Rock Islands Scenic Flight
As soon as I arrived, I jumped straight onto an excursion that was a real highlight of my trip. The scenic flight over Rock Islands was so beautiful. You board a small plane and take to the skies. Points you'll see from above are the islands, German Channel, Jellyfish Lake, Peleliu Island, the Friendship Bridge, and even shipwrecks.
I chose to book with Smile Air for a number of reasons... they have no minimum number of passengers, their price is $200 USD regardless, the email communication (firstname.lastname@example.org) was prompt, and the passenger side of the plane has no door, which is perfect for photography.
Milky Way Lagoon
Via a short speed boat ride, you can reach Milky Way. This is essentially a natural mud bath in stunning blue waters within a small cove of Rock Islands. There's white limestone mud on the base of the water, and locals believe that bathing in this for 15 minutes will make you look 10 years younger the following day. The water within this small cove is also very calm, so it's the perfect place to stop off for a swim, even if the weather isn't the best.
Palau is one of the most highly regarded places on the planet in terms of scuba dive quality. Whether you're new to scuba or a pro, Palau really does have something for everyone. There's plenty of marine life, colourful coral, and also multiple wrecks. I chose to dive with Palau Dive Adventures and was very happy with their service and cost, compared to other operators. The two dive spots I covered were German Channel and New Drop Off. If the weather permits, try and do Blue Corner, as this spot regularly tops global dive lists.
Another trip highlight due to the site being so unique compared to anywhere else I've ever seen. Awarded UNESCO status and for very good reason. This is a marine lake located on Eil Malk Island, so again can only be reached via boat. The boat doesn't enter the lake directly as it's fully sealed by the surrounding land. There's a floating platform which the boat drops you at, where you'll show your government permit to the local worker, and take a small hike up and down some steps until you reach the lake.
You'll then enter and fully immerse yourself snorkelling beside millions of jellyfish.The best part, the jellyfish don't sting. Over hundreds of years, they have lost their sting and evolved to live off the algae within the lake. This is such a unique experience, even if you do flinch at the start when the jellyfish brush past you.
Prisoners Carver Souvenir
Perhaps one the most unique souvenir shop anywhere in the world. There's a handful of prisoners in Koror Jail who carve ornate "storyboards" that depict ancient Micronesian legends. These storyboards were often displayed within every local house as the prized center-piece. To visit, you simply go to the Koror Police Station at the front of Koror Jail and ask to see the storyboards. You'll then be accompanied by a police officer and can see all of the storyboards available, which considerably differ in both size and price.
Island Road Trip
Palau is a very small island country, but one that can be easily explored via a one-day road trip. From Koror, you can reach the northern tip of the island in 1 hour, where you'll be met by an abandoned Japanese WWII Lighthouse. From here, you can make your way back down the island whilst including spots at Palau National Capital Building and the Korean War Memorial on the east, heading right the way down to the WWII Japanese Communications Center. Just be careful with your photos here, as there is a sign referring to a special permit that's required, or you face a $500 USD fine. You can then cross the Japan-Palau Friendship Bridge prior to finishing off at the Palau National Museum.
Baderulchau Stone Monoliths
The stone monoliths of Baderulchau are regarded as the oldest archaeological site in the entire country. The site consists of 52 basalt megaliths with faces carved into some of them, with an estimated construction dating back to the year 161. The purpose of the stones is still debated amongst researches, although many seem to think that they serves as pillars for a "Bai" which is a traditional meeting house that could house thousands of people at once. Worth checking out if you're a fan of Pacific history and archaeological mysteries.
For such a small hub of Koror, there's surprisingly a number of very good restaurants, such as The Taj indian restaurant and Canoe House for everyday pub food. However, the Japanese restaurant Tori Tori was the outright winner. A small venue located above a shop on the high street that offers a great selection of dishes. The sushi here was outstanding, especially the sashimi platter, accompanied by shrimp tempura and crab rolls. Friendly staff and inexpensive, compared to what you pay for sushi globally.
My pick was Palau Hotel as it was the best mid-range option I could find in Koror. It's locatd directly on the high street, so the central location is excellent for exploring the island. The front desk staff were very helpfull with arranging all local excursions, as well as offering plenty of useful tips. The rooms are modern, all with en-suite bathrooms and AC, as well as free parking to the rear. There's a small restaurant area in the lobby for the complimentary breakfast, although I'd recommend venturing out to Coffee Berry a couple of doors down if you're a coffee snob.
To take full advantage of exploring the island, I'd definitely recommend renting a car, which is approx $30 USD daily and can be done via IR Rentals on the high street. For dive companies, Palau Dive Adventures are highly recommended. For a selection of land based tours (if you don't want to rent a car), I'd recommend Fish 'n Fins.