The Puerto Princesa Underground River. Rated as one of the new 7 wonders of Nature and also an UNESCO world heritage site. What´s nice to know is, that the locals very much appreciate this magnificent site, too! According to our tourguide approx. 60% of all visitors are Filipinos! But first you need to get there. We opted for the convenience package: Van transfer with aircon (2h one way from PP), lunch including 1 bottle of coke, boat transfer to the entry point, boat tour into the cave with tourguide and VAT all inclusive for 1.500PHP/person (approx. 30€). The cave itself is surrounded by pristine tropical rainforest and the wildlife that goes with it. Sharing a boat with 8 people, we ventured into the spectacular cave, which is a complete ecosystem in itself. Bats, snakes, crabs, insects, etc. in a “spectatular limestone karst landscape” (UNESCO). And tons of stone formations, on which you can go wild with your creativity to come up with what these might look like. On some of the walls we discovered crosses, which early explorers had drawn for their protection as they believed demons to live in the cave. We also saw an inscription dating back to 1937 made by two American officers during an expedition.
Coober Pedy: The “Opal Capital” of the world
And that is not an empty statement. 80% of all existing opal is found in this area! But that´s not all. Coober Pedy also claims to be the only place on earth where you can camp underneath the ground (at Riba´s) – of course in a discontinued opal mine. That in itself was an interesting and equally dusty experience. And then there is also the Hollywood side of this rustic outback location. Parts of “Mad Max” and other sci-fi/action movies were cast here, taking advantage of the rough and somewhat monotone surroundings of Coober Pedy.