Palau is an island Nation located within the Micronesian region of Oceania and consists of over 500 islands. The primary language spoken is Palauan, with English widely spoken. The currency used is the United States Dollar. This is the perfect contry to travel to for an island adventure, but be ready to spend a bit of money, as transportation, accommodation and excursions are not cheap! Vaccines to have prior to your travels to Palau include Hep A and Typhoid. Dengue mosquitoes do pose a risk, and it’s important to either boil or drink bottled water while in Palau as a safety precaution.

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is like an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. - Mahatma Gandhi

Getting There

Flights to Palau’s main airport in Koror, Roman Tmetuchl International Airport (ROR), do not come cheap. I flew with United Airlines direct from Guam, the flight took 2 hours. If you do choose to depart from Guam, note that flights typically depart in the wee hours of the morning and arrive that early as well. Google Flights is what I found best to book.

Rock Islands, Palau

Rock Islands, Palau

Where to Stay

There are quite a few touristy hotels in Koror and also a fair share of run down ones. I chose to go with a hotel that was somewhere in the middle and not too far from town so that I could roam around. The West Plaza Hotel Malakalwas where I stayed, and it was a nice luxury that they had air conditioning, a mustin Palau. Higher end options include the Palau Pacific Resort, which I checked out to try and use their wifi, which was down on the entire island at the time, or the Palasia Hotel Palau.

Jellyfish Lake

What to Bring

There’s no need to even check a bag when traveling to Palau. All you really need is a swimsuit, shorts, tank tops and sandals. Make sure to bring your mosquito spray and GoProif you want to grab underwater photos at Jellyfish Lake! Note that cellular data does not work (at least if you have AT&T), and you will need a universal adaptor, this oneis very compact and most definitely my favorite. The roads can be very windy, and the boat rides, choppy, so if you’re prone to car or sea sickness, don’t forget your dramamine, sea bands and/or ginger chews! Note that wifi is not something to depend on (locals call it “Palau Wifi”), so make sure to have all of your work and calls done prior to arriving.

Cuisine

Go fresh when in Palau. They’re known for their taro dishes, of which I stuffed myself full with while there. It’s delicious, very starchy and reminded me of something like a white, sweet potato. Fresh lobster, crab and rice is a big one over there. They unfortunately have a major overfishing problem in Palau, but they are one of the few islands who are making significant impacts towards protecting their oceans and banning commercial fishing.

Milky Way

Where to Go

Jellyfish Lake is number one! Part of the Rock Islands of Palau, Jellyfish Lake is a marine lake located on Eil Malk island in Palau. To get there, one must do a bit of hiking, but even hiking through the jungle is something you don’t want to miss out on. I will admit, the lake can at times be flooded with tourists. For this reason, I’d advise going during low season or earlier in the day. Milky Way is also a great spot, where you can cover yourself in natural, white mud from the bottom with which you stand. Turquoise waters and naturally hydrating mud in a little cove… I mean, to this day it’s topped my list of coolest experiences I’ve ever had. Also highly recommended is taking a small plane ride over the Rock Islands with the doors off. It was euphoric and a great opportunity to grab some epic shots!

 


My Story 

20:15 on July 24th, 2015
Arrived in Koror, Palau via United Airlines UA193 – took 2 hours from Guam – went through border control, no questions asked, very easy – picked up bag from the baggage claim – went through bag clearance (did not declare anything – super easy) – asked border control police to take a picture of me in front of Palu welcome sign – West Plaza Hotel Malakal driver there to greeted me.
Woke up at either 3:30 or 5am, can’t remember. Great night sleep in an air conditioned room. Went to find internet which they said could be accessed in the lobby. Pretty much the whole island runs off of “Palau Wifi”, which means that connecting is a challenge. Needless to say I could not log on. And for some reason my PaluCel service wasn’t working. So I went back to bed until 6 when the sun came up. I got ready and set out to find an Internet cafe. I walked for about 30 minutes in the rain and along the road, following the river and wet tropical flora. I walked into two high end hotels and asked if I could sit down for a coffee and use their internet. They both said breakfast is a flat $30 USD and their internet was down. So I kept walking but I didn’t mind. I witnessed the living situations of the local people, their cars they drove (Toyotas), I saw a double rainbow over the ocean. Their river is obviously more of an ocean meets the land sort of thing where there are little islands that are dotted in between. But looking down to the riverbed it is crystal clear and blue. There’s no pollution in these waters, at least where you can see. Beautiful colorful fish and coral find their home in these waters. 30 minutes later I found myself at this cafe that totally stands out. It’s actually quaint and fancy. It’s called Anthias Cafe. Dark hardwood tables, white plush chairs, fine desserts, dark wood floors, air conditioning and the best yet, free wifi. I sprint inside for the wifi and coffee but I end up ordering two sunny side up eggs and French toast as I wait for the wifi to start working. Albeit, it never does. So here I am writing. My official “launch” was last night, so posting on social media now would be delayed, hoping everyone understands, through I’m not sure when I’ll even have Internet to post.
I am supposed to take a Cessna flight to the rock islands today. It’s dark and stormy. Not sure if it’s going to happen but I’m not about to go sightseeing flying in low clouds.  For now, off to find internet on this island.
Walking these streets, I’m reminded of the Bolivan Amazon in Rurrenabaque. I feel safe, people are kind, men are not too over the top with their gawking, and it’s laid back. No bugs so far. It’s foreign to me but not that foreign. Few westerners, mainly Asians. 17 hour time change, 3 flights totaling 13 hours, new continent, far from the mainland I call home but close to Guam, which is a U.S. Territory. I don’t feel out of my element, yet.
New hurdles. If everything went smoothly traveling then everyone would be doing it. I don’t have very nice things to say about Bank of America right now. I called them to inform them that I was going out of the country and to not be alarmed if I use my card internationally in the next 3 months. However I went to pay for my breakfast and the payment failed. Go figure. Now I really need to find Internet. Lesson learned, always carry cash.
Taking a shuttle to the airport to catch my flight to Guam then Chuuk, Micronesia. So exhausted after two days in Palau doing tours and capturing footage for the documentary. Flight leaves at 1:45am and we arrive in Chuuk at 10am. So tired.
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