Palawan belongs to the top dream destinations all over the world, and I very much consider myself lucky to be living in this paradise island. However, many travellers are still hesitant to set foot on here because of the impression that it is an expensive destination.
Well, exploring the beautiful island doesn’t really need to be expensive. Budget travellers just need to know what to do, where to stay, where to go, without ruining their budgets. Here are some tips:
1. Save on accomodation. There are so many hotels to choose from, including the high end luxury hotels, which you don’t really need when most of the time you are out of the room exploring the island’s beauty, especially when your stay is very limited. A lot of backpackers/budget travellers stay in pension houses which offer good for two fan rooms ranging from P500 – 700 per night. There are also available air-conditioned rooms ranging from P700 – 1,200 per night, with complimentary breakfast.
2. Commute by public transportation. Avoid exclusive hiring of a tricycle. The minimum fare for a tricycle ride just within the city is P 8. There are places wherein there is no direct public ride and you might need to exclusively hire a tricycle, which ranges from P40-150, depending on the distance. And if you find yourself unsure about how to get from one place to another without hiring a tricycle exclusively, which is very costly, don’t hesitate to ask directions from your hotel’s front desk, and they would always be happy to assist you. It would also be wiser to use the public transportation when travelling outside the city, by means of buses instead of shuttle vans. There are air-conditioned buses which are equally comfortable as shuttle vans.
3. Choose which restaurants to eat. Aside from the local food chains, there are also local carinderias to choose from, which are way cheaper than restaurants. You just have to discover which carinderias serve good food. Some restaurants are actually affordable too, especially those which offer some budget meals.
4. Plan which destinations to go and what tour packages to do. Most of the hotels arrange the tour packages for their guests, which would actually cost you more, compared to arranging it on your own. The following guide for package rates should be helpful:
• Iwahig Firefly Watching (Puerto Princesa City) – P1,200 per person (with free dinner and van transfers)
• City Tour via Tricycle (Puerto Princesa City) – P600 (max. 4 persons)
• City Tour via Shuttle Van (Puerto Princesa City) — P600 per person
• Honda Bay Island Hopping (Puerto Princesa)– P1,200 per person (inclusive of permits, with free lunch and van transfers)
• Underground River Tour (Sabang)– P 1,300 per person (inclusive of permits, with free lunch and van transfers).
• El Nido Island Hopping – P1,200 to 1,400 per person, depending on the package (inclusive of permits, with free lunch).
Transportation fares from Puerto Princesa to El Nido range from Php 380 to 500 per person. For accomodation rates: refer to travel tip #1. Bus transports are of course cheaper than shuttle vans. From El Nido, you can travel to Coron by eight-hours boat ride, which costs around P1,200 to 1,800 per person, the latter rate is for foreign tourists. Port Barton, San Vicente – Transportation fare: Php 300 per person. For accommodation rates: refer to travel tip #1.
Just remember that it is only when you leave your comfort zones that you can fully explore and enjoy the beauty of life… Till then, have fun in Palawan!