Sitting majestically in the Western Pacific Ocean and stretching upon approximately 340 islands, the island nation of Palau is home to more than 21,000 people. Forming the western section of the Caroline Islands and settled more than 3,000 years ago by migrants from the Philippines, it is a place that should not be left out by travellers who like tropical adventures. So, without further ado, let us see what this place has to offer in terms of pros and cons. Stay tuned for the top five things to know before travelling to Palau!
1. Getting in:
There are two ways to get to Palau: you either take a boat or a plane. The former choice is not exactly recommended unless you know exactly what you are doing as it can take long and it can be expensive. This, of course, does not mean that the plane-connections are going to be dirt cheap. Tickets to Palau can cost over 500 USD and that can still be a bargain all things considered. Things do change occasionally, of course, so you might want to constantly check for cheaper tickets at least six months before travelling. Palau has only one airport, so the choices are limited, but that does not mean that you should not be attentive!
When we are talking about island nations in the Pacific, we can usually expect prices a bit higher but things can get a little more expensive than normal on Palau. Using the US dollar as currency, the locals do not shy away from the tourism industry with their bold prices. Having a 75+ USD budget per capita is not unheard of there as restaurants can bill you quite heftily. The good news is that in most places credit cards are accepted and are in use (Visa and MasterCard, mostly), so you don’t have to carry too much cash on you.
What’s interesting about Palau is that it employs a curfew early in the morning (generally between 04:00 and 06:00 a.m.) – in touristy areas, you might find those numbers varying, so ask around. This, however, is almost unnecessary as the crime rate there is so low that it is negligible – no need to worry about being mugged or worse. Of course, staying safe by applying the golden rules of not flashing expensive things around is recommended, as always (quadruple wink)!
4. Marine manna:
Palau really is one of the best places in the world to snorkel and dive. This is not only a tourist thing but also a professional one. The local reefs and underwater sights are so spectacular that some people visit the island nation with the express intention of submerging – omitting other things. While there are a few underwater hazards to keep an eye out for such as leftover explosives from World War II or salt-water crocodiles (which will often be invisible from the shores), doing it under supervision is more than recommended.
5. Language barriers:
The official language of Palau is Palauan but English is widely spoken and understood as well. It is, in fact, considered a co-official language and the touristy areas are laden with professional speakers. While it is recommended to learn a couple of basic words to melt the heart of the locals, English will get you by just fine. An alternative to it, to a limited degree of course, is Japanese – try both and get lucky (wink)! Oh, and you’ll hear the word “sulang” a lot – it means “thank you”.
Did you enjoy our list? How was your trip to Palau and what lasting impressions has this modest island nation left you with? Tell us all about it in the comment section below. Until our next adventure, safe travels (wink)!