Palau's early history is still largely veiled in mystery. Why, how or when people arrived on this beautiful islands is unknown, but studies indicate that today's Palauans are distant relatives of the Malays of Indonesia, Melanesians of New Guinea and Polynesians. As for the date of their arrivals, carbon dating of artefacts from the oldest known village sites on the Rock Islands and the spectacular terraces on Babeldaob place civilization here as early as 1,000 BC. View more
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Palau's world renowned Jellyfish Lake (local name: Ongeim'l Tketau), is the only one of Palau's 57 marine lakes open to the public. Formed an estimated 20,000 years ago, Jellyfish Lake is home to millions of golden jellyfish found only in this lake and nowhere else in the word (Mastigias papua etpisoni).
Depart the ship in Malakal Harbor for a 45-minute boat ride through Palau's beautiful Rock Islands, recently inscribed in UNESCO's World Heritage Register. Proceed directly without stopping to Jellyfish Lake, located on the island of Mecherar although the boat may slow down for picture-taking along the way.
Upon arrival at the lagoon-side boat dock at Mecherar Island, a short orientation and interpretive briefing is conducted before departure up the trail to Jellyfish Lake. A 15-minute hike up and down a concrete-stepped trail from the lagoon-side boat dock leads to the floating entry dock from which visitors enter the lake. The millions of golden jellyfish swim in a migratory pattern seen only in this lake having evolved and adapted themselves to this unique habitat over thousands of years.
The swimming distance from the entry dock to the jellyfish varies from approximately 50 meter to 150 meters as the jellyfish follow their migration path around the lake in response to the sun light, time of day, and season.
Upon returning to the boat, continue on your sight-seeing cruise through Palau's World Heritage rock islands as you make your way back towards Malakal Harbor. The choice of equally breath-taking return routes varies due to tide, time, and weather conditions with ample opportunities for picture-taking along the way.
Please note: This tour requires a moderate to extensive amount of activity. Guests must be able to swim in deep water for extended periods and manoeuvre in and out of the boat. Getting to Jellyfish Lake requires a short but somewhat steep hike up and over a concrete-stepped path followed by a short swim / snorkel from the dock inside the lake out towards the center of the lake where the Jellyfish tend to congregate. This tour is not suitable for guests with limited mobility and those who utilise a wheelchair. The cost of this tour includes a mandatory $100 per person visitor permit to enter the area. Bring sunglasses, sunscreen, hat, and light rain jacket; comfortable footwear for hiking; and remember to bring your camera. The sighting of wildlife cannot be guaranteed. Space is very limited; we suggest you reserve well in advance to avoid any disappointment.
Enjoy a boat cruise through the beautiful Rock Islands (recently inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage Register) and snorkel a selection of Palau's abundant inner lagoon reefs. Of the thousands of idyllic islands that dot the mighty Pacific Ocean, Micronesia's westernmost island chain known as the Palau archipelago, is truly Mother Natures' work of art.
Depart the ship located in Malakal Harbor, for a boat cruise through a maze-like labyrinth of rock islands, hidden bays and marine lakes with a snorkelling sampler at a selection of sites chosen for their colourful soft corals and hard corals and a multitude of critters that dwell in the sandy lagoon bottom.
The first snorkel experience of your cruise is in the abundant waters of "Fish Bowl" featuring ancient hard corals and plentiful schools teeming with reef fish. Watch tropic birds glide overhead while terns dive and feed in the rich waters below.
Continue your cruise through the breath-taking rock islands until arriving at Soft Coral Arch, for a gentle drift-snorkel through a natural archway between the rock islands shrouded in a multitude of colourful soft corals.
Continue to the shallow waters of Tarzan Bay for glimpses of the wide variety of sandy bottom-dwelling critters of this seemingly benign but very lively inner lagoon habitat.
Complete your tour with a short boat ride past remnants of Palau's still remaining reminders of her pivotal role in WWII in the Pacific.
