palawan underground river – one of new seven wonders of world

Hello from the island of Palawan in Philippines. This island has been cited as the most beautiful one in the country, and it certainly has been impressive by far. The island still has the natural feel, meaning that it has not been overrun by tourist – the resorts are next to little villages, and touristy hagglers are still rare.

The key attraction of the island, besides little islands and deserted beaches for snorkeling and diving would most certainly be the Underground River – called to be one of seven new natural wonders of the world. Getting there is not easy, so be prepared to book your tour in advance. You don’t need a tour guide, but they do make it easier for you.

Before booking a  tour you need to get a permission from the government to visit the site – you can do that either in the government building in Puerto Princesa, or in the village of Sabang Beach where the boats depart for the Park. You need to show the passport when getting the permission as well as on the day of the tour when you pick up your tickets and pay the local tax at departure point. The permission for four (including two half-priced kids) cost PHP 700 (a bit under 20 USD) for us – and we were really lucky to get walk-in tickets as the tour operators I found online all cited the tours being fully booked for weeks ahead!

You will be assigned your own boat for the tour – the ride there takes about 15-20 minutes in little, traditional narrow wooden boats (very loud engines though) and then the river tour will be another 45 minutes or so. This little national park is located on a beautiful, secluded beach and the park has also plenty of plants and animals – little monkeys included so don’t bring any food with you (we saw monkeys stealing a back of crackers from someone’s bag).

The river tour flows at leisurely pace and covers a couple of kilometers. The first row passengers get to hold a torch and point it at formations based on the instructions of our guide. Be prepared for darkness, flying bats and water trickling on you throughout the journey. This is an interesting experience and something rather unique, so definitely worth the journey!

A little boat ride away by the coast, yet some impressive waves...The river is a little boat ride away along the coast, yet one gets to enjoy some impressive waves…
Past empty beaches... …and past empty beaches we fly like a wind
Arrived! Hello there!
This is it - the underground river of PalawanReady to explore this natural wonder
Ready to explore These little explorers are all kitted for the tour
Boats off to the river These traditional boats will take visitors up and down the river – the river tour lasts approximately 45 minutes
Exploring... Off into the darkness
Bats, bats everywhere!I spy…bats everywhere
Flickering flashlight shows us the way in the dark caveAt places the ceiling is rather low – opening up to 200ft (60m)
Pretty impressiveYour boat guide will point lots of interestingly-named formations in the cave
Turquoise water The colour of the water was so turquoise
Chillin' in the empty beach A moment to enjoy after the tour – this is one beautiful (and empty beach)

Soft, sandy beach An island so peaceful still – the number of tourist is limited and one needs to apply a permission to vist the place in advance from the government

Time to head back... Time to head back to the village. Thank you for the lovely tour Palawan!

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