While Manila has heaps to offer travelers of every stripe, the temptation to explore further afield and escape the city – even just for a day – has always been strong. Thankfully, you don’t need to venture far for a change of scenery. Whether you’re interested in a historic excursion, a bit of nature therapy, or an artsy adventure, make the most of your time with these handpicked day trips from Manila.
Corregidor, a tadpole-shaped island only a short ferry ride from Manila Bay, is one of the best historical attractions in the whole of the Philippines. The island was the scene of bitter fighting between the Americans and Japanese during the Second World War. When Manila was attacked, American forces withdrew to Corregidor, and held the area for as long as they could. Today, it is peaceful and verdant. There’s an excellent tour of the museums, barracks, and fortifications by tram car and a stop for lunch at an atmospheric old hotel overlooking the green landscape.
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1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Long loved by divers in the capital for its colorful marine life, Anilao is just a two-hour drive from Manila. Expect some of the ride to be on bumpy, narrow roads. When you get to Anilao, though, it’s a breath of fresh air. There isn’t much in the way of swimming beaches, but there are charming little islands offshore where you can picnic and snorkel. One-day beginner courses are available, and a smattering of resorts and dive centers ferry experienced divers to remarkable sites by boat.
Tagaytay and Taal
Probably one of the most pleasant cities in the Philippines, Tagaytay is a 60-minute drive from the busy capital – but feels a world away. Beautiful flower gardens, intimate B&Bs, and inviting coffee houses are the norm here. Filipinos love coming to Tagaytay for its cool weather and inspiring views of Taal Lake and the small, but active, Taal Volcano. If you’re the adventurous type, you can hike to the crater, do stand-up paddleboarding on the lake, or go horse riding. When you start to feel peckish, be sure to stop at Sonja’s Garden or Antonio’s, two of the town’s most buzzed-about restaurants.
Hidden Valley Springs, Laguna
A nature escape situated a few hours from Manila, Laguna is known for its lush vegetation and therapeutic hot springs. Hidden Valley Springs is one of the top resorts in the area, and home to six natural mineral pools that call for long, soothing dips. The ancient trees, exotic orchids, and unspoiled greenery in all directions make you feel as though you’re enveloped by nature. The valley, actually a 300-ft (90-metre) crater, is cradled between two mountains, and its mineral waters are said to have healing properties.
Pinto Art Museum, Antipolo
Art lovers can escape the grit of the city in the hills of Antipolo with a day trip to the Pinto Art Museum. Housed in Spanish-style buildings, the gallery is set in a vast garden, peppered with enchanting sculptures, and worth a wander. Inside, you’ll find light, airy spaces, brimming with modern artwork by up-and-coming Filipino talent.
Mount Pinatubo’s earth-shaking eruption in 1991 completely transformed the surrounding landscape. Today, trekkers come to enjoy the fairly leisurely, 90-minute hike to the Pinatubo Crater and its emerald lake. For those who prefer a little excitement, there are 4×4 off-road experiences to be had, and you can also go boating on the lake. Don’t leave Pampanga without sampling the province’s famous dishes – it’s one of the most highly regarded provinces for foodies in the Philippines.
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I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
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Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.