Paradise in Palau – Kayangel

 

David Thompson is an incredible intrepid traveler, writer and friend. He has definitely taken us under his wing and helped us with our travels, our website and our events. We are thrilled to be able to share his recent travels to Palau with you.

The word “paradise” is truly defined by Palau’s northern most state of Kayangel, which is composed of merely four small atoll islands. Total population: under 100. Total “wow” factor: 100+ percent. It is places like this that you only read about in travel magazines or see on TV – and when you find yourself in one of these places (such as Kayangel), you have to pinch yourself to make sure its not a dream.

It’s easy to get ‘high’ here – perhaps from chewing betlenut for the first time but more likely it is a natural high that comes from being in a place that is so remarkably beautiful. Ngeriungs Islet (one of the atolls) is privately owned and only two tour companies from Palau are allowed access.

The dazzle of the sparkling aquamarine and turquoise waters are breathtaking. But even more inspiring in today’s world of mass tourism that often over runs places like these – is the fact there are just no people here. In that sense, remote is good. Palau itself is remote of course and this part of the country is even more so. The entire country of Palau boasts a population of approximately 20,000 people and by far the majority of those people live in the south in and around its largest town, Koror.

The beaches continue to change and evolve here because of wave action and storms. The sand is almost untouched – other than flocks of sea birds which soak up the views. Wait for the tide to drop and a prime piece of temporary real estate appears in the form of a long white sand beach that magically stretches almost between the islands. This change can happen quickly – in the span of an hour.

You just don’t want to leave this special place. Lunch is freshly caught fish (caught earlier by line fishing on the 90 minute boat ride here) – grilled on the barbeque or prepared raw as sashimi. There’s not many things better in this life than fresh sashimi simply prepared with soy sauce, lemon and wasabi. And accompanied by a Margarita. Or perhaps a beer picked up in one of the local markets.

One gets used to certain types of banana’s that are grown specifically for the mass consumer. These tend to be dense and all have the same general bland flavor. Kayangel Atoll is known throughout Palau for its bananas – it is refreshing to try a banana that has a unique flavor with an appealing “lightness” in texture. Oh, and they often eat their bananas here with peanut butter! The island also produces delicious papaya and refreshing coconut juice.

This part of Palau has excellent line fishing. The fishing is so good, that if you have not caught a fish within a minute or so of dropping your line, the guides will insist you try somewhere else. If you aren’t pulling in a fish with nearly each line drop, perhaps you just aren’t paying attention to the tug on your line. The fish are so plentiful in parts of the reef that nearly every drop of the line produces a “strike” from a fish.

During a recent stay in Palau – we used Impac Tours for all our guided outings. In our experience, their staff is very well trained, courteous, helpful and puts customer service at the core of their tours and activities. The island attractions are certainly not going anywhere and there are a number of tour companies in Koror all competing for tourist dollars – so the differentiating factor between each tour provider is their customer service and Impac over delivers in this regard.

Impact tours will arrange this full day tour, leaving from either their office in Koror or area hotels. The journey to the atoll takes about 2.5 hours – as you take your time on the way, possibly visiting Palau’s large capital building (built all alone, completely surrounded by jungle) and taking some time to snorkel the edge of a reef on the boat ride.

A day visit to this part of Palau is offered through their “Rainbow’s End, North Explorer Tour” – but perhaps you would like more time to absorb this region’s unique beauty. For truly a “local” experience, consider a home-stay on the main island of Kayangel. Several families either allow you to stay with them or have a separate room or home for guests. The state’s entire miniscule population is on this island, spread out among several villages. Impac tours can help arrange your transportation and the actual home-stay.

Lisa Ellen Niver

Lisa Ellen Niver, M.A. Education, is a science teacher and is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 101 countries and six continents. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she worked on cruise ships for seven years and backpacked for three years in Asia. You can find her talking travel at KTLA TV and in her We Said Go Travel videos with over 1.3 million views on her YouTube channel. As a journalist, Niver has interviewed an Olympic swimmer and numerous bestselling authors and has been invited to both the Oscars and the United Nations. She is the founder of We Said Go Travel which is read in 235 countries and was named #3 on Rise Global’s top 1,000 Travel Blogs. She was named both a Top 10 Travel Influencer and a Top 50 Female Influencer for 2021 by Afluencer and is the Social Media Manager for the Los Angeles Press Club. She has been nominated for the inaugural Forbes 50 over 50/Know Your Value list due out in Summer 2021. She has hosted Facebook Live for USA Today 10best and has more than 150,000 followers across social media. Niver is a judge for the Gracies Awards for the Alliance of Women in Media and has also run 15 travel competitions publishing over 2,500 writers and photographers from 75 countries on We Said Go Travel. For her print and digital stories as well as her television segments, she has been awarded two Southern California Journalism Awards and two National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards. From 2017 to 2021 in the Southern California Journalism Awards and National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Awards, she has won four times for her broadcast television segments, print and digital articles. Niver won in 2021 as Book Critic and in 2019 for one of her KTLA TV segments NAEJ (National Arts and Entertainment Journalism) award. Niver won an award for her print magazine article for Hemispheres Magazine for United Airlines in the 2020 Southern California Journalism Awards and a 2017 Southern California Journalism Award for her print story for the Jewish Journal. Niver has written for National Geographic, USA Today 10best, TODAY, Teen Vogue, POPSUGAR, Ms. Magazine, Luxury Magazine, Smithsonian, Sierra Club, Saturday Evening Post, AARP, American Airways, Delta Sky, En Route (Air Canada), Hemispheres, Jewish Journal, Myanmar Times, Robb Report, Scuba Diver Life, Ski Utah, Trivago, Undomesticated, Wharton Magazine and Yahoo. She is writing a book, “Brave(ish): It's All About Perspective 50 Adventures Before 50,” about her most recent travels and insights. When she's not SCUBA diving or in her art studio making ceramics, she's helping people find their next dream trip.  http://lisaniver.com/one-page/

6 responses to “Paradise in Palau – Kayangel

  1. This is somewhere we have always wanted to go and will make it at some point. The pictures look amazing and certainly live up to what I think it will be like.

  2. Really this is an amazing place with natural beauty; I was always looking for this type of place. The awesome beach attracts me so much. I am eagerly waiting to travel this paradise in Palau.

  3. The math questions are getting more difficult to leave comments through wordpress! Chris – yes, Palau lived up to all my expectations, and then some 🙂 – well worth the money.
    ~ Dave

    1. Dave, YES the anti-spam math…unfortunate but necessary! Thank you again for your great post! Looking forward to more! Lisa

  4. Palau is really awesome! I’ve been in Palau in 2016 and had really a great time! The nature is amazing, diving is absolutely stunning and the people are friendly! Just the prices for hotels are quite expensive and you have to book early to get a good price for a decent room. I’m definitely going back to Palau soon!
    Simon

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