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Discover your inner Indiana Jones in Palawan

Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, offers one-of-a-kind experience

By Lee Si-jin

Published : May 18, 2024 - 16:01

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Sabang Beach on Palawan, the Philippines (Four Points by Sheraton Palawan) Sabang Beach on Palawan, the Philippines (Four Points by Sheraton Palawan)

PALAWAN, Philippines -- An expansive archipelago located at the western edge of the Philippines, Palawan is a popular travel destination for those looking to immerse themselves in the area's serene atmosphere and magnificent nature.

One of the highlights of the main island is Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its underground river tour.

If exploring this natural wonder is on your bucket list, Four Points by Sheraton, with its easy access to the UNESCO site, is an ideal place to stay. The resort is a 90-minute drive from Puerto Princess International Airport on a shuttle operated by the hotel.

Underground river tour

Holidaymakers take part in a boat tour of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan on April 18. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald) Holidaymakers take part in a boat tour of the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park in Palawan on April 18. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)

Within a pleasant three to five-minute walk from the hotel, guests can reach the local harbor and ready themselves for a boat ride to the national park.

During the boat ride, guests can take in scenes of Palawan’s natural beauty, from the cool ocean breeze and emerald green waters to the dizzying cliffs.

Walking barefoot to the cave’s entrance -- the starting point of the underground river boat tour -- is a second-to-none experience that will enthrall visitors even before the incredible adventure inside the cave has begun.

The view of the limestone karat is also spectacular. In this untouched area of Palawan's nature, birds fly overhead and bats can be seen hanging from the cave's ceiling.

Visitors enjoy a cave tour at Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park on April 18. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald) Visitors enjoy a cave tour at Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park on April 18. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)

The highlight of the journey into this marine protected area comes when the boat's rower switches off his headlamp at the turning point of the cave tour.

As the headlamp is turned off, one is immediately enveloped in complete darkness.

In such total darkness, where you can't even see your hand in front of your face, visitors will be able to enjoy a moment of silence and stillness like they have never experienced before.

Sabang Beach

Four Points by Sheraton's outdoor swimming pool (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald) Four Points by Sheraton's outdoor swimming pool (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)

Ranging from a walking trail to a spa, sauna and fitness center, Four Points by Sheraton offers its guests everything they need to relax and find peace.

The easy access to the outdoor swimming pool and Sabang Beach from the guest rooms is another element that makes the hotel a great choice for holidaymakers.

The guest rooms are lined up alongside the swimming pool, allowing the guests to step out from their rooms and hang up their towels on the sunbeds before getting straight into the water.

The swimming pool is a perfect hideaway for those who don’t want to move around a lot, but want to soak up every moment in the sun.

A 30-second walk is all it takes to get to Sabang Beach, where the seemingly endless ocean is flanked by curved mountain ridges and a row of stunning palm trees.

A Four Points by Sheraton guest relaxes on a sunbed at Sabang Beach in Palawan on April 19. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald) A Four Points by Sheraton guest relaxes on a sunbed at Sabang Beach in Palawan on April 19. (Lee Si-jin/The Korea Herald)

The awe-inspiring seascape aside, all the boats going back and forth to the underground river is a joy to watch from the beachfront sunbed.

Take a kickboard or rubber boat to explore more of the local area for a truly memorable holiday.

Korea Herald Correspondent