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Palawan Travel Guide and Best Things To Do in Palawan in 2024

palawan travel guide

Palawan is an archipelago located in the Philippines and it is one of the best places to visit in Southeast Asia. In fact, it is one of the biggest and most popular tourist destinations in the world.

Palawan is full of gorgeous islands with white sandy beaches and clear blue water. There is a great exhibition of marine life and shipwrecks across the islands, as well as some magnificent limestone cliffs.

Palawan is a wonderful place to visit, especially if you love swimming, diving, and island hopping. There are almost two thousand islands and islets located across the four main districts of Palawan: El Nido, Coron, Puerto Princesa, and San Vincente.

With its beautiful and lush jungles, stunning beaches, and just the spectacular array of nature, Palawan is a top destination to visit for any tourist.

Where is Palawan Located?

Palawan is an archipelagic province that is located in the region of Mimaropa in the Philippines. The capital of Palawan is Puerto Princesa, which is a lovely city full of some great tourist hotspots.

The islands that make up Palawan lie between the South China Sea and the Sulu Sea. The largest island here is Palawan Island, which is what the province is named after.

How to Get to Palawan

Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport

Puerto Princesa, the capital of Palawan, has an international airport in it, although not many flights come in from abroad.

The best way for you to get to Palawan is by flying into a bigger airport in the Philippines first, most preferably Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport. You might have heard of Manila before, from the famous “Thrilla in Manila”.

There are no ferries to transport you from Manila to Puerto Princesa or any of the other islands, so you would need to take a domestic flight to Palawan.

The flights are usually quite affordable but, just like anywhere else, the prices go up a bit during the holiday season. It is good for you to book your flight as early as possible so you won’t be faced with an expensive ticket.

You can decide to land in Puerto Princesa or on one of the other islands. There are good ferry services that can transport you from El Nido to Coron, and the trip is also a fun experience.

Once you get to Coron, stay one night at the Club Paradise Resort Palawan, a cool beachfront resort in Coron and one of the best in the Philippines.

Note that there are no connections by sea between Palawan and either Malaysia or Indonesia. So the only way for you to travel between these places would be to fly to Manila first.

It is not too difficult for you to plan your trip to Palawan on your own as tourism here is very well organized, and there are several tours held all the time to guide you through the cities.

Palawan Information

palawan philippines


The locals who stay in Palawan speak several different languages including Filipino and Cuyonon. A good number of them can understand and speak basic English. But try not to overcomplicate your words and statements so they can understand you easily.


Bring a good amount of cash when you’re coming to Palawan. You might find some ATMs here and there, as well as restaurants and resorts that accept payment by credit cards, but paying with cash is the easiest and safest route.


The currency used is the Philippine peso. $1 is about 48 pesos, £1 = 64. Paying in U.S. Dollars might work sometimes as an emergency alternative payment, but make sure you know the exchange rate.

How to Move Around

palawan transportation

Most of the island destinations like Puerto Princesa, San Vicente, and El Nido can easily be commuted through land transportation. But if you want to travel to Coron, you will need to make use of sea transport.

Best Things To Do In Palawan

big lagoon palawan

1. Wreck diving in Coron, Palawan is a top spot for diving mainly because of the World War II shipwreck sites. You can dive underwater and explore the thirteen shipwrecks in the open waters.

This shipwreck site is regarded as one of the best in the world. For those who don’t want to dive too deep, you can explore the shipwrecks in the more shallow waters.

2. Visit the underground river in Puerto Princesa – this UNESCO World heritage site is one of the best places to visit in the Philippines. You will board a boat and cruise along the clear waters of the river, and you will see the lovely rock formations of the protected cave.

3. Relax on San Vicente’s Long Beach – the longest beach in the Philippines and the second-longest in Southeast Asia, it is quite obvious why this beach was given that name.

It’s a growing tourist attraction, as it is a great place for you to completely relax and release stress and tension. There are hardly any crowds around, so there is a great sense of tranquility on the beach.

4. Unwinding in Nacpan Beach on El Nido – you can enjoy a whole day of relaxation and unwind on Nacpan Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the country and home to some stunning beach resorts in El Nido.

