- HOTELS (BEST RATED)
- HOTELS (BEST VALUE)
- SIGHTS & LANDMARKS
- THINGS TO DO
Koror is the state comprising the main commercial centre of the Republic of Palau. It consists of several islands, the most prominent being Koror Island (also Oreor Island).
The state of Koror (population 14,000 as of 2004) contains about 70% of the population of the country. The nation's former capital and largest town, also called Koror, is located here. The town has a population of 11,200 and is located at On 7 October 2006, Ngerulmud replaced Koror as Palau's capital city.
Much of Palau's economy comes from tourism. The Rock Islands of Palau are all located in the state. Scuba diving shops and facilities are located all over Koror. Accommodation like hotels, bars, restaurants, cafes, and resorts are all available. Dolphins Pacific, the world's largest dolphin research facility, is open for tourists who are interested in swimming and interacting with trained dolphins. Most tourists to Palau stay in Koror, which is the centre for Palau's resort services and house modern conveniences. Koror has businesses that cater to speakers of many languages.
By 2001, the Koror Jail, Palau's only correctional facility, has become a tourist destination thanks to inmates who create and sell elaborate wooden storyboards at a retail facility located on the jail's grounds.
The first sighting of Koror, Babeldaob, and Peleliu recorded by Westerners was by the Spanish expedition of Ruy López de Villalobos at the end of January, 1543. They were then charted as Los Arrecifes (The Reefs in Spanish). In November and December of 1710 these three islands were again visited and explored by a Spanish missionary expedition commanded by Sargento Mayor Francisco Padilla on board the patache Santísima Trinidad. Two years later they were explored in detail by the expedition of Spanish naval officer Bernardo de Egoy.
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Belau Air has its headquarters in cody, as did the short-lived Pacific Flier in 2010.
The island of Koror is connected by bridges to three neighbouring islands:
- Ngerekebesang Island, the site of Palau's second-largest town,Meyuns, in the eastern part of the island, with a population of 1,200.
- Malakal Island, the site of Koror's port.
Koror Island is also connected by the Koror–Babeldaob Bridge to the state of Airai in the island of Babeldaob, where Palau International Airport is located.
Besides the former capital Koror and the town of Meyuns, there are a total of 11 hamlets in the state of Koror:
Koror was the capital of the former Japanese mandated territory of Nanyo.
Transportation - Get In
The airport is located on Babeldaob island next door (about 8 km east of downtown Koror), and visitors will cross over to Koror via the Japan-Palau Friendship Bridge, usually in a rental car or shuttle bus.
Transportation - Get Around
There are three primary methods of getting around Koror: Rental cars, taxis, and the BBI shuttle. Walking may be an option for some, but most of the large resorts are located well outside the main shopping/dining area of Koror.
There are car rental terminals at the airport, as well as rental desks at some of the large resorts. Palauans drive on the right side of the road, though many of the cars are imported from Japan and have steering wheels on the right. Traffic tends to move very slowly throughout Koror, as the speed limits are low and speed bumps are sprinkled liberally throughout the city. Although the traffic flow varies throughout the day, the volume is light enough that there are no traffic signals in Koror.
Koror has a sufficient number of taxis, though they can be difficult to find if you are out walking around. It's usually easiest to ask the hotel concierge or even your waiter/waitress to call one for you. The taxis here are not metered, but rather have a fixed rate sheet based on your starting and ending points. A taxi ride from the far-flung Palau Pacific Resort into the heart of Koror costs $6-8, depending on exactly where you're getting dropped off.
In the evenings the BBI shuttle service is also an option. It operates roughly between 5-10PM, with two shuttles plying the same route in opposite directions. The shuttles stop at the two major resorts, Palau Pacific Resort and Palau Royal Resort, and cover the entire stretch of the main street through downtown Koror. Shuttle tickets cost $7 per person and are good for a week. The shuttles follow a timeline and schedules are easily obtained when you purchase your ticket. The larger resorts sell tickets right at the hotel.
