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“Not worth the wait”

Puerto Princesa Underground River
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Underground River Day Trip from Puerto Princesa City
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Underground River Tour including Lunch from Puerto Princesa
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Amazing Underground River Cruise and Ugong Rock Adventure from Puerto Princesa
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Reviewed April 7, 2014 via mobile

The visit to the UR is not worth the wait. We were picked up at 6am just to run around the city for other guests. We reached Sabang at 10am to wait more because our schedule is in the afternoon. All the waiting is not worth it. Spent the whole day and we were in the cave for only 45min. The lighting was quite poor and the boatman is not really knowledgeable enough to explain things inside the cave. But being a wonder and it's in the Philippines, I have to see it. I hope they devise a way to make it more efficient. At least the local government is making a effort to preserve the balance.

Thank neborr357
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 7, 2014

The tour picks you up early in the morning for a few hours ride to the underground river. Upon arrival at the beach at 11:00 am, you have a nice lunch while you're enjoying the summer breeze. This is followed by a 15 minute boat ride to an island where the underground river is. A short walk later, you come across the underground caves where they give you a helmet, a life jacket and off you go!

The underground caves are nice. The boatman knows how to make it fun, and it's cool to at least go and have a look. The place smells of bat dung and the cave is dark with only a strong flashlight that is carried by the front passenger to light the way. The boatman does explain what rock formations look like what, but it's not as spectacular than the caves I see in China or elsewhere.

Overall, a good experience to have and worth the Php 1,600 tour, but don't expect to be blown away. It's good for the Philippines but there are other better sights elsewhere.

Thank Tina K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 6, 2014

The Underground River Tour is not worth it for all the hassles of waiting and travelling all the way down from the city. The most beautiful and exciting part of this trip is the entrance/waiting area of the cave, it was just stunning! The torquoise blue water and white sand beach, the mangroves and the monkeys with the sight of a huge monitor lizard! Incredible. We sat in the boat for 45 minutes i almost doze off and I'm not kidding. i was just too tired with all the waiting and travelling to get there. As for me, a cave is just a cave, what else is it? Although, if you're a kind of person who has fascination with caves this is just the right stuff for you. I could make it really interesting and exciting but unfortunately it wasn't for me. Hopefully in the future there will be other activities to do in the area apart from the cave tour.

Thank Lesley P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 3, 2014

The river itself I would describe as interesting though certainly not a "wonder of the world". The way it is to be visited is a nightmare. You have to pre-book which is not a big thing, but you have to pick waiting numbers in the city hall's river information center in puerto princesa if you don't do it all via a travel agency (which we did then). We tried to get a permit for a private tour in the information center without success. They informed us this would have to be done some weeks before in writing.
Okay then the standard tour with 45 min. in the river. We booked at the travel agency next to the city hall, which was excellent. To get early to the river and avoid the worst of the tourist peak, we drove one day before and stayed in Sabang. Next morning hundreds of mostly Asian tourists already there at 8 am. They told us we had to wait for "our" boat. After one hour waiting amongst the pack with constant annoyance by the sales guys around, I had a longer talk with our guide, explaining that we booked an early morning tour and stayed overnight in Sabang for that. No use. More insisting and asking for an instant refund helped then as he promised to get us on another boat with some Koreans. 20 min later we could board the boat. You are offloaded on a small strip of beach were the whole group has to present themselves for a photo - which is sold to you later of course. Then another 40 min wait for the group has the opportunity to shop at the souvenir center there - right in the middle of the "national park". Boarding the small ship for the river takes another 30 min wait. Finally the tour itself, me in front of the boat as recommended in lonely planet to do so. There you have to hold the only lamp in the boat exactly in the way the "guide" shouts at you. This "guide" talks constantly in a loud voice describing only the figures in the forms of the stones - at least as he sees them: vegetables, mushrooms, faces, animals, of course naked ladies and phallus, and so one. Not one word about anything interesting about the river at all. The Koreans loved it with constant ahhhs and oooohs as soon as they recognized the figures in the stones. 30 min later the tour was over, dozens of boats in the river all the time. Then waiting for photo sales, another round of souvenir shopping, waiting for the boat to come, and finally one hour waiting to de-board for there is no jetty and the boats have to wait for their turn. We started 7am from our hotel and finished the "tour" at around 5 pm with 30 min in the cave. After this we instantly booked a private van and drove back to puerto princesa to flee the crowd.
Better save the day and go hiking in the Palawan parks. Better caves to be seen in all parts of the world anyhow (Mexico, Croatia, pp. )

4  Thank Nandor89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 3, 2014

A not too short but not long travel by road from the city. You will pass through Ugong Rock and you can stop there (mostly all tourist do that).

Take your 'lunch' around 10.30am at a beach side cottage called "Penao" and wait for your boat at the pier opposite where you eat.

I don't believe that they have a quota to limit visitors everyday. It is so crowded and I did not see the so called 'passes' to enter the national park.

10-15 minute boat ride to the shore. I felt like I'm landing on Comodo Island. A lot iguana near the beach. Walk a short distance to the registration area and then a wooden walkway leading you to the river. Hoop up your safety gear and a very very short briefing by your tour guide before passing you to the boat man.

10-12 people per boat, the boat man paddle you into the tunnel and he starts to talk. Telling you this stone looks like this and that one looks like what. The same stone, they will say it's jelly fish when you going in and again this stone he will say it's an onion on the way out.

Depends on what kind of trip you expect, you might be feeling it's just a boring boat trip into a cave. Some people might found this amazing.

3  Thank siauhwa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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