The Philippines is a strangely underated country. We think it's a great country to visit, but... It has had - and still has - problems with corruption. There is a wide disparity in wealth. And there is a rather nasty insurgency (although it is confined to a small area that can easily be avoided). Sadly, there are several other countries in South-East Asia about which the same could be said. Thailand for one.

And yet, since the 1960s, when both had very little tourism, Thailand has left the Philippines behind in terms of tourism visits: 26 million versus less than five million. Little Cambodia had almost as many tourists as the Philippines.

The disparity between the two really doesn't make sense.

The Thais are friendly people, but the Filipinos are among the friendliest in the world. And almost every Filipino speaks English - it's a compulsory subject in every school. Tick the Philippines.

Thailand's tropical islands are beautiful, but they're no more beautiful that the Philippines'. More than one traveller has argued that the islands of Palawan are the most beautiful in the world. And some of the Philippines' islands facing the Pacific have surf. Tick the Philippines.

One could argue (and we do!) that Thai cuisine is one of the world's great cuisines, up there with Italian and Indian. By comparison, Filipino cuisine is a little plain - but it's still good. Half-tick the Philippines.

Given many visitors to Thailand never sample an authentic Thai dish, the fact that Filipino food can be a little plain doesn't adequately explain the fact that Thailand gets 21 million more visitors. The only conclusions we have come to to explain the difference in visitor numbers are:

1. Thailand has been very good at marketing itself, and

2. People are sheep in t-shirts.

Around The Sun is convinced that as the Thai resorts become more crowded people will discover the Philippines. Right now, however, the Philippines are very good value - and off the beaten track.

Right now Around The Sun only offers one Philippines trip - but it's an absolute beauty that encompasses everything we mean when we say we offer comfortable adventures. The trip is an ocean paddling / kayak adventure that explores the Palawan archipelago. It is led by Tim Altman, an expert kayaker and ocean paddler who has represented Australia. Our expert is joined by local guide, and supported by a local fishing boat. If you get tired, you can ride along in the fishing boat. If you feel like a quiet day you can stay in your luxury resort and let everyone else disappear off to explore caves, hidden beaches, and untouched villages!

Click here for more information about the Palawan trip.






Paddling Palawan

The Paddling Palawan trips are the best possible way to explore the world's most beautiful islands. Explore remote beaches, snorkel in hidden lagoons, island-hop across crystal clear waters... All the trips are accompanied by Tim Altman, a champion paddler, and a safety boat (actually a traditional fishing boat). You can choose to paddle, or catch a ride on the boat, whenever you like.

Luxury:budget / luxury / top-end
Type of Tour:Expert Leader / Special Interest Tours
Experience: Ocean Paddling & Kayaking
Challenge: Medium
Cost: from AUD$3790

Journey Finder

All ATS itineraries can be run for private groups or adapted to meet your interests.

Philippines Trips

Planning a Holiday?

Congratulations on finding Around The Sun! We’d love to talk to you about your next holiday adventure.

Around The Sun trips are based on the expertise and knowledge of Richard Everist and Lucrezia Migliore – and the expertise and services of a select group of friends who operate the best tour companies in the world.

Around The Sun showcases a careful selection of small group trips (with guides and expert leaders), and we design customised private journeys (both guided and self-guided).

All our suggested itineraries can be run privately, or customised, so the departure dates and itineraries completely suit you. Many of our itineraries can be adapted for those who wish to to travel completely independently. See Create Your Own Journey.