Smokey Tours
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Cultural Tours • Sightseeing Tours
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About
Smokey Tours are not just bricks and mortar tours. We offer a special experience, believing that deep experience equals deep insight. We train and develop talents of people from underprivileged communities to run eye-opening tours around Metro Manila. Our mission is to show "the other side of Manila" with safe, sustainable, genuine & eye-opening tours while aiding the local community. Visit one of the biggest slums in Manila, haggle and eat in Quiapo & see how people live among the dead. Experience Manila with us while supporting our local community work! Our Tours: 1) Slum Tour - our most popular tour that goes through the slums of Manila, wherein profits are donated to our current community projects. 2) Cemetery Tour showing you the lives of the people living in Cemetery North and introduces you to their beliefs and superstitions. 3). Family Tour, especially for families with kids, exploring Quiapo. 4) Market Tour, a food tasting experience through Quiapo & Binondo.
Manila, Philippines

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

5.0
512 reviews
Excellent
439
Very good
57
Average
9
Poor
4
Terrible
3

doc
1 contribution
May 2019
This was the highlight of my trip. Our guide was a resident herself. Highly educational. Seeing the conditions and how they cope financially, medically and socially evokes awareness. This tour empowers everyone and becomes the moment of lift. To help families, we purchased items made from lily pads as a souvenir. I highly recommend going when it is cooler.
Written January 20, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Dear doc4psu, Thank you for the recommendation. We're glad that that the tour empowered you and inspired you to lend a helping hand by taking a souvenir home with you. We hope to see you in future tours! Sincerely, Smokey Tours
Written January 27, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Nicole A
1 contribution
Jan 2020 • Couples
Did the cemetery tour in Manila. Great guide with fascinating insights into the lives of those who are paid small amounts to care for the graves of other people’s loved ones. They make their homes within the mausoleums and a community forms. Fascinating experience. We visited on a Sunday - very busy with processions taking place around us. This added to the experience for us but may not be for everyone. Our guide told us Mondays were quieter.
Written January 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Dear J3143WTnicolea, Filipinos are known to be very resilient and you've seen first hand how some dwell among the dead to make a living for them and their families. Cemetery living is an odd but a virtuous way to survive. Thank you for taking the Cemetery Tour and opening your eyes to the unknown. Sincerely, Smokey Tours
Written January 13, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Dimitri G
Bogota, Colombia9 contributions
Jan 2020 • Solo
A completely different tour that you will never have the chance to do it somewhere else. You go with a local guide to the poorest areas of Manila. It is very safe though. You see and listen how they live (their living conditions, what are their expectations, why they are happy, etc). It will open your eyes. It will help you to have another perspective of living.

Do it! At least for one time do something different. Leave the pub crawl for another day, do the bike tour in another city, and for at least one time try to put yourself in someone else shoes that lives completely different from you.

I have traveled around the world and done tons of tours, however this was by far the one that I have liked the most.
Written January 25, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Dear 824dimitrig, Thank you for your positive review. We, at Smokey Tours, try to deliver our tours as honestly as possible. We're glad that you caught the very core of our Slum Tour -- that it doesn't take much to be happy. Again, thank you for having this experience with us. We hope to see you in future tours! Sincerely, Smokey Tours
Written January 26, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Mark v
Soest, The Netherlands2 contributions
Mar 2020 • Solo
I did a guided walk through BASECO with Smokey. An very informative, personally moving, and, strangely enough, entertaining experience. It is perfectly safe, by the way, but dont wear your white sneakers. Being a funny white guy, it was easy to entertain the many kids. So, when in Manila go Smokey!
Written March 11, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Dear 220markv, It was such a treat being of service to you to make your short term booking for a Slum Tour, exhausting all efforts for it to push through. Thank you for making making it happen. We are happy to know that your tour was such a success. We hope to see you back for another tour in the future! Sincerely, Smokey Tours
Written March 17, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Janette_Chung
Sydney114 contributions
Sep 2014 • Business
There is nothing quite like cycling through the colourful and vibrant back streets and narrow alleys of Manila, being warmly greeted by the smiles and laughter of the local children welcoming and ushering you "Ma'dam, welcome to our Street ____", and stopping by local food stalls for a taste of Turon (my favourite Filippino snack). Thanks to Smokey Tours and Jessie, my fabulous local guide from Tondo, I was shown another side of Manila, the real hearty Manila in all its shades - chaotic, alive, energetic, held together by a sense of community.

