First off: the Manila in the title (and in this post, unless otherwise stated) doesn’t mean that the hostels recommended here by budget travelers are in the city of Manila. They are in Metro Manila, a region comprising 17 cities, including Manila (the capital), Makati (the business district), Pasay (where the airports are), and Quezon City (the former capital and the most populous city in the Philippines).
Before I left the Philippines in March, I met a lot of backpackers who booked their first night’s stay in the city of Manila, not knowing any other alternative. They hated the location (most hostels are located in the Malate area) and it was only later that they learned of better options (like Makati, Pasay, or Parañaque).
If you’re visiting the Philippines and looking for the best hostels to stay in Manila when you get there, take a look at these recommendations from other budget travelers.
Lub D Makati
Lub D is a popular hostel in Thailand. There are two in Bangkok; I’ve stayed in Lub D Siam and I liked it. Their mattresses were firm and the common bathrooms were kept clean all the time. They have a nice common area/lobby with more than enough table and chairs and sofa for everyone. You can also store your luggage there for free for months!
The Lub D Makati hostel, however, is much better. I’ve stayed in several hostels around the world, and I must say their facilities are high-quality. The mattresses were bigger, bathrooms were kept clean and had free items like in Bangkok (Q tips, cotton buds, shower cap), and each bathroom has washing machine and dryer.
Best of all, their dorm beds are loft-type. If you’re assigned the top bunk, no need to dread. There are no rickety rungs that will shake the whole bed when you go up. There are actual steps, which make it quite easy and comfortable to go up and down your bed. This is the best dorm bed I’ve ever seen in my travels through 33 countries! (In the photo above, I have the one beside the window. I love it!)
However, there is no kitchen. This is a deal breaker if you’re traveling long term and want to make your own food. I have food delivered all the time and I had to eat it cold. There is also a common area but the tables are seat height and not conducive for working.
In short, Lub D Makati is a hotel with a hostel price. Good for budget travelers who don’t mind the lack of kitchen or a hostel’s social vibe.
Z Hostel (Makati)
Z Hostel is one of the newest brands that’s dominating the hostel scene in Manila. And for a reason. The hostel has a nice rooftop bar overlooking Makati’s skyline which is a good place to meet fellow travelers and locals alike. This is not just an ordinary hostel bar, too, as they occasionally have international and local DJs that rock the bar from time to time. Z Hostel also provides tour services within Metro Manila and neighboring provinces.
The facilities of the hostel are topnotch compared to the other hostels I’ve been. They have dorm rooms that are more like a hotel room than a backpacker’s dorm, en-suite bathrooms, theater room, and a spacious common room. One of my favorite things in this hostel is the breakfast. They serve REAL Filipino breakfast.
True to their hip and happening vibe, they are also the first hostel in the Philippines to introduce the RFID payment system which is the technology that cashless payment systems use. Lastly, although the hostel’s location is in Poblacion known for its lively bar and restaurant scene, it is a bit tucked away from the craziness of Makati.
Recommended by Christine Rogador of The Travelling Pinoys.
BGC Boutique Hostel (Makati)
BGC Boutique Hostel in Makati is ideal for professional nomads — those who want uninterrupted WiFi connection, a relatively quiet ambience, and just the right distance from the distractions of the city. The location is right within Makati and only a few meters away from EDSA. It is also walking distance to the metro, making it very convenient to go around.
The hostel features quirky Manila-themed murals in its lobby. Each room is equipped with an electronic lock and a personal locker for the security of your belongings. For those pulling an all-nighter, they have a constant supply of coffee at the lobby and a reading lamp on top of each bed.
It is here where you can balance mingling with alone time. BGC Hostel allows visitors at the lobby for meetings. And while there are no nearby fancy restaurants or places for entertainment, those seriously wanting to get work done without splurging on luxury hotels can find what they need at BGC Hostel.
Recommended by Samantha Isabel Coronado of Follow Your Road.
Lokal Hostel (Makati)
Nothing fancy but Lokal Hostel does the job for every travelers wanting to discover more of Metro Manila. The location sits squarely at the center of the thriving district of Poblacion, Makati where every interesting establishments — including wholesome ones — are just a few steps away.
Like the other hostels in the neighborhood, Lokal is a good place to connect with fellow travelers especially at the spacious rooftop, the common area, or at the Cu Chi bar located just one floor down.
Recommended by Mark Ramone Go of Nomadic Experiences.
Junction Hostels (Makati)
Junction Hostels Makati is the coolest and quirkiest hostel you’ll ever find in Makati. Most hostels in the country have their own style and theme, but Junction Hostel is my favorite of them all.
Hostels has now become the best choice for budget travelers. Unlike before when hostels were dirty, smelly, and unsafe, hostels are now very comfortable to stay with, featuring clean and nice bedding, tidy bathroom, and comfy common areas.
Junction Hostel also offers daily breakfast (American and Filipino food) at their container van-turned-kitchen. All guests are given an electronic key card (ensuring safety!) and the TV room has a comfy couch, a Play Station, and DVD player for those who want to relax with a good movie.
The best part? The price! It only costs PhP 600 per night/bed in a mixed dorm room, PhP1,600 per night for a private twin bed, and only PhP1,800 per night for a private double. Truly a value for money!
Recommended by Lee Rosales of I Love Paars.
Lion’s Den (Parañaque)
Lion’s Den Backpackers is located in Parañaque City, two kilometers from the airport. This could be your first home in Manila before spending a few days to go around the other parts of the Philippines. Their goal is to make backpackers feel at home with great service, friendliness, and hospitality. It definitely is the best place for you to cool down before heading to your next destination.
The hostel can accommodate around 70 travelers at a time. The common area is equipped with comfy and colorful bean bags and LED TV. The food and drinks at the hostel are incredibly cheap, the staff members are polite and friendly, and the pool in the garden is a great addition and especially welcome during the summer months.
Truly, when it comes to the Lion’s Den, you get more than what you pay for!
Recommended by Jerny Destacamento of The Jerny.
There are other hostels in Manila that come recommended by budget travelers. I will regularly update this post to reflect their recommendations.
Have you visited Manila before? Which hostel would you recommend to fellow budget travelers?