Palawan must be one of the most gorgeous islands in The Philippines. We decided to go off the beaten track here and island hop our way from Coron to El Nido. We slept in rickety huts on deserted beaches, showered with rainwater and had no telephone connection. But somehow it was the most luxurious trip we ever took.

This post is part of the series called ‘Sleep less, dream more’ in which we share uncommon sleeping places and circumstances travelers encountered during their trip.

Written by Karlijn Meulman

Everybody who visits Palawan goes to beautiful El Nido in the Bacuit Archipelago, and probably to Coron in the northern part of the island. A ferry connects these two places, but we heard too many stories about delays, broken boats and drifting around on open seas. Besides, between El Nido and Coron are hundreds of perfect deserted islets and islands with small fishing communities. We wanted to explore, meet locals, snorkel on the surrounding coral reefs and simply relax.

Palawan, the Philippines. ©Karlijn Travels.

The weather decides

That’s when we found Tao Philippines. This operator organizes five-day island hopping trips between El Nido and Coron and vice versa. The exact route depends on the weather, so you’ll never know exactly where you’ll sleep or what you’ll see. Tao has twelve camps on the islands between the two main places and lets the wind and currents decide where you’ll stay. The trip is filled with swimming, relaxing, snorkeling, kayaking and visiting local communities. No Internet, to telephone, no outside world. That sounded like a plan to us!

Palawan, the Philippines. ©Karlijn Travels.
Palawan, the Philippines. ©Karlijn Travels.

Traditional bangka

The moment we stepped on board of the traditional Filipino bangka and kicked of our flip-flops, it was pure bliss. There were fourteen other travelers on board and six (fantastic!) crew. All day we sailed, stopping at perfect beaches, exploring the underwater world or playing basketball with local kids.

Hut on Palawan, Philipines. ©Karlijn Travels.
Hut on Palawan, Philipines. ©Karlijn Travels.

Peaceful islands

When evening fell, we would anchor at an island. Sometimes we would stay in a village, sometimes on a deserted beach. The most beautiful place was a small island in the middle of nowhere, called home by only a few families. Huge palm trees surrounded the long, golden beach, the water was a perfect shade of turquoise and it was amazingly peaceful. We slept in small wooden huts, right on the beach. The huts were open, so the warm sea breeze functioned like a natural air-conditioning. We only had a matrass and a mosquito net, but we could not have been happier with our accommodation.

Palawan, the Philippines. ©Karlijn Travels.
Palawan, the Philippines. ©Karlijn Travels.

Sounds of the waves and the wind

There was no shower, just a barrel with rainwater. We washed away salt and sunscreen, with the warm evening sun tickling our skins. In the meantime, chef Ann was grilling a huge red snapper to perfection on a barbecue. The crew pulled out their Filipino rum and we all sat down on the beach to eat, share stories and enjoy the peace. We fell asleep in our huts on the beach, listening to the sounds of the waves and the wind. We slept like babies and woke up to a fantastic sunrise. We had no amenities, no ‘stuff’, no luxury. And yet I never felt more relaxed than I did during my trip with Tao Philippines.

About the author

KarlijnTravelsKarlijn is a Dutch travel blogger, who blogs at She is in love with Asia, loves adventurous traveling (and tropical beaches) and never travels anywhere without her camera. The subtitle of her blog is ‘dream, plan, escape’ and that’s what she does as often as possible. As we speak, she’s in the middle of planning her second round the world trip.

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  1. Wow it looks like a really beautiful place! And that hut how lovely. Thanks for this great tip, next time we go to the Philippines we will not miss Palawan.

    • Hi David! Thanks for checking out the article. I also think you need to go there. And I also think I need to go there ;)! It looks like gorgeous!

  2. I’m from the Philippines, and I do agree Palawan is one of the most beautiful places in this country.. I was there only once, prepping myself to go back there again soon <3

  3. All credits go to Karlijn of course. For more amazing and colorful photography make sure to check out her blog :)!

  4. I’ve been to El Nido twice, but I have not yet joined any Tao Expedition.

    Every article I’ve seen on the web speak highly of it. Now I’m all curious about experiencing this voyage. :)

  5. looks amazing! im going to explore Philippines in a few months. Where can I get the information on Tao expedition prices? just as a guidance.


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