Palau — Are you guys familiar with the novel of Michael Crichton’s Sphere? (He is also the author of the Jurassic Park) This novel is a psychological thriller, a science fiction about alien spacecraft discovered in the depth of the ocean. To make the story short- there was a scene in the novel where the event happened involving sea creatures such as sea snakes, giant squids and of course, jellyfish.
Since then I was afraid of jellyfish because I thought all jellyfish are deadly. Then I stumble upon photos of people jumping into a lake packed with million of jellyfish. What the! How come those jellyfish could not sting them?
I researched about the jellyfish lake of Palau, and I learned that these jellyfish lost their sting because of the abundance of eco resources with no risk visit. I was fascinated, and I included the “Swimming with the jellyfish in Palau” in my bucket list.
Why should you visit Palau?
Palau has so many things to offer. Jump to a yacht and sail the Rock Island, Do some watersports like surfing, scuba diving, kayaking and snorkelling. Swim with jellyfish and dolphins. Hiking and trekking in different mountains and falls. Visit national museums and learn some of their one of a kind 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 & workers were overwhelming. For an English/Filipino/Japanese speaker like me, language was never a problem. There were Filipino and Japanese workers in most of the restaurant, hotels and travel and tours agency. I can call Palau as my home away from home. There might be some problems you might 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’re staying in a hotel that provides wi-fi.
We stayed in Airai State next to the central city where the restaurants and shopping centre 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 beautifully scattered and dotting the Pacific Ocean.
The Jellyfish Lake is the highlight of the tour as well. Although everyone was required 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.
The 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 waterfalls in Ngardmau is an off-the-beaten-track area since it is located deep in the heart of the mountains and worth visiting.
For Filipinos and US citizens, visas are not required. However, you have to make sure that you have a return ticket to show in case the immigration officer asks for it on your arrival in Palau.
Travelling to Palau can be quite expensive since the currency they use is the US Dollar. A lot of the essential commodities are imported to the country.
Don’t forget your underwater camera as you would surely want to snap photos during your tours.
English is widely spoken in the country.
Airai is a state where the airport and our hotel (Airai Water Paradise Hotel and Spa) is located. We originally booked it for 26th December to 28th December 2015 for around 400 USD. But since our flight was cancelled by the airline, United and won’t be flying out until the next day. The hotel desk associate was considerate not to charge us for the first night. This was of course after various emails and notifying them ahead of time that our flight was postponed.
Address: Airai Water Paradise Hotel & Spa, P.O,Box 8067, Koror.Palau 96940
Upon arrival, we were picked up by our driver. The airport transfers were complimentary provided by the hotel. The hotel was quite far from the main city where all the restaurants and shopping centres, however, the hotel also offers a free shuttle service to the main town.
We booked our tours using the hotel’s concierge, and the company we chose was IMPAC. We were informed that they are offering the best deal among the choices. For example, a whole day tour to the Rock Islands, Milky way beach, Jellyfish lake with some considerable time for kayaking cost us 200USD with lunch and drinks included. This day trip, in my opinion, is worth taking. It takes you to Palau’s most famous spots, and will let you feel that you got your money’s worth at the end of the day.
We transferred accommodation on 28th December since when we made the hotel booking by late November all 3rd party websites indicated that all hotels in Palau were fully booked. It’s a good thing we have had managed to book an apartment thru Airbnb. And it’s located not far from our hotel. The owner of the apartment offered us the use of his van for four days for 120USD. This is how we got around to see more of the island.
We decided to drive around the island to go visit the waterfalls in Ngardmau. It was a good hour drive from Airai, and was worth the drive. I highly recommend for tourists to visit the waterfalls.
The rest of the days we just decided to stay in as we wanted this trip to be a relaxing one with no prepared itinerary beforehand. We wanted Palau to surprise us, and it did.
About the Writer:
My name is Marko. I work in a Japanese company base in Manila. An avid traveller who likes to experience new and different things—things that are out-of-the-box, and a dreamer who constantly looks forward to to the next trip scouting for the best deals to all possible destinations. I always look forward to the next trip and is constantly bitten by the travel bug. Follow my travel stories on Catching up with MK .
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