Palau — Are you familiar with Michael Crichton’s novel Sphere? (He is also the author of Jurassic Park) This story is a psychological thriller, a science fiction story about spaceships found in the depths of the ocean. To make a long story short- there is a scene in the story where the incident happened involving sea creatures like sea snakes, giant squids and of course, fish.
From then on I was afraid of fish because I thought all fish were dead. Then I came across pictures of people jumping into a lake full of millions of fish. What the! How could those apples not swallow them?
I researched about Palau’s jellyfish pond, and I learned that these fish are suffering because of the many ecological resources without visiting. I was intrigued, and I put “swimming with fish in Palau” on my list.
Why should you visit Palau?
Yes, if you want to experience an amazing journey from big cities like New York, London, Paris and Tokyo.
If you want to try something different from the famous beaches of Boracay, Palawan, Phuket and Hawaii.
Palau has a lot to offer. Jump on a yacht and sail to the Rock Islands, Do water sports like surfing, scuba diving, kayaking and snorkelling. Swim with fish and shellfish. Hiking and trekking in various mountains and falls. Visit national museums and learn some of their history, culture and traditions. Now I understand why the popular television show “Survivor” is held there!
English is widely used. There are many Japanese and Filipino tourists and workers. For an English/Filipino/Japanese speaker like me, language is not a problem. There are Filipino and Japanese workers in most restaurants, hotels and travel and tourism agencies. I can call Palau my home away from home. There may be some issues you may encounter during your stay, especially slow internet connections. You can buy a prepaid internet card, which is available at some local stores. 10 US Dollars you can use for 7 hours. Shopping? Yes! But you have no choice unless you are staying in a hotel that provides wi-fi.
Highlights of the trip:
We stayed in Airai State near the central city where there are restaurants and shops in Koror State.
When we signed up for the trip, we chose to go to the Rock Islands – a collection of islands and atolls that are scattered well and overlook the Pacific Ocean.
Jellyfish Lake is the highlight of the trip. Although everyone is required to pay a 100 USD permit (included in the tour price.) In this pool, true to its name and promise, you can swim with jellyfish disaster.
The Milky Way beach is a beach formed from limestone millions of years ago. The sand you step on is very good and you can also use it to exfoliate your skin.
The waterfalls at Ngardmau is a very special place because it is located in the heart of the mountains and is worth a visit.
For Filipinos and US citizens, visas are not required. However, you must make sure you have a return ticket to show if the flight attendant asks for it upon your arrival in Palau.
Traveling to Palau can be expensive because the currency they use is the US Dollar. Most of the goods are imported into the country.
Don’t forget your underwater camera because you want to take pictures of your adventures.
English is widely spoken in the country.
Airai is a province where the airport and our hotel (Airai Water Paradise Hotel and Spa) are located. We have already booked it for 26th December to 28th December 2015 for around 400 USD. But since our flight was canceled by the airline, United doesn’t fly until the next day. The hotel desk guy thought not to charge us for the first night. This was actually after various emails and informing them before the time that our flight was delayed.
Airai Water Paradise Hotel and Spa
Number: Airai Water Paradise Hotel & Spa, PO, Box 8067, Koror.Palau 96940
Check their availability at: Booking.com / Agoda
Upon arrival, we were picked up by our driver. Airport transfers are provided by the hotel. The hotel is far from the main town where restaurants and shops are located, however the hotel also offers a free shuttle service to the main town.
We booked our trip with the hotel concierge, and the company we chose was IMPAC. We have been informed that they offer the best offer among the options. For example, a whole day in the Rock Islands, Milky way beach, Jellyfish lake with a lot of time for kayak will cost us 200USD including lunch and drinks. This day trip, in my opinion, is worth taking. He takes you to the most famous places in Palau, and shows you that you got your money’s worth at the end of the day.
We changed accommodation on December 28th since the hotel was booked at the end of November, third party websites indicated that all hotels in Palau were booked. Good thing we were able to book through Airbnb. And it was not far from our hotel. The owner of the house gave us the use of his car for four days for 120USD. This is the way we went and saw more of the island.
We decided to drive around the island to visit the waterfalls at Ngardmau. It’s a good hour’s drive from Airai, and the drive is reasonable. I highly recommend tourists to visit the falls.
The rest of the days we decided to stay inside because we wanted this trip to be relaxing without having to prepare for the trip before. We wanted Palau to surprise us, and it did.
Find accommodation in Palau, Pacific Islands
For the author:
My name is Marko. I work in a Japanese company in Manila. A traveler who likes to discover new and different things—things out of the box, and a dreamer who is always on the lookout for the next adventure—seeking the best deals everywhere. . I always look forward to the next trip and I always bite the travel bug. Follow my travel stories on Catching up with MK.
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