Likes & Dislikes

Opinions

The Palauans are a very tough people. They are stubborn, proud, and aloof. Respect and ‘status’ are important to them It is a part of their culture to cultivate a kind of brotherhood with the Yap islanders, which is great because these are my two favorite island chains in the Pacific.

The first piece of advice I’d give to anyone is that, whatever happens, look for accommodation only and exclusively in the ‘Koror’ area. (My personal recommendation is the Penthouse Hotel). This is where essentially all life is, including all the shops and tourist services. Almost all hotels are located here, along with restaurants, the harbor, and the nightlife.

I had to arrange this trip in a hurry (four days before departure), and in high season, so I didn’t have much choice when it came to accommodation. The only hotel left at a reasonable price was the Airai Hotel. It turned out to be beautiful, but also in the middle of nowhere, and if you wanted ANYTHING it involved a minimum twenty-minute drive. There are no taxis, so going out to drink and party from here would be difficult to arrange, and no tourist agency will come out this far (though they will if you stay in a Koror Hotel and pay for a tour).

There’s a restaurant, a water park that might give you half an hour of fun, and a bar. That’s it.

To go fishing you need a permit from a tourist shop, which is valid for one week. You need separate permits if you want to go diving, or if you wish to enter a protected natural environment. I have to say, though, that the Palauan government has understood clearly that tourism is their most promising source of revenue, and they reinvest the money they make in improving infrastructure. They clean and renovate popular locations, and there are ever more signs for tourists, as well as brochures printed in many languages. They also have a sort of tourist police force, which keeps an eye out for unlicensed fishing, diving, and kayak tours… They also sometimes have to eject ‘lost’ Chinese fishing boats from their rich coastal waters. And believe me, they’re far better off being escorted out of Palauan waters by the police because if local fishermen find them, it invariably means trouble.

Three Chinese fishing boats were recently seized by locals… They release the live fish they’d caught, divided the dead fish among themselves, then “explained the situation” to the Chinese fishermen, before depositing them, tied together, at the door of the Chinese embassy. As for the boats… well, two of them ‘caught fire’ and were burned to cinders, while the third, which was built of metal, ‘sank’. To the great delight of divers, it sank in a place where there was nothing of interest before, and now you can dive to the wreck… The Chinese government naturally tried to play the victim and sent some warships to the area in a show of force, but South Korea, the USA, and Japan all decided to hold a training exercise around Palau, which is strategically important. Nothing happened, but Chinese boats still don’t enter Palauan waters without permission.

A piece of advice: always ask if you need a permit for any of your planned activities or destinations, either from a tourist agency or a local. You need special permits to go diving, fishing, or for visiting the jellyfish lake, the shark sanctuary, the islands of stone… (l.h., 2017)

 

western Pacific Ocean - Micronesia - Palau - coast - Elter photo

western Pacific Ocean - Micronesia - Palau - traditional house - Elter photo

Practicals

Transport

The international airport is on the biggest island of Palau, Babelthuap.

There are the outer islands, some of them called the Rock islands. Those are one of the natural wonders of the world. But tourists need a boat to get there. Only very few of the outer islands have people living on them, so there are no public boats. If you want to visit these islands, you have to hire a boat.

western Pacific Ocean - Micronesia - Palau - car plate - Elter photo

Palau - Babeldaob Island - good road - s.v. photo

Palau - Koror - Roman Tmetuchl International Airport (ROR) - k.a. photo

Palau - Babeldaob - the road to the Ngardmau waterfall - this is the way for those who do not want to walk uphill - k.a. photo

Palau - KB Bridge - connects Koror with the largest island of the archipelago Babeldaob - k.a. photo

Accomodation

If you can afford it, choose Palau Pacific Resort (PRP, as the locals call). This hotel has the only (white, fine) sandy beach on the island with a beautiful house (coral) reef that is excellent for snorkeling, having all sorts of fish, corals, and giant clams.

----------------

“My first piece of advice for anyone traveling here is, whatever you do, to look for accommodation exclusively in the ‘Koror’ area. (My personal recommendation is the Penthouse Hotel). This is basically where all the life, shops, and tourist services are. Almost all hotels are located here, as well as restaurants, the harbor, and the nightlife.

