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Most travelers go to the Philippines for a taste of the archipelago's world-class
beaches and tropical islands, or maybe to spend a couple of peaceful days in the
mountain provinces or countryside. Whichever of the 7,107 islands you're heading
to, the most important hub you'll be passing through is the Philippine's capital:
For the first-timer, Manila can be pretty chaotic. It's very different from the
Philippines you see in travel websites and magazines. But before you dismiss
Manila as just another chaotic city, take a moment to relax and regroup. The chaos
is just one layer there's much more to Manila than meets the eye.
While the famed tropical paradise spots are indeed just a few hours' bus ride or a
short plane trip away from Manila, don't leave too quickly! There is actually so
much to see and do in this dynamic, vibrant city. Manila is at the heart of
everything. It is home to cultural and historical landmarks and it can give you a
better understanding and appreciation of the Filipino psyche.
The majority of international flights to the Philippines go to the NAIA
terminals in Metro Manila.
You'll see A LOT of different kinds of transportation within Metro Manila
trains, taxis, buses, jeepneys, tricycles, pedicabs, motorcycles, etc.
Public transportation can be a bit tricky, especially for first-time visitors.
Taxis are relatively cheap just make sure to ask the driver to use the meter.
You can also use Uber within Metro Manila.
The metro rail lines are convenient and fast: here's a map to help you find
your way around.
If you only have a couple of days to spend in Metro Manila, it's best to stay in
Manila city proper, especially if you're going to visit Intramuros and Binondo. I
highly suggest that you book your first few nights' stay in advance, as walking
around Manila in search of a place to stay isn't a very fun experience.
Highly-rated hotels in Manila include New World Manila Bay Hotel (double
rooms start at USD 160) and Pan Pacific Manila (do