Sprawling Manila or Metro Manila as residents often know it is really one vast city of cities, made up of many different centres, loosely connected by a very limited metro system, and much more strongly bound by vast multilane highways.
Our Manila car hire advice guide has to look at what we would recommend for any tourist visiting the city for the first time. As a starting point, we file Manila in the same basket as cities like the Indonesian capital Jakarta, with all of the most impressive scenic destinations in the Philippines being some distance away from the capital. In all honesty, if you happen to be arriving into Manila on a long haul flight and then wanting to transfer elsewhere, the chances are that you will do this by air, and spend as little time in Manila as possible.
As a first time visitor, we really don’t think you need a car in Manila, but you may still want to give it a try.
We do want to dismiss driving in Manila completely without pointing out that there are still some great roads just beyond the capital, including the very un-straight “Roman Road “, which winds its way around the other side of the Manila Bay. So our general Manila car advice is that it really isn’t worth bothering, but if you don’t have an opportunity to fly elsewhere, then driving around locally on Luzon Island can still provide some great sightseeing opportunities, all within a day trip of the Philippines capital.
Even if our Manila verdict leans towards quite a resounding “no”, if you are going to hire a car here, it might be something to consider on a very short term basis.
Do you need a car in Manila? Verdict – no