How do you find a place that match the beauty of Phuket and Krabi, with its sandy islands, tropical climate, and limestone rock archipelago? But without the crowded beaches, polluted corals, and international food menus? You call the Philippines and its over 7,000 islands and go for a trip to Palawan.
Still bypassed by the mainstream travel routes, El Nido is what Phuket, Phang Nga Bay, and the Phi Phi Islands were thirty years ago. That is, a low-key tropical paradise with a genuine atmosphere and unspoiled beaches. Exchange your long-tail boat to a Philippine bangka and go island hopping in an archipelago more virgin than anything Thailand has to offer. A place where you still can find dazzling white beaches to indulge in all for yourself.
The tourist industry of El Nido is still young and local, yet big enough for a rich supply of hotel, bars, and restaurants. A small town feeling without the fake smiles and “hey-mister-give me-money” attitude. Head to Matinloc Island, reminiscent of Phi Phi Island’s Maya Bay, or explore the mainland beaches by renting your your own motorbike. Go local with the fishermen at Marimegmeg Beach and pick up the backpacker vibes at Nacpan Beach.
How do I get there?
Where: El Nido is situated on the Philippine island Palawan, 2,000 km west of Phuket. The flight from Manila takes approximately one hour.
How: No international flights are operating Palawan. Direct flights to El Nido or Puerto Princesa from Manila. Stay on the mainland around El Nido town or book a resort in the Bacuit Archipelago. Ferries to Calamian Islands departure daily and take approximately 4 hours.
When: Go during dry season from October-May. Most sunshine hours February-March. Beware the typhoons, peak season are between June to September but they can hit the Philippines any time of the year.
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