Layover In Manila: Travel Tips & Things To Do

Layover In Manila: Travel Tips & Things To Do
Laarni Lanox
Endorsed by Local Expert
Laarni Lanox

Have a layover in Manila and not quite sure what to do? Whether you’re in the city for a few hours or a full day, you can always find something to do to pass the time. Fortunately, NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) is filled with shops, cafes and stalls, and is not far from many destinations you can explore. Check out these things you can do and things to take note of when you have a layover in the Philippines’ capital!

Visa requirements

Philippine passport
Source: Photo by user Jerick Parrone used under CC BY-SA 2.0

If you’re only staying in the airport for a few hours, visa restrictions shouldn’t be a problem for you. But if you have a layover of more than twelve hours (or you just don’t want to stay in the airport for a long time), the Philippines allows travelers from select countries to tour the Philippines visa-free for 30 days – so long as they hold valid tickets for their next destination or their return journey to where they came from. You can find a handy guide for visa requirements, depending on your country of origin,

Visa Information

Website: Balinkbayan.Gov


Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) Terminal 1
Source: Photo by Flickr user Paulo O used under CC BY 2.0

Transportation from NAIA used to be only available via taxi, but now transportation options have expanded. If you want to take a taxi, you can take the regular yellow airport taxis with a flag down rate of PHP 70 (1.39 USD), or the white metered taxi with a flag down rate of PHP 30 (0.60 USD). GrabCar, a ride-hailing app, set up a kiosk as well in the airport so you don’t need to download the app to get a private car through their service.

NAIA also has a new premium bus route equipped with CCTV, GPS and WiFi. This bus passes through Roxas Boulevard (Midas Hotel, Hotel Jen, Manila Hotel, Mall of Asia) and Makati City (Glorietta 4 and 5, and Ascott Hotel). Flat rate here is at PHP 300 (6.00 USD).

Lastly, you can also ride the Victory airport shuttle bus that takes passengers from NAIA, where it is boarded at the arrival area of NAIA terminal 3, to Victory Liner Bus terminal in Pasay City.


Taxi2Airport is the easiest and most reliable way to get to and from the airport. Through secure online payments, you can book your airport transfers in advance, saving up to 35% on your journey.

Luggage storage

Source: Needpix

Located at NAIA Terminal 3, Luggage&More is a facility covered by a 24-hour operating CCTV system to watch over and hold on to your luggage. This is perfect for those who are traveling with heavy bags and a lot of luggage, and who just need a place to store their belongings while they explore Manila during their layover. They are open from 4:00am to 11:00pm, and storage rates start at PHP 150 (3.00 USD) per 3 hours for a small luggage item (backpack or briefcase). You can read more about their rates


Website: ProtectABag

Layover of less than 12 hours

1. In the airport

NAIA Terminal 1 Jan 2018
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Hariboneagle927 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

If you prefer to stay in the airport premises, you can eat (many food stalls run abound), surf the internet using free airport WiFi, shop at Duty Free, or get a massage at SM Kenko Spa.

2. Resorts World

ResortsWorldManilajfjf9934 09
Source: Photo by user Ramon FVelasquez used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Maybe you have more time on your hands and want to go out for a bit. Resorts World is a mall and casino located near NAIA, and you can even take a shuttle from NAIA Terminal 3 to Resorts World for only PHP 20 (0.40 USD). Here, you can play at the casino, watch a movie, shop or eat as well.

Resorts World

Address: Newport Boulevard, Newport City. Pasay 1309, Metro Manila

Access: Take a shuttle from NAIA terminal 3 (PHP 20 or 0.40 USD)

Website: Resorts World

3. Intramuros

Intramuros Manila
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Armanbarbuco used under CC BY-SA 3.0

A trip to Intramuros shouldn’t take long, but if you really want to maximize the time, you can visit Intramuros for about 5-6 hours including transportation time. Located in Manila City, Intramuros is only accessible via taxi from the airport. Here, you can walk around the famed walled city, visit the San Agustin Cathedral and San Agustin Museum, and the historical attraction of Fort Santiago.


