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A Guide to Palau


Just imagine the clearest turquoise water, the whitest sandy beaches, palm trees gently moving in the breeze, and perfect temperatures; that's EXACTLY what Palau is. This little slice of actual heaven is located in the western Pacific Ocean (in the Micronesia region), and consists of over 500 islands, the most populated being Koror, and the biggest being Babeldaob.

Palau is fairly unknown, but very popular with divers, as it offers some of the best diving spots from around the world. It's also home to the famous Jellyfish Lake, where you can swim with the non-stinging jellies. (Unfortunately, Jellyfish Lake is currently closed to the public, as sadly most of the jellyfish have died. Contrary to what most people think, they didn't die because of tourism, but because of extreme weather and a rise in ocean temperatures. The good news is that they will repopulate, but it will take some time.) Palau is also known to history buffs, as it's the location of Peleliu island, where one of the most brutal WWII battles took place between Japan and the States.

The Husband and I recently spent an unforgettable week in this paradise, and since posting pictures of our vacation on my personal Facebook page, I've been getting non-stop messages from friends, family and acquaintances, wanting to know more about this little-known island nation. Even though we had decided to just take it easy and relax, I still did my research and planned some activities for us to do, to make sure we made the most of our time there. Read all about how to get there, get around, where to stay, what to do and where to eat. I've also included a downloadable map of Palau with all of the places mentioned.

Where to Stay

Palau offers a handful of places I would recommend, and other than that there are a few budget accommodation options, which I really wouldn't suggest you to stay at, unless you had no other choice. We decided on the Palau Royal Resort, which was absolutely lovely. The hotel is beautiful and clean, and the staff extremely helpful and nice. They have their own little beach out front, a very nice pool, and the location is convenient. Also consider the popular Palau Pacific Resort, which also offers a nice beach and plenty of 5-star amenities.

More places to stay: Cove Resort Palau, Carolines Resort, Garden Palace, Palasia Hotel

Palau Royal Resort

Palau Royal Resort

Palau Royal Resort

Palau Royal Resort

Palau Royal Resort

Palau Royal Resort

Wearing: Celine sunglasses, Marysia bikini and Panama hat

Palau Royal Resort

Wearing: Lack of Color hat and J.Crew swimsuit

Where to Eat

Most of the restaurants in Palau are located along the main street in Koror, and there are plenty of great options. We highly recommend getting Indian food at The Taj, and Thai food at Suriyothai. For the best burgers in town, get takeaways from Bem Ermii, or pop into MJ's Restaurant for a diner style meal. Our favorite restaurant is Katey's Healing Garden, a vegetarian spot that offers fresh and delicious dishes, and a stunning view of the property where they grow all of their own produce.

If you need a caffeine fix, we recommend Anthia's Cafe, Best Coffee & Donut House and also Coffee Berry. Palau has plenty of seafood restaurants, The Fisherman being a popular choice. More restaurants we loved were Kramer's Cafe and Drop Off Bar & Grill. Their menus are extensive, and there's something for everyone on there.

For beautiful sunset drink locations, go to Marina Cafe VITA, Coconut Terrace Restaurant or Elilai. We also recommend chilling at Bottom Time Bar & Grill, which is a lively, but low-key spot where you can enjoy a cold Red Rooster Beer (Palau's local beer) after coming back from your outing with Sam's Tours.

More places to eat: L'Amarena Gelato Shop

The Taj

The Taj

Katey's Healing Garden

Katey's Healing Garden

Katey's Healing Garden

Katey's Healing Garden

Katey's Healing Garden

Anthia's Cafe

Anthia's Cafe

Bem Ermii's

Marina Cafe VITA

Marina Cafe VITA

Bottom Time Bar & Grill (Sam's Tours)

Bottom Time Bar & Grill (Sam's Tours)

What to Do

Water activities

As I mentioned earlier, diving is extremely popular in Palau, and there are plenty of diving shops and companies to work with. Kayaking and snorkeling is also a must-do, as the beautiful Rock Islands offers some of the most beautiful coral reefs to admire. Also, don't miss a chance to go to Milky Way, a lake known for its white muddy sediment that you can cover yourself in, and that supposedly has healing and therapeutic properties. We recommend Sam's Tours for their kayaking and snorkeling tours; they are very professional, helpful and friendly. As of now, Jellyfish Lake is unfortunately closed to the public.

