intramuros to binondo tour

From Intramuros To Binondo: Tour The City Of Manila In A Day

If you’re a traveler in Manila, we’re willing to bet that you’re not staying in the city for long. With so much to explore, most travelers are almost always rushing out of the capital city and on to the next tropical paradise. That’s okay, because the good news is, Manila can be done in a day! That is if you know where to go. With not much time, your best bet is to do an Intramuros to Binondo tour. Start by heading to the historic walled city (Intramuros). Then cross over to the world’s oldest Chinatown (Binondo), which also happens to be a great place to go on a food trip!

So instead of spending your Manila pitstop aimlessly walking around this crazy metropolis, get your history and culture on with this itinerary. Make sure to wear stretchy pants and comfy shoes because this Intramuros to Binondo itinerary involves a lot of walking, and of course, eating!

Start the day at Fort Santiago

fort santiago intramuros manila
Image Credit: @canonizer13 via Instagram

The centerpiece of Intramuros’ places of interest, Fort Santiago was the heart of the Spanish defense during the colonization. Most of the original walls still stand, though some have been reduced to crumbly ruins. If history unfolds in warfare, then Fort Santiago is the best place to brush up on ours. After all, it was where all the prisoners were sent including our national hero, José Rizal, who spent his last days there before he was executed in 1896. Start your day right by learning all about the history of tracing his final footsteps, which are lodged into the ground for people to follow.

Fort Santiago
General Luna Street, Intramuros, Manila
Open daily from 12 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 12 a.m.
PHP 75 for adults; PHP 50 for senior citizens, children, and students

READ: Intramuros Manila: Exploring The Walled City In Just 4 Hours 

Go back in time at Casa Manila

casa manila intramuros
Image Credit: @_alinamalina via Instagram

Step right into the 1800s as you step inside this museum, which recreates a typical ilustrado (upper-class Filipino) house from the Spanish colonization. The museum’s old stone walls cannot speak, but the guides absolutely do! They will tell you all about how people lived and society worked in those days. Like Fort Santiago, it’s pretty much a history lesson come to life! Not to mention, the elaborate old-world interiors make a great backdrop for your next #OOTD post on Instagram.

Casa Manila
Real corner General Luna Streets, Intramuros, Manila
Open Tuesdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
PHP 75 for adults; PHP 50 for senior citizens, children, and students

Get a taste of history at San Agustin Church

san agustin church intramuros manila
Image Credit: @iyalucero via Instagram

After touring Casa Manila, head right across the street to this ancient Church, the oldest stone church in the Philippines, completed in 1607. The church’s opulence makes it a must-see, not only for sheer visual pleasure but also for the story it tells. Visiting this church will definitely help any tourist understand more about the Philippines and its tumultuous, centuries-long affair with Catholicism. The chandeliers and trompe l’oeil on the ceilings also make it very photogenic.

San Agustin Church
General Luna Street, Intramuros, Manila
Free entrance if it’s open for mass

Grab some lunch at Ilustrado

ilustrado intramuros manila
Image Credit: @ilustradorestaurant via Instagram

Complete the Spanish-era experience by heading to this restaurant, which is set up like an old Spanish house. Try out their Paella Ilustrado, and cap off your meal with a scoop of Sampaguita (Jasmine flower) ice cream. After a meal here, you’ll be all geared up as you go from Intramuros to Binondo.

General Luna st., Intramuros, Manila
Open Mondays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on Sundays from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Budget is about PHP 900/person

Ride a calesa from Intramuros to Binondo

calesa intramuros manila
Image Credit: @chelsea_degnan via Instagram

Those colorful horse-drawn carriages are a quirky way to get around Manila’s mean streets, especially since you’ll be clomping down the road as cars and jeepneys speed past.

Calesa drivers usually charge PHP 350 for a 30-minute ride in a calesa that can fit up to four persons. This may be their minimum rate, even if the trip doesn’t last that long. You could still try to strike a deal with them and haggle down the price for the shorter distance. If not, a quick jeepney ride might prove to be just as exciting!

Enjoy the architecture on Escolta Street

escolta manila
Image Credit: @jhenardtheman via Instagram

It’s nice to be reminded of the glamour and grandeur that Manila once had and could have again. That is precisely what you’ll get when you walk down Escolta Street, where the old buildings still stand tall, looking beautiful still even underneath layers of shabbiness. If you’re down for it, try some craft beer at Fred’s Revolucion, There’s also a market that happens at the First United Building every Saturday, where you can buy all kinds of unique goods and thrift store finds.

READ: Escolta Saturday Market: Rare Finds In Old Manila

Do a photo walk around Plaza San Lorenzo Ruiz

plaza san lorenzo ruiz binondo
Image Credit: @pongmallari via Instagram

Also known as Plaza Calderon, this 1,200-square-meter park is a nice place to chill out, rest your feet, and watch the world go by. You’ll also be surrounded by a lot of period architecture and historical monuments, such as the Binondo Church, a memorial to Filipino-Chinese World War II victims, and a statue of St. Lorenzo Ruiz of Manila, who is the Plaza’s namesake.

Have merienda at Dong-Bei Dumplings

dong bei dumplings binondo
Image Credit: @tjablaza via Instagram

Take a break from all that Intramuros to Binondo touring and have a midday snack, Chinatown-style. Dong-Bei, which is known for its tasty and affordable dim sum, may just be the best place to do so. Make sure you don’t go home without trying the meaty broth and chewy goodness of their Xiao Long Bao. At PHP 120 for six pieces, you simply can’t go wrong. Plus, you get to see them prepare the dumplings right in front of you!

Dong-Bei Dumplings
642 Yuchengco Street, Binondo, Manila
Open daily, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Budget is about PHP 100/ person, depending on how much you eat!

Treat your senses to a feast at Carvajal Alley

carvajal street binondo
Image Credit: @cole.francia via Instagram

With all the colors, scents, and sounds that fill this little alley, all your senses are sure to be awakened as you walk through it. Most people go to Carvajal to partake of the street food, which of course, you are more than welcome to do! But if you’ve got a full belly, you can also go shopping for other goodies. Aside from fresh fruits, you can also find Chinese snacks, herbal medicines, even wholesale hardware.

Try the best chicken in town at Sincerity Restaurant

sincerity binondo
Image Credit: @rockinrowena via Instagram

Reward yourself for a long day of walking and sightseeing with a sumptuous dinner at this Chinatown institution. Their fried chicken is legendary, so make sure to include that in your order. Crisp and juicy, with a distinctly Chinese flavor, the chicken alone will make your dinner here memorable. Although, their Special Machang and Oyster Cake are also worth writing home about!

Sincerity Restaurant
497 Yuchengco Street, Binondo, Manila
Open Mondays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Budget is about PHP 350/ person

The city of Manila is an underrated gem that many visitors tend to forget, but a quick tour from Intramuros to Binondo might help you appreciate the city, its history, and its culture just a little bit more. However, if you don’t have a whole day to explore Intramuros to Binondo, you can also try this four-hour walking tour of Intramuros alone. This way, you’re sure of never missing out on the beauty of Manila.

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