One item on my bucket list is to ride a Segway, so when I found out about the White Knight electric chariot tours in Intramuros, I was thrilled. The tour is provided by White Knight Hotel Intramuros which is in Plaza San Luis (same complex where Barbara's Restaurant is located).
On the way to the tour, it suddenly rained and since we were scheduled at the last tour of the day, I was worried that our tour would be rescheduled. When we arrived at White Knight though, thankfully, the rain had stopped. The skies were still cloudy and there was a slight drizzle during our tour but the light rain was manageable and White Knight was equipped to handle that.
Aside from the tour fees, there is a P100 insurance fee for each person and you will also have to sign a waiver. Small sling bags are allowed but since the e-chariots are controlled by the rider balancing his weight, heavy bags have to be left at the White Knight Hotel's front desk.
|geared up and ready to go|
|repository of safety gear|
Each tourist is equipped with elbow pads, knee pads, a helmet, and a light yellow vest that says "White Knight Tours". The pads and the helmet are required but I think the vest is optional since I've seen pictures of other tour participants wearing no vest. Since it was drizzling during our tour, our guide made us wear bright yellow raincoats. We did not have to wear the vests since it would be too hot, especially for bf who was wearing a denim jacket that day. Our tour guide wore a white raincoat to distinguish himself and also slung a transparent umbrella on his e-chariot, just in case we would need it.
I like the yellow raincoats. If the tourists were to be suddenly caught in a heavy downpour, those bright raincoats would help make them more visible to each other and to other people (particularly motorists), avoiding accidents.
With the insurance fee, waiver, and the safety gear, one might think that riding the electric chariots is hard and dangerous. But no, the e-chariot is easy and fun to control, even if you don't know how to ride a bike, a skateboard or whatever other wheeled thing that requires you to balance. After the riders have donned the safety gear, the first 10 minutes are spent practicing moving around Plaza San Luis using the echariot. The concept is simple: lean forward to move forward, lean back to move backward, stand straight to make the vehicle stop, go left or right by moving the handles.
Children and senior citizens can also ride the e-chariots. There is a minimum height requirement of 130cm and minimum weight of 45kgs according to the White Knight Tours' Web site. You will not be measured and weighed before the tour, though, and I think there's a bit of leeway for the weight requirement since I am slightly below 45kg but I had no problem manipulating the e-chariot and was not asked about my weight.
White Knight offers two kinds of tour: the 30min Boutique Tour and the 1hour Grand Intramuros Tour. We had the latter and chose the 5pm departure to avoid the afternoon heat.
30 min Boutique Tour (P499/pax, departure: every 30 minutes from 8am-6pm)
Sights to see: Plazuela de Santa Isabel, Manila Cathedral, Plaza de Roma, Fort Santiago, Postigo del Palacio, San Agustin Church, ECJ Building , Casa Manila, Plaza San Luis Complex
Sights to see: Plazuela de Santa Isabel, Manila Cathedral, Fort Santiago, Baluarte de San Diego, Puerta de Santa lucia, Baluartillo de San Jose, Reducto de San Pedro, Bagumbayan Light & Sound Museum, Revellin del Parian, Revellin de Real de Bagumbayan, Puerta de Isabel, Aduana, San Agustin Church, Bahay Tsinoy (Chinese Museum), Plaza San Luis Complex
Each tour has a maximum of 4 tourists and 1 tour guide so every tourist will get the most out of the experience. Bigger groups which do not want to be separated can be accommodated via special arrangement. In our case, there were only two of us and our tour guide Joel. Another guy (Josh) was also with us and he was the one who took pictures and assisted us when we had to cross streets or when there was an incoming vehicle.
|Josh (L) and Joel (R)|
While on the road or in a specific place, Joel would talk about the place or important events that happened there. I just wish they provided a summary after the tour since it was hard to remember everything or to take down notes during the tour.
Despite the gloomy weather, people were in high spirits that day. Every now and then we encountered other tourists (some of which were foreigners) riding the kalesa and they would smile or wave or flash a thumbs up sign (which I of course gladly returned).
The tour does not include going inside the churches and the museums. Nevertheless, it is very enjoyable. Seeing the sights is cool enough, but riding the e-chariots make it a lot more fun.
White Knight Tours
White Knight Hotel Intramuros
Plaza San Luis Complex
General Luna St. cor. Urdaneta St.
Intramuros, Manila, Metro Manila
Telephone: +632 526-6539, +632 526-6181