Please note: This tour requires a moderate to extensive amount of activity. Guests must be able to swim in deep water for extended periods and manoeuvre in and out of the boat. It is not suitable for guests with limited mobility and those who utilise a wheelchair. The cost of this tour includes a mandatory $50 per person visitor permit to enter the area. The sighting of marine life cannot be guaranteed. Bring sunglasses, sunscreen, hat and light rain jacket; towel; and of course don't forget your camera! The route and sites may change and may be substituted.
Experience the splendid beauty and sights of Babeldaob, Palau's 'big island' and the second-largest island in all of Micronesia after Guam. Highlights of your full-day excursion include visits to the ancient Stone Monoliths, a traditional men's meeting-house, or 'Bai', and the modern capitol of Melekeok.
Board an air-conditioned bus at the pier and begin the 90-minute drive to Monoliths Park.
Babeldaob Island, with an area of 331 square kilometers makes up over 70% of the area of the entire country and is home to about 6,000 people (30% of the population). It boasts the largest undisturbed forest and the largest freshwater lake in Micronesia, and its northern tip features a row of large basalt monoliths known as Badrulchau, the origin and meaning of which is not fully known or completely understood but it is thought construction began around AD 100 and was abandoned around 1600.
The bus slows as you pass the Japan Palau Friendship Bridge. This bridge replaced the former K-B Bridge (Koror-Babeldaob Bridge) which collapsed on September 16, 1996. The collapse severed water and power to the island of Koror. Until the new bridge was constructed the only connection to the capital and the airport on Babeldaob was via ferry service across the channel.
Head towards Mt. Ngcherulus, Palau's highest point for a brief photo stop. Pass taro patches, Ngatpang state trees, the mangroves of the swamp, and the upland forest. Proceed to two lookout points, over the East Reef and Ngaraard State before arriving at Monoliths Park, Badrulchau. Leave the coach and begin your exploration, walking for about 45 minutes, stopping for photos along the way.
Lunch is simple and is typically offered in a beach access area with restrooms. Afterwards, begin the drive to the capilto with a short stop at the Capital Complex. Koror was the administrative capitol until it was relocated to Melekeok in 2006. Pass the Amayong Cultural Center, the Palau Supreme Court, the former Congress Building, which was the Japanese Administrative Head Quarters, pre-World War II, and finally the Japanese Shinto Shrine.
Stop at Airai Bai, a Men's Traditional Meeting House and oldest Bai in Palau dating back 200 years. It was recently renovated and rededicated by former Airai chief.
Re-board the bus for the hour's drive back to the pier.
Please note: This is a bus tour much of which is over paved highway. There are some areas that involve driving on unimproved and or dirt roads for short periods. Guests have to get on and off the bus frequently and most sites involve a little walking from the bus to take pictures and or see the sights. At the monoliths, there are approximately 100 steps to be negotiated from the parking area down to the monoliths. The site itself is grassy with some mild slopes. There is a handrail next to steps. Lunch is very basic. The buses used are smaller than traditional coaches but are air-conditioned. Order of sites may vary. Dress for the weather and wear comfortable closed-toe shoes, suitable for walking. Bring your camera and light rain poncho from the ship.
A leisurely boat cruise through the stunning habitat of Nikko Bay offers an ample opportunity for picture taking and sight-seeing.
Depart the pier by boat. Nikko Bay, features geological formations including natural archways and limestone caverns sheltered by cathedral-like rock island walls which create calm secluded waters and a perfect habitat for some of Palau's most ancient "old growth corals". Nikko Bay is also an ideal protected nursery grounds for juvenile fishes before they make their way to the outer reefs.
This slow-moving panoramic boat tour provides an interesting overview of Nikko Bay's treasurers with ample opportunity for stunning picture taking. This is a "non-stop" boat tour only with no snorkelling or other in-water activities. At the conclusion of your jaunt, return to the ship.
Please note: This tour requires a minimal amount of activity. Guests must be able to manoeuvre in and out of the boat. This tour is not suitable for guests those who utilise a wheelchair. The cost of this tour includes a mandatory $50 per person visitor permit to enter the area. Space is very limited; reserve your tickets in advance to avoid any disappointment. This is a "non-stop" boat tour only with no snorkelling or other in-water activities.