With so many countries and islands dotted all over the world, it would be unusual for us all to have heard of every single one of them. Palau may fall into that category of countries you are unfamiliar with, since it is not commonly-known about by lots of people. However the currency this country uses is among the most famous in the world – if not the most famous. It is the US dollar.
Pretty much everyone is aware the dollar is split into 100 cents. You may also know what denominations these are available in, but let’s cover them all here so we’re clear. Most of the coins are in cents, starting with the one cent coin before moving through the 5, 10, 25 and 50 cent coins. However you can also use the dollar coin if you get the chance.
There are quite a few banknotes you might see on your travels in Palau as well. These include the $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 dollar notes. Strictly speaking there is also a $2 note although it is not often seen even in America so it is unlikely you will see it in Palau either.
Palau is a republic rather than being a territory with connections to the US, as is the case with other countries that use currencies related more closely to another part of the world. However it is known as an associated state with regard to the United States. This is a formal relationship and one that sees the US provide funding in certain areas. This is the main reason why Palau uses the US dollar, because it makes good sense to do so. There is no need to confuse things with an exchange rate between two currencies since they both use the same one.
Well we are talking about the US dollar here, arguably the most famous currency in the world and the leading reserve currency as well. This means you have a good chance of finding it and ordering it from any bureau de change you choose to go to.
It is a good idea to compare outlets before deciding to order from any particular one, because it might be the case that you can get a better deal from one than from another.
There is no central bank in Palau – another reason it does not have its own currency and uses the US dollar instead. There are however a few regular banks and you can get cash from these if you wish to exchange your own currency there. However these services can be limited compared to what you might be used to at home. The best bet is to take in enough US dollars to tide you over for your trip. You can get a money transfer from home if need be but it is not the best idea.
One final point to note is that credit card payments can be made in many parts of Palau. This gives you another method for paying for things.
You may already have a pretty good idea of how much the US dollar is worth in relation to whatever currency you happen to use on a daily basis. Most people could come up with an educated guess at least. However it is good to get the latest information and this is available via most good currency converters. You just have to find the US dollar and your own currency – entering your own one first – to find out the latest rate applicable. This will not take into account any adjustments made for foreign exchange services at a bureau de change, so bear this in mind.
As usual it is a good idea to find out more about any country you plan to visit long before you make firm plans to do so. Even if you have already done this you can get an update close to the time of travel. This can easily be done by visiting the UK government website, which has a section provided on foreign travel advice for many different countries. The page for Palau is at https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/palau.
It is understandable to want to know a little more about a country you are unfamiliar with, especially in terms of your safety. Thankfully Palau is pretty safe, especially when compared to some other parts of the world. For example the crime levels are relatively low, which means there are no specific dangers to be aware of.
Of course it would be foolhardy of us to say you have nothing to be concerned with. Some basic steps taken to preserve and protect everything you take with you would not go amiss anywhere in the world. Here you should be alert for leaving your belongings unattended at any time since it invites an opportunity for them to go missing. At least there is a heightened chance you will forget to take them with you. Other than this, if you have accommodation that provides you with a safe it might be a good idea to make sure you can safely tuck your passport and any surplus cash away in there for the day while you are out.
Palau is a country made up of an impressive number of islands – some 250 of them in all. Not all of these are populated though, and in fact there are only a few thousand permanent residents of the island nation itself. The country is located in the North Pacific Ocean and the biggest island is called Babeldaob. This is the island that is home to the capital of Palau, which is Ngerulmud. The capital may not be the most appealing part of all of Palau, but there are some impressive official buildings here including the Judiciary Building and the Palau National Congress building.
Aside from this part of the country, the island that boasts the highest population is that of Koror. This is much smaller than Babeldaob and it lies just to the south-west of the main island. It seems ironic that the majority of the population lives on a much smaller land mass here. One reason for this might be that the former capital of the country was located in Koror (the town of the same name).
Koror is a much more active place to be in terms of tourism. Indeed there are many services here that are largely set up to appeal to tourists. You will soon discover that Palau is particularly loved by divers, since there are numerous diving opportunities all around the islands. Some of these should be left for the experts to deal with, but there are plenty of opportunities for novices to enjoy as well. There are plenty of shops on Koror that will have all the diving equipment you could want during your stay.
The Rock Islands are perhaps one of the best-known attractions the island nation has to offer. This is a very appropriate name since the small islands are quite literally made from rock. These islands are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and are well worth a visit. Among other things they can reveal some stunning beaches just begging to be discovered and enjoyed for the day.
Something else you may want to try while on the Rock Islands is to swim with jellyfish. Yes I know, it doesn’t sound like something you would want to try, does it? However, one of the rock islands called Eil Malk has a marine lake and it is filled with jellyfish that do not sting. As such it is a unique experience and many people like to try it out. Even if you don’t go in the water you can enjoy the experience from the side of the lake.
A visit to the Belau National Museum might also be a pleasant way to spend a few hours. Belau is another name for Palau and you will find the museum in Koror. It is a good way to learn more about the country as a whole and thus is a very educational trip.
As you can see, while Palau may have been completely new to you a short while ago, it does have plenty to offer. It is a haven for divers and provides lots of opportunities to enjoy the natural world on one or more of the islands. Indeed if you can it is a good idea to see more than one of the islands too, since it gives you more areas to enjoy and explore.
While you can enjoy a nice beach-based holiday in Palau it is nice to get out and about to an extent so you can explore everything else it has to offer as well. Where will you begin?