Palau – a destination still quite unfamiliar to many tourists but is a tropical paradise for those who want to explore the sea and island in a completely new way. Coming to Palau, visitors will be overwhelmed by a series of beautiful natural landscapes with limestone islands, volcanoes, primeval forests, and giant coral reefs … So, what do to in Palau Island? Let’s check out our Palau travel blog (Palau blog) with the fullest Palau travel guide for a budget trip to Palau Island from how to get there, best time to visit, where to stay, what to eat to best and top things to do for first-timers to clear the answer!
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Palau travel guide: Overview of Palau
Palau is an island nation in the western Pacific Ocean, more than 800km from the east of the Philippines. Traveling to Palau, you can easily explore unique and unusual places such as Jellyfish Lake in Eil Malk, Rock Islands. This beautiful island nation has a staggering population of just about 20.000 people and lives mainly on 10 main islands. Palau population mainly immigrate from the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia, they speak English and Palau language. In addition to the beautiful scenery, wonderful weather, Palau also has a warm tropical climate suitable for vacation trips.
Palau, officially the Republic of Palau, is formed of nearly 500 islands that create the western archipelago of the Caroline Islands in the Micronesia region, and covers an area of about 466 square kilometers. Palau has maritime borders with Indonesia, the Philippines, and the Federated States of Micronesia.
Palau is considered as one of the safest destinations in the world, visitors can comfortably take a night walk on the island without fear of anything. Koror, Palau’s largest city, has almost no high-rise buildings and only one main road. All business activities of Koror are mainly concentrated on this road. The cost of eating here is quite expensive, a breakfast can cost USD10-20, and dinner at a restaurant also costs about 20 USD / person (Palau uses USD as the official currency).
Palau travel blog: When to visit Palau?
Palau has a tropical climate with warm sunny weather with the average temperature ranging around 27 degrees Celsius with a lot of rainfall, frequent humidity up to 82%. If you want a great trip to Palau, you should avoid going in July to October every year because rains frequently interrupt the fun. Palau is not like other island countries, visitors are completely assured when traveling without having to worry about storms.
Palau blog: Before you go
Visa and entry
Currently, Palau waives a 30-day visa for visitors from all over the world to attract tourists and if you want to stay an extra of 2 weeks, the fee for the extension is USD50 / person.
In addition, citizens of countries such as the United States, Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, Guam, and the Commonwealth of the the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands will be granted a 1-year visa.
Amounts over USD10.000 must be declared for both entry and exit.
A mandatory departure tax of USD20 and environmental fee of USD30 is applicable to all visitors.
Bureau of Immigration of Palau
Working time: From Monday to Friday, 7:30 am – 4:30 pm.
Phone: (+680) 488 2498 or 2678
Email: [email protected].
There is a fixed capacity and the price is not cheap, to make a phone call, you can buy 1GB of data package to use for USD50.
The signal is unstable, the speed is slow and difficult to receive. Not all hotels install WiFi, but, WiFi is also not available at public places.
The currency that Palau people use is US dollars (USD), so it is convenient for visitors to use.
The power supply in Palau is: 120 V, 60 HZ and using the outlet: A/B.
The Palauans follow a matriarchal system. Most of them are friendly, open-minded and have good English speaking skills. The population of the island is more than 20.000, in addition there are many foreigners doing business here such as Filipinos, Chinese and Japanese. The majority of workers in the service industry are Filipinos. It is a quite interesting thing that we see quite a lot of Palau men eating betel nut but the way of eating is not the same in Vietnam. The Palauans do not mix betel nut but wrap the areca fruit with betel leaves, add a little lime-water and put it right into the mouth to chew it.
Palau travel guide: How to get to Palau?
The present Palau International Airport known as Roman Tmetuchl is 4km from Koror, about 25km from Melekeok. The airport was formerly known as Palau International Airport but was renamed to honor a local politician Roman Tmetuchl.
