Home' A Plus Magazine : December 2013 Contents 56 December 2013
or a tropical destination far from
the bustle of Southeast Asian re-
sorts, consider heading east over
the Pacific Ocean. There, with
crystal clear waters and shimmering white
sand, is the tiny republic of Palau.
Although this island country of just 20,000
people is very much on the radar of diving
enthusiasts, its remoteness means much of the
country is an unspoiled gem.
Even Palau’s sovereign status is hard to
discern. It has been a United Nations member
since 1994, but it is in a “free association” with
the United States and Washington (through
the U.S. Department of the Interior) handles
its defence needs and provides much of its
Palau is the westernmost island group in
the Caroline Islands of Micronesia, between
Guam and the Philippines. Getting to Palau
takes some effort – and scheduling. United
Airlines flies twice a week from Hong Kong,
via Guam, and the whole journey can take 24
hours or more.
However, tourism is a major industr y and
v isitors to Palau are made to feel welcome. The
airport is in Koror, the capital and largest town,
where most hotels, restaurants and shopping
spots are located. A nother settlement, Mal-
akal, is a harbourfront town from which excur-
sions and inter-island boats depart.
The urban areas, however, draw little at-
tention: most visitors come for the diving.
Indeed, its undersea attractions are legend-
ary: the Blue Corner, in Palau’s south, is one
of the most famous dive sites on the planet.
There, and elsewhere in Palau’s abundant
seas, tourists are draw n to shoals of colourful
triggerfish, wrasse, travelly and barracuda. In
addition, there are more than a dozen species
of whales, dolphins and porpoises to be found
in Palau waters.
The Rock Islands, part of its southernmost
territories, became a UNESCO world heritage
site in 2012 and have been a sanctuary since
Honnus Cheung, Travelzoo Asia CFO and Institute member, explores the attractions of
Palau, both above and below its pristine waters
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