You can lay back on the beautiful cream-colored sand and get a tan, or rest under the shade of the coconut trees with a book in your hand.

5. Explore the Big Lagoon and the Small Lagoon in El Nido – with its jade-colored waters and its lovely limestone cliffs, the Big Lagoon is truly one of the most beautiful sights in the Philippines.

In the Small lagoon, you can paddle a kayak through the limestone walls and into the crystal clear waters of a natural pool.

Best Time to Visit Palawan

palawan in philippines

Most of the activities you would enjoy in Palawan are dependent on good weather because they are located outdoors. This is why you need to know when to go to the Philippines.

The best time to go to Palawan is usually during the dry season, which is from November to May. This is the time when you will enjoy the tourist attractions to the maximum.

See also: Malapascua Island Travel Guide

Palawan Nightlife

palawan bar

Palawan is not a city that is highly regarded for its nightlife so you won’t find a large number of concerts and so on at night in the cities.

However, music is usually played very loudly across most places in Palawan, and several restaurants and bars with DJs playing in them can easily be found.

In some places, there is live music and bands perform in bars and restaurants. The nightlife is standard, but nothing out of the ordinary. If you are looking for more nightlife, you should definitely try a night out in Manila.

Where to Stay in Palawan

Choosing the right place to stay in Palawan is very important if you want to have a great experience and visit all the destinations you would like to.

Apart from the places you want to visit, you also have to consider your budget plan and personal preferences so you can get a good place to stay.

Top Luxury Resort in Palawan

Princesa Garden Island Resort

Princesa Garden Island Resort – this beach resort in Puerto Princesa is quite posh, and it is just a ten-minute drive from the airport. The facilities and services that are offered to guests are top class, and the resort is a bit like a tropical palace right in the capital of Palawan.

You can choose to stay in a standard room, suite with a beach view, or even a pool. The rooms are stocked with very good amenities like jacuzzis and kitchenettes. The resort has a very good restaurant and bar, as well as a gym and outdoor pool.

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Top Midrange Resort Palawan

blue lagoon inn & suites

Blue Lagoon Inn & Suites – another hotel in Puerto Princesa, this hotel is tropically inspired, and it is just five minutes away from the airport at Puerto Princesa.

This is a great hotel to stay in if you want easy access and transportation to most of the attractions in the city. The rooms are also very good, with jacuzzis and massage treatments being just some of the amenities provided.

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Top Affordable Resort Palawan

victoria beach house palawan

Victoria Beach House – this beachfront resort is located in San Vicente. It is quite traditionally styled and it is situated at the end of Long Beach. The resort is great for relaxing, as the rooms are stocked with air conditioners and private bathrooms.

The sunset view has been remarked as one of the best parts of the experience in this resort, and you can enjoy it from the hammock on the room’s balcony, or on the beach.

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Where to Eat in Palawan

seafood plate

Trying out some of the local cuisines in Palawan is an experience that you simply can not miss out. These are some of the food places you have to try out.

Badjao Seafood Restaurant – You will find some fresh and high-quality crabs, fish, and lobsters here, cooked in traditional Filipino styles. The tropical vibe here is the perfect backdrop as well to such classy meals.

Kawayanan Grill Station – something you must experience before you leave Palawan is their Kawayanan Platter, which is heavily garnished with a range of delicious seafood pieces.

Mango Bar and Restaurant – is highly rated among the locals here in San Vicente, and it is just a short distance away from the port, which is one of the points for island hopping. They serve very tasty dishes for low to midrange prices.


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Catalin Geangos
Catalin Geangos is the founder and previous owner of TravelTrained. He has been to more than 35 countries and lived in a few more before. He was a digital nomad travelling and backpacking extensively in Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam and others parts of South East Asia from 2020 to 2023. He wrote about many articles about his first hand backpacking and partying experiences in these countries. He stayed in many hostels and hotels, met many other backpackers, travelers and locals whom he partied and shared his story with. His articles have inspired travelers, mostly single backpackers, around to world to take the leap to explore South East Asian countries from grassroots and not just the tourist attractions but also the real and happening life on the streets after the sun sets down! He now writes about outdoor gear and hiking.