I took the bicycle tour with Jessie who showed me Intramuros (the oldest area of Manila with strong Spanish influence), Rizal Park and Cultural Centre of the Philippines. His passion and knowledge for his city was engaging and inspiring as he patiently took his time to explain and show me each area. It was one unforgettable adventure cycling through rain, and while the tour was cut slightly short due to the typhoon winds and I was drenched, I left with the biggest grin on my face and glow in my eyes. For anyone visiting Manila on vacation/work, you must take a Smokey Tour, for there is so much more to Manila than meets the eye at first glance, and their staff are genuine locals who are truly dedicated to ensuring you experience Manila through their eyes. Thank you again for such an eye-opening and adventurous introduction to this city.

I did not get a chance to do the Slum tour, but next time I return to Manila, I will not miss the opportunity to take the Slum Tour.
Written November 5, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi Maurice, So nice to hear positive response about our Cementary Tour! We want to make sure that we give everyone a special and unique inside about life in the cementary. Hope to see you in the furture in one of our other special tours! Warm greetings, Smokey Tours Team
Written February 20, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Ranjit K
London, UK14 contributions
Oct 2014 • Couples
Everyone that visit Manila should make a effort to have a tour with this company. They do an amazing job! We went on all four of their trips: Slum tour, Cockfighting tour, market tour and cycle tour. All four of the tours were informative, interesting, well organised and thoroughly enjoyable. We took away some great memories! The tour guides were fantastic in terms of their knowledge and warmth, so a big thank you to Remy, Nymphia and Jessie. It was like being taken around by a friends especially when we were with Jessie. He had great enthusiasm for Manila and was eager to share it with us. He even put in extra effort and time to show us restaurants around the area we were staying in as we were struggling to find places to eat. We booked these tours before we arrived in Manila and the communication from Jessie was excellent. The locations to meet at were easy to find and the tours are great value for what you experience. I would highly recommend this company to everyone! Thanks so much guys!
Written October 12, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi Ranjit, We are so thankful for the very impressive review you've shared with us. It was so flattering to read such good comment and this feedback from you will surely be another inspiration for us. Oh wow you experienced all of our four tours (Slum, Market, Bicycle and Cemetery Tour) very amazing and fantastic! Great to hear that you have a great memories and you mention that the tours were informative, interesting, well organised and thoroughly enjoyable, and you would highly recommend Smokey Tours so that we can give more people an eye-opening experience. We do our our very best to run everything smoothly! Thank you also for praising our professional, very cool and knowledgeable tour leaders for doing a great job:) Warm greetings, Smokey Tours Team
Written March 25, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

LisalottevdT
Haarlem, Noord-Holland, Netherlands32 contributions
This month I went on several tours with Smokey Tours as we had a couple days in Manilla. The meeting points are always at a central place (mainly a restaurant near LRT station). Tour guides are well informed and friendly. Remy is a great host for the slum tour and Jessie toured our other tours. Thank you guys!

All tours are very different, so you can really choose the kind of Manila you would like to encounter during your stay.

Bicycle tour
Bicycle tour is more of a traditional city tour, as much of the sites and information is about the history of Manila and The Philippines. It takes you to the more touristy areas, such as intramuros and Roxas Blvrd. It is also nice to experience the city from a bike (instead of a Jeepney or taxi). The tour takes around 3 to 4 hours, so if you are not used to some exercise, make sure you are able to relax the other half of the day.

Cemetary tour
This tour is - I believe - one of the newest tours of Smokey. It showes you the largest cemetary of Manila, North Cemetary. But very different from tours through European cemetary visits, it shows you how a community is living here (yes, that's right, there is a whole community making a living (including people selling flowers, street food, driving tricycles, kids playing etc). The tour gives you a lot of information on Filipino rituals, supersticious beliefs and some stories about famous Filipinos who rest here). Tour is more relaxed, as there is less traffic, less polution and less people than in the areas of the other tours. Tour takes about three hours and includes jeepney and tricycle rides and visit of the flower market too.

Market tour
The market tour is a great tour for anyone interested in Filipino food and shopping habits. It takes you to 3 different market areas (Filipino, muslim and Chinese) and you'll get to taste lots of different kinds of foods (but you can always say 'no', if you are not the adventourous-food-type). Jessie really knows a lot about Filipino street food!

Slum tour
This tour is I think really what Smokey Tours is all about. It will show you a side of Manila you won't be able to experience by yourself. You might think it is somewhat like a human zoo, or think it is a too heavy for a holiday visit. But Smokey tours really try to show you the resilience of people, the positive sides of the lives of these Filipinos, though life is hard. It was to me a very humbling experience. People love showing you their houses and as Remy lives in the neighbourhood herself, she can tell you so much about the situations of surviving/making a living in this part of Manila. And if it is anything like a human zoo, be prepared you are the one to be looked at. You can only experience this tour yourself, and be prepared to change your view on the necessities of life, be welcomed by the friendliest people in Manila and be prepared the images will stay with you for a while. It is a 3 to 4 hour tour and very safe as the guides are very familiar with the area.

