The variety of places to see and activities to do in Palau is amazing, especially when you consider the fact that only 20 000 inhabitants live in this tiny country. Some of the places and activities are unique for Palau and can’t be seen or done anywhere else in the world.
The following list consists of our favorite top 10, starting with the famous Jellyfish Lake.
If you want to learn how we organized our trip to Palau, and how we placed the "top 10” in our itinerary, go to How to plan a trip to Palau.
Yes, we know, the famous Jellyfish Lake, where the magical interaction between the primates and the medusae took place is no longer open for visitors (or it wasn’t when we wrote this text). BUT. What some of you probably don’t know is that in Palau there are more marine lakes where other species of jellyfish live and are doing well. Moreover, it is possible to swim with them, as they also lost their ability to sting. Well, most of them, so you’d better don’t try to kiss them (we’re serious).
To get to one of the lakes contact IMPAC agency and book their famous kayaking tour.
The rock Islands are the most precious stones in the crown jewels of Palau. To admire them in all their glory you need to soar up. The best way to do it is with Pacific Mission Aviation (PMA) - a non-profit organization, which serves the people of Palau by providing emergency medical evacuation, search and rescue, disaster relief, maritime patrol for illegal fishing and other services. They offer scenic flights as well as scheduled flights to Angaur and Peleliu. We took the route to Peleliu and we loved it.
To see more details about how to organize the flight, go to our article Scenic flight over the Rock Islands in Palau.
For those who want a bit closer and more active interaction with the Rock Islands, we recommend kayaks. We guarantee you’ll never forget this feeling when you slide over the beautiful coral reefs so clearly visible in crystal waters of the Pacific Ocean. You will love it even if you’re not a seasoned canoeist.
For those wanting more thrill – you can always jump in the water if you see anything particularly interesting below. Like a stingless jellyfish, for example.
Whatever your plans for Palau are, we are sure the snorkeling is on the list. If not, make the list again. We have snorkeled in many places all over the world, and with full confidence can nominate Palau for the podium. Among other qualities, Palau is one of the few places where you can see giant clams in their natural habitat.
Where to snorkel? Try one of the countless snorkeling trips to the Rock Islands, use a day-pass in Palau Pacific Resort or (if you’re short on the money) go to Icebox Park in Koror – the stone stairs will lead you directly to the coral reef.
Ngardmau waterfall was our biggest discovery in Palau. We learned about it only when organizing a trip around Babeldaob. We were surprised only a few people (considering the flow of the visitors in Palau) reached the place, as everything there was pure fun: starting with the beautiful trek to the fall, then splashing in the waterfall, finally going back to the base with the monorail. If we had time, we would definitely try the zip lining as well.
Badrulchau is Palau's largest and probably most ancient megalithic site (carbon dating places its creation to 150 AD) where you'll find the well-preserved stone face monoliths. But it's not the only place with megaliths in Palau. You'll find many other stone sculptures, both in Koror (the "Mother and Child Stone") and in Babeldaob (Mengachui, Odalmelech). The megaliths are located in beautiful scenery (especially Badrulchau), so the trip will be worth an effort not only for the archeology enthusiasts.
The stone money (rai) were large stone discs with a hole in the middle, used as money on the island of Yap. Nowadays they constitute parts of collections in many famous museums all over the world, and they are known as the Yap money. Some of you might even have heard of them, but what you probably don’t know is that they were quarried mainly in Palau.
One of the quarry locations is called Metuker ra Bisech. Soon it is to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage list and probably will become one of the main attractions in Palau, so hurry up and see it while it’s still mystic and ambient, without crowds of the tourists.
Bai is a men’s traditional meeting house in Palau. Many years ago every village in Palau had one. Nowadays only a few have left – all the more reason for visiting at least one of them. Built of fine hardwoods and elaborately ornamented with traditional designs and colors, often erotic in expression, a bai is something not to be missed when in Palau.
The easiest bai to reach is the one guarding the Belau National Museum in Koror. If you’re planning a trip around Babeldaob (and we highly recommend it), visit the bai in Airai state – you’ll also get to see the ancient stone path leading to the sacred source nearby.
We both live in a country in Europe heavily affected by World War II, where countless artifacts still remind about the tragic past. But visit in Peleliu, where the famous Battle of Peleliu took place in 1944, was for us a deeply moving experience anyway. The island is dotted with bunkers and bombshells, what with the combination of the beautiful, tropical surroundings was a bit surreal and made us aware of how vast the front of the World War II really was.
Ngerulmud is one of the most bizarre capitals we have ever seen. No, wait. For me, IT IS the most bizarre capital I’ve ever seen. Chris said for him Yamoussoukro was weirder.
As a capital, Ngerulmud in 2006 replaced Koror, the biggest town in Palau. According to Wikipedia, it is the world's least populous capital of a sovereign state. We believe it, as during our visit in Ngerulmud we haven’t seen any other human being. Not even a guard.
Built in the middle of nowhere, the capital consists of a group of monumental buildings. They were looking very impressive until we learned from our guide that the massive columns were made of plastic. As befits decent doubting Thomases, we had to knock on them first to make sure it’s true. It’s true – they are made of plastic.
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