Mad Monkey Hostel is a welcome addition to the lodging options in Nacpan Beach for those who want to enjoy a lazy, beach-bumming vibe during the day and while partying and socializing at night.
Consistently named as one of the best islands in the world by Conde Nast Traveller, Palawan is besieged by hordes of tourists throughout the year. El Nido is probably the most popular destination in this province for tourists eager to experience its breathtaking blue lagoons and gorgeous beaches dotted with towering black cliffs. The town naturally gets a tremendous share of this tourist traffic so the hustle and bustle there can be a little off-putting. Young people who want to stay away from the main town can conveniently stay in Nacpan Beach, only 45-minute trip away, and enjoy the laid-back vibes on its large white sand shoreline and perfectly clear waters.
Nacpan Beach has a total of 22 accommodations now, ranging from full-service hotels to basic hostels and “home stay”. One of those that opened recently is Mad Monkey Hostel. I had an opportunity to stay there with three bloggers for three nights this July 2019 and found my experience in this dorm-type fan room comfortable and enjoyable.
The mixed dorm-type room has 12 beds for both men and women, but privacy was not an issue because each bed is completely walled off with thin covers. They also provided power sockets and mosquito net for each bed. Mine was located on the top bunk so going down can be a bit of a drag but I managed just fine. The bed was quite spacious and could even fit two. The sheets and pillow were clean and satisfactory. There were several electric fans blowing on all beds at any given time so the humidity is not a problem. Staying in a room with males didn’t bother me at all. It really is not a room for hanging out so the men and women only stayed there briefly during the day and mainly to sleep.
There are also tents provided for those who want to do some “glamping”, each has two king-size single mattresses with fans.
Large lockers that can conveniently fit one’s luggage bags were provided, though I was disappointed that they did not provide locks. They should’ve made these available even for renting or purchase.
The restrooms were very rustic looking, airy and spacious, and satisfactory. Staff were cleaning it all throughout the day keeping it spotless and odor-free. Trash were consistently emptied and the water on the floors swept away. They had hot shower as well.
Wifi is available only at the lobby . The staff were friendly and cheerful though some of them didn’t want to give the Wifi password so as to encourage guests to spend their time socializing instead of browsing online. Those who need to do emergency emails for work need not fret because there is also a laptop for everyone’s use at the counter, and printing is available at cost.
The facade of the hostel has a relaxed, bohemian vibe full of soft day beds and comfortable lounges. Mad Monkey uses mainly organic, local materials like bamboo, wood and straw and they add to the cozy, down-to-earth appeal.
The bar is well-stocked and the food is of good quality, certainly much better than the Mexican restaurant I tried nearby. They can be a bit pricey however, with a breakfast meal of simple toast, egg and sausages for P350, but I assure you that it is worth it because their ingredients are fresh and locally sourced. Spending more than P300 per meal actually makes sense when you realize that revenues from the bar and restaurant help fund their social responsibility programs related to providing clean water, arts and education to their local communities.
The restaurant/bar is located at the second floor and has open walls so it is very refreshing and relaxing to eat there all throughout the day. At night, especially after 9pm it can be pretty crowded and noisy so better have your meal early.
Since it faces the beach, it also provides an excellent place to view the sunrise or sunset.
They have a cool outdoor gym with a set of wooden dumbbells and barbells for weightlifting. And yes some of those are really heavy so you can indeed do a real work out here, not just pose for the ‘gram 😉 (though the exact weight aren’t indicated on the dumbbells).
Additional services include foot spa, different kinds of massage and sunburn healing for sun-worshipping Caucasians from the Northern Hemisphere with sensitive skin LOL.
The view in front of the hostel is so pretty and relaxing. If you’re feeling a little cramped inside your dorm room, there are people playing games, like frisbee and voleyball, but the shoreline is so wide and long that it never looks crowded. You can just sip your favorite juice or cocktails while lounging at the restaurant of Mad Monkey or just lay down on one of the padded movable seats and read all day, if you so desire. There were many friendly dogs as well!
I think what makes Mad Monkey Hostel really special is the party scene there at night. It is probably the best party place in the whole Nacpan Beach. They provide free drinks every hour as well.
The music is a pleasant mix of contemporary dance songs like Beyonce and Despacito, popular R&B hits, a smattering of hip and hop and 90’s tracks (like songs from Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls) and techno with faster electronic, rave music being played later in the night. There really is great dance music for everyone. The bar closes at 1am automatically so you can be sure to still get your full night’s sleep. They have a cool ‘theme” for every night of the week, such as Face Paint Party, Gender Reveal and for our last night there (Saturday) a Beer Pong Party.
The crowd is mostly foreign, with only around 10-20% Filipinos.
The scene during Beer Pong Night is fun and lively. They had a funny British host and the beer pong contestants were really stoked.
If you are a solo traveler, you will surely make friends while staying in this hostel. I know because most groups surrounding us were actually strangers who became friends only after meeting at Mad Monkey. They have been touring El Nido together as well. Everywhere around me, I heard people exchanging pleasantries and getting to know each other, finding out about each other’s travels and adventures. It is so easy to strike a conversation with a stranger at this hotel because the vibe is so laid-back and friendly.
Here are some local lifeguards are foreigners I have befriended during my stay, it’s nice to see them freely mingling and dancing together.
Here is a short video I made at around 9pm, when it was still early. They dimmed the lights later on and more people were dancing.
Finally, know that Nacpan Beach is famous for its postcard-perfect sunsets. It really is the perfect location for silhouette shots.
Mad Monkey in Nacpan Beach, El Nido, Palawan has a rustic, homey vibe with their woodsy, rustic and earthy style and is truly ideal for beach bumming, perfect sunsets and relaxation. When the sun sets, it is transformed into a haven for dancing, drinking and partying where friendships are forged and memories are made, to be cherished forever.
Mad Monkey Nacpan Beach
El Nido – 5313