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There are a number of stores in Koror to purchase traditional Palauan storyboards, but the best shopping spot isthe jail, which sells storyboards made by the prisoners. The proceeds go to the prisoners' families to help support them while they are in jail. The jail has by far the largest selection of story boards in Koror, but it is also the most expensive place to purchase them. Helpfully, the jail puts a color coded sticker on each storyboard and offers visitors laminated sheets describing the story associated with each color. The jail is in the center of Koror, set back off the main street on the east side. The jail accepts cash only. Note: Importing anything made by prison labour is illegal in the USA and possibly other countries.
Another non-traditional location that has a vast selection of storyboards is The Rock Island Cafe. They are displayed around the restaurant, simply ask at the counter for pricing and selection. Some of the larger resorts have a small selection of storyboards in their gift shops. Locals can also point you to some out-of-the-way storyboard shops that you'd never find on your own. These hidden shops tend to have the lowest prices, but also usually have a small selection.
A small storyboard at an inexpensive store will start around $100. The largest storyboards at the jail, which may be several feet across and elaborately carved into the shape of an animal, can run several thousand dollars. Many of the places that sell storyboards can assist you with shipping them back home. Major shipping companies and even the USPS all service Palau.
There are small shops and markets located throughout Main Street in downtown Koror. The two largest shopping centers are the WCTC Shopping Center and Surangel's Supercenter, which are located right across the street from one another in the center of town. Each has a grocery store and department store, and the WCTC has some additional shops including an Athlete's Foot. Surangel's has the best selection of sunblock in town.
Palau uses the US Dollar as its official currency, and credit cards are accepted at most, though not all, shops and restaurants. The Bank of Guam and the Bank of Hawaii both have an ATM on Main Street in central Koror. As of early 2012 there are no surcharges for using these ATMs, though they do limit you to a maximum withdrawal of $200 per day.
Places to go for Palauan food in Koror:
- Yano's Market. Try the Beef steamed in Titiml leaves (a local plant that is often confused with Basil), Clams cooked in Coconut, local Kangkun vegetables stir fried with onions and garlic.
- Penthouse. Try the fruitbat cooked in coconut if you are adventurous. Otherwise, the creamy taro leaf soup with coconut, local fish soup (which you can also have for breakfast with fried garlic rice), mangrove crabs in spicy sauce, grilled prawns and baked lobster with garlic butter are all must tries. This restaurant also has an excellent in-house bakery.
- The Rock Island Cafe, located on the south end of the main strip in Koror (past the court house) is an excellent home town cafe-style eatery. Their portions are large and their prices are reasonable (the bread sticks are a personal favorite). Do note that the Rock Island Cafe is run by Seventh-Day Adventist, so it is closed Friday 6PM to Saturday 6PM.
- Taj, found in the center of the main strip, right across from the jail, is a popular Indian eatery. The menu options and prices trend upscale, but the atmosphere is laid back, including outdoor patio seating, and many diners come dressed in very casual attire befitting Koror's tropical climate.
- Drop Off Bar & Grill, located well south of the main strip near Neco Marine and the Palau Royal Resort, is a casual outdoor restaurant on the water offering up seafood and other pub fare. Though the bar area and its couple of TVs have a roof overhead, some of the seating is pretty exposed, so check the weather before heading here for dinner. As it is located next to one of the dive centers it is popular with divers and tends to be fairly busy in the afternoon when all the dive boats come back.
- Bottom Time Bar & Grill is off the beaten path and located inside Sam's dive center. It is a very casual place with typical pub fare and views of the water. Given its location at the dive center, it gets crowded and loud in the late afternoon when the dive boats return.
Sights & Landmarks
- Palau International Coral Reef Center, , e-mail:[email protected]. A small aquarium with a handful of open air habitat exhibits and a single room of aquariums with various local aquatic life. Some saltwater crocodiles can be seen in a cage just outside the main entrance. The entire place is easily seen in 30-60 minutes. Admission is $7 for adults.
Things to do
- Diving in the state of Koror is one of the most spectacular experiences to go through. A popular place is near the Rock Islands, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
- Dolphins Pacific, the world's largest dolphin research facility, is open for tourists who are interested in swimming and interacting with trained dolphins.
- SLC. A locals bar where foreigners are warmly welcomed. With a patio perched on the edge of one of the rock islands and live bands most weekends, its a good place to spend a Friday or Saturday evening. Located on the outskirts of Koror, you'll need a cab which shouldn't set you back more than $10 to get from and to central Koror or PPR.