After a long flight via Kuala Lumpur, I finally made in to Manila! The distance combined with the time difference means that I have completely lost a whole day! Today’s blog is all about arriving in Manila as a solo female traveler.
Arriving in Manila – Flying into Manila Airport
I flew from London Heathrow to Kuala Lumpur (12 hour flight) and then from Kuala Lumpur to Manila (3 hour flight) with Malaysia Airlines. I was very impressed with Malaysian Airlines – the long haul flight was comfortable with a soft landing. The Chicken Tikka on board was also a bonus in my book!
The final three hour flight from Kuala Lumpur to Manila did make me feel a bit sick – I think it’s the repeated take off and landing when you transfer.
Entering the Philippines as a UK Resident
There is no need for a visa to enter the Philippines if you hold a UK passport, provided that you are here as a tourist and for no more than 30 days.
There is a little paperwork to do when you get here. First of all you will need to fill in a yellow health declaration to show that you are not carrying any diseases or were not sick/contagious in the last 30 days. You will then need to fill in an arrivals card with the details of where you are staying and the phone number.
So, when you come through immigration, make sure that you have your passport number, flight number and phone number of your destination accommodation at the ready for when you are arriving in Manila.
Arriving in Manila: Getting a Taxi from Manila Airport to your Hotel
The taxi drivers in Manila are notorious for ripping off Westerners. I decided to opt for a transfer through my hotel, which was 750 Pesos (approximately 12GBP). As you come out of the airport, you go down a ramp where all the pick up cars will be waiting – you can stand underneath the letter of your surname!
The taxis should only be around 150-350 from the airport to Paranaque, but you will need to agree the price beforehand or ask them to put the meter on. Ask security to direct you to the official taxis, do not listen to the taxi touts – they will rip you off.
Of course there are the famous Jeepneys, but I wouldn’t recommend travelling on these without experience or without a local!
Lion’s Den Backpackers
I’m staying at the Lion’s Den backpackers hostel in Paranaque city. Manila is so big that it is basically divided up into about 9 different cities!
The Lion’s Den Backpackers is approximately 700 Peso per night (about 11GBP). The location is very close to the airport and facilities are good, including wifi and a pool. I’ve enjoyed meeting the Filipino girls Anne and Grace who work at the hostel.
Me with Anne and Grace – I’m so tall compared to them, I had to really crouch down for this photo!
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Arriving in Manila – Tricycle Taxis
We started to use the tricycle taxis to get around the local area today. For short distances, they should just be 10 Pesos (16p!), and they take you one of the drop off points around town. Basically, they work a bit like buses and so expect other people to get in and join you!
My Plan for 3 weeks in Philippines
I decided to take 3 weeks in the Philippines to make sure that I have time to explore some of the islands. Here’s my plan…
Week 1 – Palawan for Island Hopping and Underground Lakes.
Week 2 – Manila for TBEX conference (Travel Bloggers Exchange) including visiting Old Town Manila and Tagaytay.
Week 3 Iloilo (Panay Island) for Spanish Colonial Infuence Architecture
Tomorrow, I’m flying (again!) from Manila to Puerto Princesa (Palawan). So, look forward to some beautiful island photography in my next blog, when I will be taking the Underground Lakes Tour of Palawan.
What to Pack for Southeast Asia
To help you pack for your trip to Southeast Asia, the below list of must-have items can be really useful.
First of all, you need a plug converter. Absolutely essential wherever you travel.
To avoid pickpockets, we recommend bringing with you a theft-proof backpack, or a crossbody bag, and a money bag.
It is also a good idea to get a hanging toiletry bag, which is a fantastic way to keep all your belongings organized; and a practical rolling suitcase like the one below by Samsonite in lightweight polycarbonate.
In order to stay healthy while travelling, activated charcoal helps with stomach distress absorbing toxins that may be in your system; and natural jet-lag remedy pills help you sleeping while boosting your immunity and can avoid you to ruin precious days of sightseeing.
For all the ladies, it can be a great idea to get a maxi dress: very versatile as it can be worn at any time of the day and it is ideal to go to temples too.
A scarf that you can put on your shoulders as well as on your head while visiting a sacred place.
Last, sunglasses and sunscreen are also vital to protect you from UV radiation that can be pretty intense in Southeast Asia.
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