08 Apr Lost? Find Yourself in this Cosy Beach Shack
No WiFi, no worries.
I’m writing this with very little to no connection to the Internet through my phone – and it’s amazing having to disconnect with the rest of the world even just for a few days (in my case a full week); I feel more connected with myself and the rest of the world. This is a much-needed breather from the complexities of the city life; time to find myself.
Palawan is known to be one of the must-visit islands for both local and foreign visitors. Being the nest taking care of the famous tourist spots, beaches, and dive sites of Puerto Princesa, Coron, and El Nido, it is without a doubt the ‘last frontier’ of the Philippines.
Of the many beaches in Palawan, Nacpan Beach in El Nido has been receiving a lot of attention. I figured I had to see it before it becomes as commercialised as Boracay (although still a nice island, no?). A quick Google search would lead you to articles saying it’s only open for a day trip as Nacpan Beach only has one day bar, some sun beds and beach huts, and a few small restaurants. A more thorough search will tell you that there are other options – a hostel chain famous in Southeast Asia, Mad Monkey Nacpan Beach, being one of them. I’M IN LUCK; I KNEW I HAD TO BOOK IMMEDIATELY.
At the moment, Mad Monkey Nacpan Beach has 48 dorm beds and 5 (twin) tents; all of which are behind their quaint octagon-shaped upper-floor beach bar providing you with a full breezy view of the beach. They’re the only actual hostel in Nacpan Beach (the others being homestays) so you can just imagine how full they can easily get (AKA book early). But know that there’s no WiFi (there’s barely any 3G/data reception, too) and everything is in cash basis (as with the rest of El Nido).
What got me very interested in staying with them (more than my love for the Mad Monkey brand) is their tent option. I mean seriously – tent .. in a quiet part of the island .. alone… Sounds like an adventure I can’t pass on. I booked myself for 7 nights (don’t ask why) in a tent and soon as I got my booking confirmation, I was warned that the tents are nowhere near glamorous.
They’re literally just tents with a mattress, a thin sheet as a blanket (should you need one), and a pillow. No more, no less. No electricity, too (charging needs to be done at the reception). Your things will have to be in a locker outside by the tent area and showers are common (as is for everyone). They made sure I knew what I’m up to (really appreciate it), and I’m most definitely up for the quest. After all, it’s a space you just crash to at the end of the day.
Much like anything else, whenever you’re in a tent (anywhere tropical) you have to be aware that it can get a little stuffy and warm inside especially when the sun is up. On the flipside, if you open the inner zip cover to let more air in, creepy crawlies and flying thingies will join you in your sleep. Both are not fun, so you have to pick the poison you want to take in. I’ll always pick the stuffy feeling over having unwanted roommates; the wind will blow through anyway at some point. Although I wish they provided at least a flashlight and a battery-operated fan – I’m sure a contraption like that exists. It would definitely make a huge difference in terms of sleep comfort and convenience at night.
The Nacpan Beach branch of Mad Monkey Hostels still upholds the ‘Mad Monkey experience’ their guests are after. The truth about this hostel chain is people don’t really stay here because of their hospitality and quality of beds (although they excel in those, too). Rather, travelers stay here for the social aspect and the “party” scene their in-house bar provides. And it’s actually quite amazing.
No one really leaves any Mad Monkey Hostel without at least one new friend – and that’s the main reason why this place is almost always full (book early if you don’t want to get disappointed). The vibe is amazing, everyone’s welcome, and each night is a party.
If you ever find yourself here, make sure you have a Pacquiao Punch and add to your country’s tally on the board. It’s two shots of alcohol – coconut rum and lime gin – with pineapple juice as your “chaser”. “””Chaser””” because you as you take the first shot, the other shot falls in the glass; thus, making it more of a cocktail than a chaser. Sounds heavy, but #DoItForYourCountry!
Now let’s talk about the beach Nacpan is famous for. Crystal clear blue waters (101% safe for swimming), powdery white sand, and uncrowded; that’s Nacpan Beach. Or maybe I’ll just let these photos speak for themselves?
I found myself in Nacpan Beach; cleared my head, set my priorities straight, and identified my goals business- and life-wise. No WiFi, no consistent mobile data reception; I think that’s the very reason why this part of El Nido is magical and full of character. It gives you actual connection with yourself, the world, and the people around you. And I think that’s the strongest “connection” ever possible.
Not going to Nacpan? You can experience the Mad Monkey hospitality in various locations in Southeast Asia! They’re also present in Boracay, Bangkok, as well as in various cities and towns in Cambodia – Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Koh Rong Samloem, and Kampot.
Find the good in getting lost,
This post was written in collaboration with Mad Monkey Hostels. Like anything else, all opinions are my own.