Alii! (Hello!)

Lost in a great expanse of deep blue ocean, there lies a Pristine Paradise, one of the few remaining paradises on Earth – PALAU. With untouched beauty that can only be found in this remote corner of the mighty Pacific, this oasis harbors a diverse environment and an ancient island culture, still alive in the warm and inviting people. This is a country that beckons to romantic explorers, divers, and family vacationers, urging them to experience its breathtaking wonders, to encounter its 5,000 years of tradition, and to discover the lush tropical allure of…Pristine Paradise, Palau.

History:

Palau’s early history is still largely veiled in mystery. Why, how or when people arrived on our 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 arrival, carbon dating of artefacts for the oldest known village sites on the Rock Islands and the spectacular terraces of Babeldaob place civilization here as early as at least 3,500 BC.

The first recorded foreign contact took place in 1783 when the vessel Antelope, under the command of English Captain Henry Wilson, was ship wrecked on a reef near Ulong, a Rock Island located between Koror and Peleliu. With the assistance of Koror’s High Chief Ibedul, Wilson and his men stayed for three months to rebuild his ship. From that time onward, many foreign explorers called on Palau, and the islands were exposed to further European contact.

Foreign governance of our islands officially began when Pope Leo XIII asserted Spain’s rights over the Caroline Islands in 1885. Two churches were established and maintained by two Capuchin priests and two brothers, resulting in an introduction of the Roman alphabet and the elimination of inter-village wars. In 1899, Spain sold the Carolines to Germany, which established an organized program to trade the islands’ natural resources.

Following Germany’s defeat in WWI, the islands were formally passed to the Japanese under the 1919 Treaty of Versaills. The Japanese influence on the Palauan culture was immense as it shifted the economy and property ownership from the clan to individuals. In 1922, Koror became the administrative center for all Japanese possessions in the South Pacific. The town of Koror was a stylish metropolis with factories, shops, public baths, restaurants and pharmacies.

After Japan was defeated in WWII, the Carolines, Marianas and Marshall Islands became United Nations Trust Territories under the United States Administration, with Palau being named one of the six island districts. As part of its mandate, the US was to improve Palau’s infrastructure and educational system in order for it to become a self-sufficient nation. This came about on October 1st, 1994, when Palau gained its independence upon signing of the Compact of Free Association with the United States.

Climate

Palau enjoys a pleasantly warm climate all year round with an annual mean temperature of 82° degrees F. (27° C.). Rainfall can occur throughout the year, and the annual average is 150 inches. The average relative humidity is 82%, and although rain falls more frequently between July and October, there is still much sunshine. Typhoons are rare as Palau is located outside the typhoon zone.

Language

English is spoken widely and Palauan is a fun language to learn. Many service providers speak English, Mandarin, Cantonese or Japanese.

 Time zone

When it’s Noon Monday in Palau, it is:

Manila 11:00 A.M. Monday

Tokyo 12:00 P.M. Monday

Sydney 1:00 P.M. Monday

Honolulu 5:00 P.M. Sunday

Los Angeles 7:00 P.M. Sunday

Fiji 3:00 P.M Monday

Departure Tax
PUBLIC NOTICE: Palau Pristine Paradise Environmental Fee (PPEF)

In accordance with RPPL No. 10-16, effective January 1, 2018, the PPEF of One Hundred Dollars ($100 USD) shall be included in the price of every international airline ticket into the Republic of Palau. The ticketing airline shall be responsible for collecting the PPEF.

In the event the PPEF was not included in a ticket issued on or after January 1, 2018, it shall remain the responsibility of the airline to transmit the appropriate fee per arriving passenger to the National Treasury. For any tickets sold prior to January 1, 2018, with the passenger arriving and/or departing after January 1st, the BCBP shall continue to collect and charge the same fees totalling Fifty Dollars ($50 USD) upon departure for any airline passenger who arrived in the Republic of Palau prior to the PPEF implementation date and is departing on a ticket purchased before January 1, 2018. The amount collected upon departure in this situation shall be a Thirty Dollar ($30 USD) “Green Fee” and Twenty Dollar ($20 US) departure tax for a total of Fifty Dollars ($50 USD) for every non-Palauan passport holder. Such passenger must provide a copy of their ticket and any other supporting documentation as required.

