The Philippines’ fascinating capital blends ancient heritage with hi-tech amenities to dazzling effect. Flights from London to Manila Ninoy Aquino International Airport whisk you effortlessly to the ‘Pearl of the Orient’ in just 14 hours. After you’ve gasped in wonder at the high-rise skyline, dig below the city’s gleaming modern surface to uncover lustrous gems from its Spanish colonial past, with the sparkling waters of Manila Bay as its picturesque backdrop.
Manila’s tropical climate experiences only minor variations in temperature, with the main typhoon season between June and September bringing bursts of heavy rainfall and increased humidity. However, this doesn’t deter a surge of visitors during the popular European summer holiday months of July and August, when flights reach their annual peak prices. The major Catholic festival of the Feast of the Black Nazarene in January is also one of the busiest times to visit. Travel in November or February to benefit from the best rates on direct routes, or try your luck with last-minute bargains on one-stop London to Manila flights if your travel dates are flexible.
National carrier Philippine Airlines operates direct London to Manila flights that cover the 6,700-mile journey between Heathrow and Manila in around 14 hours. The Philippines is 8 hours ahead of London, so you can enjoy a night’s sleep on the plane and an early night once you arrive. Alternatively, consider breaking your journey to while away a few hours en route. Thai Airways International travels via Bangkok in under 17 hours, while competitively priced options include Saudi Arabian Airlines via Jeddah and Oman Air via Muscat. Turkish Airlines offers London Gatwick departures via Istanbul, while Emirates and Cathay Pacific fly the same route with a stop in Dubai and Hong Kong respectively.
Manila’s busy Ninoy Aquino Airport is the principal international gateway to the Philippines, so it’s used to handling large volumes of passenger traffic. If it’s your first time in this big city it’s recommended to take a cab direct to your hotel. Official licensed taxis can be pre-booked or hired at the terminal – expect to pay around 200 Pesos for the journey to the city centre, which can take up to 1 hour in heavy traffic. Buses run between the airport and major city centre locations. An alternative option is to take a taxi ride to Baclaran Light Rail Transit (LRT) station and catch Line 1 into central Manila.
Discover both sides of Manila’s unique blend of ancient and modern. Wander through the historic district of Intramuros, where the mix of Spanish Colonial and American Neo-Classical architecture chronicles Manila’s legacy prior to independence in 1946. Then head over to the Cultural Center of the Philippines, a vast showcase of civic pride that comprises a flagship theatre, concert arena and the flamboyant Coconut Palace, commissioned by the equally flamboyant First Lady Imelda Marcos.
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