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.
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 Skyscanner.
Palau is known as a world-class scuba diving destination, some say it has the best marine ecosystem in the world, alongside the Maldivesand 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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
Sam’s Tours – Our Top Choice! These guys have awesome tours, great staff, and competitive prices.
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.
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!
Make sure you get travel insurance before hitting the road. Trust us, it’s one of those things you don’t want to leave home without. We recommend either World Nomads or SafetyWing, depending on the type of traveller you are.
🔥 Hot Tip: Book some of the awesome things to do in Palau HERE on Viator for instant confirmation.
✅ Must-have item 1: GoPro Hero 9 to capture the incredible marine life underwater.
✅ Must-have item 2: Belkin Powerbank to charge your phone/camera during the day.
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. In this post, we share our tips on logistics and airline/ferry schedules to help you navigate your way around.
TRAVEL PLANNING RESOURCES
✈️ Flights:Skyscanner and Expedia are the best sites to search for the cheapest flights and great deals from your home country.
🏨 Accommodation:Booking.com, Agoda, andHotelsCombined are the top platforms to search for fantastic hotels and accommodation options at the best price.
🛌 Homestays:Airbnb is an ideal platform to book a local experience. We use Airbnb to reserve entire apartments for long-term stays.
🚌 Transportation: To book trains,Trainline is the best and cheapest website. To book transport in Europe, USA & Canada, we useOmio & FlixbusUS. For travel in Asia, we use 12Go.For all other countries, we use BookaWay to compare and book Bus, Ferry, or train tickets to get around.
Rach is a self-confessed travelling foodie. Her passion for food and culture has seen her eat her way through 190 countries. She's currently on a big food adventure to visit EVERY country in the world!
When Rach isn't travelling, you can find her at the beach, drinking coffee or wine with friends or chowing down on the best eats around her home city of Melbourne, Australia.