Visa run -- Palau

Just got back from Palau. As an official friend of Taiwan, there is a real Taiwanese embassy there – complete with Taiwanese flag flapping in the wind. Specifically requested a 2-month visa, but got one month only, extendable, one day processing, no questions asked.

Diving and snorkelling is excellent (there’s really nothing else to do there), though everything there is pricy (far more expensive than Taiwan norms).

Anyone else been there for a visa change?

What kind of prices are you taking about Monkey? How much to get there? How much for a room (medium to good range)? Average meal? What is your impression of the scenery, beaches, water?

Yeah, enquiring minds want to know…

Getting there: 5D4N package will cost in the region of NT$23,000. There are only 3 hotels in the country that “cater to tourists,” and one is scheduled for demolition this coming week. Our hotel was KMT-owned lump of concrete not on the beach, but on ther main drag. Add another NT$5,000 for the posh one on the beach, or US$25 per day just to walk on their sacred sands, if you are not a resident there.
Beers cost US$1 per can in the shops, and US$4 or US$5 per can in the hotels. Don’t have to be a genius to figure where to go shopping.
Organized boat tours around the islands for groups will cost about US$100 per day (lunchtime BBQ / drinks and all snorkelling gear provided).
Diving will cost about US$30 for full dive kit rental for the day, and something like US$60 for combined boat transport and divemaster for a single dive.
Palau gov’t charges tourists insurance of US$15 to cover watersports-related emergencies (though one payment will cover the entire stay.)
But (and i guess you only find this out after you get there) there are cheap hotels in the offing. One hotel we stumbled upon opposite our KMT hotel offered rooms for US$27.50 a night, according to one cabbie we met.
Well, I’ll be wiser next time I go there, but be warned, this is a “country” of just 20,000 people, there is basically one main road, the length of which can be travelled in about 15 minutes.
It’s tiny, it’s developing, but if you are a serious dive enthusiast and have never seen sunken Japanese fighter planes and warships, it’s certainally worth a vist. Some of the wrecks, by the way, are within 5m or so of the surface, and can be explored and even photographed by snorkellers.

Here’s a site that has some great photos of the site owner’s Palau trip last year, as well as journal.

I used to book flights and rooms for our sales people at my last corp job… I think the name of the small hotel we used often was Sunrise Villa. You’d probably be able to find contact info for them on the net.

Did you take a direct flight Twn-Palau or does it go thru Guam first?

I’ve heard it’s a nice romantic getaway too if you know where to go.

My Taipei Baby