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First Timer's Guide to Palawan, Philippines

27 Jul 2018

Felicia Malolos

Klook Travel Curator

First Timer's Guide to Palawan

With its clear turquoise waters, white sandy beaches and limestone hills, it doesn’t take much to fall in love with Palawan - and many people agree! Last 2016, Conde Nast Traveler named Palawan the best island in the world and that should be enough to convince you to take a trip down to this Philippine island. So if you’re looking for a beach getaway, there’s truly no other place to consider.

There are three major islands in Palawan: Coron, Puerto Princesa and El Nido. Although they’re all equally stunning, each island offers quite a different island experience from the other. So to help you plan out your Palawan escapades, we break down each islands’ most sought-after activities and experiences!

Klook Activities in Palawan

1. Coron Ultimate Tour

If you’ve got a limited time in Coron, the Coron Ultimate Tour definitely comes highly recommended! This island hopping activity will bring tourists to some of the best locations and experiences all throughout Coron. Apart from enjoying the devastatingly beautiful scenes of limestone cliffs and clear blue waters, tourists will be exposed to enchanting underwater shipwrecks and islands featured in several Hollywood films!

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2. Island and Lakes Tour

Explore Coron’s most iconic and picturesque islands all in one day with this Islands and Lakes Tour! After snorkeling at the Coral Garden, discovering Hidden Lagoons, and climbing Kayangan Lake, tourists will understand why Coron has been named the best island in the world several times. We can guarantee that while you’re on this tour, you’ll find yourself planning your next trip back to Coron.

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3. Island Escapade Tour

Your island escapade starts off at the peaceful Malcapuya beach, a white sand reserve perfect for quiet walks on the beach by Palawan’s iconic blue waters. After a serene getaway to this secluded paradise, tourists will be brought over to Banana Island where they can explore Palawan’s rich underwater life! A snorkeling trip in Banana Island is definitely something every tourists should try - especially since Coron is home to some of the most stunning coral reef gardens in the world! And finally, cap off this relaxing getaway by watching the sunset at the sandbar of Bulog Dos Island, accompanied by a drink or two!

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4. Barracuda, Skeleton Wreck and Twin Lagoon Tour

Apart from Coron’s dazzling turquoise waters and magnificent limestone cliffs, it’s also known for its world-class diving experiences! In this tour, tourists will be taken to Skeleton Wreck, Reef Garden and Barracuda Lake where they can dive and explore sunken ships, marvel at the beautiful underwater garden, and snorkel with the fishes! And if you thought it couldn’t get any better than that - the tour also allows tourists to visit the famous Twin Lagoon and swim through the underwater tunnel!

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5. Calauit Safari

Although the beach is fun, sometimes it’s also worthwhile to explore the other activities in Coron. If you’ve ever wanted to go on an African Safari, the Calauit Safari is a similar experience you’ll surely enjoy! Not only will you get to be up close to animals like zebras, but visitors are also given the chance to interact with animals like the giraffe by feeding them! So get on your wild side and experience this for yourself!

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Klook Activities in Puerto Princesa

1. Puerto Princesa Underground River

If you were to do just one thing in Puerto Princesa - it has to be the Underground River. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was named one of the New 7 Wonders of the World, and is Puerto Princesa’s pride and joy! Tourists will get to enjoy an educational, yet intriguing, tour of the underground caves with a guide to discuss its history. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled because you might just see stalagmites or stalactites resembling either Jesus or a dinosaur!

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2. Sabang Beach and Zipline

Although Coron and El Nido share the crown for best beaches in Palawan, we think Sabang Beach is a solid contender thanks to its stunning white sand and exciting activities. If you find yourself craving for a little bit of an adventure while you’re in Puerto Princesa, why not try out the Sabang Zipline? This thrilling ride is accompanied by gorgeous views of the island, which make the experience truly unforgettable.

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3. Firefly Watching

Make sure to block off one of your nights for a magical evening of firefly watching! This breathtaking spectacle takes place just 45 minutes from the city centre at Iwahig River, one of Puerto Princesa’s largest rivers. After a nice seafood dinner, tourists will be taken down the the mangrove-tree-lined river, which are lit up like Christmas trees thanks to the fireflies.

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4. Honda Bay Island Hopping

Spend a day island hopping through three of Palawan’s most pristine beaches with the Honda Bay Island Hopping tour! Tourists will start off their island adventures at the gorgeous sandbar of Luli Island for some swimming and snorkeling, then to Cowrie Island for banana boating and kayaking! The tour ends at Starfish Island, where tourists will be greeted by thousands of starfish spread throughout the shore. Just remember not to take any home!

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Klook Activities in El Nido

1. Lagoons and Beaches Tour

Head off on a tour to El Nido’s famed lagoons and beaches with this full day excursion! The first half of the tour will take tourists to the Small Lagoon, Big Lagoon, and Hidden Lagoon for some snorkeling and kayaking through the turquoise waters and glorious limestone cliffs! Afterwards, tourists will be graced with the natural beauty of Shimizu Island and 7 Commando Beach, where they can take a dip or simply relax by the island’s white sandy shores.

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2. Caves and Coves Tour

Unlike the other tours offered in El Nido, the Caves and Coves tour takes tourists to hidden gems in the island you can actually call paradise! Apart from El Nido’s signature turquoise waters and white sand beaches, the locations you’ll be hopping off to are much more secluded, and therefore a lot less crowded!

The tour starts at Snake Island and Papaya Beach for a scenic r&r and afterwards, tourists will get the chance to explore and discover hidden caves in Cudugnon Cave *and *Cathedral Cave.

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3. Hidden Beaches and Shrines Tour

If you imagined your trip to El Nido to be a serene, quiet, getaway - the Hidden Beaches and Shrines Tour is the package for you! Tourists who join this tour will be taken to some of the most secluded parts of El Nido, making your private beach dreams a reality! Visit one of the islands featured in Bourne Legacy, a helicopter shaped island, a spiritual oasis and a secret beach all in one day! Your paradise awaits!

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4. El Nido West Island Beaches

Nestled in the Westside of El Nido are some of the city’s untouched sanctuaries - Nacpan and Duli Beach. While most tourists flock to the more famous lagoons and beaches in the island, we can guarantee that a trip to these secluded islands will provide you with the private paradise you’ve always dreamt of!

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What to eat

1. Crocodile Sisig

Here's an exotic dish in Palawan that puts a local spin to the well-loved Filipino classic: sisig. Instead of a plate of various pork rinds, this sizzling dish is made out of crocodile meat marinated in sour liquid! This dish also happens to be a whole lot healthier since it's low in fat, but high in protein!

Ka Inato Restaurant Address: Km 4 North National Highway, Puerto Princesa, Palawan

2. Danggit

Since Palawan is a seaside destination, you can expect the city to be blessed with delicious seafood options! A local breakfast favorite that everyone should try is the danggit! This fish delicacy is best served fried, with rice, egg and atchara. The great thing about danggit is that it's cheap and can be easily bought in local markets - so stock up for those early morning breakfasts!

3. Lato Seaweed

Lato Seaweed isn't an actual meal, but it's often served alongside main dishes. Also known as sea grapes or green caviar, the lato seaweed is popular among its locals due to its soft texture!

KaLui Restaurant Address:369 Rizal Avenue, Barangay San Miguel, Puerto Princesa, 5300 Palawan