I would recommend you book a tour - even if you have just a day in Manila - cause it will give you a different perspective on the city (certainly if you otherwise just visit all the nice malls Manila has to offer as well). You might be surprised what the city has to offer!

Written November 25, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi Lisalotte, Wow, we really appreciate your comprehensive and informative review! You beautifully described the differences between these four Smokey Tours. We want to thank you for recommending Smokey Tours. Kind regards, Smokey Tours Team
Written February 21, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

macintyremacintyre
2 contributions
Oct 2014 • Solo
I only planned for 1 full day in Manila to visit whatever i could see and ended up getting both the Slum Tour (starting at 930am) and the Bicycle Tour (at 2pm on the same day).

Both tours were amazing and Jessie our tour guide for both tours was nothing short of excellent!

The Slum tour was really an eye opener and I felt I could really connect with the reality that faces a large proportion of the residents of Manila. We went to several slum areas, talked with locals (who were always smiling and very friendly despite their living conditions), rode the jeepney and several other common public transports (that i wouldn't know how to take if I was by myself!). A definite must for those who want to see the other side of Manila and experience a big slice of humble pie. Makes you thankful for all that you have & want to contribute back to society. I never once felt threatened or unsafe in the slums with our guide around us which is very important for slum tours.

On the other hand, if you want to do the standard Manila tourist attractions with a twist, then the Bicycle tour is a MUST do. Jessie was fantastic taking us on a bicycle around Manila, giving us ample time to walk around where we stopped, always looked out for our safety, and told some really fascinating stories. Easily one of my Top 5 tours i've done around the world! I really felt like a local.

Highly recommend Smokey Tours and if you have only a full day, this is your 1 day Itinerary.
Written October 11, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi Macintyremacintye, Thanks a lot for showing your beautiful review on TripAdvisor! It's so flattering to read such good and very inspiring comment. Great to hear that you had an amazing tours (Slum and Bicycle Tour). We hope to see you again in one of our other Smokey Tours! Best regards, Smokey Tours Team
Written February 24, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Jilleyanne
Edmonton, Canada29 contributions
Mar 2015 • Solo
I was in Manila for 1 month for work, and wanted to explore the city-- but it's a bit intimidating! I did the Bike Tour and Market Tour and these tours were an amazing way to see Manila, off the "touristy" path.
The bike tour was definitely thrilling-- I still can't believe we were able to bike safely through the crazy traffic of Manila, but our guide kept us very safe. They also provide helmets.
It was a really nice way to explore the main areas of Manila while learning more about it's history.
The market tour was also amazing. I would definitely not feel comfortable exploring the areas covered in this tour by myself. The food sampled was interesting and tasty (make sure not to eat a large breakfast before)!
For both tours there were only 3 people total, so definitely doesn't feel like a bit "tour group". It is a great way to see the real Manila.
I had Jessie for both the tours, and I truly enjoyed all his stories and teaching about Filipino foods, history, and traditions.
My only recommendation would be to perhaps look at revising the meeting place for the Market Tour. Despite specifically directing my taxi driver to the stated location (and specifying NOT the Recto location), I still ended up at Recto... and it is definitely a bit sketchy for solo female travelers. The MisterDonut location is a bit difficult to find, and not easily found on GoogleMaps either.
Despite this, Jessie (the tour leader) did an awesome job at ensuring my taxi dropped me off at the correct location, so make sure you have his number handy! The meeting location for the bike tour was really easy to locate.
Jessie also was very helpful at getting me back to my apartment after the tour using a Jeepney.
The tours are very reasonably priced! In my opinion, these tours are the BEST way to see Manila, and were definitely the highlight of my stay.
Written April 4, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Dear Jilleyanne, So nice to hear positive response about our Bicycle and Market Tour! Absolutely true this tours are very reasonably priced. It is so great to hear that you mention that this tours are the best way to see Manila, and definitely the highlight of your stay in Manila :) Maraming salamat (thank you so much)! Warm greetings, Smokey Tours Team
Written April 16, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

BenjaminBreeg
Kent26 contributions
Oct 2014 • Couples
Fantastic and enjoyable tours of Manila with amazing guides Jessie, Remy and Nymphia.

Best moments in the Philippines were all spent on these tours.

Good prices for tours and Jessie has to be the most knowledgeable guide I have ever had (with infectious enthusiasm).

We did the slum tour, cockfighting, bicycle and market tours.

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.
Written October 18, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Hi Benjamin, Very flattering to hear that you call our Smokey Tours brilliant! Hope to see you someday in our Cemetery and Prison Tour! Warm regards, Smokey Tours Team
Written April 20, 2015
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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