The Best 1 to 3 days Manila Itinerary & Budget Guide for First-Time Visitors

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Planning a trip to Manila? Discover the best 1 to 3 days itinerary and budget guide for first-time visitors to this vibrant city. Explore top attractions, indulge in delicious cuisine, and make the most of your time in Manila.


Welcome to Manila, the capital city of the Philippines! As a first-time visitor, you might be wondering how to maximize your experience in this bustling metropolis without breaking the bank. Fear not! In this comprehensive guide, we will outline the best 1 to 3 days itinerary for Manila, packed with exciting activities, must-visit landmarks, and budget-friendly options. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a food lover, or an adventurer, Manila has something to offer for everyone.

The Best 1 to 3 Days Manila Itinerary & Budget Guide

Day 1: Exploring the Cultural Treasures

1. Intramuros: The Walled City

Start your Manila adventure by visiting Intramuros, the historic walled city that dates back to the Spanish colonial era. Walk along cobblestone streets and admire well-preserved Spanish architecture. Don’t miss Fort Santiago, a significant historical landmark where national hero Dr. Jose Rizal was imprisoned.

2. Rizal Park (Luneta Park)

Spend your morning at Rizal Park, also known as Luneta Park, a vast green space honoring the country’s national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. Enjoy a leisurely walk, visit the Rizal Monument, and soak in the serene ambiance of this iconic park.

3. National Museum of the Philippines

Delve into the country’s rich history and art at the National Museum of the Philippines. The museum houses a remarkable collection of artifacts, art pieces, and cultural exhibits, providing valuable insights into the Filipino heritage.

4. Binondo: Manila’s Chinatown

In the evening, head to Binondo, the oldest Chinatown in the world. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere and feast on authentic Chinese cuisine at affordable eateries. Don’t forget to try the famous hopia and tikoy!

Day 2: Intriguing Manila Attractions

5. Manila Ocean Park

Get ready for a day of marine adventures at Manila Ocean Park. Explore the Oceanarium, watch mesmerizing sea lion shows, and have a thrilling encounter with marine creatures in the interactive zones.

6. Bonifacio Global City (BGC)

Visit Bonifacio Global City, also known as BGC, a modern business district teeming with trendy restaurants, shopping centers, and art installations. Enjoy a leisurely stroll along High Street and take Instagram-worthy photos with the colorful murals.

7. The Mind Museum

Satisfy your curiosity at The Mind Museum, an interactive science museum in BGC. Engage in hands-on exhibits that showcase various scientific principles and discoveries.

8. Manila Baywalk

End your day with a relaxing sunset walk at Manila Baywalk. Take in breathtaking views of the sunset over Manila Bay, a picturesque sight to behold.

Day 3: Nature and Leisure

9. Rizal Park Bike Rental

Kickstart your day with a refreshing morning bike ride at Rizal Park. Rent a bike and explore the park’s vast grounds, lush gardens, and monuments.

10. Ayala Triangle Gardens

Visit Ayala Triangle Gardens, a serene urban oasis amidst the city’s hustle and bustle. Take a break from sightseeing and enjoy a peaceful moment surrounded by greenery.

11. Casa Manila

Discover the Spanish colonial lifestyle at Casa Manila, a museum located within Intramuros. Wander through well-preserved rooms showcasing 19th-century furniture and artifacts.

12. San Agustin Church

Explore the grandeur of San Agustin Church, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the oldest stone church in the Philippines. Admire the intricate Baroque architecture and religious art.

Day 4: Day Trip Options

13. Taal Volcano and Taal Heritage Town

Embark on a day trip to Taal Volcano, one of the country’s most active volcanoes. Take a boat ride to the volcano’s island and hike to the crater for a breathtaking view. On your way back, visit Taal Heritage Town to admire ancestral houses and learn about Filipino history.

14. Pagsanjan Falls

Experience an adrenaline-pumping boat ride to Pagsanjan Falls, a magnificent waterfall nestled amidst lush landscapes. Prepare to get wet as you navigate through narrow gorges!

15. Enchanted Kingdom

For an exciting dose of amusement, head to Enchanted Kingdom, the country’s premier theme park. Enjoy thrilling rides, live shows, and delicious snacks for a fun-filled day.

Budget Tips and Accommodation

16. Accommodation Choices

When it comes to accommodation, Manila offers a wide range of options to suit all budgets. From luxurious hotels to budget-friendly hostels, you can find the perfect place to stay without overspending.

17. Local Eateries and Street Food

Indulge in the local cuisine at affordable eateries and street food stalls. Try classic Filipino dishes such as adobo, sinigang, and halo-halo without burning a hole in your pocket.

18. Public Transportation

Utilize the city’s public transportation system, including the LRT and jeepneys, for cost-effective commuting between attractions.

19. Free Attractions

Take advantage of the numerous free attractions, parks, and museums in Manila to enrich your experience without spending a dime.


  1. Is Manila safe for first-time visitors?

    Manila, like any other big city, has its share of petty crimes. However, staying vigilant and avoiding poorly-lit areas at night can help ensure a safe trip. Stick to well-known tourist spots and use reliable transportation options.

  2. What is the best time to visit Manila?

    The dry season, from November to April, is the ideal time to visit Manila as the weather is pleasant for outdoor activities.

  3. Are there English-speaking locals in Manila?

    Yes, English is widely spoken in Manila, making it convenient for English-speaking tourists to communicate with locals.

  4. What should I wear in Manila?

    Light and breathable clothing are recommended due to the tropical climate. However, when visiting religious sites, dress modestly and avoid sleeveless tops or shorts.

  5. How do I get from the airport to the city center?

    Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) offers various transportation options, including taxis and airport shuttles, to reach the city center.

  6. Can I extend my 3-day Manila trip?

    Absolutely! Manila has so much to offer that you might want to extend your stay to explore more attractions and experiences.


Manila is a city of contrasts, where history meets modernity and nature coexists with urban development. By following this comprehensive 1 to 3 days itinerary and budget guide, you’ll make the most of your time in Manila while immersing yourself in the rich culture and vibrant energy of the Philippines’ capital. So pack your bags, prepare for an exciting adventure, and get ready to create unforgettable memories in Manila.

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