Since I had to arrange the trip in a hurry (four days before departure), and in high season at that, I didn’t have much choice when it came to accommodation. The only hotel with an affordable price was the Airai hotel. It’s beautiful, but in the middle of nowhere, and if you want to do ANYTHING then it’s going to involve a twenty-minute drive at a minimum. There are no taxis, so drinking and partying is quite difficult to arrange, and no tourist service provider will come out for you (which they do, for example, if you live in any of the Koror hotels and pay for a tour).

There is a restaurant and a water park which will keep you entertained for about half an hour. Apart from the bar, that’s it.” (2017)


Food

x

Palau - taro rösti (small potato patty)- m.l. photo

Shopping

x

Palau - market lady

Fun

x

Palau - dance - s.v. photo

Public safety

x

Micronesia - Palau - scary - Elter photo

Palau - Police station (HQ?) with a stray dog beside the Ministry of Justice - k.a. photo

Health

“Today, almost everyone in Palau lives off tourism, or perhaps coconut growing, so it is understandable that the small state is keen to protect its diving paradises and coral formations. From this year, the use or sale of oxybenzone-containing cosmetics is prohibited in the country.

The ban lists a total of ten ingredients, the existence of any of which means exclusion because they are dangerous to nature, President Tommy Remengesau declared.
According to research, thousands of thousands of tons of sun milk are deposited on corals worldwide every year, destroying corals as well as young individuals of fish species living around reefs.

Earlier, Hawaii, a state within the USA, announced a similar measure, and several cosmetic companies have already responded to the ban, due to enter force in 2021, by promising to develop ‘everything free’ sunscreens, that is, sunscreens that contain no coral-harming chemicals, but still provide protection.” (2019)

Palau - an environmental protection message - k.a. photo

Others

“To be able to fish you need to get a permit in a tourist shop. This permit is valid for one week. You must have a special permit to go diving if you enter a nature conservation environment. But I have to say that the Palau municipality seems to have recognized very clearly that tourism is their main attraction, and they invest the money they earn back into tourism. They have cleaned and renovated popular destinations, increased the amount and accuracy of signposting, printed brochures in many different languages, and employ a tourist police force to watch out for illicit fishing/diving/kayaking…

Sometimes ‘lost’ Chinese fishing boats are expelled from their fish-rich seas. And believe me, they're better off if they're escorted by the police because if locals find them in illegal waters, they’re in big trouble. Recently three fishing boats were intercepted by locals… Well… the live fish were released, the dead ones were distributed among the locals, while the Chinese fishermen were “taught a little lesson” then left together in front of the Chinese embassy (there is one in Palau). As for the boats… well, two of them accidentally caught fire and burned to ash, while the third (which was made of metal) sank, much to the delight of divers, since it did so in a previously unremarkable location, whereas now it has a focal point… The Chinese state, of course, tried to play the injured party, and also sent a military ship to look around, at which point South Korea, the US, and Japan decided to hold a naval exercise in their ally Palau’s territorial waters, which are of strategic importance to them.” (2017)



Micronesia - Palau - coast - Elter photo

Palau - Koror - general recreation area and Malakal beach

Background

Palau - national flags

Palau - palm tree alley - h.m. photo

Destination in brief

Palau is an archipelago country located in the Micronesia area of Oceania, definitaly far and away. Palau is east of the Philippines, northeast of Indonesia, in the western Pacific Ocean.

Palau belongs to the Micronesian islands. As Micronesians say: Elsewhere in the world, the ocean is a separation; for us it is our highway.

Size: 458.4 km² (177 mi²) - Palau is an archipelago of over 500 islands. Most of the islands are uninhabited.

Babeldaob is the largest island, about 43 km (27 mi) long and at its broadest 8 km (5 mi) wide

Capital city: formally a very small settlement, called Ngerulmud, but in practice Koror city (on Koror Island, which is the commercial center of Palau)

Koror is the only settlement in Palau that can be called a town.

