Surviving Chinatown in Manila

Chinatown in Manila is one crazy place. We survived it, but we will never forget what we saw. Here’s what you can expect from the Binondo District in The Philippines capital.

Surviving Chinatown in Manila

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Your 2024 Guide to Chinatown in Manilla

Chinatown in Manila, also known as the Binondo District, is, without doubt, the most intense place I’ve had the pleasure of walking through.

Everyone’s shouting because they can’t be heard over the incessant car horns. Why they still beep I have no idea. Surely once you get to the level where everyone is beeping all the fucking time it’s time to reset and go back to level one again. You know where people only use their horns when they really need to. The drivers in Manila’s Chinatown beep every time they change gear!

The noisiest, filthiest and stinkiest destination

It seemed that the local binmen had decided the roads were too manic to even bother trying any more. Piles of rubbish were everywhere, which I’m guessing kept the rat population thriving. The smell of the rubbish would be bad enough but the stench of the food was the rancid cherry on top. Manila’s Chinatown, without a doubt, wins the prize for the noisiest, filthiest and stinkiest destination on our travels so far.

Chinatown in Manila is a whole different world

We’d already walked for hours to get there. Taking in the big cultural divide between rich and poor in this huge city along the way. We thought we’d seen it all. Then we entered Chinatown.

It’s kind of comparable to Hanoi’s Old Quarter, but without the charm, smiling faces, delicious food and cool bars. So the chaos level is similar really. This place wasn’t for tourists.

There isn’t much more we love than walking around new places and immersing ourselves in new cultures, this place was a bit too much though. Not that’s not true, this place was way, way, way too much!

I guess it was epitomised when we finally thought we’d escaped the madness only to be greeted by a local who’d decided that it was okay to squat over the side of the bridge and empty his bowels into the bushes! 

Pretty much sums up Chinatown in Manila if you ask me!

Where is Chinatown in Manila?

With all that said, you absolutely have to check it out if you’re in Manila. It’s what travelling is all about. Here’s a link to the location of the entrance gate to the Binondo District. Enjoy Chinatown.

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the sketchy traveller
About the author – The Sketchy Traveller

I’m not really a stickman, but it seems that I like portraying myself as one.

I’m an English guy who’s been travelling since 2017. I was never good at taking photos, sketching just seems to work better for me, and in my opinion, why do you want to see other people’s 4K videos and pictures of the world? Surely it’s better to see it for yourself. You can get in touch through the contact page or Instagram.

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Happy travelling.

The Sketchy Traveller