While searching in Google Map where can we have our first Christmas together with our baby, my partner and I saw a small island near the Philippines. I always thought it was just another island in the Pacific that is inhabitable but I was wrong. We zoomed the island and wow, it’s the Republic of Palau! I have heard Palau only in some series of “Survivor” but I never thought it is as close to us in reality. Palau is part of the Micronesian Federal Nations like Kiribati, Marshall Islands, and Nauru. I am very guilty of not knowing another neighboring country of mine though small, yet we booked our flight to apologize and see the beauty of this bountiful isles in the middle of the Pacific Ocean!
For three hours, we reached Palau by United Airlines from Manila. The airport is absolutely small and has easy directions in where you can find everything within your eye reach. We spent ten minutes to go from immigration then to claim our baggage’s, we then found our Hotel Driver claiming us with his banner to get us another ten minutes to our hotel, the Airai Water Paradise.
Palau is a presidential republic UNDER the free association with the United States, in terms of their military defense, access to social services and citizenship (yes they have dual), etc’s. I have read that native Palauans actually migrated from the Philippines and after finding a livable island, they called it “village” in which in their language is translated as “Belaw” or “Palau”.
Can you believe that their population is just 21,000 + as of 2016 and if you think that Singapore is small? For the record, it is actually two times bigger than Palau!
Palau is literally a paradise in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It is a perfect getaway from the noisy city full of cramming paper bills and stressful pollution. It is surrounded by the beauty of deep blue seas, tree-covered mountains and a long lonely crocodile lake connected to the waves of the Pacific. The view from the mountain top is incredible, you will clearly see the different colors of the oceans, skies and trees.
There is no public transportation in Palau but taxis – everybody has their own cars and students are driving through their school busses provided by the school. Malls are small with three floors and consists of eight to ten shops with the supermarket as the largest occupants. Restaurants, mostly, Japanese, are high in numbers here especially in downtown. There is no public market but all is under air-conditioned shops.
For your information, everything in Palau is brought by cargos – meaning all things here are paid with taxes that’s why all products and services are high-priced. They are using US Dollar as their currency – and most of their systems are Americanized like selling gas by $4 per gallons (Dec 2017), calculating roads by miles, education provided (they have UCLA and San Diego Community College), health care (insurances), English as the language they normally use and giving tips.
We stayed ten days in Palau and we only did few things because every tour is $50 and up and you have to pay for the environmental fee for another $50. So here are the list of the
10 Things We Did in Palau Island:
We enjoyed the beach-pool at our very own Airai Water Paradise Hotel – our ten days home away from home
We rented a car and drive until the road ends!
My partner dived into the Blue Ocean diving point – and he said that was his most expensive dive ever! (costs around $250 – with a suite rented out)
We went to a crocodile-tour package. ($50 each with an environmental fee of $50)
We swam into designated public beaches!
We spent our daytime walking around downtown and see some shops after shops after shops – mostly owned by a Taiwanese or Japanese with Filipino staffs – everywhere!
We dined into different restaurants – and most foods actually begin at $16 each! The most expensive Pho Bo so far!
We stopped at some historical places from the World War II – but we didn’t get down since you have to pay for $50 again to walk around a 100 sqm lot.
We walked to the Traditional Palauan’s Meeting Place! (for men only!)
We visited the Palau Capital Building in Ngerulmud, Melekok State
Palau is one of the most beautiful countries I’ve ever been – yes, it comes with pearly prices though a little painful but worth it. Most tourists here are the wealthy Japanese and Taiwanese who wanted to dive and spend their holidays luxuriously. Palau is great to see but one must be prepared – cause even before you leave the country – you have to pay $100 for your Tourist Environmental Fee – even for your infants. All in all, we hope to come back one day and see Palau’s still reserve, quiet and magnificent isles.
So maybe on your next holiday, you can include Palau Island on your bucket list and say ‘Aliii’ while taking pictures with them – they will tell you what it means.. 😉