Address: Intramuros, Manila City

Price: Fort Santiago - PHP 75 (1.50 USD); Bahay Tsinoy - PHP 100 (2.00 USD); San Agustin Museum - PHP 200 (4.00 USD)

Access: Take a taxi to Intramuros, Manila

4. Chinatown

Manila, Chinatown (Binondo)
Source: Wikipedia

Located in Binondo, Manila City, Chinatown is a haven for those with a huge appetite for Chinese cuisine. You can spend about 6-7 hours here, including transportation time, and explore the area for cheap but tasty Chinese food and shopping goods.


Address: Ongpin St., Binondo, Manila City

Access: Take a taxi to Binondo, Manila

Layover for more than 12 hours

1. Mall of Asia

SM Mall of Asia main facade
Source: Photo by user Red marquis used under CC0

Get lost in one of the biggest malls in Asia! If you have a lot of time to kill but not enough for an overnight stay, you can head on to Mall of Asia in Pasay City via premium bus for a day full of activities. Here, you can shop, dine, watch a movie, go ice skating, enjoy resto-bars by the bay, and even go on rides!

Mall of Asia

Address: SM Mall of Asia,Seaside Blvd.,Pasay City, Philippines

Opening Hours: 10am - 10pm.

Access: Take a premium bus from NAIA 3 or a taxi

Website: SM Mall of Asia

2. National Museum

04762jfNational Museum of the Philippines Ermita Manilafvf 07
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Judgefloro used under CC0

Located in P. Burgos Drive, Manila City, the National Museum is home to the world-famous Spolarium by Juan Luna. But more than that, the National Museum is also home to many great feats accomplished by many great Filipino artists. You can also explore Philippine pre-colonial history here as the Museum features many artifacts from that period. From NAIA, you can take a taxi to National Museum, then enjoy the free entrance fee!

National Museum

Address: P. Burgos Drive, Rizal, Manila City

Price: Entrance fee is free

Opening Hours: Tuesdays - Sundays, 10am-5pm

Access: Take a taxi to National Museum, Manila City

Website: National Museum

3. Greenbelt or Glorietta malls

Glorietta (17105388330)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jorge Láscar used under CC BY 2.0

Explore the business district of Metro Manila! Here at Greenbelt, you can shop for high-end, luxury items from the likes of Givenchy and Luis Vuitton. You can also catch a movie, dine, and shop for other souvenir items you might want to take with you. Greenbelt and Glorietta malls have a lot of concept restaurants opening up, and are definitely worth a try! What’s more, they’re right beside each other so it’s not too hard to navigate. To get here, you only need to take the Makati premium bus from NAIA.

Greenbelt or Glorietta Malls

Address: East Drive Ayala Center, Makati, Philippines

Opening Hours: 10am - 10pm.

Access: Ride the premium bus from NAIA Terminal 3 or take a taxi to Greenbelt

Website: Glorietta

4. Luneta Park

Rizal Monument at Rizal Park
Source: Photo by user Maynard Rabanal used under CC BY-SA 3.0

If you want to experience a bit of Filipino culture while being outdoors, you can go to Luneta Park. Because this monument is located in Manila, it’s only accessible via taxi from the airport. Here, you can take a walk, see the different monuments of Philippine heroes like Lapu-Lapu, Jose Rizal, and various works of art from local artists. Entrance is free here too!

Luneta Park

Address: Roxas Blvd Ermita, Barangay 666 Zone 72, Manila,

Price: Free

Access: Take a taxi from NAIA

Make the most out of your Manila layover

With the many destinations near NAIA and facilities inside the airport itself, you’re bound to have a mini-adventure even when you’re on a layover in Manila. While many dread the hours-long stopover in an airport during a trip, you can maximize your time here by visiting a few key cultural and historical sites, going to a mall for a fun-filled day, or even just relaxing for a bit with a massage.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.
This article has been endorsed by Manila local expert Laarni Lanox

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A young Filipina passionate about seeing the world, understanding its people and creating new ways for them to explore their potential and lead more meaningful lives. Also a big fan of beaches,...Read more

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