most ferries arrive at South Harbour and leave from North Harbour. The Philippines Port Authority (tel: +63 2 527 8356; www.ppa.com.ph) can provide further information.

Ferry operators

2GO Travel (tel: +63 2 528 7000; http://travel.2go.com.ph) is the umbrella operator for many major ferry services.

Transfer

Both harbours in Manila are short taxi rides to Ermita and Malate’s tourist hotels. Many taxis frequent the harbours but make sure they switch on their meters before setting off or agree a price.

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Featured Hotels

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Hostel 1632

Penny pinchers and night owls will find succour in this budget hostel. Its 106 air-conditioned, en-suite rooms are boxy and cramped and almost have a capsule feel. But Hostel 1632's position on M Adriatico Street is plum in the heart of Malate. There's a café in the lobby serving local and international food for those craving pasta or pizzas.

Pan Pacific Manila

This luxurious skyscraper hotel in Manila is justifiably popular because of its top-drawer location in Malate's tourist quarter. It's worth the extra splurge to access the top-floor, glass-surrounded Pacific Lounge – lovely in the evening for sipping cocktails and listening to the pianist. The Manila hotel also offers 24-hour butler service and Japanese, Chinese and international restaurants. Early-bird bookings on Pan Pacific's website push prices down into the moderate bracket.

Sonya’s Garden

This divine slice of tranquillity is located two hours' drive from downtown Manila's hullabaloo. County vogue furnished cottages replete with lace curtains, iron bedsteads and polished wooden floors, all surrounded by herb gardens and sumptuous countryside. Sonya's organic farm ensures guests enjoy tasty and healthy food. The bread is baked on site while the garden spa offers a full range of holistic treatments.

The A.Venue Hotel Suites

Swish and trendy, this is affordable chic amid Makati's skyscrapers. Set in three towers, the suites have Asian-styled contemporary interiors and minimalist décor and feature kitchenettes and free Wi-Fi. Amenities include a gym, a spa, a swimming pool, a Mediterranean restaurant and a cafe.

ZEN Rooms Peñafrancia

Set in a quiet residential area, this small hotel offers light, simply furnished rooms in Japanese style at a good price. Amenities include flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi and tea and coffee-making facilities.

Henry Hotel

Conveniently located in the heart of the city, within walking distance of the Mall of Asia and close to the airport, this boutique hotel is a tranquil escape from the city and features landscaped gardens and a swimming pool. The hotel itself is comprised of a number of buildings and includes a small museum and art gallery. Rooms are chic and spacious. Breakfast is included, and there's also a cafe.