Population (in 2020): 18,090 - one-third of the population are migrants and foreign workers - about 65% of the population lives in Koror

Languages: the native Palauan and English are the two official languages

Religions:45,4% Roman Catholic, 35% Protestant - plus there are Seventh Day Adventists, and there is a hybrid of traditional beliefs and Christianity called Modekngei

Form of government: presidential republic the president is both head of state and head of government

Currency: US dollar (USD)

Average net monthly salary: 2200 USD

Most common surname: Tellei

Regular airline service connects Palau with Manila, Japan, Taiwan, Guam and South Korea.

Tourist attractions:

Palau is one of the top diving destinations in the world, as good as the Red Sea.


Geography

Palau consists of about 340 islands.

Palau has maritime boundaries with Micronesia, Japan, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Palau - Koror - a place called Milky Way because of the shallow soil hanging in the water like dust, the water looks like blue milk - k..a. photo

Palau - pandanus fruit - k.a. photo

Palau - Pepeliu Island - the southernmost tip of the archipelago - k.a. photo

History

The islands of Palau were first explored by Europeans in the 16th century and became part of the Spanish East Indies in 1574.  After Spain was defeated in the Spanish–American War in 1898, the islands were sold to Imperial Germany in 1899 under the German–Spanish Treaty, administered as part of German New Guinea. During WW1, the Imperial Japanese Navy conquered Palau, and the islands later became part of the Japanese-ruled South Pacific Mandate by the League of Nations.

Before WW2, Palau was the administrative center for the Japanese "Nan yo" or south seas empire, where 40,000 Japanese lived, mostly civilians.

During WW2, the U.S. lost more than 2,000 soldiers while driving out Japanese troops from this widely dispersed archipelago.

In 1947 Palau had entered Washington's direct jurisdiction as part of the Trust Territory of Pacific Islands. In 1981, this political arrangement was changed into the Compact of Free Association approved by Palauans in 1994 only.

Until 2006 Koror was the official capital city of Palau, but the offices of the executive, judicial, and legislative branches of government were moved to another island, Babeldaob, which also happens to be the country’s largest island.



Micronesia - Palau - WW2 wreck - Elter photo

Palau - WW2 wreck - Elter photo

Palau - traditional tribe meeting House - s.v. photo

Palau - Japanese monument (The islands were under Japanese control (1918-1945) after the German rule - k.a. photo

Nowadays

Democracy in Palau works uniquely, as there are no active political parties. Political decisions are made by individuals who have prestigious informal ranks within the local society. This system has strong roots in local traditions that value traditional families and tribal relationships more than usual modern world arrangements.

The US has responsibility for defense, a financial grant, some rights to use the land for military training, and continuation of Postal Services.

The economy's backbone is agriculture, but more than one-third of the island's total workforce is employed in government services.

Let us say, that Koros is the,, commercial capital city".

We mention here some problems of Palau:

No sufficient amount of fresh (drinking) water, so a ration system has to exist.
Waste management is underdeveloped.
Many young people leave the island because they see few job opportunities and are attracted by the more modern way of life.
The disincentive between infrastructure development on one side and  protection of the fragile natural environment on the other side
Obesity is a significant health problem in Palau. There is no proper nutrition policy to change unhealthy eating habits.

western Pacific Ocean - Micronesia - Koror City - Elter photo

Palau -girl - Elter photo

Palau - local couple

Palau - girl

Palau - grandma and her granddaughter

Palau - boy -s.v. photo

Palau - young women - u.g. photo

People

Palauan people eat a lot.

Palauan society is one of the few matrilineal societies.

Gastronomy

x

Palau - tama - a Palauan specialty made with eggs, milk, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt - j.e. photo

Attractions

Koror

Micronesia - Palau - Etpison Museum - Elter photo

western Pacific Ocean - Palau - parliament building - Elter photo

Palau - Capitol building - s.v. photo

Palau - Koror - a Traditional Community House, part of the National Museum - k.a. photo

Palau - Koror - Civic Center - k.a. photo

Beaches

Palau - Koror - Long Beach from above - k..a. photo

Palau - Koror - a beach - k.a. photo

Babebeldaob

Palau - The largest island is Babebeldaob, its northern part is the state of Ngarchelong - the only surviving local stone sarcophagus - k.a. photo

Palau - Babebeldaob - Badrulchau Monoliths - k.a. photo

Palau - Babedaob Island - Ngatpang State - road - k.a. photo

Related posts

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *