El Nido, Palawan, Philippines
Escape from the ordinary beach towns
The first thing I noticed when getting into town was the breathtaking cliffs that enclose the town while opening up to the sea. Though I didn’t partake, I’m sure this would be a rock-climbers paradise. The porous walls were incredibly magnificent and add an feeling of comfort and security from the outside world.
For lovers of the ocean (or simply if you like pretty things), I would highly suggest taking one of the island hopping tours. Of course it’s touristy, but there’s a reason it became popular. It’s amazing. #Fact. There are many people who offer the same itineraries, so ask around and see who is being suggested by the locals. The prices often won’t vary, and don’t be shocked if you have to pay an extra “National Park” fee on the beach before boarding the boat. It’s not a scam.. well, it kind of is, but it’s a legitimate one. The islands that you can visit are simply stunning. With caves, swimming in isolated lagoons, pinnacles, cliffs, snorkelling coral reefs, a delicious BBQ on the beach, and more jam-packed into the day – this was one of my highlights in the Philippines.
Now if you’d really like to get away from the crowds, often the best way to do this, especially in South East Asia, is to rent a scooter for a day or two. They’re really just like riding a bike, but you must be smart about it. No matter how good a driver you might be – that doesn’t mean everyone else is. Go slow, wear a brain bucket (helmet), and stay safe. One of the many differences in the Phils to the rest of SE Asia is the fact that they drive on the right hand side. Please ride safely and at your own discretion. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it!
There are many beaches and small fishing towns a very short scooter ride from El Nido. I went to a nearby beach not 20 mins away by scooter with a friend to enjoy a beer and watch the sunset. Another group of friends took off for the day with a local and went to an isolated beach with good a decent break for a day of surfing. For a sleepy fishing town, there’s definitely no shortage of things to do while here – but it also makes a perfect spot to just stop and relax if you want. With gorgeous sunsets, a breathtaking mountainous backdrop over an ocean’s bay, nestled in sheer cliffs… I could easily find myself returning to El Nido again and again.
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Please take extra care in travelling, ensure that you have adequate medical insurance (accidents seem to happen when you least expect them), and have let a trusted colleague, family member or friend know your whereabouts and activities.
Where Sidewalks End travel advises you to travel at your own risk, and to be extra aware of your surroundings (without letting it spoiling your time).
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Have you been to El Nido in the Philippine Islands? What was your favourite thing to do while there? If you haven’t been yet, what would be your first activity you’d want to do while there?