You will need your passport and boarding pass, along with a ticket, e-ticket receipt or a printed e-ticket confirmation. Please make sure you have all these documents with you.

Palau expresses its deepest thanks for your support through the PPEF. The PPEF will help provide the financial and moral support necessary to continue our mission of protecting Palau’s natural environment for future generations. With your help, we will continue to hold true to our reputation as one of the most beautiful places and best diving destinations in the world.
Here is a list for all types of tickets:

DESCRIPTION TICKET ISSUED BEFORE
JANUARY 1, 2018
TICKET ISSUED ON OR AFTER
JANUARY 1, 2018
One way ticket to Palau No charge PPEF: $100
One way ticket departing from Palau Green Fee and Departure Tax: $50 No charge
Round trip ticket Green Fee and Departure Tax: $50 PPEF: $100

If there is a case where it was not in the airline ticket, which Palau Immigration states that it is unlikely, it can be collected upon departure.

Doctors and Health
Palau has one hospital, the Belau National Hospital (BNH) for outpatient and emergency cases. For diving emergencies, there is an operational Hyperbaric Chamber which is also located at the BNH. Belau National Hospital contact number is +680 488 2552/2553. There are Ministry of Health Dispensaries in Babeldaob, Peleliu Angaur, and Kayangel. Palau also has three private medical clinics, one of which is open during evenings.

Duty Free Allowance
TOBACCO PRODUCTS

On September 10, 2013, the President of the Republic of Palau signed RPPL 9-15 into law. This law imposes an excise tax on all tobacco products, and restricts duty free imports of tobacco products.
Any person who imports cigarettes or tobacco products into the Republic shall pay the applicable excise tax at the point that the products enter the Republic. Tobacco products include any products consisting of or containing the processed leaves of plants from the genus Nicotiana or species tabecum used for smoking, chewing or snuff, and including all products which contain tobacco in any form in an amount that is more than an incidental ingredient or component and that is intended for human consumption and may include all parts and materials, such as filters, rods, and similar matter.

RATE: As of January 1, 2015, cigarettes shall be taxed at the rate of $5.00 per 0.017 kilograms (approximately the weight of a pack of 20 sticks) and packs of cigarettes, weighing less than 0.017 kilograms shall be taxed at the rate of $5.00 per pack.
All other tobacco products shall be taxed at the rate of $5.00 per 0.017 kilograms.

A person arriving in the Republic by common carrier may import into Palau free of taxation, one of the following: One opened pack of cigarettes, one cigar, not exceeding 15 grams, or up to fifteen grams of loose smoking tobacco, chewing tobacco, or pipe tobacco, in an opened package.

NO ALLOWANCE FOR TOBACCO PRODUCTS FOR TRAVELERS UNDER THE AGE OF 21.
ALCOHOL PRODUCTS

Up to two (2) litres of liquor, and up to one (1) pack of cigarettes containing up to twenty (20) cigarettes can be brought into Palau duty-free, importation of controlled substances and weapons, are stricly prohibited and any traveler in possession of any controlled substances will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law of the Republic of Palau

NO ALLOWANCE FOR ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES FOR TRAVELERS UNDER THE AGE OF 21.

Airlines and Airports
The Palau International Airport receives flights from Manila, Guam, Taipei, Seoul, Narita, Hong Kong and Macao. There are now six flights from Guam and two from Manila with United Airlines (See HAPPENINGS for press release). Most planes arriving in Palau are 737’s due to the length of the runway. China Airlines flies twice per week from Taipei, Taiwan. Korean Airlines flies twice per week from Seoul, S. Korea. Delta Airlines flights twice per week from Narita, Japan. Hong Kong and Macao arrivals are mainly charter flights. Japan Airlines flies intermittently from Japan.

