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Tony Reyes

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I'm a local born and living in Manila

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Asia > Philippines > Palawan > Useful Info
Submitted on Mar 31, 2019 Useful Info

Best way to get to Palawan from Manila

  • There are two ways to get to Palawan from Manila:
  1. Flight: best option, takes only 1.5 hours and cost as low as $40 USD
  2. Ferry: takes 24 hours, can cost as low as $18 USD and this includes the cost of accommodation for 1 night. Aside from the long travel time, other downsides of ferry include only 1 departure every week, and you can only ferry to Puerto Princesa, which is in the middle of the Palawan island and where most of the hotels are. If you need to go to El Nido in the northern end of the island, that's another 6-7 hour bus ride from Puerto Princesa
  • I personally prefer flying, but if you're looking to save some money and staying close to Puerto Princesa, ferry is the way to go
  • How to fly from Manila to Palawan:
  • Flights depart from Ninoy Aquino International Aiport (usually abbreviated to NAIA), Manila's main airport. They arrive at either Puerto Princesa International Airport, the main airport on Palawan island located in the middle of the island, or El Nido Lio Airport, at the northern tip of Palawan island
  • Fare: $40-$50 USD one way and $75-$85 round trip to Puerto Princesa. Flights to El Nido costs more at $90-$140 each way (there's no round trip discount)
  • Travel time: 1.5 hours of flight time and 4-6 hours hotel-to-hotel total travel time
  • There are flights throughout the day, with most of the flights in the morning and fewer flights in the afternoon and evening
  • As of 2019, Cebu Pacific, Philippines Airlines, and Air Asia are the three airlines that fly to Puerto Princesa, and they can be booked on major travel booking portals like Skyscanner, Expedia, 12Go. If you want to fly directly to El Nido, you need to book direclty with Air Swift
  • In Manila, getting to the airport is best done by taxi. There is no train to the airport and buses can be confusing to use.
  • After landing in Palawan:
  • From Puerto Princesa airport, you can take a tricycle (the three-wheel motor bike taxi common on Filipino islands) to get to your hotel in Puerto Princesa. The fare is very cheap, ranging from 10 pesos to 50 pesos (20 cents to $1 USD) to get to hotels in Puerto Princesa
  • If you need to get to El Nido, as I said above it's best to fly directly to it with Air Swift. But you can also get to El Nido from Puerto Princesa airport with a 5.5-6 hour bus trip operated by Cherry Bus ($8-$17 USD each way depending on seat class; if you want AC you'll be paying towards the top of this range). There's also a small van service called Lexxus that takes similar amount of time and costs around $12 USD, but the reviews are terrible. Use 12Go to check their schedules and book online. I do suggest booking online to guarantee yourself a seat to El Nido with AC
  • You can also use Klook or Viator to find private transfers from the airport to your hotel on Palawan
  • How to ferry from Manila to Palawan:
  • The only operator on this route is 2Go. Their website is https://travel.2go.com.ph. I recommend booking your ticket through their site if you want to ferry to Palawan
  • Their ferry between Manila and Palawan runs only once a week, at 7pm on Fridays
  • Journey takes 24 hours, arriving in Puerto Princesa at 7pm on Saturdays. You can check their current schedule on 2Go's website: https://travel.2go.com.ph/Schedules/schedules.asp
  • You can only go to Puerto Princesa on Palawan, so if you need to go to El Nido you need to book a transfer that'll take another 5-7 hours
  • Fare varies by class and date:
  • Mega/Super Value Class: like a gymnasium filled with beds with no bedding. Cost as low as 1,214 ($18 USD) per person each wayUser submitted photo of Palawan
  • Tourist Class: set up similar to a hostel room with 8-12 beds per room and no bedding. Cost as low as 2,246 peso ($43 USD) per person each wayUser submitted photo of Palawan
  • Business Class for 6 or Cabin for 4: kind of like a sleeper train cabin and with bedding. Cost as low as 2,633 - 2,928 pesos ($50 - $55 USD)User submitted photo of Palawan
  • Suite room or state room for 2: basically a hotel room with bedding and en suite bathroom/shower facilities. Cost 6,000-6,500 pesos ($115-$125 USD)User submitted photo of Palawan
  • The departure port in Manila is Pier 4 (taxi is the easiest way to get there), and arrival port in Puerto Princesa is Puerto Princesa Port (you can take a tricycle - a three wheel motor bike taxi - from the port to your hotel in Puerto Princesa for $1 USD)
  • Again, booking can be made on 2Go's website at https://travel.2go.com.ph