What can you expect of the streets of El Nido? Is it hard to find your way? Is it crowded? How do you navigate this small fishing town at the very north of Palawan Island? We spent 5 days in El Nido, having opportunities to walk around the town and try to discover as much as we could, and we are excited to tell you more about our experience!
If you have never been to South East Asia, El Nido will give you a crash course. It’s everything a small South East Asian town could ever be, minus all the tourists of course. The fame of El Nido’s beaches, islands
Apart from that, El Nido is still a friendly town that is starting to offer more conveniences. Plenty of street food is available, street peddlers, and shops of most kinds can be found in the town.
El Nido Town
During the day the town is almost dead. Most of the locals would be working the tour boats going out to the various islands, or tending the various shops, mostly catering to
In the evening, all the kids started to gather about to play a few rounds of basketball, or just standing around talking while people watching. Favorite spots seemed to be on motorbikes or trishaws parked along the street. You’d hear lots of laughter and noise coming from these kids, making the streets feel more homely and lively at the same time.
Every 30-40m there would be street vendors waiting for customers to come and buy whatever they were peddling (balut eggs on display, local street food, liquors aplenty), and we suspect that they were also the ones to keep an eye on the kids while they were playing around on the streets to ensure no one gets lost or injured themselves.
Closer to the beach, you will find all the tourist traps that have started to prosper. You will most likely find this view at some point (right side image). Two seafood restaurants have set up shop down one of the key walkways down to the beach, and manage to catch a surprising amount of customers this way. They have fresh seafood on display from today’s catch, which is grilled to order. We ended up trying one of the
There are plenty of restaurants along the beach. So do check their menu out before you sit down. We didn’t have a chance to try them all, but we know at least 1-2 other places are a lot better than the first 2 that you will encounter on the way down to the beach.
Once you are tired of walking around the town, you can always rent a trishaw that will take you to most of El Nido for between P50-150. Most people will either stay near El Nido bay or near Merimeg-meg Beach. If you stay close to Merimeg-meg Beach, we found a BBQ grill place near Four Seasons Resort that had great food and service. They grill your food as you order, so all come out freshly cooked, tasting delicious. There’s no obvious sign, so we ended up calling it Sticks, and we would recommend for people that are nearby to give it a try!
Overall, we never had any trouble walking around El Nido. We never felt threatened or in danger. It’s very easy to find trishaws, and everything worked more or less to our expectations. There is only ONE ATM in all of El Nido and it can run out of cash to dispense, so do bring sufficient cash with you to cover your needs.
When walking around El Nido, you will rarely have problem finding your way around. You can always ask a local for directions, or if you have mobile data and lots of patience (the Internet connection here is slow and unreliable), you can also use your preferred maps for directions. Throughout our stay, we never felt in danger or threatened walking around the streets, regardless if it was day or night. When you feel tired from walking, trishaws offer cheap rides all over town, making it really easy to get to where you want to go. It can get dark at night too, so bring along a good torchlight (your phone’s spotlight works fine too) to light the way, if needed.
The town itself is cozy and very typical of South East Asia. Don’t expect to be able to buy a lot of things here other than your necessities. While we did see some families travelling with children here, we feel El Nido still have ways to go before it becomes a child-friendly destination for