Palau does not have its own airline company, but they cooperate with foreign airlines so you can fly here by Korean Air, Delta, Vietnam Airlines, American Airlines, Asiana Airlines, Belau Air, China Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Mega Maldives … Fares for this flight ranging: USD623 – USD966.
Somne transit points:
- From Hong Kong: There are 3 weekly flights (Wednesday, Friday, Sunday) direct to Palau.
- From Macau: There are 2 weekly flights (Tuesday, Thursday) direct to Palau.
In Vietnam you can fly to Palau from Noi Bai Airport and Tan Son Nhat Airport, but these routes usually have 1 to 2 transit stops at Incheon Aiport (Seoul) and Narita Airport (Tokyo) of Korean Air and Delta Air Lines.
Palau travel blog: Transportation in Palau
There are no trains in Paula, to getting around Palau visitors can travel by bus, taxi or the hotel’s transfer service. In addition, you should rent a self-driving car for more convenient travel. On the island there are many rental shops that offer car rental services. However, you should also be mindful of the traffic regulations on the routes.
You can rent a self-driving car at some addresses below:
- Budget Car Rental ([email protected])
- I.A. Car Rental ([email protected])
- Toyota Car Rental ([email protected])
- King’s Rent-A-Car ([email protected])
- Palau Limo Service ([email protected])
- Palau Automotive ([email protected])
- Yolt A. I. C. Bicycle ([email protected]).
If taking a taxi, please request a price list for each location and keep in contact with the driver to continue using the service during your stay in Palau.
Alternatively, cycling around by bike is another fun way to explore Palau.
Palau streets are crowded with cars. Visitors only need a driver’s license in English to be able to rent a good car for 25 USD / day. There are no traffic lights in Palau, but everyone abides by the law voluntarily. Even though the cars did not honk or try to pass each other, people kept running slowly even when the car in front was running quite slowly. Life in Palau is peaceful and slow like the character of the people here.
Palau travel guide: Where to go and top things to do?
The Rock Islands are a complex of 300 limestone islands or coral reefs that rise out of the water. The main island named Urukthapel has an area of about 47km2 and an altitude of 200m above sea level .From a distance they looks like a cluster of giant umbrellas, many islands are mushroom-shaped with the bottom being eroded by the tide. In addition, this place also attracts tourists with beautiful beaches and clear blue lakes.
Recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site, the islands here are largely uninhabited but are still famous for its beautiful beaches and clear blue lakes. The rocky islands along with the coral reefs around them create the most attractive tourist destination in Palau.
The best means of exploring the rocky islands and beaches here is canoe, however if you have plenty of time, kayaking is also great. In addition, if you have abundant budget can hire a helicopter for half an hour or an hour to observe the entire Rock Islands from above.
Long Beach is located at the southern end of the archipelago with a slim shape, the middle part is half-moon shape and a special glow appears around this coast that lasts only 2 hours a day.
It is interesting that every low tide will appear a long strip of shore connecting to another island, the water on both sides of the shore is clear blue, making the semicircle stretching throughout the path. Walking on that path makes us feel like we are lost in another world, a world with only beautiful things. In addition, people can also sit on the boat to enjoy the wonderful scenery while traveling to Palau.
Visiting Palau, visitors can not miss the famous unique attraction called Jellyfish Lake. Covering an area of about 6 hectares, Jellyfish Lake is one of 70 saltwater lakes located on Eil Malk Island, one of about 300 rocky islands in the area called Rock Islands. As the name suggests, this is the habitat of millions of jellyfish despite being separated from the ocean. This magical existence from more than 12,000 years ago was created by a combination of sea water and rain water, there is clearly a coral cave system that is easily accessible but strange, jellyfish have never swim out of the lake.
Jellyfish and other creatures in the lake have evolved significantly from their relatives. Living in a closed environment with fast-multiplying algae food and not facing natural predators, the number of jellyfish here has grown to millions. There are two species of jellyfish that live in the lake, the golden jellyfish and the moon jellyfish.
