Palawan has been increasing in ranks of islands to visit over the last few years. Many people travel to El Nido and the Underwater River when they arrive. With only a few days to spend exploring, we opted to stay at a resort on a remote island in Honda Bay (another popular destination).
Dos Palmas island resort and spa is a popular spot for a day trip. We ended up spending about 3 days and 2 nights there and I feel like it was the perfect time to do all the featured (and included) activities on the island. It takes about 30 minutes from the airport to the wharf, and then it’s about a 1 hour boat ride to the island itself. The ride itself is beautiful, you pass so many islands in the bay. Some are even just big enough to hold a picnic table and 2 benches – crazy (but also so cute)!
After a long overnight layover in Manila…
Random facts about the airport in Manila: It is in 4 separate terminals-nowhere near each other, not connected at all, and the shuttle to each one is about an hour apart but not even really a set schedule… plan for a taxi if you’re rushing. Terminal 4 – where we flew out of – was very small, older, limited space to sleep if you needed. Terminal 3 was the most like a newer airport that you would think of (lots of restaurants and shops, modern). Terminal 1 seemed okay but we only were in the arrival area here.
….We flew out to Puerto Princesa (PPS) airport using AirAsia (check my blog about our personal flight experiences)
PPS is a nice tiny airport, pretty modern. Dos Palmas had arranged our pickup and they were a few minutes later than our arrival, but generally, everything went very smooth. Our driver explained everything to us when we arrived at Honda Bay (that you have to pay a small environmental fee in cash right there — another heads up). Then we hopped on our boat (again, this was all previously figured out via email to the resort).
Once we arrived on the island, the staff greeted us with necklaces and welcome drinks. Then they gave us a little tour before we headed to our room. It was a beautiful resort, and just what we were looking for in our getaway.
We arrived early in the day and luckily our room was available for us. We headed to the pool and decided to make our first day a relaxing one. It was really quiet (it was a Wednesday) and nice to just lay out, explore the beach, and work on our tan.
The island is small and there is only one restaurant here. Breakfast is included in your stay but you have to pay for lunch and dinner. While the options end up being a little limited, we found that the best tasting food was, to no surprise, the asian dishes. When we tried to get something that was more of a western cuisine, it wasn’t quite up to par. But again, we are in Asia, so that should be kind of expected.
The first night was my husband’s birthday. As we were finishing up our dinner (our waiter Pepito, I think that was his name, was amazing) they brought out a cake and sang to him! No, I didn’t organize this – they did it for him (and other people the next night as well). I thought that was super nice!
The next day was our more adventurous one. We booked an island tour (again, free through the island) and then went snorkeling later in the afternoon (also free). It was all very picturesque and beautiful. The island was deserted except for the few guests that came with us. It was tiny, but there was just enough time to explore!
Many people arrived on Thursday night as compared to Wednesday. There was a huge group, which essentially meant more activities on the island. There was both a fire show and a cultural dance after dinner that evening. Both were pretty neat to experience (see a small clip in the video below).
The next day was our last day. Our flight wasn’t until later in the evening, so we were able to stay on the island the whole day. We relaxed on the beach in the morning, checked out, and then got a massage. One tip that I wish we knew — they put oil in your hair and all over your body during the Swedish massage.. We didn’t think about the fact that we couldn’t shower after (since we had already checked out of our room). So yes, we had to head to the airport like giant greaseballs.
The shuttle was all very well organized again on the way to the airport. The only downfall of the end part of our trip was the chaos we experienced as our flight was delayed 12 hours due to wind (you can read a little more about it here). That being said, we were fully reimbursed for our troubles by Kiwi.com — I completely recommend them for future bookings!!
All in all, if you are looking for an affordable 2-3 day getaway in Palawan – I would recommend Dos Palmas. It was the perfect place to go for our few days.
If you want to see more, check out the video I compiled below 🙂 Or if you’re planning on heading to other places in Asia – check out a few of my other blogs on Japan, Thailand, Bali, Singapore, and Malaysia! Not to mention my Tips on Saving Money (because ya might need that to travel).
Until next time,