Palawan was named “Best Island in the World” many times already by international travel magazines so it comes as no surprise when tourists across the world notice Palawan’s exquisite beauty. And aside from having the magnificent lagoons and pristine beaches, what pulls travelers are the fun things to do in Palawan.
From wreck diving to caving— there are far more amazing things to do in Palawan beyond island hopping.
One of the most popular things to do in Palawan is kayaking especially if you’d prefer to go off the beaten path during your island hopping tour. You will be able to fully explore the lagoons that surround Bacuit Bay. Kayaking allows you to explore the Big Lagoon and Small Lagoon even further, as these smaller boats can enter small entrances that big boats cannot. And the experience is more satisfying when you can see the limestone formations and cerulean blue waters while paddling at your own pace.
2. Eat tamilok
The Philippines definitely has some of the world’s craziest and most exotic foods! If you think Balut (16 to 21-day old fertilized duck egg) is a crazy thing to eat, wait until you see Tamilok. This Palawan delicacy is a type of mollusk that lives inside of mangrove trees. The long slimy worms are sold mostly everywhere in Palawan, especially in Puerto Princesa, and it is best paired with vinegar. There are also many restaurants that serve Tamilok in Palawan.
3. Firefly watching
A tour at the Iwahig River and Park will give you a magical treat as you witness ethereally bluish swarms of fireflies twinkling within the mangroves that line the riverbank. The tour is guided by a local who talks about these critters, the Iwahig environment, and even constellations. The tour usually begins at past 8pm. Firefly watching is one of the best things to do in Puerto Princesa that you will surely remember forever!
4. Explore Puerto Princesa Underground River
This is one of the most popular things to do in Puerto Princesa. The Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. It is also one of the longest underground rivers in the world, traveling five miles through a subterranean cave system. Inside the underground river, you will see karsts—natural rock formations created by dissolving limestone—loom in every direction.
5. Discover the Philippines’ Rarest Birds
Bird Watching might not be as popular as island hopping in Palawan but it’s definitely one for the books! Palawan is so rich with forests where some of the Philippines’ rarest birds can be found.
You can visit Rasa Island or Cleopatra’s Needle Forest Reserve (CNFR) to witness the wildlife in the jungle. It is home to countless endemic species like Palawan hornbill, Palawan peacock-pheasant, Palawan flycatcher, Palawan bearcat, Palawan bearded pig, Palawan flying squirrel, and Palawan birdwing.
6. Wreck diving
Coron, Palawan is home to several World War II wrecks, Japanese supply ships that were sunk by American forces in the battle of Coron Bay in September 1944, that’s why it’s great for wreck diving. Many travelers go to Coron to dive as it is one of the best things to do in Coron. Vessels like Akitsushima, Iraku and Olympia Maru are big, ghostly and fascinating to visit.
In the present day, the six shipwrecks offer a tempting target for divers of all levels of experience. Beginners can glide past the ships’ exteriors, admiring the coral-encrusted cranes, portholes and armaments. Coron’s wrecks range in depth from 10 feet to as deep as 140 feet, with an average depth of 60-80 feet making it among the interesting Palawan points of interest.
7. Dance the night away
Palawan is not all-island and beach hopping though! Locals have a nightlife, too! They’ve got a lot of bars and nightclubs where you can party all you want. In Puerto Princesa, the Tiki Bar is among the famous bars in town. In El Nido, Beach Shack is one of the most popular bars. People frequent here because of its cool Miami vibe. And in Coron, you can try visiting the No Name Bar. It is open to the street with a mini thatch-roofed ‘cabana’ bar and has more character than other Palawan points of interest. The food and drinks here are cheaper than other clubs.
8. Legit Safari trip
You don’t have to fly to Africa to see animals in the wild because you can already do this in Coron! Get up close with the animals and feed them in Calauit Island. This is one of the fun things to do in Coron. Kids, especially, will love this trip.
9. Explore a Prison Without Walls at Iwahig
If you want to immerse and want a different kind of trip, visit Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm in Puerto Princesa. It is one of the world’s largest open-air jails. Instead of concrete walls, the prison is surrounded by a wire fence. A single guard at the entrance gate greets tourists and prisoners’ relatives without inspecting them.
According to an Iwahig Prison official, the idea of this prison is to rehabilitate criminals, so that the minimum-security inmates feel integrated within the community. All convicts learn a trade, including farming, fishing, forestry, and carpentry.
The visitors can tour around the Iwahig prison. Some prisoners perform a dance routine for the tourists and their handmade products can be bought. This is another Palawan tourist spot you shouldn’t miss!
10. Try the Maquinit Hot Spring
Another Palawan tourist spot that you should visit is the Maquinit Hot Spring. Unlike usual hot springs of fresh water, Maquinit is a natural saltwater hot spring and is actually one of the few in the world. So if you want to take a break from the cool waters of the sea, go for a dip in Maquinit Hot Spring!
One of the most exciting but different El Nido Palawan things to do is caving! El Nido may be famous for its pristine beaches and breathtaking lagoons, but you should not also miss the caves they boast of. You can marvel at the wonderful rock formations at the Cathedral and Cudugnon Caves.
12. Zip lining
If you’re on for a thrilling adventure, try zip lining at Las Cabanas Beach. It is among the most exciting El Nido Palawan things to do! But before the zip line thrill, you will have to go on a 10-minute hike first to reach the starting point of the zipline. The 750-meter long zip line starts from the Las Cabanas Beach to Depeldet Island. When trying this activity, remember to follow all the guidelines for safety.
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