You’ve found paradise. You’ve gotten out on the water for a day of activity. You’ve looked out the window in the morning only to discover adverse weather. What to do now?
If you’re interested in learning a bit more about your surroundings, you may want to check out a museum. Rest assured that in Palau, you’ll have a few opportunities to hunt down some history, arts, and culture.
Located to the east of the Philippines, the tiny island nation of Palau represents a 177 square mile (458km2) speck in the Pacific Ocean. The country has a population of just over 20,000, which makes it one of the least populated nations in the world.
Having become an independent nation in 1994, Palau’s recent status as a country does little to reflect its rich cultural history. Despite being discovered by the English in the late 18th century, there is evidence to suggest that indigenous inhabitants have been on the island for around 4,500 years.
Exploring Palau’s History
Though travelers are most likely to visit Palau for its scuba diving, there are a few history-based activities. Explore the identity of a nation by visiting its local museums.
Koror is Palau’s largest city, and as such, is its commercial and tourism center. With a number of museums in the area, there’s a few good choices to consider.
Belau National Museum
The modestly sized Belau National Museum is complete with a comprehensive collection which, details Palau’s sometimes spotty history. Exhibits, set both indoors and outdoors, include information about the past possessors of the territory such as Germany, Japan, Spain and the USA.
Representing Palau’s role in World War II, the museum also holds a number of battle relics. Set up without much concern for presentation, the relics are unidentified and sit as though they might be pieces of scrap metal.
For a Palauan cultural experience, check out the Etpison Museum which offers art, jewelry, photographs, and mannequin displays. Built as a not-for-profit educational center, the museum succeeds in providing an opportunity for visitors to learn about indigenous ways of life.
Admission to the Etpison Museum costs a mere $5, though visitors will have the opportunity to spend more cash in the sizable gift shop.
Belau Art Gallery
If all the history has you feeling a bit overwhelmed, you may want to just stare at something pretty. Claiming to be the nation’s only fine art gallery, the Belau Art Gallery showroom is little more than a small shop in the Palau Royal Resort. With a limited selection, expect to find a variety of oil paintings and watercolors.
All of the paintings that you see can be bought for the right price.
When To Go
With the majority of exhibitions being indoors, there’s no bad time to be at the museum. However, keep in mind that the Etpison Museum is closed on Sundays.
Temperatures will be controlled in these facilities, ensuring a comfortable visit. Outside, look at averages to stay consistent throughout the year with lows of 75°F (24°C) and highs of 90°F (32°C).
Getting There & Around
To fly into Koror, use the Roman Tmetuchl International Airport, which services a number of Asian origins. The airport is located only a short distance from the city.
- Mid-range accommodations: $90-130
- Meal: $6-15
- Beer: $2.50
- Visit both Etpison and the Belau National Museum.
- Consider the museums a rainy day activity.
- Visit Etpison’s gift shop.
- Expect cheap prices at the art gallery.
- Use the museums to supplement actually experiencing the culture.
- Skip out on Palau’s many water-based activities.
- Palau’s Mount Ngerchelchuus is the nation’s highest point at 794 feet (242m).
- The country consists of more than 250 islands.
- Palau’s main industry is tourism.
Feature Image Credit: Palau Robert. Generalitat de Catalunya