The Ninoy Aquino International Airport is the airport that serves the Philippine city of Manila. It's located a few kilometers outside of the city close to the smaller city of Paranaque. It's a large airport with four terminals, three of which deal with international flights while the fourth caters to internal flights only.
With Manila Airport being as close as it is to the city, having a stopover there, no matter how brief, means you'll be able to get away from the facility and enjoy your time doing something other than watching planes take off or land. There's no direct train connection between the airport and the city, so the easiest and quickest way to get into Manila is by taxi which takes around twenty minutes. There's also a shuttle bus service, the UBE Express, which operates five different routes from the airport into various parts of Manila. Don’t forget to make your trip easier on yourself by dropping off your bags at a Manila luggage storage before you begin exploring.
6 hour layover in Manila
When you're on a six-hour layover at Manila Airport, stash your bags as fast as you can in the nearest suitcase storage facility and head for the UBE Express shuttle bus. Catch the bus outside of whichever terminal you landed at - it passes by all four - for the route that goes to the SM Mall of Asia and Entertainment City. You can have a browse around the shops or have a flutter at the casino, then get back on the bus to head back to the airport in time for your Manila connection.
- Pre-purchase your ticket for the bus at the UBE Express counters located in arrivals.
- If getting through the airport rigmarole takes up too much of your short layover for you to risk going anywhere, stay at the airport and have a dim sum meal at the Tsim Sha Tsui Dimsum and Tea Bar.
8 hour layover in Manila
With Manila Airport being so close to the city, on an eight-hour layover, you'll have time to take a short walking tour of the historic district. You can do this independently by downloading an informative app from the internet or going accompanied by a local guide. One of the more fascinating areas of Manila is the Spanish Colonial Quarter where there are buildings over four hundred years old and the impressive Manila Cathedral.
- Get a real feel for the antiquity of the district by taking a horse and carriage ride through the streets.
- Always keep in mind that the traffic in Manila can be an absolute nightmare, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get back to the airport.
10 hour layover in Manila
Manila is a real cultural melting pot and you'll experience part of that if you head into the city's Chinatown on your layover. It's a bustling district with a character all of its own. Reputed to be the oldest Chinatown in the world, you'll find a labyrinth of streets lined with eclectic stores, Buddhist temples, and lots of food stalls selling everything from tofu in soy sauce to mooncake. If the pavement chaos is too much for you, make it easier by touring around in a tuk-tuk.
- If you're on a late afternoon layover, a great spot to head for to see the sun set over the city is the Manila Baywalk. The two-kilometer-long promenade extends between the American Embassy and the Philippine Cultural Center.
- Relax over a drink in the yacht marina on the Baywalk before getting back to the airport in time for your Manila connection.
12 hour layover in Manila
When you have a twelve-hour layover you'll be able to fit in things like visiting Manila's National Museum of Fine Art. It's a treasure trove of beautiful masterpieces that deserve a leisurely viewing. After you've seen all you want to see, take a stroll around Rizal Park which is next to the museum, or if you're a history fan you can join a walking tour of the park and learn about the person whose name it carries and his role in Manila's past.
- If you feel that Manila may be too hectic for you to enjoy exploring independently, join a small group tour led by a qualified guide. Tours of this type usually last about five hours and often include a horse and carriage ride.
- Take a slow sail around Manila Bay or go inland and take a short cruise across Laguna Lake.
24 hour layover in Manila
There are some incredible sights to be seen in Manila and even with a twenty-four-hour layover you'll be struggling to fit them all in. If you're feeling adventurous, take a 4x4 trip up into the mountains to Mount Pinatubo. Once there you can hike up to the volcanic crater, which contains a stunningly beautiful emerald green lake. It's an exhausting outing that will take up around fifteen hours of your overnight layover, but compensates by being totally different, and you'll sleep well on your connecting flight if nothing else.
- If the Manila heat is just too much for you, consider heading to the cooler Tagaytay area where the mountain air is fresher and the scenery amazing. It's a shorter trip out than Mount Pinatubo and will only take up a few hours unless you decide to stay longer.
- If the sound of running water does it for you, head out to Hidden Valley Springs and hike the trail along the gorge and by the waterfall.
- Volcano tourism doesn't have to be either dangerous or strenuous. Visit the Taal Volcano and you'll be totally enchanted by the size of it and the landscapes it sits in.