Looking for the ultimate place for relaxation, adventure and above all, an amazing holiday? Step into paradise in Palawan, home to the highest concentration of islands and forests in The Philippines. Explore outstanding biodiversity or marine life as well as flora and fauna on one of the world’s best islands.
Whilst there are no direct flights (yet) from Singapore to Puerto Princesa Airport in Palawan there are daily flights travelling through Manila with Philippines Airlines and Cebu Pacific. Return flights can be bought from CheapTickets.sg from only $366 all-in (the prices quoted on searching always include the taxes).
Once you land in Palawan take a local taxi to nearby hotel in Puerto Princesa, it should cost you around SG$6 to get to one of the coastal resort hotels just 6k from the airport. 4* hotels such as the Blue Palawan Beach Club can be booked from only $99 per night and are perfect for a 1 or 2 night stay at the start or end of your Palawan adventure.
From your hotel you can book to take a trip to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River. This UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the 7 wonders of nature is an 8.2 kilometre river, estimated to be the longest navigable underground river in the world winds through caves and under a mountain range and out into the South China Sea. Cruise along the river on a small paddled outrigger boat by searchlight to discover wonders of nature, untouched by sunlight. The national park the river is located in is home to more than 800 plant species, 195 bird species, 30 mammals and 19 reptiles. A trip to the river will take a whole day since many tours visit places such as Elephant mountain and include a lunch stop. The boat ride itself will be about 45 mins. You can also consider to book a Sabang X-Zipline or a Mangrove Tour in addition to the cave. You can DIY the trip by going to apply in person for the pass on arrival but passes usually have to be purchased at least 2 weeks in advance this way, unless there are passes left to redeem since there is a maximum number of people allowed in the cave during a set period.
A trip to Honda Bay, a cluster of islands just 15 minutes away from the main city area is perfect if you are just looking to relax on the beach after your journey or take the plunge into the crystal waters. Most cruises will make a first stop at Pambato reef, its best to start the tour early to get the smoothest waters and take a swim. You can rent snorkel gear to get the best view of all the fish and corals. You will be provided with life jackets so you can just float on the water and take in the reef.
Next up is Lu-li island, this bank of white sand where you can paddle into the sea and swim in the shallow water with the fish (a bit of bread helps them to come your way!). Lunch can be at Pandan island where you can indulge in freshly cooked seafood cooked to order from one of the many vendors. Next ask you boat driver to drop by Starfish island, you can spot up to 3 different colours of starfish in the waters. Last up will probably be Cowrie Island, this small, clean beach island is great to just relax and enjoy the end of the day. You can rent your own boat from Php1,300-1,800 (SG$40-50) depending on the boat size but be prepared to negotiate if you don’t want to share with anyone. If you are not on a set tour you will need to pay an average of Php 50-120 (SG$1.5-3.60) per island that you visit as an entrance fee
If you want to plug some romance into your trip you can take a trip to see the Fireflies on the Iwahig river. Its best to go when there is a small moon to get the best view of these real life fairy lights. If you are planning to DIY the visit by taking 45 tricycle ride (make sure you get the driver to wait there as there are no other options to get back) get your hotel or a tour guide to make a reservation for you before hand to ensure that you get a boat trip, if you just turn up you risk having to wait a really long time. The 45 minute boat trip can be done in a canoe with a guide who might even show you how the bio luminescent phytoplankton and how they light up as you swish you hands in the water. There are other tours on larger boats with seafood buffets but if you prefer something a little more personal the canoe tours are for you. Doing it DIY you will pay about Php 800 for the transport to the boat and Php 1,200 for the boat, around 1,000 per person where a package will be about 1,200.
Next up on a trip Paalwan you can explore the areas of El Nido and Coron, coming up in the next blog!