Majority of the international travelers and tourists coming to the Philippines, will first land in Manila. Now Manila itself is simply a city, albeit a major and vast one, but if it is beaches and water sports and island adventures that you are after, your destination in the Philippines should be El Nido, located in Palawan. So, how do you get from Manila to El Nido?
To cut a long story short: You catch a flight from Manila to Puerto Princessa, then catch a van/car ride from Puerto Princessa to El Nido Town. The route and process itself is a simple one. Once you land at Manila Airport, you will need to take care of the following steps:
- Proceed to the correct immigration lane to sort out your immigration. Be prepared for long queues, the Philippines have an ever growing number of visitors, increasing every year!
- Collect your luggage from the appropriate carousel (no brainer really).
- Convert your currency – at least a portion of it. Don’t leave yourself to the mercy of money changers at El Nido – remember Manila is a city, whereas El Nido is an island. Rates will always be better at Manila. Ask around for the best rates before you exit the airport – we did and actually got referred to the right money changer for the best rates.
- Purchase your Philippine SIM Card and ensure that you have an adequate Internet package along with it. The popular networks in the Islands are “SMART” and “GLOBE”. Both of them have kiosks at the exit points, for your convenience.
Once the above steps are complete, ask anyone at the exit point where you can catch the Transfer Shuttle to the Domestic Terminal. This is a free shuttle and many people will tell you that it comes every 30 minutes, but during our experience in Manila, it took close to 01 hour. Ensure that you clearly communicate to the Shuttle Handlers exactly which terminal you have your next flight at.
Journey timing for the Shuttle varies, depending on traffic. Our journey from the main terminal to terminal 4 (where we were taking our Air Asia flight to Puerto Princessa) took roughly 20 minutes. Once you get to Terminal 4, you will once again have to go through the standard airport procedures (security, checking in to flights, boarding flights, etc). The flight from Manila to Puerto Princessa will take a couple of hours.
PRO TIP: Ensure that your ride from Puerto Princessa to El Nido is booked in advance. The last thing you need is to get off at Puerto Princessa, tired and exhausted, and try to book a ride to your final destination. How to book your ride? Simple – contact your booked accommodation in El Nido and they will do it for you! Don’t know where you will be staying in El Nido? Check out our EL Nido Accommodation Recommendations HERE !
The ride from Puerto Princessa to El Nido will take approximately 05 hours and it is a scenic ride.
The van ride will also stop mid-way for a tea/ bathroom break. This will most likely range from 10-20 minutes, depending on your ride provider. We had a similar spot during our drive, from where we got scenic views of the Philippine countryside.
Once you reach El Nido town, you will (most likely) be dropped at the El Nido Bus Terminal. From there, you will then have to catch a tricycle to your accommodation. Wondering where you should stay in El Nido? Check out our recommendations about WHERE TO STAY IN EL NIDO: Read about it HERE
TOP DESTINATIONS IN EL NIDO: Read about it HERE (Coming Soon – Stay Tuned!)
CURIOUS ABOUT EL NIDO TOUR B? WE DID THAT TOO!
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