Car Rental in Manila
Manila is a sprawling city divided into 16 different districts each with their own unique attractions and atmosphere. Offering a diverse range of heritage, nightlife and an increasingly modern cityscape, Manila is also within touching distance of many beautiful natural areas and interesting villages just a short drive away. Car rental is a way to explore the wider Manila area and can also be a more comfortable alternative to the unreliable public transport in this busy city.
Where to rent a car in Manila
Plenty of car rental agencies operate at Manila Airport so you can arrange your vehicle immediately upon arrival, or you can just as easily visit a car rental agency in the city center if you want to settle in first. Along with a number of international car rental providers such as Hertz, Thrifty and Avis, there are several local companies to choose from. There are a number of ways to travel into Manila when you have landed at the airport including on the local metro network, by public bus or by taxi.
Driving in Manila
In the Philippines traffic drives on the right hand side of the road. Manila has a reputation as one of the most difficult cities in the world to drive in due to the incessant traffic and poor road etiquette. The congestion is of course far worse in the central metro areas of Manila but this extends to the suburbs during the morning and evening rush hours so do your best to stay off the roads from 07.00-09.00 and 16.30-19.00. The general rules of the road are frequently ignored by local drivers so expect regular speeding, overtaking and lane-cutting as the norm. It isn’t uncommon for visitors to get their own driver with their rental vehicle.
Parking in Manila
Finding parking in Metro Manila (the central parts of the city) can be extremely difficult as office workers, residents and tourists all compete for the limited spaces available. Street parking makes up most of the parking availability in the city but thankfully there are private lots and garages available if you want the peace of mind (but expect to pay more). Manila’s modern shopping malls will have their own parking spaces to take advantage of but not all hotels will offer this privilege, so be sure to check with your accommodation beforehand. Check out the best hotels in Manila.
Where to go around Manila
All of Manila’s districts become accessible with your own rental vehicle. Head into the Binondo district which is the home of the three-centuries-old Chinatown area or venture next door into San Nicolas for the local marketplaces. For an experience of historic Manila you will want to visit the district of Intramuros, known by visitors as “Old Manila”. Those searching for the most popular tourism spots in Ermita and lively bars and cafes will be best off traveling to the Ermita or Malate districts which are popular with travelers. The popular retreat of Tagaytay is around 1 hour 30 minutes by car from Manila as is the historic Spanish colonial town of Batangas. Find out also our top tips for what to see and do in the Philippines.
* This information is correct as of December 2018