Trip to Palawan, the Philippines

Palawan is a beautiful place and there are so many things to see. However, if you have only a 10-day vacation with a limited budget, it would be quite complicated to explore the island.

It is possible, if you plan your trip in advance including accommodation and restaurants, then you are all set for on of the most incredible adventure in your life.

Palawan, the Philippines

Palawan is an incredible 450 km long, so every tourist can find his best adventure there: from visiting spa-centers and laying at the beach to extreme hiking with breathtaking views.

How to get there

One of the best options is to fly to the Metro Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The fourth terminal manages domestic flights. So, you can easily fly from there to El Nido, San Vicente or Puerto Princesa.

There is an airport in Puerto Princesa. It is considered as an international one now, however, it handles a few flights mostly from Incheon and Busan, and Taipei-Taoyuan.

Also, you should know about a new airport in San Vicente. It has been working since the end of 2018. It has become very convenient to get to the nearest towns and resorts, such as Binga Beach Resort, from the airport by a newly constructed road up the coast.

It is important to understand, that in some cities in Palawan, flights are once a day. That is why it is essential to stick to your plan within the whole trip.

Backpacking

It is better to visit Palawan from November to March, however, if you like rain other months are also fine. As you know, the weather is unpredictable, and anytime it can be rainy and windy. Anyway, November-March is the dry season with comfortable temperature, especially when it is really winter in your country.

The best thing is to pack light. Make sure you have taken the must-have things, such as:

  1. Cash: there are no ATMs in remote places and there is a high possibility that credit cards are not accepted.
  2. Sunscreen, after-sun spray or lotion
  3. Insect repellents
  4. Swimsuit and sarong
  5. Hiking shoes (if you are ready to conquer the highest peak of Palawan or a fan of breath-taking views)
  6. Sandals
  7. Reusable water bottle
  8. If you are a fan of devices, do not forget about portable charger and universal adapter. In some rural towns outside of Puerto Princesa there is no electricity all day.

Sightseeing

Palawan is one of the biggest islands in the Philippines. What I love about it though, whenever you go you are always next to the coast. Romantic!

If you are short in time, it is better to fly into one city and out of another. For example flying into Puerto Princesa and out of El Nido. I know it sounds more expensive but it is worth so you will not have to spend many extra hours in vans retracing your route to get back to the same airport.

Here are samples for a trip:

  1. Fly to El Nido from Manila. El Nido is famous for its diving places. Moreover, there is a Dewil Valley, archaeological site with six karst caves. Then take a van to either Binga Beach or San Vicente. If you did not have a chance to dive in El Nido, you can do it here as well. You cannot imagine how beautiful coral reefs are there! You can walk along the famous 14-kilometer beach and admire amazing sunsets here. However, if you are into less-crowded places, then you should definitely visit Binga Beach Resort, which is 45 minutes away from San Vicente. San Vicente and Binga area are famous for uninhabited and secret beaches. This option will take about 3-4 days.
  2. If you have longer vacation, then you should fly to Puerto Princesa. Make a priority to visit the Puerto Princesa Underground River in Sabang, which was listed as one the New 7 Wonders of Nature in 2012. There are beaches and waterfalls. If you are a gourmet, go to Port Barton. It is famous for its delicious traditional cuisine and is known as a very casual backpacker’s beach, with great boat tours to beautiful beaches and snorkelling spots. After finishing degustation head to El Nido. This option will take about 7 days.
  3. If you are lucky enough to have more than two weeks for exploring Palawan, then you can include Coron and Southern Palawan to the destinations mentioned above. In Coron, visit Kayangan Lake, the clearest water in the country. If you are tired of crowded places, then it is time to visit Napsan. The next destination is Quezon: there is the Tabon Cave Complex, the earliest proven human occupation. Rizal is very popular for the Tau’t Bato or the Dwellers of the Rock. This is a group of people still live in the caves in Singnapan Valley.

In case you would also like to do some hiking, this is a list of the mountains in Palawan:

  1. Mt. Capoas: the highest peak in Northern Palawan. You can hike there from Binga Beach Resort.
  2. Mt. Beaufort
  3. Mt. Bloomfield in Sabang
  4. Mt. St. Paul
  5. Mt. Mantalingajan: the highest peak in Palawan.
  6. Mt. Thumbpeak
  7. Mt. Victoria
  8. Mt. Salakot
  9. Cleopatra’s Needle
  10. Mt. Magarwak
  11. Mt. Kalbo
  12. Mt. Sultan Peak

Please be careful with hiking trips. It is better to hire a professional guide since safety first.

Conclusion

Remember, Palawan is gorgeous, but it is still a big island. You can waste your time and money if not planning your trip carefully. Personally speaking, this place should be in your list of adventures. Safe travels!

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