I have questions.
Did you discover any cheap places to stay and I have also been asked to find out about a cheap boat trip around the islands near Palawan.
Also, did you go to the underground river and can you give your experience with travel and costs.
Where did you stay?
How did you travel between the places?
What were the highlights/not to be missed sights?
How easy would it be to do a similar trip with a 2yr old?
Kiu, when you have the time and the inclination, it would be much appreciated if you could go to TA's homepage and 'write a review' section, and then indivdually review each of your hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions (including the Underground River) that you patronised during your trip.
Doing it via the reviews section allows TA to give each establishment an overall popularity ranking bearing in mind all the submitted reviews and the wonders of the TA algorithm.
Of course you are also welcome to answer fora questions such as those above, but the 'reviews' area is where most of us initially go to see how a hotel, a restaurant or a tourist attraction scores on the TA rankings.
I personally found there was not much to do in Puerto Princesa. It is a city but not a modern or developed one and with not much happening, i.e. no night life. I went to Coron and El Nido afterwards and in hindsight, would not have bothered with Puerto Princesa as there is not much to do, the island hopping tours are nothing compared to Coron and El Nido, and they are also expensive and short so not much value for money.
In Puero Princesa I did the Honda Bay tour which cost PHP1,100 each (08:00-15:30 pick up and drop off). I did visit the Underground River, PHP1500 each (08:00-15:00 pick up and drop off) - I personally didnt think too much of it, its a long river running through a long cave. It was a very long trip there and back, long waiting times to enter the cave (over an hour in a forest full of mosquitos) then lunch on Sabang beach (nice). They are saying this is one of the wonders of the world, and if this may be of your interest then you may wish to spend a day or two so you can do this tour.
I stayed in a fairly cheap hotel in Puerto Princesa - Kokaburra travel lodge at PHP1500 per room per night, includes airport transfers and breakfast. Nice, very clean hotel with good service, located about 10 mins trycicle ride outside of town.
El Nido - there are plenty of cheap places to stay here and there are also a lot of beachfront resorts. Overall El Nido is the most expensive destination so you pay a little more and get a little less. I stayed at the Entalula Beach Cottages - a beachfront cabana cost me PHP1800 per room per night (room only), including electric fan and aircon - note electricity in El Nido is only available from 2pm to 6am! The rooms here are good sizes, clean and modern and found from speaking to other travellers that this was pretty good value - i met a lot of people who stayed at Rosanna's Cottages who paid the same price as us but the rooms are very basic and quite dated.
Boat/island tours in El Nido are cheap - PHP500-700 each. The island tours are offered as tours A, B, C and D - all tour companies offer the same tours, all tours cover the same locations (there are hundreds of islands and the are grouped and labelled like these which makes things easy!). I did tours A and C which were the best of all if you are limited for time or do not want do so much. If you have time, do them all as they are so cheap.
There are also lots of other activities you can do i.e. cliff climbing, kiaking, private boat trips etc and all are pretty cheap.
Eating and dining in all of Palawan is very cheap - a good two course meal for two with drinks will cost you no more than PHP1000.
If you are travelling from Puerto to El Nido - your only option is the 8 hour van ride which should cost around PHP600-700 each and are available throughout the day and night. Majority of people I met who took this journey did not enjoy it - full van, hot, rough roads and fast driving, however they are safe and will get you there!
Trycicles are the main mode of transport in Palawan and cost around PHP8-10 per person, often double at night or if you are going out of town. These were fine and safe.
Thanks for taking the time to write this report. I enjoyed reading this. It is a destination I havent been to yet and am considering doing next year. I doubt that I would do the 8 hour van ride though.
I did the long bus trip from Manila to Bagio many years ago and that was very scary. The driver was overtaking on blind corners on roads that were windy and very narrow. I hope those roads have improved now.
If I go I would consider a flight in though quite costly.
As Victorialad has suggested writing a formal review when you have a chance is of great benefit to travellers like myself.
glad you enjoyed palawan and especially el nido.
you're right about PP when comparing to el nido/coron etc..PP is more of a transition place and the underground river worth doing once. there is nightlife in PP but it may be harder to find. we found some ok bars with live music..
glad you enjoyed, i look fwd to heading back to el nido sometime
Palawan is amazing and I want to go back NOW!
I will write some formal reviews soon as I know how useful they are - I rely a lot on reviews from fellow travellers on TA. Just need to find some time but will do soon.
Very kind of you kiu. We all look foward to reading them and in particular whether you give various hotels, restaurants or attractions a '1' out of '5', a '5' or somthing in -between. TA can amalgamate your rating with that of other reviewers and then rank each establishment or attraction accordingly.
Thank you for the useful info. I and my wife are thinking of visiting El Nido and Coron in January or in February and are wondering how high the risk of getting infected with malaria over there is. This seems to be a controversial issue and there are lots of conflicting posts on the Internet regarding risk of malaria in these places.
Did you take any prophylactic tablets before/during your trip?
Thanks in advance for your answer,
i was there in Feb this year and there was no worry of Malaria. Not to say it doesn't exist however the risk is low. I didn't take any tablets before or during and had no issues whatsoever. I wouldn't be concerned, worth going for sure...