One Google search on ‘Palawan Islands’ and then a click on ‘Images’ will take you to a world you will be left wondering if it actually exists. For long I have been on a mission to discover breathtaking places which aren’t branded (and hence much cheaper, less touristy, less crowded to explore). Palawan islands in the Philippines falls in such category and out of the three hot spots – El Nido, Coron and Puerto Princesa – I selected the latter two to trace a family fun itinerary with mix of lakes, clearest water in Asia, best snorkelling points, powdery white sand beaches, jungle safari, close to airports (so no long road travel), easy hike and treks, hot water springs and an underground river rated amongst the seven natural wonders of the world.
I cover the best of Coron here, will write separately for Puerto Princesa and for El Nido you can read my traveller-blogger sister’s blog.
Stay & Tours
Coron’s scenic airport barely can handle two tiny flights at a time, the washrooms are untidy and often without water and travel to hotels at town Busuanga around 40mins.
I will strongly, very strongly recommend a stay at Coron Bancuang Mansion and take a fully loaded package with transfers, trips, dinners, lunches, breakfast and a penthouse stay.
The staff are super excellent, their trips (arranged by Calamian travels) had great guides – Jomar & Ms Chris – who would guide you to best snorkelling points. Ms Chris even filmed our entire dream snorkelling experience, one of the four times we did snorkelling in two days.
The hotel gave us early check-in at 9am complimentary and their massages and snorkelling rental costs are much lower than the market price. To top it all they would keep the dinner ready every day by the balcony over sea breeze. We did three personalised trips – Coron town trip, Calauit safari trip and Coron escapades trip and these four days, all inclusive cost us less than 1000USD = 1300SGD = 50000INR for a family of four.
I will end the talking here and let thirty odd of the best pictures say it aloud. In our week long tour of Palawan islands I didn’t see any Indian tourist or hardly any Chinese tourist. It was majorly western tourists who come all the way here. When half the worlds population (India and China) have missed it completely.
Palawan island Philippines is rated amongst top two most beautiful islands of the world consistently. Our ten day trip (also covering Puerto Princessa and Manila) cost us nett of 3600 USD = 5000 SGD = 250000 INR everything inclusive – flights, stay, tours, meals, shopping, gifts for friends etc etc.
Entry to Philippines (all major entry cities like Manila, Cebu) are visa free for majority Asian citizens. Indians who are permanent residents at Singapore or have a Schengen visa stamp in their passport also have visa free entry currently. Which means NOW is the time to visit this amazing country.