What to Bring to Palawan - Local Tips for Travel Essentials
Are you excited about your Palawan trip but overwhelmed about what to bring to Palawan?
Planning for a tropical paradise getaway can be challenging, with the desire for picture-perfect moments and stylish outfits to capture the perfect vacation vibe. But fret not, as you're not alone.
In this article, I'll share a comprehensive list of essential items to pack in your travel bag to enhance your experience and ensure your smooth trip. So, let's gear up for your adventure to Coron and El Nido, Palawan!
What to Bring to Palawan
Important Documents for Your Travel to Palawan
First things first! Before leaving for your Palawan adventure, ensure you have all the necessary documents. Use a travel document holder or make electronic copies of everything for better organisation. Bring the following documents:
- Valid passport and visa: Your passport should be current and has at least six months of validity. Visa varies from your country-origin and for how long you'd like to stay in the Philippines. Apply early.
- Travel Insurance: Travel insurance protects you against unforeseen events such as medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and lost luggage. Look for a policy that includes travel, diving, health, and medical insurance to protect you adequately during your Palawan adventure.
- Identification cards: your driving license if you plan to rent a vehicle and drive around, and a scuba diving license if you're a certified diver.
- Travel Vaccinations: Ensure your health during your trip to Palawan. Vaccination against diseases such as tetanus, typhoid, and hepatitis A and B is not required but is advised based on your travel history and current health status. Fully vaccinated travellers against COVID-19 must no longer undergo mandatory quarantine or testing; however, bring your vaccination ID. Unvaccinated travellers may enter but must present a negative COVID-19 test within 24 hours of departure.
- Travel documents: Bring copies of your hotel reservations, itineraries, transportation tickets (flights, van, bus, etc.), and contact information for tours and hotels. Be well-prepared for your adventure!
Clothes and Gear to Bring to Palawan
The season of your travel will determine your OOTD, but let's face it, we are all aiming for sunny weather for more enjoyable outdoor activities and beach hopping. The advantage of being a local who lives here is that I can attest that the climate in Palawan is usually warmer or very hot, with rain forecasts and an expected wet season from June to September, necessitating lightweight, quick-dry clothing. Check out our Palawan Weather blog for weather-related activities and forecasts. Anyways, here's a list of items you should bring with you to fully gear up:
- Lightweight, light-coloured, and quick-drying clothing: Linen and cotton are excellent choices. Wear T-shirts, shorts, summer maxi dresses, and a light jacket in case of rain. Additionally, you might want to include a microfiber towel as it is fast-drying and a space saver!
- Swimsuits and Beachwear: What else can I say? You're on a stunning island, so be ready for a sun-soaked beach bum getaway and prepare your perfect beach wardrobe of swimsuits, trendy cover-ups, and rash guards for extra sun protection. Also, slip on some comfy flip-flops for easy beach strolls, and consider water shoes to safeguard against any unexpected encounters with sharp shells or sea urchins.
- Insect repellent: When visiting Palawan's tropical paradise, keep an eye out for insects, including disease-carrying mosquitoes. Repellents are widely available in local stores, and if possible, choose a natural, DEET-free repellent. Personally, I bring extra coconut oil as a natural alternative because it can help repel bug bites. However, choosing a good brand with proven efficacy is more advisable.
- Waterproof dry bag: MUST HAVE! It will keep your electronics, documents, and other valuables safe from water damage or unexpected rain showers in Palawan.
- Snorkeling or Diving Gear: While you can rent snorkelling or diving equipment when joining in island hopping or diving activities, bringing your own for optimal quality and condition is suggested. Not only can you save on costs from renting, but having your own gear ensures you have familiar equipment for unlimited underwater adventures.
- Travel Pillow: Traveling around and to Palawan includes travel flights, van, or ferry transport for hours; A travel pillow can make a difference in comfort and needed rest between trips.
- First Aid Kit: Palawan is safe to travel, but let's take proactive measures for unforeseen accidents. First aid kit essentials include bandages, antibiotic creams, disinfectants, and necessary medications like paracetamol, antihistamines, and anti-diarrhoea. If you require regular medications, bring a copy of your prescriptions and ensure you have enough to last the duration of your trip, as pharmacies in remote areas of Palawan may have limited supplies. In addition, hospitals could be a considerable distance away.
Money in Palawan
- While a growing number of shops and hotels in Palawan accept credit cards, cash remains king in the area. Cash on hand is needed when purchasing from small vendors, booking tours, or paying for transportation. ATMs are available in Puerto Princesa, El Nido, and Coron, but withdrawing cash from them can be difficult, particularly during holidays and weekends. Nowadays, more and more local stores accept e-wallet payments, such as Gcash and Paymaya, but these are only available to domestic tourists. Some hotels and large retailers accept bank-to-bank transfers, Wise, and Paypal from international visitors. Foreign exchange is available at Palawan Pawnshops, M Lhuillier, and Cebuana Lhuillier; visit a local commercial bank for the best rates.
Gadgets for Picture Perfect Memories in Palawan
- Power Bank: Power outages are common in Palawan, and some hotels and resorts may rely on generators. A reliable power bank can be your saviour, providing a backup power source to keep your devices charged and ready for your adventures.
- Universal Travel Adapter: Because certain devices may require adapters in the Philippines, a universal travel adapter with multiple USB ports can save you trouble.
- Quality Camera: Bring a high-performance camera, such as a GoPro, to capture breathtaking footage of Palawan's colourful underwater and land scenery. Documenting the beautiful islands and marine life can be an unforgettable experience.
- Portable Bluetooth Speaker: Bring a portable Bluetooth speaker to enhance your beach vibes. You can listen to music while relaxing on the beaches of Palawan, creating the ideal ambience for your tropical getaway.
Sustainability is the key in Palawan
Think green and help Palawenos preserve Palawan's beauty for the future generation. Pack the following eco-friendly travel items:
- Reusable water bottles and purification tablets: staying hydrated is essential in hot weather, but having a clean water source is even more critical, as tap water is unsafe to drink. Bring purification tablets or a portable water filter with you. In addition, accommodations around the area offer a spot for safe water refilling.
- Reusable shopping bags are Sturdier, foldable, and can help reduce the amount of single-use plastic. You can use this for groceries, souvenirs, and whatever else you can think of.
- Reusable straw: Avoid using plastic straws when buying drinks, or if you like using one, bring a reusable one made of bamboo or stainless steel.
- Biodegradable Wet Wipes and Reef safe Sunscreen; Keep your skin refreshed with eco-friendly wet wipes made of natural materials, free of harsh chemicals; they are widely available on the market these days. And don't forget to protect your skin from the sun with reef-safe sunscreen. By making these small changes, you can feel good knowing you're taking care of your skin and Palawan's delicate environment.
As you wrap up this blog, I hope you're feeling inspired to pack your essentials and be a responsible traveller making conscious choices when travelling to Palawan.
Yes, there is no perfect getaway unless you read and put more research into it; that's what preparedness is, after all. Share these tips with fellow travellers who may also be interested in embarking on their journey to Palawan.