Palau — Do you know Michael Crichton’s Sphere novel? (He is also the author of the Jurassic Park) This novel is a psychological thriller, a science fiction about alien spacecraft discovered in the depths of the ocean. To cut the story short, there was a scene in the novel where the event took place with sea creatures such as sea snakes, giant squid and of course jellyfish.
Since then I was afraid of jellyfish because I thought that all jellyfish are deadly. Then I come across pictures of people jumping into a lake full of millions of jellyfish. What the! How come those jellyfish couldn’t sting them?
I was researching the jellyfish lake of Palau and I found that these jellyfish lost their sting due to the abundance of ecological resources with no risk visiting. I was fascinated and put the “Swimming with the jellyfish in Palau” on my bucket list.
Why should you visit Palau?
Palau has so much to offer. Hop on a yacht and cruise the Rock Island, doing water sports like surfing, diving, kayaking and snorkeling. Swim with jellyfish and dolphins. Hiking and trekking in various mountains and waterfalls. Visit national museums and learn about their unique history, cultures and traditions. Now I realized why the famous television show “Survivor” was held there!
English is widely used and spoken. Japanese and Filipino tourists and workers were overwhelming. For an English/Filipino/Japanese speaker like me, language was never an issue. There were Filipino and Japanese workers in most of the restaurants, hotels, and travel and travel agencies. I can call Palau my home away from home. There may be some issues that you may encounter during your stay, especially the slow internet connections. You can buy a prepaid internet card and it is available in some local stores. It cost 10 US dollars which you can use for 7 hours. Pricey? Yes! But you don’t have a choice unless you stay in a hotel that offers wifi.
Highlights of the trip:
We stayed at Airai State next to the central city where the restaurants and shopping center are located in Koror state.
When we signed up for the tour, we chose to go to the Rock Island – a collection of islands and atolls that are beautifully scattered and dotted all over the Pacific Ocean.
The Jellyfish Lake is also the highlight of the tour. Although everyone had to pay the 100 USD permit (already included in the tour price). In this lake, true to its name and promise, you can swim with the harmless jellyfish.
Milky Way Beach is a beach formed from limestone from millions of years ago. The sand you step on is very fine and you can also use it to exfoliate your skin.
The falls in Ngardmau are an off the beaten track area as it is deep in the heart of the mountains and worth a visit.
No visa is required for Filipinos and US citizens. However, you should make sure you have a return ticket to show in case the immigration officer asks for it upon arrival in Palau.
Traveling to Palau can be quite expensive as the currency they use is the US dollar. Many of the essential goods are imported to the country.
Don’t forget your underwater camera, because you will definitely want to take pictures during your trips.
English is widely spoken in the country.
Details of the trip:
Airai is a state where the airport and our hotel (Airai Water Paradise Hotel and Spa) are located. We originally booked it from December 26 to December 28, 2015 for about 400 USD. But since our flight was canceled by the airline, United won’t depart until the next day. The hotel desk employee was considerate not to charge us the first night. This was of course after several emails and informing them in advance that our flight had been postponed.
Address: Airai Water Paradise Hotel & Spa, PO, Box 8067, Koror.Palau 96940
On arrival we were picked up by our driver. The airport transfers were provided free of charge by the hotel. The hotel was quite far from the main town where all the restaurants and shopping centers are, but the hotel also offers a free shuttle to the main town.
We booked our tours using the hotel concierge and the company we chose was IMPAC. We were told they offer the best deal among the choices. For example, a day tour to the Rock Islands, Milky Way Beach, Jellyfish Lake with some time to kayak cost us USD 200 including lunch and drinks. This day trip is worth it in my opinion. It takes you to Palau’s most famous spots and makes you feel like you got your money’s worth at the end of the day.
We transferred the property on December 28th since we made the hotel booking at the end of November, all third party websites indicated that all hotels in Palau were fully booked. It’s a good thing we were able to book an apartment through Airbnb. And it is not far from our hotel. The owner of the apartment offered us the use of his van for four days for 120 USD. So we came to see more of the island.
We decided to drive around the island to visit the waterfalls in Ngardmau. It was a good hour drive from Airai, and it was worth the drive. I highly recommend tourists to visit the falls.
The rest of the days we just decided to stay indoors as we wanted this trip to be a relaxing one without a pre-prepared itinerary. We wanted Palau to surprise us, and it did.
Find Accommodation in Palau, Pacific Islands
About the writer:
My name is Marko. I work in a Japanese company base in Manila. An avid traveler who likes to experience new and different things – things that are out-of-the-box, and a dreamer who constantly looks forward to the next trip, looking for the best deals to all possible destinations. I always look forward to the next trip and constantly get bitten by the travel bug. Follow my travel stories Overtaking with MK .
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