We were staying in Puerto Princesa when we booked our trip to the Underground River Tour or Subterranean River National Park. You will be in for a very rough ride.
When the van leaves in Puerto Princesa, you will drive from location to location to pick-up other tourists. They will most likely be dropped off in the same order. We we’re dropped off at our AirBnb accomodation.
For the tourist agencies, it’s clear that time is money as they race through the curving rounds of Palawan. One young girl puked several times before we arrived, while others did not.
In the middle of the road trip, we stopped at a restaurant to get some food. It seemed like it was a well-known location for a stop. Tourist vans from the agencies kept pulling up one by one. The food was great and was mostly local dishes. No long waiting lines. As we had our food in our belly, it was already time to leave.
Having arrived at Sabang, we waited for our tour guides to arrange a boat to take us to the Underground River or Subterranean River National Park. This can take up to 30 minutes as there are quite a few people waiting at the small port. Occasionally, you will be harassed by vendors to buy a waterproof bag for all your things. They even sell smaller bags for your phone. The smaller waterproof bags for phones will proof useful on the boat tours in El Nido later.
At the Underground River site, we waited on the beach for all the people to gather, after which we walked through the jungle to the river. There were smaller boats where we were divided into smaller groups. If you’re lucky you might see a few monkeys or other wild animals too in the jungle.
Going inside the cave, make sure your mouth is closed. Unless you want to be sick. The bat shit contains bacteria you don’t want to get in your mouth. This means also the water dripping from the ceiling is dangerous.
If you plan on taking pictures inside the cave, you may need a more professional camera, or something like an iPhone 7 Plus or better for good results. My iPhone 7 did not perform so well in low light conditions.
The trip was overall really exciting and long enough to be worth your money. The tour guides will make sure you don’t miss a thing and you’ll be able to take excellent pictures.
At a certain point, the boat will turn back because they are not allowed to go further.
On the way back, we made a stop near the Karst Mountain, Elephant Cave for a photo opportunity.