Alcohol
Alcohol can be purchased at WCTC stores, small convenience stores and gas stations. Legal drinking age is 21.

Bars & Nightclubs
Palau has a few bars and nightclubs in Koror, which closes around 2am.

Currency and Credit cards

The official currency of the Republic is the U.S. Dollar. Visa, JCB, and MasterCard are widely accepted at stores and visitor facilities. There are FDIC insured banks and major hotels with limites foreign currency exchange. In addition, Palau has money transfers through bank institutions. Try this online currency converter.

Tipping

Tipping is optional, but appreciated.

Dress/Attire

Palau is ideal for island casual, but please no swimming suits or short shorts/skirts in towns or villages. Rain or shine, it is helpful to carry a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen protection or waterproof raincoat.

Mobile Phones
The Palau National Communications Corporation (PNCC) offers nationwide mobile service, with 4G/3G coverage in Koror and Airai, and 3G/2G in other states:

  • 4G – LTE 700 MHz (Band 28)
  • 3G – WCDMA 900 MHz (Band 8)
  • 2G – GSM 900 MHz

For international roaming select 55201 or PLW01, or use prepaid PalauCel SIM with Airtime Cards. Prepaid PalauCel SIM cards are sold at PNCC in Koror and Airai, and selected local vendors. Airtime cards are sold at more than 100 locations, and can be used for voice, text and mobile data.

Use PNCC Prepaid Internet Cards to access more than 200 Wi-Fi Hotspots throughout Koror and nationwide. Visit the PNCC website for current Wi-Fi Hotspot locations: www.palaunet.com

PALAU COUNTRY CODE & HOW TO CALL LONG DISTANCE

Palau’s country code is 680. All calls within Palau are local calls.

Call international long distance from landlines with PNCC Debusch prepaid phone cards (sold at more than 100 locations), or via prepaid PalauCel mobile service.

The international access code is 011. To place an international call:

Dial: 011 + country code + city routing or area code + local number

PNCC International Operator (7am-12midnight daily): dial “0” (from a local landline)

For more information, call PNCC at 680 488 9000 or e-mail pnccservice@palaunet.com.

PNCC website: www.palaunet.com

Other Internet providers in Palau are PalauTelecoms and Palau Wifi, which also have hot spots and internet cards throughout Koror.

Post Office
Palau is in Zone 8 of the U.S. Postal System, and U.S. domestic rates apply.

International mail is slightly higher. The post office is located on the main road in Koror, across from the Palau National Communications Corporation (PNCC) office. Palau’s stamps are favored by collectors worldwide. Palau’s zip code is 96940, except for the Palau National Capitol in Ngerulmud, Melekeok, which is 96939.

Electricity – Standard North America outlets 110. There is also 220V for large appliances etc.

Visa & Entry

All visitors must have a valid passport not less than 6 months from date of expiration and proof of return arrangements. VISAs are NOT required. 30-days Tourist Visa will be issued upon arrival and may be extended within 7 days in advance with approval of the Chief of Immigration for a fee of US$50.00 before expiration date of the visa. (Note: Maximum of 90 days: 30 days upon arrival plus 2 extensions at US$50.00 fee per extension. After which visitors must exit the country). Citizens of United States of America, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Guam, and the Common Wealth of Northern Marianas Islands with valid passports are issued 1 year Visa upon arrival. Citizens of Myanmar and Bangladesh must have a pre-approved visa. For more information about extended stay in Palau, please call the Bureau of Immigration at (680) 488 – 2498 or 2678, Mondays to Fridays at the hours 7:30am – 4:30pm or e-mail inquiries to imm@palaunet.com.

Religion
Palau mainly has Christian influence with majority of Catholic, Evangelical, Protestant and Seventh Day Adventist. Palau also has the Modekngei Church, which is a traditional Palauan religion. Visiting ethnic groups also practise their religion here namely Buddhist, Muslim and other but their gatherings are small.

For further information:

Please contact Ms. Reena Suliana, PPA Secretariat on Tel: (679) 3306 022 or send an email to: ppa@ppa.org.fj