The lake is connected to the ocean through fissures and underground caves in limestone mountains. These underground caves lead tidal water into and out of the lake. However, it is calculated that only about 2.5% of the lake’s water is exchanged with the ocean through the tidal current. It is the isolation of the lake from the ocean that makes the habitat in the lake much different from other nearby saltwater lakes, thereby affecting the diversity of species living in the lake.
To reach Jellyfish Lake, from the pier you will have to cross a fairly long slope. At the right moment to stop to breathe, suddenly the deep blue Jellyfish lake will appear in front of you. To observe jellyfish in the lake, visitors only are allowed for swimming, snorkelling with masks. You will have strange feeling when swimming and interacting with countless jellyfish around: Although it is quite tickling, but also very excited.
Natural Mud Bath in Palau’s Milky Way
Experience an unique mud bath at the Milky Way natural spa. The milky white muddy layer in the Milky Way is said to contain many minerals, rejuvenating the skin. Therefore, many tourists going to Palau or Koror cannot ignore this attractive spot. In addition to a natural spa experience, the Milky Way also offers visitors a beautiful natural surroundings.
Palau is known as “paradise under of the sea”, so it is not too surprising to see first-hand “coral roses” stretching under the ocean. And not only that, under the Rock Islands, there are also multicolored coral reefs.
Located on the Koror island of Palau, there is a research center for oceanography and coral reefs Coral Reef Research Foundation. The marine biology educational tours provide you with exciting adventures, and you also have the chance to get a close-up view of many rare marine species.
Besides, visitors can not ignore the majestic Ngardmau waterfalls, about 30 minutes from Koror by car or Malakal, with the most beautiful 1.4 km long coastline. In addition, do not forget to experience activities such as kayaking, fishing, walking, visiting archaeological and historical sites … while in Palau.
Big Drop-off, Melekeok
The place was dubbed “the aquarium of God”. Traveling to Palau, do not miss this spot, because this is Palau’s most famous landmark. If you haven’t been to “Big drop off” yet, it’s like you haven’t traveled to Palau yet.
Kayaking around the island
Palau is a paradise for those who want to paddle. Underneath the clear blue waters are colorful coral reefs and countless beautiful jellyfish. In addition, there are underwater caves with many planes and ships falling into the sea and lying there.
Badrulchau Stone Monoliths
Monolithic rocks sprouting up in the fields of Badrulchau on Babeldoab Island, Palau Islands. Scientists predict these mysterious ancient stone structures were created from BC.
Palau is very attractive to who want to diving. Our group had five days of diving in Palau with the Fish’n Fins diving center (Address: Koror, Palau / Hours: 7AM–9PM), the oldest diving center here. The cost per day foincluding pick-up service, diving boat, diving guide and lunch, and personal diving equipment is USD130 / person / for two dives, diving equipment we bring from Vietnam. The average daily at Fish’s Fins has about 70 people diving, peak days can have over 100 people, a desirable number for any diving center in the world.
Fish ‘n Fins Palau uses high-speed boats that can accommodate about 12 guests. The diving instructors at Fish’n Fins are predominantly indigenous, so they are very knowledgeable about the currents, diving spots and marine life here. In Palau, there are many world-famous diving spots such as Blue Corner, German Chanel, Ulong Chanel, New Drop Off … There, we can observe great predatory sharks, giant rays and countless species of other fish as well as beautiful coral reefs. We also had a chance to dive to see the shipwreck of Teshi Maru, a Japanese cargo ship that sank during World War II.
Palau travel guide: Where to stay?
You can not expect to stay cheap in Palau, the small hostels, hotels cost about USD80 / night and if staying in the hotel from 4-5 stars, room rates can be up to USD250 – 300 / night.
