All tourists in Sabang will visit the underground river (must buy ticket at tourist office adjacent to pier for P150).
However, most will take the 15 minute boat ride that leaves from the pier. Cost is an additional P600 per boat round trip or P500 one-way.
If you opt for one way, or not at all, you can walk a ~2 hour trail at no cost. You have two options:
Jungle trail -> takes the higher elevation path. This path is not paved, but rather simply carved out of the jungle naturally. It is a bit more natural, but at the same time might be a bit more physically difficult.
Monkey trail -> takes you lower in the jungle and for some portions along the beach front. During low tide, this is prime time (if you are quiet and don't scare them) to see the local macaca monkeys come down to dig crabs up out of the sand. But please note that some of this path is not passable during high tide, so the Jungle trail will be a mandatory detour.
I travelled with friends in Palawan to see the indigeneous people living in the jungles called the Bataks. We had to walk about 80 kilometers (about 4 days of hiking on roads and slippery paths in the deep forest). We had to pass rivers but on some areas, we walked on log bridges. Before crossing one, I asked to go last because I got scared. I let my travel companions go first! It is a little bit scarry but that's the only way to cross a deep river!
The St. Paul Underground River was discovered by a French explorer. It was featured in National Geographic Magazine. The Philippine government changed it's name to Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park.
Getting to the St. Paul Underground River, the longest underground river in the world, is an adventure in itself.
The trek up to the cave is exhilirating. The hike was hard and strenous. But, it was worth the sacrifice. Afterall, this cave is captivating!
The mouth of the cave is very inviting. The mint green water is so clear against a backdrop of grayish white rocks and lush tall green trees. The white sand served as a reflecting light and sparkled under the water. Capturing this magnificent natural beauty is a must!
We got into a an outrigger. It has two lamps, each attached at the end of the canoe. As we started paddling inside the cave, the echo of our voices got louder. The cave is so dark and eerie.
As we sailed deep inside the cave, there are limestones formations. There are more to see on several chambers of the cave. The stalagmites and stalactites were as sharp as daggers. These had been formed slowly as years passed by. They glitter against the light!
I heard some noise of wings flapping! Some bats are flying from one corner of the cave to the other. "These bats are eerie! " said, the tour guide softly! I looked around as the tour guide moved his lantern. The lamp was focused towards one of the chambers of the cave. I saw thousands of bats clamped on the side of the cave!
We paddled the canoe farther until I can feel the sand of the river. We were almost at the end of the island and travelled almost 1 1/2 miles inside the cave! As we paddled farther, I can almost see the end of the river! The light was seeping through the other mouth of the cave.
This adventure is totally an unforgettable experience!
obviously it's this mystic river, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, reputed to be the longest known navigable underground river that exist, which put sabang on the world map. noteworthy are thousands of bats and swiftlets that roost in the cave. oops, you don't get to navigate the 8-km. length of the cave w/ water, only 1.5km for 45 minutes. there are other caves around the area...lion's cave, kawili cave, daylight hole and there's ugong rock.
If you skip the package tours from Puerto Princesa, you can explore the park on your own and visit the underground river via Monkey Trail or Jungle Trail. Monkey Trail which exits to the beach at some point is an easier trail compared to the latter. If you find it taxing to do the trail again back to Sabang, you may choose to take a boat. Just tell the manongs at the station They will radio the boatmen in Sabang pier and in 15 minutes, the boat will arrive to pick you up. The boat two-way costs 600p while one-way costs 500p. First, secure your park permit (150p) at the Tourism Office right on the pier. Your permit will be checked upon arrival at Central Park Station. Trails are pretty established with wooden stairways and handrails. Allow 2-3 hours for this trek one-way. Be reminded that the trail is closed beyond 3pm.
People go to Sabang mainly to visit the Underground River. Little do they know there’s more to that- the beach. There’s a beautiful long beach where resorts are located and some lovely sandy bays to the north. Shallow and sandy, it’s ideal for swimming, although swimming in some of the smaller beaches is disallowed as they can get uneasy at times.
Sabang is characterized by a massive chain of karst mountain, even grander than El Nido. Rising to over 1,000 meters, these rocks dominate the skyline as you approach the Sabang proper. Watch out to your right an hour nearing Sabang and be awed by these interesting rocky formations which seem endless.
One of Unesco heritage list, located in St Paul Subterranean National Park. It's 8,2 km underground river meanders through an incredible cave before reaching the South China Sea. High chambers, wide hallways, and odd geologic formations fascinates the voyager in the little grotto hidden under St. Paul Mountain.