The ride from El Nido to Puerto Princesa: A traveler review

I recently went on a 17-day solo backpacking trip in Palawan and it is very likely that this was one of the best decisions of my life so far. People claim that that this area has some of the best islands in the world, and I was set to determine if the rumors were true or not. Spoiler alert: they are.

El Nido port
El Nido port

I have heard of and seen many people who have shared their backpacking trip experiences from Palawan, and I really felt like it was my turn. I was in between jobs, it was the best season of the year to travel there, I’ve always wanted to go backing (especially here), so the timing truly could not have been more perfect. To make the experience even better, I came across Bookaway, which made the planning and traveling process completely stress-free.

The journey itself

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park

The third leg of my Palawan backpacking trip was to Balabac, the southernmost part of the province. Since there are no direct transfers from El Nido to Balabac, I had to travel from El Nido to Puerto Princesa City, where there is a terminal with vans traveling to Rio Tuba on a daily basis. I checked on Bookaway’s website and found that they have van trips and in no time, I booked one online; again, just a few hours before I left.

At 5:45 pm, I came to the terminal and showed my e-ticket. After that, I made myself comfortable in the seat of my choice and waited for our departure. I could have also been picked up but I chose to come to the terminal on my way instead so I could request my preferred seat in the van.

There are four identified express vans under Bookaway, including Eulen Joy, Camarih, Fortwally and Diskubre Transport. I took the Eulen Joy express van which was an 18-seater commuter van. Because space is quite limited, it has the potential to get a bit uncomfortable if passengers have baggage. It took us five hours to get from El Nido to Puerto Princesa, including a stop for dinner and the bathroom. 

Bookaway offers two modes of transportation to and from El Nido and Puerto Princesa City: a minivan and a tourist bus. Land travel with the minivans is more advisable if time and money is of great essence as it is quite a bit faster and cheaper than taking the bus.

Van drivers pick up and drop off passengers at their preferred points or location, so thankfully I was also dropped off directly at my hotel in Puerto Princesa City, making for a smooth landing to an already smooth trip.

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