Palau is a beautiful island nation with a population of 20,000+ people. Sure it’s small, but there are many things to do in Palau when you arrive. You could say that Palau island feels like one big town, everyone knows everyone here! The country consists of one main island, Babeldaob, several smaller islands, and about 300+ limestone rock islands (more about these later). The capital city of Koror is located on the main island, and around 75% of the entire population of Palau lives here. 

school of fish things to do in palau

Where is the island of Palau located?

Palau is located in the Western Pacific Ocean. Around 800km east of the Philippines and 1330 km northeast of Guam. Essentially, Palau island is situated in the middle of nowhere. Because of its remote location, it’s a pricey destination to reach and the high prices continue once you’re here.

Palau is also one of the smallest countries in the world, along with Tuvalu, Nauru, and Vatican City. 

What airlines fly to Palau?

Palau has only recently opened up again for tourism in 2022 (after remaining closed for tourism due to the coronavirus) and there are now limited flights available. You can book these flights on Aviasales.

The only three current flights are listed below:

  • From Manila on United Airlines
  • From Guam on United Airlines
  • From Taipei on China Airlines

What is Palau known for?

Palau is known as a world-class scuba diving destination, some say it has the best marine ecosystem in the world, alongside the Maldives and the Great Barrier Reef in Australia (I recommend joining the incredible Reefsleep experience in the Whitsundays to confirm this for yourself). 

For this reason, tourism in Palau is heavily focused on diving and snorkelling activities and other awesome things to do in Palau. 

coral fish things to do in palau

10 Awesome Things to do in Palau

1) Rock Island Tour

Explore the untouched beauty of Palau on this awesome adventure. Hotel pick-up is included before you meet your guide and get fitted with equipment for this fantastic tour. 

Best Things to do in Palau - Jellyfishlake

Jellyfish Lake is one of the best things to do in Palau – Don’t miss it!

You will sail to Palau’s Southern Lagoon for epic beaches, an underwater adventure, and a body-nourishing stop at the “Milky Way.” You’ll also have the chance to experience one of the best things to do in Palau – swim with the jellies in Jellyfish Lake! This one-of-a-kind activity is highly recommended and it’s included in this tour.

The Rock Island Tour is #1 on our awesome things to do in Palau. Don’t miss it!

2) The Ngardmau Waterfall

A Palauan legend states that the Ngardmau waterfall was created by the body of a spirit, a giant eel with one eye that was believed to be a God. One day the spirit fell into a deep slumber. He never woke up again and his body evolved into the river. It’s believed that his head became the Ngardmau Waterfall.

You will need wheels to get to Ngardmau waterfall and I recommend hiring a car from IR Car Rentals in downtown Koror. They rent cars starting from $32 per day.

The drive to the waterfall from downtown Koror takes about 30min. As you follow the trail, discover small pools and tiny waterfalls along the way. The waterfall is the largest one in Palau, around 30m high and 37m wide. 

Note: It’s a steep 35 min downhill trek from the entrance to the waterfall. 

Entrance Fee: USD 20 pp and you can purchase the ticket in the parking lot. The waterfall is open daily between 9 am – 5 pm.

3) Go Sea Kayaking

kayaking things to do in palau

Go kayaking! Best things to do in Palau

One of the best things to do in Palau is a kayaking tour. I’d recommend Sam’s Tours for this activity as they offer 4 different kayak tours (view tours on Sam’s Tours website). This gives you the chance to explore a variety of different habitats within Palau’s stunning Rock Islands. 

Learn the history of the archipelago from your local guide as you paddle around paradise.

4) Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Palau

The water and beaches in Palau are made for exploring. I’d recommend hiring a stand-up paddleboard and heading out there.

You can book a stand-up paddleboard rental here, but remember that permits are not included in the price.

5) Belau National Museum

Bai Belau National museum things to do in Palau

Visit the Bai at the Belau National Museum. Best things to do in Palau

Visit the museum to learn more about Paluan culture. Explore the impressive Bai or traditional Palauan meeting house located outside the museum. 

Entrance Fee to the museum: $15 pp (adult)

Outside Entrance Only: $5 pp

6) Go Scuba Diving

Scuba diving is what most tourists in Palau are here to do. The underwater world is incredible here. In saying that, scuba diving is expensive in Palau – so be prepared for that.

scuba diving things to do in palau

The best things to do in Palau include scuba diving

I’d recommend contacting one of these reputable Dive Operators before your arrival in Palau to arrange all of your diving trips in advance. The dive operators require a minimum number of people to operate tours and tourism is a little slow on the island since re-opening recently in 2022.

Recommended Diving Operators in Palau

If you’d prefer to book just one Full-Day Scuba Dive Tour instead, this 1-Day Scuba Diving Tour of Palau’s Best Dive Sites is for you.

7) A Three-Day Dive Tour (includes Jellyfish Lake Tour)

Enjoy 3 days of diving with one of Palau’s best Tour Operators, Neco Marine. Discover sensational diving and the amazing Jellyfish lake with Neco Marine’s awesome staff. Check out the full details and make your reservation below.

8) Scenic Flight over the islands

Enjoy a breathtaking 40min flight over the Rock Islands of Palau. This is one of the best things to do in Palau, especially if you’re short on time. The flight price is $180 pp and requires a min of 2 people per flight.

Get in touch with Palau Aviation to make a reservation.

Palau Jellyfish Lake Tour - 5 things you need to know Palau

9) Visit the Stone Monoliths

Located at the northern end of Babeldaob you will encounter a succession of over 35 stone monoliths. According to the local faith, they were regarded as a sacred area for prayers and rituals, dating back over 2000 years ago.

What is a monolith? 

A monolith is described as a statue, or column carved from a single piece of stone. Some examples of monoliths around the world are the massive statues of men on Easter Island, Chile, Stonehenge or Uluru (Ayers Rock) in Australia.

These stone monoliths in Palau are a great deal smaller than the ones mentioned above, but still one of the more interesting things to do in Palau.

Opening Hours: 9 am – 5 pm

Entrance Fee: $5 pp

10) Off-Road Jungle Driving Adventure 

Go deep into the Palau rainforest on an exhilarating ATV tour. Driving a rugged vehicle built for rough terrain, you’ll explore deep into the landscape where traditional tour vehicles can’t reach.

Following your local guide through a maze of muddy tracks, the trip includes swimming stops at jungle waterfalls, wildlife, and time to discover tropical plants on foot. Learn about Palau’s traditional culture, plant medicine, and lost villages. Tour is from 4-8 hours in duration and lunch is included.

A great way to see discover the natural beauty and history of the island and one of the things to do in Palau for adventure seekers!

Check Tour for Price and Availability

I hope you’ve enjoyed our list of the best things to do in Palau. This is a stunning destination and the Palauan people are very welcoming too.

Don’t forget to try some of the local cuisines while you’re here. I’m a big food lover and I share my Top 5 Foods to Eat in Palau. This article also reveals where to find the best restaurants in Palau as well as the best cheap eats too. 

You may also enjoy reading our post about how to visit every country in the Pacific. It’s quite a challenging region of the world to travel to. In this post, we share our tips on logistics and airline/ferry schedules to help you navigate your way around. 

TRAVEL PLANNING RESOURCES

✈️ Flights: Aviasales & CheapOair are the best websites to book cheap flights.

🏨 AccommodationBooking.comAgoda, and Hotellook are the top platforms to search for fantastic hotels and accommodation options at the best price.

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✅ Check out our Travel Resources Page for more Useful Tips to Save you Money!