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Overview

Billed as the Philippines' last frontier, Palawan sprawls across the Sulu Sea towards Malaysian Borneo. With just a handful of towns and only one proper road, this is Asia at its most untamed. The few settlements cling to the coast, providing access to glorious beaches, wild jungles, dramatic karst cliffs and some of the finest coral reefs in the islands. Served by regular ferries and flights from Manila, Puerto Princesa is the gateway to this natural wonderland, but most visitors move on quickly to the laid-back resorts at Sabang, Port Barton, Taytay and El Nido. Scuba diving and snorkeling are the main attractions, but adventurous types ...

Billed as the Philippines' last frontier, Palawan sprawls across the Sulu Sea towards Malaysian Borneo. With just a handful of towns and only one proper road, this is Asia at its most untamed. The few settlements cling to the coast, providing access to glorious beaches, wild jungles, dramatic karst cliffs and some of the finest coral reefs in the islands. Served by regular ferries and flights from Manila, Puerto Princesa is the gateway to this natural wonderland, but most visitors move on quickly to the laid-back resorts at Sabang, Port Barton, Taytay and El Nido. Scuba diving and snorkeling are the main attractions, but adventurous types can climb the cliffs, kayak along underground rivers, or hike to remote villages and waterfalls in the jungle. Animist tribes still inhabit the rugged interior, and some have had only limited contact with the outside world. With the poor condition of the roads, many people prefer to travel along the coast by pumpboat, but it's possible to explore by jeepney or rented motorcycle. At the north end of Palawan, picturesque El Nido is the gateway to the islands and pristine reefs of the Bacuit archipelago, where plush resorts hide away on their own private islands.

Joe Bindloss
About the Expert

Joe Bindloss has written more than 30 guidebooks for Lonely Planet, Time Out and other publishers, with a focus on Southeast Asia, the Indian Subcontinent and island nations.

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Joe Bindloss for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    December to May, avoiding the rain-drenched monsoon months from June to September