Capital | Koror
Population | 20,956 (July 2011 est.)
Area | 458 SQ KM
Official Language | English, Palauan
Holidays | Constitution Day, 9 July (1979)
Currency | Dollar (USD)
Time Zone | UTC +9
Best Time to Visit | September to July, avoiding stormy August
Connecting with the Culture | Sailing through the twisty maze of the Rock Islands. Keeping a respectful distance from a traditional bai (men’s meeting house) on Micronesia’s second-largest island, Babeldaob. Climbing Malakal Hill on Koror Island for great views of the Rock Islands. Diving into history around Peleliu, the WWII-ravaged paradise. Chowing down on outstanding seafood including mangrove crab and lobster at Koror’s smaorgasbord of eateries.
Read | Arnold H Leibowitz’s Embattled Island: Palau’s Struggle for Independence, a US-friendsly take on Palau’s postwar political history.
Listen | to Natural…, the first album by the Paluan band, InXes.
Watch | Palau—The Enchanted Islands, a scuba adventure by filmmaker Avi Klapfer.
Eat | cassava, betel nut, tuna, sushi, lobster.
Drink | abundant and fresh coconut milk.
In a Word | Alii (hello)
Characteristics | Giant clams; maverick politicians taking on Uncle Sam; red-mouthed betel-nut chewers; WWII wrecks and ruins; storyboard art; outrigger canoes.
Surprises | The draft Palauan constitution of 1979- it created the world’s first nuclear-free state… until the US asked for amendments; the thousands of crab-eating macaques on Angaur island.