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Entrance to the Underground River near Sabang.  <img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click for full image
Travel Guide > Asia > Philippines > Western Visayas > Palawan

Sabang Travel Guide

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Sabang is a small village in Palawan. It is used as an entry point to the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River (which isn't located in Puerto Princesa at all).

There's not much in the village except services for those going to visit the river, but there is a great beach and a chilled out atmosphere.

The Underground River

The Underground river is a world heritage site and the main attraction in Sabang.

Let's be straight: The Underground River is likely the most overhyped attraction west of New Zealand.

The place is overcrowded with (mostly local) tourists. You will be put in a boat and ride into the river for just 1.5 kilometers. During your ride, your guide will compare the stalactites and stalagmites to animals, people and other funny situations as they pass along.

Boats waiting to pick up tourists after their visit to the Underground River.  <span style='white-space:nowrap;'><img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click to enlarge</span>

There is a P250 entry fee which buys you a trip down the river. Plus, a extra P40 fee. Alternatively, you can buy a P1200-1500 tour from any travel agency in the area.

If you decide to go solo, you can only buy tickets for the Underground River tour in their office in Puerto Princesa as that is the only place to get a permit. There is a limited amount of people allowed each day and booking office is more interested in selling tickets to tour agencies, so make your reservation at least 2-3 days in advance but it can be booked out a month in advanced during holiday seasons.

This is what you will see on your boat ride through the Underground River.  <span style='white-space:nowrap;'><img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click to enlarge</span>

There are two ways to get to the entrance of the river from Sabang. The first is a boat (banka) and this costs P500-600 per boat (banka) from Sabang pier and is subject to weather conditions, and the second is a 1-2 hour walk through the jungle.

When you get to the cave entrance, you have to wait for another boat to take you down the underground river (included in the ticket price). Be sure to register and obtain your "boat number" the moment you arrive there. The whole process is much tailored to groups arriving on package tours, i.e. nobody will call you when your boat number is about to depart, so be active and ask local staff about the current number every 10 minutes or so.

Other Activities in Sabang

The Jungle trail/Monkey trail is an alternative way to get to the start of the Underground River. Approximately 5km walk through the jungle which takes 1-2 hours. You can walk up to Central station without a permit, but no further.

The Mangrove river cruise is a cruise along a nearby river surrounded by mangroves.

Finally, you can play basketball with locals: Locals are crazy about basketball, they play everyday. Walk on the trail on the right side of the pier, you will find them playing. They welcome everyone.

Sabang's beach is worth the trip - but not the Underground River nearby.  <span style='white-space:nowrap;'><img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click to enlarge</span>

Eating and Drinking in Sabang

Restaurants around the village serve a mix of Asian and western dishes. Except for Daluyon Resort, food needs to be ordered a few hours in advance as restaurants do not stock up on food but only shop when they are sure the food will be sold.

Several basic eateries offer meals for P50-P60 a meal, including rice and meat/fish.

There are a number of bars including a few with pool tables. Be sure to check the temperature of the beer when buying from local shops as electricity is only available in the evening.

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