If you want to enjoy the true level of staying, you can check out the luxury resorts such as Carp Island Resort and Palau Diving Center on Koror Island, Dolphin Bay Resort & Peleliu Divers on Peleliu Island, COVE Resort Palau on Malakal Island, Ngellil Nature Island Resort (Agoda.com or Booking.com) on Ngellil Island, Palau Pacific Resort (Agoda.com or Booking.com) on Ngerkebesang Island.
Below we recommend more best cheap, budget, mid-range and upscale hotels with good ratings and reviews you can refer to.
In addition, you can refer to one of the best Airbnb in Palau: SEAWARD standard room with ocean view at $99/night or The Dudek’s Nest B&B: Rock Island View Room at $87/night or Downtown Villa at $69/night.
–> The Airbnb link that discount up to $35 for the first booking here: https://www.airbnb.com/c/anht5185
Palau blog: What to eat?
In addition to the fascinating nature and unique tourist activities, Palau cuisine is also one of the things that visitors cannot ignore when coming here. Palau’s cuisines are effected from the US, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Japan and other neighboring islands in the Pacific. Thanks to this variety, you can find an extensive menu throughout your trip.
The cost of eating and drinking in Palau is not cheap, a breakfast from USD10-20, dinner at a restaurant costs about USD20 / person.
Coming to Palau Islands, of course, you have to enjoy seafood, there is a world of extremely rich seafood dishes. There is also a bat soup Palau, Nachos or Shawarma is also a lot of people love.
Taro rösti (Fried taro patties)
Taro rösti is a very popular cake with tourists in Palau. The dish is made in a simple way but brings the typical taste of the local people. Palau people often use taro and add onions, salt and pepper, cooking oil … and then squeeze the flat cake, put it in pan and deep-fried until it becomes golden-brown. That’s all but delicious!
Grilled Fish with Banana Leaf
Grilled fish wrapped in banana leaves is a delicious fresh dish, a proud specialty of Palau cuisine. This dish is made from fresh grouper or a similar fish. After cleaning, the fish is slotted out, marinated with soy sauce, sesame oil, chopped garlic, sliced ginger and lime leaves, all are putted into fish’s belly. Next, the Palauan wrap the fish with banana leaves in foil outside, and grilled for about 15 minutes until fish flesh turn white and tender. If banana leaves are not available, people use corn husks instead without affecting the characteristic flavor of the food.
Originating in the Philippines, Tinola is made from chicken, green papaya and sliced ginger. Although it is a dish imported from abroad, Tinola gradually becomes an indispensable dish of the Palau island nation with its own variations.
Seboseb is made from simple ingredients such as cornstarch, milk, sugar .. But it is a very famous dessert in Palau with a very signature flavor. To add flavor to this dish, you can add to it fruits such as mango, banana, apple, pineapple …
This unique dish challenges the courage of visitors.
At first, hearing the name may make many diners confused and strange, but this is a very famous specialty in Palau. To make this dish, the islanders catch the bats (which only eat fruit) clean, remove the skin, fillet the meat and cook with fresh ginger, scallions, well seasoned, finally add coconut milk.
However, the current price of this dish is quite expensive and not all restaurants have to serve you.
This Filipino cake is very popular in Palau, to make this dish, people will grate cassava mixed with water, sugar, pineapple, ash water, coconut milk and then mix and put in the mold and steamed, add a little shredded coconut.
Another Filipino-based dessert made from fresh fruit shaved-ice. Once you get lost in the country with a variety of tropical fruits like the Palau island nation, these dishes will have many variations to suit your taste. But the core still share a common recipe is to mix milk, shaved ice with fruit.
Palauans often drink a beer called Red Rooster, and Kava vegetable soft drinks.
Palau tourism is not HOT for many tourists because they have limited mobility, communication difficulties have not been resolved. But if you are looking for a sea paradise to rest, relax and explore the amazing things about the Pacific Ocean, do not miss this legendary island.