Riding a moped around the El Nido Peninsular

Nature
The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
7
Culture
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
6
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
9
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
9
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
1
unique
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
5
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
75 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
continent
Asia
country
Philippines
Length of time
1 day or less
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 20
Time of year visited
November
All Tags
RANKING
How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
79th/359 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Top 30% SUMMARY RATING: Superb

Summary

Most people visit El Nido for the stunning Bacuit Archipelago, or for the sensational boat trips through the island chains to Coron.  These are for sure amazing, but another option is to rent a moped and ride the loop around the El Nido peninsular for something that is a little simpler, cheaper and quieter . There’s something just so fun and adventurous about leaving the busy touristy town and resorts of El Nido Town and within less than 20mins be in what feels like a different world of super quiet roads, real Philippino villages with no tourist facilities, world-class near empty beaches and views that make you gobsmacked so few people visit here.  Really worth it

Top tips:

  • The route is simple – there is a very clear circular route that follows around the peninsular’s edge and then cuts back across the interior on the TayTay-El Nido National Highway (don’t let the name fool you – it’s a single lane road barely wide enough to drive a truck on).  You’ll only leave this main circuit route for 5-10mins at a time for certain beaches
  • Renting is super easy – can do so just about anywhere in or around El Nido, don’t need a license and won’t pay more than 700 pesos / US$12 for the day’s rental (500 pesos) plus petrol.  Just rock up and you’ll have be leaving on the moped within 10mins max
  • Driving tips – this is South East Asia with different road rules and dogs / pigs / whatever darting onto the road.  But these obstacles are generally only in the towns and, as long as apply a bit of common sense, the danger is very limited.  Think of it the same as picking up a push bike
  • Quality of road – the road is absolutely fine except for around 3km of non paved road in the interior crossing and maybe half of the detour routes to the north west beaches.  For these sections you’ll get bumpy non concrete roads, or a bit muddy
  • Places on the route you must stop at:
    • The beaches in the north west – Nacoan Beach is the famous one (voted world’s best beach) and with great beach clubs along it.  But if looking for the quiet vibe, go for Duli Beach just past it. Just as nice and with only one small beach surfing shack
    • Views down across the east coast – you’ll see these at various places on the route 
    • If looking for place on the remote east side for lunch, Ursula Beach Club was nice and not many other options.  You access it by driving along the beach which is also fun
    • Ille Cave is really worth it – get a guide to enter

highlights

#1 Driving through these remote parts of Palawan. Very few other drivers on the road. Stunning views at just about every turn

#2 Stopping in the remote towns for friendly gas from a bottle!

#3 Driving the bikes along roughly 1km of beautiful "road beach" to have lunch at the Ursula Beach Club

#4 Chilling at the super quiet Duli Beach - only a short ride further north than the more famous Nacoan Beach, but with only one small surf shack built there, it feels like a different world

#5 The views out across the remote East Coast of El Nido. One beautiful beach emerging from the jungle after another, and easily accessed

#6 Checking out the beach clubs dotted all along Nacoan Beach, often voted the voted world’s best beach (I wouldn't go that far, but it is beautiful)

#7 Visiting the Ille Caves - surprisingly big caves. Take a guide at the entrance to be allowed in for an explore

#8 Taking the 1.5 hour roundtrip walk to the Nagkalit-kalit Waterfalls. The waterfalls themselves are nice, but the walk itself zig zagging across the streams through the jungle is the highlight

#9 Finishing the day on the west coast and watching the sunset over the Bacuit Archipelago

Experiences nearby

The below map shows experiences nearby with a colour that reflect the Overall Score of those experiences

Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone