In recent months, the PVA Palauan and International Night Markets have grown to be one of the regular social events frequented by many locals. Interestingly, the Night Markets have taken a life of their own as represented in the different age groups and ethnicity, including our foreign guests or tourists, found at Bethlehem Park on any given night market. Some come for the cultural activities such as local dance performances, arts & crafts, dine on local and international cuisines, or just to socialize with family and friends while enjoying fresh and healthy local cuisines.
At the last International Night Market on September 5th featuring “Asia in Palau”, we witnessed several new trends. A couple from Austria, Barbara and Daniel, got the opportunity to learn more about Palau’s rich culture and history direct from the locals. The young couple are avid divers and this led them to learn about Palau’s pristine waters and bountiful marine life. Based on their research, they booked a 10 day trip to Palau that included 2 days in Koror and 7 days in Peleliu for diving.
Barbara and Daniel stopped by the International Night market on September 5th and shared a table with none other than Did ra Ngmatel Men’s Group headed by Adelbairekeseuaol Harry R. Fritz. Introductions were made all around the table and the group took it upon themselves to share with the couple, a verbal tour of Palau’s fresh local foods, rich culture and colorful history. Did ra Ngmatel Men’s Group is a regular presence at the night markets where they invite tourist from Japan, Taiwan, China, Korea, and others to sit with them ensuring that our tourists gain a deeper understanding of Palau. Add this “personal connection” to the pristine marine environment that the tourists come to see, surely they all return home with fond memories and a deeper appreciation of their visit to Palau.
Yet another interesting new trend is the presence of the whole family including young children at the night markets. Mr. Leonard “Gork” Basilius got home from work and knowing there will be a night market that evening, requested his daughter to get Jordan ready as they were going to enjoy live music at the night market. Knowing how crowded the events usually get, Gork brought his 1 year old grandson along with a spiffy tricycle in tow. The tricycle has a built-in handle for an adult to push and steer while a toddler sits back and enjoys the ride.
According to Gork, he wanted his grandson to experience the many activities available at the night markets including the traditional dance performances, live music, and other activities on the main stage. He says it is also an opportunity for his grandson to learn social skills by observing the many participants at the event. In an amused way, Gork also went on to mention that the night markets are now a regular family event where many local parents free their calendars on Friday nights ensuring the whole family attends the night markets for the chance to enjoy healthy local foods prepared fresh, local dance performances, and of course live music.
Trends like these go a long way in promoting Palau’s tourism products such as the Night Markets. It was truly a pleasure to observe Barbara and Daniel enjoying and learning from the Did ra Ngmatel Men’s Group. It was also a nice surprise to see Gork and Jordan bringing new innovation to our events. See you all at the next Night Market brought to you by PVA.
Did ra Ngmatel Men’s Group sharing Palauan culture with Barbara and Daniel from Austria.
Gork and grandson Jordan enjoying International Night Market.
Similar to “golf widows,” scuba diving enthusiasts often leave behind their loved one(s) to pursue their underwater passion. Acknowledging that scuba diving is not necessarily of interest to all adventure seekers, Palau, Micronesia is naturally suited to accommodate those that do and do not dive.
Known for its world-class scuba diving conditions, Palau tops the bucket list for most dive enthusiasts, but this Micronesian destination is also host to a whole range of land and above-water activities.
Options for those that do want to get their feet wet, but don’t want to go 20+ feet under include: beach bumming; snorkeling; Jellyfish Lake; and the Milky Way. Above water and land options include mangrove or sea kayaking; sport fishing; Jungle Riverboat Cruise; Palau Eco Theme Park; Palau Aquarium at the Palau International Coral Reef Center; Belau National Museum; Etpison Museum; Dolphins Pacific; bird watching; visiting the Badrulchau (stone monoliths) and other historic sites; and the World War II Museum on Peleliu.
In the southern lagoon just minutes from the diving sites is a tiny star-shaped island called Carp Island. Popular with divers, it features modest cabins, a calm lagoon and a mile-long beach. While the divers play, many of their companions enjoy having the island to themselves, either kayaking, snorkeling, reading in a hammock or beach bumming. Each day is filled with panoramic sunsets, rainbows, and warm sea breezes. For more information, contact Carp Island Resort athttp://www.carpislandpalau.com.
In Palau, see-through waters bequeath underwater visibility beyond anyone’s imagination. A prism of colorful coral reefs and virtually limitless variety of sea life set the stage in this tropical paradise. From beginners to more experienced snorkelers, there are over 50 existing sites, each possessing distinct characteristics and individual personalities to appeal to everyone’s desires. Snorkeling is year-round in Palau and during the busiest season from January to April, spectacular sights such as migratory whale sharks passing by, sharks or mantas mating, and large schools of fish spawning can be seen.
The best locations for snorkeling in Palau are accessible by boat. Often, dive centers can accommodate divers and snorkelers on some of the same routes. These might be the best options for couples or families that want to spend time together on the water and yet fulfill the divers’ needs as well as the non-divers’ interests. There are several dive centers that offer dive and snorkeling equipment for rent. For more information on dive centers and snorkeling options, visithttp://bit.ly/1i6zHnZ.
One of the most spectacular adventures in Palau is the unusual Jellyfish Lake, where visitors can safely swim with jellyfish. This intriguing lake and its “residents,” namely the golden jellyfish (known as Mastigias) and the moon jellyfish (known as Aurelia), is a true rarity and has earned its distinction as the only place in the world where humans can safely swim with these typically dangerous creatures. Why is this possible?! Over the course of millennia, the formation of the lake transitioned from a bay, connected to the ocean, to an enclosed body of water wherein the resident jellyfish have become virtually stingless because they are no longer threatened by any enemies. Due to this evolution, adventure seekers have the rare opportunity to swim amongst these unique water creatures. For more information about Jellyfish Lake, visithttp://bit.ly/1nNhKdw.
The Milky Way
A special cove that the locals call the “Milky Way,” is Palau’s natural spa. The bottom of this little bay consists not of sand but of white limestone mud, which gives the water a milky sheen. Rumored that the mysterious chalky mud makes an excellent rejuvenating facial, guides dive off, head down to the shallow floor of the cove and return with a huge handful of the white muck, for which they instruct their passengers to cover themselves. After soaking in the sun, while the clay dries and the minerals work their magic, it’s time to jump in, rinse off and relish in the benefits of the natural body scrub. Typically, tour companies combine the Jellyfish Lake experience with the “Milky Way” since these attractions are both located in the Rock Islands. For more information, visit http://bit.ly/1i8jhff.
With well over 500 emerald islands set in crystal clear, turquoise lagoons, kayaking tours provide the perfect medium to explore Palau's hidden network of marine lakes, untouched mangrove channels, marine tunnels, tropical beaches and marine caverns. No experience is necessary as tours begin with paddling instructions. Speedboat shuttles bring guests to and from the kayak sites in order to maximize the adventure while eliminating long, tiring paddle distances. For more information on kayaking options, visit http://bit.ly/1i6zHnZ.
Sports Fishing - Catch Your Dream!
While the diving spouse is enjoying underwater life, it’s a good opportunity for the “widow(er)” to try their luck at catching dinner. Many tour operators offer sports fishing tours, from trolling for big game like marlins, wahoo and tuna to bottom fishing for tasty reef fish. Night fishing is also a popular activity, especially on a full moon. For a list of tour operators that offer sport fishing tours, visit http://www.visit-palau.com/thingstodo and look up sports fishing. As well, annual fishing derbies are listed on the www.visit-palau.com events - a great way to test your skills against the locals.
Jungle Riverboat Cruise
The Jungle River Boat Cruise is one of Palau’s most modern eco-friendly tours, providing visitors with an ideal way to relax and see nature firsthand. Located in Ngchesar State, the Jungle River Boat Cruise takes passengers on a one hour journey that starts at the main dock and goes upstream to the ocean. During the tour, passengers get a chance to see crocodiles up close as well as indigenous birdlife and other local animals. The Jungle River Boat Cruise facilities include a gift shop and two “summer houses” resembling Palauan “bais.” The facilities offer barbeque set lunches with entertainment, basket weavings and a tour through Micronesia’s second largest landmass, Babeldaob, in order to guide guests through local history, culture and nature. For more information about the Jungle Riverboat Cruise, visit http://bit.ly/1yeDkNw.
Palau Eco Theme Park
While Palau is renowned for its water activities, the destination is also home to a relatively new sky adventure with a three-course zip-line over the Taki Waterfall Park in the State of Ngardmau. Opened just a few years ago, the Palau Eco Theme Park features a zip-line course that soars 250 feet above the ground, with platforms that take adrenaline seekers along paths that are between 300 meters and 340 meters. For more information about Palau Eco Theme Park, visithttp://bit.ly/1slW4KF.
Palau Aquarium at the International Coral Reef Center
The Palau International Coral Reef Center (PICRC) is Palau’s leading research and aquarium institution with a mission to be an international Center of Excellence to support conservation and management for the perpetuation of marine and associated environments through research and education that is significant to Palau and relevant to the world. The facilities include the Palau Aquarium, an interpretive center that is a unique attraction to both visitors and locals alike. In addition, PICRC is equipped to host visiting marine researchers and has conducted renowned studies such as coral spawning research. For more information, visithttp://www.picrc.org.
Belau National Museum and Etpison Museum
In existence since 1955, the Belau National Museum is the oldest museum in the Micronesian region. With indoor and outdoor exhibits of history, art, genuine artifacts and natural history, the museum still continues to further develop its programs and activities. Only a short walk from downtown Koror, the Belau National Museum also features a traditional bai, amphitheatre, restaurant and gift shop, Ulekdubs, where you can find carved hardwood sculptures and storyboards, local jewelry, books on Palau, T-shirts, woven bags and other handicrafts. There is also a research library and media archive. For more information, visitwww.belaunationalmuseum.net.
Opened in 1999, the Etpison Museum is dedicated to the late President Ngiratkel Etpison and features two floors of Palauan and Micronesia artifacts, displays, photography and a gift shop. Exhibits and information are continually updated. The Etpison Museum is located about a fifteen minute walk from downtown Koror. For more information, visit http://www.etpisonmuseum.org.
Dolphins Pacific’s "Dolphin Bay" is a natural park that is the largest of its kind in the world. Nestled amongst the beautiful rock islands and just minutes via boat ride from the main town of Koror, Dolphins Pacific is a non-profit organization that is committed to environmental education. Additionally, the attraction offers a variety of dolphin encounters, which aim to enlighten visitors of Palau while providing entertainment as well. A popular activity for visitors to Dolphins Pacific is weddings at the park site, where dolphins salute celebrating couples. For more information, visit http://www.dolphinspacific.com.
Birdwatching in Ngermeskang Bird Sanctuary
The dense forest of Palau’s largest and Micronesia’s second largest island, Babeldaob, as well as the outer islands of Peleliu and Angaur, contain approximately 186 species of trees from more than 50 different families. Living in these forests are 153 species of birds and nine-12 of these are endemic - only found in Palau. The Ngermeskang Bird Sanctuary, located in Ngaremlengui State in Babeldaob, is a part of Palau’s protected area network that is exclusive for bird watching and hiking. For more information, contact the Ngermeskang Bird Sanctuary email@example.com.
Day Trip to Badrulchau
Completed less than ten years ago, Palau’s Compact Road encompasses Babeldaob Island, opening up opportunities to visit sites of cultural/historic importance, such as the Badrulchau (Stone Monoliths), Japanese lighthouse, stone paths, stone faces and stone platforms. Just one hour south of Koror to Ngarchelong in the north, the highway runs through forest and savannah. One exciting feature of the highway is the experience of both the east and west coasts of Babeldaob with stops at markets for local food and refreshments. There are several rental car companies in Palau and many tour operators offer land tours in the various states. For those that prefer off-road adventures, Fish n’ Fins offers all-terrain vehicle rentals. For more information, visit www.fishnfins.com.
World War II Museum on Peleliu
Known as the site for the bloodiest battle of World War II, Peleliu is full of war memorabilia, historical sites, buildings and memorials. Visitors can take a self-guided tour as there is plenty of World War II relics, but a guided tour quickly brings the history and battles to life. A number of tour companies based in Koror offer day trips via boat to Peleliu (one hour ride each way). Once on the island, visitors will want to visit the Peleliu WWII Memorial Museum, whichis a moving experience. It examines in detail through photos, articles and relics how war affected the island from the perspective of both the Japanese and American soldiers. In addition the museum provides exhibits on the island’s recovery once the war was over.
Located in the westernmost corner of Micronesia, Palau is an archipelago of more than 586 islands with about 20,000 inhabitants. Consistently ranked as one of the world's best dive destinations, Palau is the ultimate paradise for the adventurous traveler, boasting some of the most spectacular water features and beaches as well as the world famous Rock Islands and Jellyfish Lake. With 1,450 species of fish and more than 400 species of coral, some have called Palau the "8th Natural Wonder of the World", while others have identified Palau as "One of the Seven Underwater Wonders of the World." Palau has had the vision to preserve this rich biodiversity. In 2009, Palau became the world’s first Shark Sanctuary and in 2012, the Southern Lagoon Rock Islands were entered into the World Heritage List by UNESCO. For more information about Palau, visit www.visit-palau.com.
Boasting One of the Most Unique "Swimming Holes" in the World, Palau Celebrates the Globe's Ten Best Places to Swim
There are many idyllic swimming destinations in the world, but Palau’s Jellyfish Lake ranks high as one of the most unusual.
According to social media manager Jessie Cahill, “Because of the overwhelming intrigue in Jellyfish Lake and the many positive comments we receive from visitors, we decided to post a survey on the Visit Palau Facebook page to formulate a list of what our fans believe to be the Top Ten Best Places to Swim.”
The results are in and here’s what some of the most well-traveled adventurers find to be the most compelling “swimming holes” in the world.
1. Jellyfish Lake, Palau, Micronesia --- for those that want to take the “sting-ma” out of swimming with Jellyfish, check out this underwater wonder, where it is safe to dance through the water amongst millions of pulsating cloud-like creatures. Filled with two types of jellyfish, namely the golden jellyfish (known as Mastigias) and the moon jellyfish (known as Aurelia), this intriguing lake departs radically from convention. Over the course of millennia, growing in the safety of what became an enclosed body of water shut off from the neighboring Pacific, resident jellyfish have become virtually stingless, allowing adventure seekers a rare opportunity to swim amongst these truly unusual water creatures.
2. Pretty Girl Lake, Vancouver Island --- An exclusive destination reserved for those that fly in on Atleo River Air Service, Pretty Girl Lake is only accessible by floatplane. At 1100 feet above sea level, this secluded locale is surrounded by old growth rainforest and boasts a small campsite, appropriate for an overnight. In addition to the private (skinny dipping-appropriate) “swimming hole,” couples can catch their own Rainbow and Cutthroat trout before snuggling up in the sun or for the evening. Part of the charm is the stunning floatplane ride over glaciers and Vancouver Island rainforests, but the real treasure is having the entire, intimate lake all to oneself and a special loved one.
3. Phi Phi Island, Thailand --- Phi Phi's beauty is a large chunk of the allure. The islands, when approached by boat, rise from the sea like a fortress. Sheer cliffs tower overhead, then give way to beach-fronted jungle. It's love at first sight. The second part of the why-we-love-this-place story is attitude: few places on the planet are this laid-back. Of the two islands, one is completely free of human inhabitants (Phi Phi Leh), and the other is without roads (Phi Phi Don). There's no schedule, no hustle-and-bustle, no reason to be in a hurry.
4. Crater Lake, Oregon -- Crater Lake has inspired people for thousands of years. No place else on earth combines a deep, pure lake, so blue in color; sheer surrounding cliffs, almost two thousand feet high; two picturesque islands; and a violent volcanic past. It is a place of immeasurable beauty, and an outstanding outdoor laboratory and classroom.
5. Blue Lagoon, Iceland --- This geothermal spa is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Iceland. The warm waters are rich in minerals like silica and sulphur and bathing in the Blue Lagoon is reputed to help some people suffering from skin diseases such as psoriasis. The water temperature in the bathing and swimming area of the lagoon averages 98–102 °.
6. Fallen Leaf Lake (South Lake Tahoe), California --- A hidden treasure nestled only a few miles from the heart of South Lake Tahoe’s Emerald Bay, Fallen Leaf Lake feels like a throw back in time when families vacationed in traditional summer cabins. While water skiing and sailing are popular pastimes in the mountain-fed lake, swimming across the one-mile width is an invigorating experience worth the journey down the one lane road.
7. One of the world’s saltiest bodies of water in the world, the Dead Sea is a hypersaline lake nestled between Jordan to the east and Israel to the west. At nearly 1,400 feet below sea level, the shores are the lowest land point on the surface of the Earth and the Dead Sea is the deepest hypersaline lake in the world with a depth of 1,240 feet. Due to the high salinity, a person is especially buoyant and can sit almost on the surface without sinking. The density of the saltwater is an awesome sensation.
8. In Zimbabwe, a surreal location called The Devil’s Pool is a small lagoon enclosed by rocks yet on the very edge of falling into a gorge and it is located at Victoria Falls, one the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. At 5,600 feet wide and 360 feet high, the water plunges down the largest waterfall in the world and the drop-off is mere inches from The Devil’s Armchair. When the river is at a safe level, between the months of September and December, people can swim in The Devil’s Pond close to the edge of the falls.
9. Hulopoʻe Bay, Lānaʻi, Hawaii --- The island of Lānaʻi is in itself a remote island, nine miles from the coast of Maui. As with everything in Lānaʻi, there is a unique kind of magic that lives in the Hulopoʻe Bay, including naiʻa (dolphins) that seem to always be on display, propelling out of the water. The beach is easily accessible, the water is warm and very clean, and the sand glistens.
10. The Grotto—Bruce Peninsula National Park, Ontario --- About four hours northwest of Toronto, Bruce Peninsula National Park sits on a thin stretch of land between Lake Huron on the west and Georgian Bay on the east. Over time, the water has eroded the shoreline's soft limestone, creating overhanging cliffs and deep sea caves, including the famed Grotto. After a 30-minute hike past fields of rare ferns and orchids, swimmers can lower themselves down through a natural rock chimney and into the turquoise water below. The truly adventurous can then hold their breath, dive underwater, and continue through a sunlit tunnel out to the bay.
Palau, Micronesia Has A Host Of Options For Adventure Seekers
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(Palau, Micronesia --- April 23, 2014) --- Known for its world-class scuba diving conditions, Palau is host to a whole range of options for adventure seekers. In addition to being one of Jacques Cousteau’s favorite dive destinations, this Micronesian paradise is also one of Survivor TV’s Jeff Probst’s favorite places on earth. It’s no wonder…the remote location is free of commerciality and truly a genuine eco-environment, which is not at all manufactured but a custom of this down to earth nation.
In addition to scuba diving, Palau is home to the best snorkeling (for those that don’t want to go 80 feet under); Jellyfish Lake; Jungle Riverboat Cruise; Palau Eco Theme Park; an authentic World War II “museum”; and the non-planetary “Milky Way.”
As one of the “Seven Underwater Wonders of the World,” it’s only natural to start with this destination’s most popular adventure and one of Jacques Cousteau’s favorite destinations, for scuba diving. In Palau, see-through waters bequeath underwater visibility beyond anyone’s imagination. So much so that from the most immaculate shorelines in the world, a boat 50 meters beyond creates the magical illusion that it floats merely on air, with its conspicuous shadow cast on a translucent seabed a few feet beneath. A prism of colorful coral reefs and virtually limitless variety of sea life set the stage in this tropical paradise. From beginners and intermediate to expert divers, there are over 50 existing dive sites, each possessing distinct characteristics and individual personalities to appeal to everyone’s desires.
Diving is year-round in Palau and during the busiest season from January to April, spectacular sights such as migratory whale sharks passing by, sharks or mantas mating, and large schools of fish spawning can be seen. Palau is strategically straddled by two extremely deep channels to the east and to the west, those of the Philippine Trench and Palau Trench. The cold nutrient-rich waters of these fathomless abysses teem with sub surface natural gifts, and the results are striking; in very few other places can such awe-inspiring underwater activity and life be witnessed with such regularity and ease.
