Palau is an archipelago of more than 500 islands, part of the Micronesia region in the western Pacific Ocean, well known for its scuba-diving and snorkeling sites. Northerly island Koror is home to the former capital, the majority of the population and the islandsâ€™ main commercial center. Neighboring Babeldaob has the modern capital, Ngerulmud, mountains and sandy beaches on its east coast.
1. Capitol Complex PalauFound in the capital city, Melekeok, the Capital Complex is a relatively new structure that houses the parliament of Palau. The site is not without its controversy, as locals continue to ask why such a large capital was built even though the population of Palau is reasonably small. Regardless, tourists can still spend time discovering the landmark via organized tour.
2. Palau National Museum
Known as the Belau National Museum, this site is one of the most important cultural attractions in the country. First built in 1955, the museum was once located in an old Japanese Administration Building. However, today it is housed inside a modern structure on the island of Koror.
3. Koror JailThe only penitentiary on the islands of Palau has become an attraction for tourists. Although it may not sound like an interesting place to explore, the jail is home to some of the worldâ€™s finest carved storyboards. The prisoners have been creating the large, intricate storyboards for many years now. Tourists flock to the jail to purchase these elaborate carvings, from which the money raised is given back to the families of the prisoners. Donâ€™t expect to find cheap products here.
4. Palau International Coral Reef CenterFound on the island of Koror, the Palau International Coral Reef Center is the ideal spot to take the children and family for a day out. Within this center, an aquarium featuring educational exhibits about life in the coral reef, current species trends, and conservation practices for reef systems can be toured. The Palau Aquarium is part of the larger Palau International Coral Reef Center.
5. Malakal Lookout TowerLocated on the island of Malakal, the Malakal Lookout Tower is a purpose-built edifice that provides spectacular views over the region.
6. Rock IslandsThe Rock Islands are an incredibly picturesque group of limestone islands. Visitors are able to rent tour boats to explore these remarkable pinnacles. The Rock Islands are famous for their beaches and cliff faces, which attract thousands of visitors each year.
7. Dolphins PacificThis is one of the most remarkable attractions in Palau. Dolphins Pacific is a dolphin research facility that opens its doors to the public on a daily basis. The facility aims to study dolphins and use them to help educate the local population about the need for marine conservation. Visitors can swim with or feed dolphins while exploring the conservation center.
8. Peleliu Island
This magnificent island is found just to the south of the Rock Islands group. It has been a US National Historic Landmark since 1985, as it played a significant role in the outcome of the Pacific War.