When I first thought about visiting Palau I for sure wanted to visit the Jelly Fish Lake, but then after researching it I found out it had been closed due to mass loss of jelly fish due to a number of factors and they’ve denied access to humans until they repopulate. Palau is an archipelago of over 500 islands including the popular rock islands, part of the Micronesia in the vast Pacific Ocean. Koror Island is home to the former capital, also named Koror, and is the islands’ commercial center. It’s really where most of the island population is. It was an island territory of the United States until 1986. It is now an independent UN nation of Micronesia, but is defended by the US.
Where is Palau? It’s in between the Philippines and Guam. You can fly direct from Guam. The airport is quite small. Palau has become very attractive for diving and as such has become fairly expensive. We stayed at an airbnb and the frequency or infrequency of flights kept us on the island for a few days. It was very relaxed and chill on the island… very low crime. The largest city feels like a small village.
Nearest neighbors are Yap Island and Guam. There are a ton of other reasons to go to Palau. The diving is the best in the world.
The Republic of Palau is scenically magical. For such a tiny area of land, it packs a big punch. It is hard not to be overwhelmed by its extraordinary array of natural wonders it’s an island archipelago of about 500 largely pristine limestone and volcanic islands
But there are a lot of other non diving reasons as well.
The “bai” traditional huts preserve the history. The monoliths connect to the old ways and old religion of the island. The symbols are fantastic. The people of Palau were Matriarchal and the women were the backbone of society. I see how this continues today based on our interactions at the market with a mother who gave her son permission tp take us around the island. very rich culture and customs that are overlooked as most spend their times in the best waters in the world.
The larger Babeldaob has the present capital, Ngerulmud, plus mountains and sandy beaches on its east coast. In its north, ancient basalt monoliths known as Badrulchau lie in grassy fields surrounded by palm trees.
Reality Check: The new capital building seems like it is away from everything, much like Palau in the world. It’s distant, but also disconnected… but there is hope the little island nation will grow. I personally worry it is already setup on an expensive path that keeps the tourists away. If the island could find a way to get more attractive flights from China and reduce their permits for just about everything, tourism would definitely grow. There is a lot to see and experience, but the lawman of this little nation state need to understand the laws of supply and demand. Cheaper prices will attract more tourists and they don’t need to nickle and dime the tourists to use the water. I would love to go back, but it was quite expensive to get there, and it was one of the most permit heavy islands I’ve ever visited. It was extremely beautiful and I would have loved to have dove here. I did some snorkling and enjoyed it, but the prices encourage you to bring your own equipment which is cost prohibitive. I’m hoping they’ll learn. Don’t let this totally detract. We found a way to work around most of the expensive water use permit issues by spending most of our time on the island. Vote in new politicians and say we want more visitors who will obviously spend more money on the island when they visit. Protect the Jelly Fish and preserve the nature. I hope to see them when they are recovered.
The bai is the school, the community council meeting place, the town hall, the place where laws are made.
Funny enough the young men we were with shared that there’s a pee hole in the floor. So yeah. They rarely need to even leave.
Palau Monolithic Stones
Stone Face Monoliths of Ngarchelong State. On the grassy flats along the eastern coastline
of Ngarchelong sit 37 ancient monoliths. Many of them have carved faces. They say the purpose of the monuments and when they were constructed are still unknown. The largest is over 5 tons. Some experts believe the monoliths were built in 100 AD. Some of these large Monoliths use to hold a bai. One of those old community houses. Some of them have faces like the Easter Island heads
Palau – Ngardmau Waterfall
It’s a nice hike to the waterfall on the western coast. It is worthwhile, but quite slippery.
Don’t eat the Turtle it tastes too good so you might like it.
We did find a local food place, which they said you couldn’t find. They served Clam, Pork, or Turtle wrapped in banana leaf. We ate a variety of meats with Taro and rice.
Amazing to visit such an interesting island.