For the third year running, the Philippine archipelago of Palawan has been crowned the best island in world. The idyllic island, comprising also of 1’800 surrounding small islets, claimed top spot once again in Travel & Leisure magazine’s awards. It is a rustic, romantic paradise, complete with towering mountains, limestone caves and crystal clear turquoise water, but it’s the island’s 5 mile long underground river, also a Unesco World Heritage Site, that really sets this exotic isle apart. Travel + Leisure’s annual awards ask their readers to weigh in on top travel experiences from around the globe and for the third year, Palawan Island has come out on top. It was also voted Best Island in 2013 and 2016. Islands are rated on activities, sights, natural attractions, food, friendliness, beaches and overall value too. Palawan first rose to prominence after featuring in Hollywood blockbusters The Bourne Legacy, The Beach and James Bond’s The World Is Not Enough and due to its remote position, located on the southern tip of the country, just north of Malaysia, some locals have taken to referring to the island as the ‘last frontier.’

Tourists prefer to describe it as ‘the single most beautiful place on earth.’ Lush ocean life and hidden lagoons at Tubbataha Reef National Marine Park, as well as the famed Puerto Princesa Subterranean River, an underground cave system through which tourists can take guided boat tours, are just a few of Palawan’s top offerings. Unsurprisingly, in this year’s ranking, 3 of the world’s top 10 islands are found in Asia, with 2 in Philippines. To die for views can also be found on nearby Boracay Island, which was voted into third spot. South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island, known for its golf courses and white-sand dunes, took second place.

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