Natural preserves most can only dream of also include the daring and the unusual – like
Jellyfish Lake, where two types of jellyfish can be found, namely the golden jellyfish (known as
Mastigias) and the moon jellyfish (known as Aurelia). This intriguing lake departs radically from
convention for it is an enclosed body of water wherein, over the course of millennia, resident
jellyfish have become virtually stingless, allowing adventure seekers a rare opportunity to swim
amongst these truly unique water creatures.
Jungle Riverboat Cruise
The Jungle River Boat Cruise made its debut as one of Palau’s most modern eco-friendly tours, providing visitors with an ideal way to relax and see nature firsthand. Located in Ngchesar State, the River Boat Cruise is the brainchild of Billy Takamine, taking passengers on a one hour trek that starts at the main dock and goes upstream to the ocean. During the tour, visitors get a chance to see crocodiles up close and personal as well as many indigenous birdlife and other local animals. The River Boat Cruise facilities include a gift shop and two “summer houses” resembling Palauan bais’. The facilities offer barbeque set lunches with entertainment, basket weavings and a Babeldaob (capitol) tour. The focus is on guides that transport guests through the local history, culture and nature.
Palau Eco Theme Park
While Palau is famous as a premier destination for underwater thrills, the destination is also home to a relatively new sky adventure with a three-course zip-line soaring over the Taki Waterfall Park in the State of Ngardmau. Opened just a couple of years ago, the Palau Eco Theme Park boasts a whole new brand of adventure to this Micronesian paradise. The theme park features a zip-line course that soars 250 feet above the ground, with platforms that take adrenaline seekers from 30 seconds to one minute along the length of courses that are between 300 meters and 340 meters, which is said to be one of the longest tracks in the world.
The Milky Way
A special cove that the locals call the “Milky Way,” the bottom of this little bay consists not of sand but of white limestone mud, which gives the water a milky sheen. Rumored that the mysterious chalky mud makes an excellent rejuvenating facial, guides dive off before the boat
is even anchored, head down to the floor of the cove and return with a huge handful of the white
muck, for which they instruct their passengers to cover themselves. After soaking in the sun,
while the clay dries and the minerals work their magic, it’s time to jump in, rinse off and relish in
the natural body scrub that is said to garner hundreds of dollars in some of the world’s best spas.
World War II “Museum”
Known to many as the location for the bloodiest battles of World War II, history buffs will appreciate Peleliu’s plethora of commemorative elements. Available year-round, Palau’s World War II/Peleliu Excursion is an integral part of Palau’s truly unique history, rounding out the varied interests and attractions found within the destination’s natural “habitats.” Palau’s Peleliu Island was the scene of one of the Pacific's bloodiest battles when U.S. Marines made an amphibious assault on the beaches of Peleliu in 1944 to liberate the island from Japanese forces. Peleliu was heavily fortified with massive concrete bunkers and over 300 man-made and reinforced natural caves used to shelter the Japanese forces during massive naval bombardments prior to the assault. Remnants of Japanese headquarters buildings, incredible cave systems, gun emplacements, tanks, planes and weapons can still be seen today. Several local tour operators provide professionally guided tours to battles sites, tanks, shrines, historical monuments and the Peleliu WWII Museum.
While many destinations feature amazing assets,
the effect that Palau has on its inhabitants and visitors alike is profound.
This enchanting land is a tropical paradise of nature’s greatest adventure gifts.
Located in the westernmost corner of Micronesia, Palau is an archipelago of more than 586 islands with about 20,000 inhabitants. Consistently ranked as one of the world's best dive destinations, Palau is the ultimate paradise for the adventurous traveler, boasting some of the most spectacular water features and beaches as well as the world famous Rock Islands and Jellyfish Lake. With 1,450 species of fish and 500 species of coral, some have called Palau the "8th Natural Wonder of the World", while others have identified Palau as "One of the Seven Underwater Wonders of the World." For more information about Palau, please visit www.visit-palau.com.