There can’t be many better ways to end 10 months of travel than two weeks in Palawan (not counting yet another cheeky weekend in Singapore). Sleepy Port Barton was definitely a highlight but the more popular El Nido and Coron have been full of surprises too. There’s no where in Asia with scenery quite like this.
El Nido town isn’t exactly heaven on earth with a beachfront crowded with tour boats but fortunately Las Cabanas is only a 7km trycycle ride away. And if you’re feeling adventurous you can hire one or rent a scooter to ride out all the way to stunning Nacpan (beware the crazy dirt track that will take you there).
Island hopping in El Nido was the best I’ve experienced in South East Asia. There are four tours each with an enigmatic letter: A, B, C or D. I did C, the most expensive one (1,200 pesos), but from what everyone says it is by far the best and I had no complaints. The white sand beaches, crystal clear water and mesmerising snorkelling were top class and the whole trip is set to a backdrop of incredible limestone cliffs.
It even included the best meal I’ve had in the whole of the Philippines!
Next stop was Coron. Not everybody makes it up there from El Nido, maybe because of the eight hour journey on a very basic wooden 60 pax boat which will set you back 1200 pesos (£20). But boy is it worth it!
World famous for its superb wreck diving Coron also offers more island hopping adventures, mountains, hot springs and a town with far more ambience than El Nido. There’s no beachfront but with the beautiful islands on your doorstep it’s not a huge problem. Island hopping here was still impressive and cheaper than El Nido (650 pesos).
I hadn’t planned on diving but in the end I couldn’t resist. Two dives with Coron Divers (Philippino owned) cost 2,200 pesos (£32) which is an absolute bargain to be able to experience diving inside sixty year old Japanese warships that were sunk by the Americans in WWII. Pictures to come!
In the town centre there’s a hill with about 700 steps to the top which is perfect for sunset or sunrise if you’re mad enough.
I also feel really lucky to have had the perfect guesthouse at the end of my travels. I managed to organise myself enough to book Patrik and Tezz Guesthouse in advance for the four nights of my stay and I’m so glad I did. Cute pets, welcoming family atmosphere, clean comfortable rooms and a much appreciated plunge pool were exactly what I needed (no wonder they’re number one on Trip Advisor). And all for 550 pesos (£8) which I even got to share with the lovely Cassidy who I met on arrival.
Although it’s not quite the end of my trip, Palawan has been my final new destination and it’s definitely one of the best spots I’ve been to in South East Asia. Beaches, snorkelling, diving, coconuts, sunsets, sunrises, mangos, waterfalls, rum, tanning, palm trees and beautiful people. NUFF SAID.