The Philippines – Palawan (Puerto Princesa & El Nido)

We had to fly via Manila to get to Palawan in the end and the easiest entry point is Puerto Princesa. We will then need to take a 5 hr car or bus ride up to El Nido.

There is an airport in El Nido but it’s served by one airline only and they prioritise those staying at some elite hotels there, and we weren’t 😉

We took a day trip up to see the subterranean river, its a UNESCO World Heritage site but unfortunately things didn’t work out.

We got as far as the boat jetty but as we waited (for hours) the sea started to get quite rough and people were being swept off the loading bay by the waves!

They literally closed the jetty as we were meant to get into the next boat, perhaps we swerved a bullet there but the underground river looks amazing. If we had more time and had more time there are more immersive options to get inside the caves there which run for miles.

So its well worth a trip and we came close at least! We took a walk around the town but didn’t find much to see to be honest.

The next day we took the group car ride up to El Nido. The roads are very good and you get to see some great countryside and coastal areas enroute, the journey passed very quickly.

El Nido is a well known and popular destination. It has many beaches nearby and there are lots of islands with boat trips and snorkelling/diving tours available.

We found the gentleman above sleeping off his heavy night by the El Nido sign on the main beach 😉

There are lots of restaurants and bars in the town, many with views out across the beach and the sea.

The main El Nido beach itself is pretty but the tide comes in quite high and with the boats nearby its not really a sunbathing location, although we did see a few people out.

Not too sure how long the boat wreck below has been in place but there is a bar nearby where you can watch the children play on it as the waves hit it from the sea.

This was our first encounter with the Philippines Trike bikes, similar but different to Tuk tuks you see elsewhere in southeast Asia. These are literally attached to a motorcycle either to the side like a sidecar or around it with two seats.

Funky looking vehicles but not the most comfortable nor the most powerful when trying to go up a hill with two passengers and their luggage!

There is plenty of seafood to try and the colours of these lobsters caught my eye.

There are plenty of other beach areas set away from the main El Nido beach and town area. This is the view from a lovely bar near Corong Corong beach.

Further along the coast you can walk for miles along the coast passing mostly empty beaches with the sight of around 45 islands and islets just offshore.

The views are wonderful and there are plenty of very rustic beach side accommodation options away from the hustle and bustle of the main town centre.

We hired a bike and rode out into the countryside to check out other beaches.

One beach was Nacpan, noted as one of the nicest beaches nearby. We had read that there were sandflies around so we didn’t hang about! We got bitten by sandflies once before at a beach in Columbia and didn’t fancy a repeat attack!

But its a pretty beach none the less and we has no bite issues so perhaps best do your own research on this!

Water Buffalo (Caraboa) are everywhere, and there are always white Cranes nearby!

The main attraction of El Nido are the boat trips out to the islands, to snorkel or dive and see the beaches and the lagoons.

There seem to be four core trips you can opt for namely A, B, C and D. Each are day trips and cover certain areas, an indication there is so much to see.

The boats are quite basic but safe and well run. We took two of the tours, one as a private tour and the other as a group one.

The beach locations you get to see are simply fabulous.

We got to kayak in beautiful lagoon areas.

My personal favourite beach was the Seven Commandos beach. Its not a big beach but situated with a limestone rock behind it, a row of tall palm trees, lovely yellow sand and the inviting crystal clear water is beautiful.

Boats are only allowed to drop off and pick up rather than line the beach.

The one and only beach bar!

Sandcastle structure for a birthday celebration being built.

Palawan has been wonderful, highly recommended!

Next we fly to Bohol for our last two stops before heading to Manila for a couple of days and then to Vietnam.

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