Unless you live in Australia or other parts of East Asia, it is unlikely that you have heard of the Palawan Islands. Situated west of Manila, there are approximately 1768 islands, total extreme length about 650 kilometers from north to south.
For the past two Christmas? I have traveled to these islands, predominately for the fact that they are one of Asia?s last ecological frontier. Most islands have beautiful white sand beaches, clear waters and immense rain forests. As an avid swimmer, snorkeler and scuba diver, there are unlimited choices of coral reefs (11,000 square feet) along with a plethora of fish. Some of the top hotels are on their own private island, so you have the exclusivity and privacy rarely offered in resort settings.
The fact that most people need to traverse the globe also makes it less of a tourist destination (although in high season many local families choose these islands as a holiday of choice). The journey takes you to Manila, where according to your arrival time, you most likely need to spend the evening. Most flights take off in the morning to Palawan with a two hotels offering direct flights to their island, including the Amanpulo (of the Oman resorts) or the El Nido. As with any Oman resort, the Amanpulo is a breathtaking and luxurious experience, but you will pay the price, hovering about $700 USD/night in the high season. For a lesser-pricier experience, I have also stayed at the El NIdo. It?s less exclusive and includes buffet style dining and perhaps a more child-friendly environment.
Instead of the typical beach holiday in Thailand, I would recommend the Philippines. It?s off the beaten track and the pristine beaches make it a destination unlike anything else experienced.