My nieces living in California came for a visit, and we thought it was the perfect opportunity for our little family to finally try out one of the most famous tours in Intramuros, the Bambike Tours!
Bambike Tours is a biking tour around Intramuros, and it ranges from 1.5 to 2.5 hours!
Because we weren’t sure how our toddler would behave (we don’t normally bike around the city), we just chose the fastest option: one and a half hours of biking around the walled city. We went direct and paid PHP 600 per person, but later found out that you can get it cheaper if you book from THIS WEBSITE! For our group, we would have saved PHP 300 had we booked from them than going direct.
We were there 30 minutes before the tour (they have 2 timeslots: 10AM and 3PM, I recommend the 10AM one. 3PM can feel too hot in Metro Manila), parked at San Agustin Church, then walked to Plaza San Luis (almost across the church) where Bambike Tours is located.
Plaza San Luis is a very beautiful area in itself, most especially for visiting friends and family. It gives you that Old Manila feels — even their restroom is in Spanish terms (Damas and Hombres)! It has a souvenir shop and a restaurant inside, too.
A few minutes before the tour began, our tour guide started briefing us and helping us with our bikes. We were each given a bottle of water and then given the rules while biking.
Our first stop was at the Japanese Cannon along Muralla Street. Here, our guide shared interesting stories, but really, all I could think of was: how lucky my son to live at a time where cannons are just there for display! A time where we could just observe it upclose and learn about it without fear.
Our next stops were Puerta Real and Puerta Del Parian. Puerta Real, I think, was built specifically for the Spanish Royal Family in 1663, but was never used because if I remember what our guide said correctly, the Royal Family never came to the Philippines during the Spanish colonization.
In Puerta Del Parian and pretty much around Intramuros, you will see the guards donning the attire of the Guardia Sivil. It’s a nice touch for the whole vibe of the place. Thank you, Sir Acosta, for letting me take your photo (puffin is my niece’s – which she brings everywhere with her for photos, haha).
Our last stop was at Plaza De Roma, the classic setup of the center of a town – here you will find a church, a park, a market (now only during Sundays), and important buildings.
I brought our book “Tales Of Tom-Tom: The Tiny Travel Guide – Manila” here because it has Manila Cathedral as a stop. Just a note, though: although it says Manila Cathedral is the oldest church in Intramuros, according to our tour guide, it’s actually San Agustin that’s the oldest. I did a little more research and it seems San Agustin is actually the oldest stone church in the whole country! Another trivia I’ve learned from our tour guide about this Manila Cathedral is that it was built and rebuilt 8 times! It got destroyed mostly through fire and earthquake, and once because of World War 2.
For my toddler though, the most important part of this stop was the plethora of ice cream vendors selling all kinds of traditional Filipino ice cream: from cheese and avocado scoops in cones to ice cream scoops sandwiched in a monay.
After that, we biked back to Plaza San Luis where we were asked to watch a short video of the history of Bambike (I actually enjoyed watching this) before the tour officially ended.
I’m providing some questions you might have below. Hope this helps you decide if this tour is something for you and your family!
Is it child-friendly?
– They do have child seats for the bikes, and my toddler enjoyed his ride around the city, so yes, it is friendly in that manner. However, it is still a tour with a specific time and schedule, so we had a little challenge in this part. My toddler got so sleepy just before our tour started, so it was kinda hard to get him on board with the tour. Thankfully, our tour guide had a snack and that became an effective distraction (note: I do not advise this kind of distraction all the time – use it only in emergencies and special moments!).
PS: When we called them, they supposedly charge extra for the child’s seat (size up to 4 years old), but they did not charge us anymore when we paid them for our tour.
What do they provide aside from the bike?
–Sunblock, insect repellant, and a bottle of water. They can lend you their sunblock and insect repellent before the tour, and you can bring the bottle of water with you during the ride. Each bike has a basket for your bags and water. If you’re trying to lessen your waste, I suggest bringing your own water bottle. We did, though we ended up still bringing their plastic bottle in case we got extra thirsty. It really wasn’t a need, after all. I thought we would be biking for an hour and a half straight, but we had plenty of time in the stops, so it turned out my water bottle was enough. But of course, I just confirmed that after our tour. :/
What should we wear?
Comfortable clothes and shoes and maybe a hat or a pair of sunglasses. It can get sunny and hot.
What should we bring for our child?
Helmet! If I remember correctly, they also provide helmets for children, but not sure for my toddler’s size. So to be sure, just bring one. Also, water and snacks/food for your child. Maybe a small fan, too, for the possible heat during your stops.
Was it too hot?
We did the tour mid-March, 10AM slot and didn’t find it too hot, but I think the 3PM slot would be hotter. However, the Philippines is generally hotter than say, California, so even if it’s not hot for my standards, it can still feel too hot for your balikbayan family members or visiting friends. You can also do the sunset or night tour to avoid direct sun. You can check it out HERE.
Was it easy to bike?
For the route of this tour, it was – for me. It was mostly flat, the only dips would be the entrances and exits of the places we stopped by for the tour. Expect to bike in some cobblestone streets, too. I think if you know how to bike, it will be doable and fun. Just follow the rules of your guide because for me, the challenging part was the vehicles all over Intramuros.
Can we take photos while biking?
How many people do they take in per group?
10-15. It’s a small group so I’m very happy about that.
Do we really have to join their guided tour?
There’s an option to just rent our their bamboo bikes (book it HERE), but for me, especially if you don’t really bike around Manila and/or you’re biking with a child, it’s better to join the guided tour because it’s quite challenging to bike around Intramuros. The streets are narrow, and there are a lot of vehicles ranging from small cars to motorbike to big vehicles. This tour made me wish they would make Intramuros a car-free city! It’s a nice place for walking and biking! I appreciate that aside from our tour guide, there was also a sweeper in the group – he made sure we were all safe and protected.
Is it worth the price?
For me, yes – for the adults. For my toddler though, as mentioned above, when we called, they said he was going to be charged half the price. Maybe it was more for the “rental/use” of the seat, though if I were the owner of the tours, I will not charge for toddlers anymore. They didn’t charge us anymore, though. So maybe they just charge when there’s a high demand for the seats. [EDIT: Bambike reached out to me to clarify this — the reason why they charge for children is because when there’s a child, there is automatically a sweeper in the group. Otherwise, they only hire a sweeper for groups of 8 above. Makes more sense! Thank you, Bambike, for the clarification!]
So, that’s it! I hope you have fun should you decide to do this, too!
I hope you can book through THIS WEBSITE. Our travel agency is affiliated with them (if you use my link, I will get a tiny commission from their commission, haha. It’s very small but it will help, so thank you if you book through my link!), and I already feel so dumb for not even using their website to book (they turned out to be cheaper). So I hope to atleast save money for you, haha!
PS: They also have a tour around Bonifacio Global City. Check it out HERE. We might do that next!