Puerto Princesa (Palawan) – The Philippines

Most people use Puerto Princesa as a pass through on the way to El Nido or other parts of Palawan, whether your here for one night or a few days then there is plenty to keep you busy and enough bars and restaurants to keep you well fed and spoiled for choice.

Things To Do:

The underground river, your only on the river for about 45 minutes as you head 1.5km along the river, your given a headset which will talk you through the sites within the cave, the driver/rower will point out landmarks with his torch, the tour costs 1,800 including lunch and transport from the city. It is a full day trip and there can be a lot of waiting around, but it’s absolutely worth it.

Firefly watching, I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one, but it was incredible. Trees light up like Christmas trees when you row past. The boat ride is about 30 minutes in a small boat with 2 people plus a guide. Our guide also showed us bioluminescent plankton at the base of the river, but the in laws didn’t see it so I suppose every guide is different. The trip costs 1,200 from the city including dinner and transport. The whole trip takes about 4 hours.

The city centre isn’t massive but there are still a few nice spots worth visiting, the first being the Immaculate Conception Cathedral, it’s absolutely beautiful and inside feels very peaceful. Just opposite is the Plaza Cuartel. We spent a lovely afternoon wandering the streets of Puerto Princesa.

Pristine beach, it’s a bit out the way and not what I’d call ‘pristine’, if your looking for the perfect beach your better off skipping Puerto Princesa. Entrance to the beach costs 40 pesos.

Where To Eat:

We were absolutely spoiled for choice in Puerto Princesa, there were so many places that looked amazing, we couldn’t possibly try them all.

Local – Haim Chicken, which ironically didn’t have any chicken on the menu! Was fantastic, cheap and authentic, we ate there twice.

Local – La Terrasse, a bit of the fancy side, we really loved it here, their local dishes are fantastic and they also offer western dishes.

Western – The Orange Gecko, this was the father in laws favourite meal in the Philippines, the restaurant is owned by a British lady and they have a wide variety on their menu with daily specials.

Bakery – Cafe Ole, a traditional French bakery in the heart of Puerto Princesa, perfect for lunch or a coffee and cake.

Bar – Hangover, they have live music on every night at 9pm and a long cocktail list, it is outdoors so not a great one in the rain.

Getting There:

People tend to spend a few nights in Puerto Princesa before or after a flight because of the proximity to the airport. A taxi into town will cost 150 pesos and a three wheeler even less.

Where To Stay:

For one or two nights there are so many budget options in Puerto Princesa, if you decide to stay longer then I would recommend trying to find somewhere with a pool, the beach is a bit pants.

We stayed at the Balay Inato Pension which was perfect for the price and location, rooms were big and the A/C worked well, breakfast was included. We booked through Hotels.com for £16 per night.

The in-laws wanted something nicer and stayed at the Ipil Suites, rooms were a fairly similar standard but with daily house keeping, a buffet breakfast and of course a swimming pool, you can book through hotels.com for £29 per night.

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