Land activities

Join a tour to Peleliu, you won't regret it. Learning about the history of the devastating battle that took place there is fascinating, and war relics of those battles are still visible all over the island. (Tanks, airplanes, clothing and equipment remains mostly untouched!). You will be able to enter the caves where some of the Japanese soldiers took cover, and also places like Bloody Nose Ridge, Orange Beach and the Peleliu Airfield. We recommend Rock Island Tour Company's (RITC)'s Peleliu tour.

In Koror, visit the Belau National Museum and the Etpison Museum to learn more about Palau's interesting history and culture. Also, swing by the Palau Aquarium to see those famous jellies and other native fish species. You can book a plane or helicopter ride that will fly you over the stunning Rock Islands, and offer you aerial views of places like Milky Way, Jellyfish Lake, and Long Beach.

To explore the rest of Palau, take a road trip around Babeldaob, the biggest island of Palau. In the west, you can visit the spectacular Ngardmau Waterfall. To reach the waterfall you have to hike downhill for about 45 minutes, but it's totally worth it. In the north, you can stop to take in the breathtaking views from the coast at the Japanese WWII Lighthouse. In the East, you'll be able to make plenty of stops; visit the Stone Monoliths, the Capitol of Palau and also a traditional Bai (men's meeting house) in Airai.

Note: There are a handful of tour companies in Palau offering exceptional water and land tours and excursions. We highly recommend Sam's Tours and Rock Island Tour Company. Other ones you can check out are Fish 'n Fins, IMPAC and Neco Marine. It's not necessary to book the tours before arriving in Palau, just pop into their offices once you are there, ask questions, get quotes, and figure out which companies and tours fit your needs and budget.

More things to do: Kayangel Island

Boat heading out on a tour.

Kayaking

Kayaking

Kayaking

Rock Islands

Rock Islands

Kayaking

Snorkeling

Snorkeling

Milky Way

Belau National Museum

Belau National Museum

Etpison Museum

Etpison Museum

Palau Aquarium

Palau Aquarium

Palau Aquarium

Palau Aquarium

Palau Aquarium

Palau Aquarium

Palau Road Trip

Ngardmau Waterfall

Ngardmau

Japanese WWII Lighthouse

Capitol of Palau

Traditional Bai

Traditional Bai

Peleliu

Peleliu

Peleliu

Peleliu

Peleliu

Peleliu

Peleliu

Peleliu

Peleliu

Peleliu

Peleliu

Getting There and Around

Palau really is in the middle of nowhere. Luckily, quite a few airlines have direct flights there. From Taiwan, it is a mere 3.5 hours' flight with China Airlines, but you can also fly in from Japan, China and South Korea. Public transportation is basically non existent. (I think someone actually said to us that there are about 8 taxis in Palau), and it's near impossible just flagging one down. Your hotel will likely offer you shuttle transportation to and from the airport, and then some restaurants offer shuttle services to and from your hotel as well. If you booked a tour excursion, that tour company will offer a pick-up and drop-off option. Other than that, you are on your own. We highly recommend renting a car. There are plenty of car rental companies at the airport, but also a few in town. We rented a car through Sam's Tours, and it was very affordable.

Other Things to Know Before You Go:

- Most visitors can get a visa on arrival.

- Their currency is the US Dollar.

- There are banks and ATMs in Koror.

- Palau is not a destination for the budget-minded traveler, it is a pricey place.

- Cars drive on the right side of the road, but for most cars the steering wheel is also on the right.

- All visitors must pay a $50 departure fee at the airport. ($100 if your airline ticket was purchased after 01/01/2018).

- There are two supermarkets in Koror that sell plenty of US products, groceries, clothing and other necessities.

- WiFi is very slow and costly. (You can buy WiFi cards or mooch off of free WiFi in some restaurants.) Take the opportunity to have a digital detox.

- Purchase a waterproof case for your phone, to take photos underwater. I recommend this one from Amazon.

- Locals are extremely friendly and polite, and everyone we encountered spoke perfect English.

- For more useful information, check out Palau Visitors Authority's website here.

Wearing: Panama hat and J.Crew swimsuit

Palau really is a pristine paradise and, because of it being relatively unknown, is not yet overrun by tourists, or locals trying to make money off of visitors. It's the perfect location to go if you want that relaxing island vacation, but still want the option of joining in on activities when you feel antsy. I hope that you found all the information you were looking for, if not, please feel free to email us with your questions at hello@astylealike.com

Happy travels!

A GUIDE TO PALAU Map




#Travel #TravelGuide #AGuideto #Palau #Islands #Vacation #Micronesia #Asia #Peleliu

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