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Tuesday, December 30, 2008




Palau offers you the world's most beautiful tropical paradise. Famous for its diving, Palau is rated as one of the world's best diving destinations by scuba aficionados. And why not...Palau has unspoiled reefs, caves, and walls with the most amazing array of marine life you can ever imagine. 

Palau beckons to you with some of the world's most awesome natural wonders. Imagine the whitest beaches you will ever see, gardens of coral just beneath the clearest waters, lakes filled to the brim with "sting less" jellyfish. Forests, waterfalls and caves that have never been ravaged by man, and hundreds of islands of the purest beauty abound all along our pristine archipelago. 


Location and Geographic Description
7° 30' North Latitude, 133° 30' East Longitude

Offical Languages 
English and Palauan

Time Zone
When it's Noon Monday in Palau, it is:
Manila 11:00 A.M. Monday 
Tokyo 12:00 P.M. Monday 
Sydney 1:00 P.M. Monday 
Honolulu 5:00 P.M. Sunday 
Los Angeles 7:00 P.M. Sunday 

Palau enjoys a pleasantly warm climate all year round with an annual mean temperature of 82° degrees F. (27° C.). Rainfall can occur throughout the year, and the annual average is 150 inches. The average relative humidity is 82%, and although rain falls more frequently between July and October, there is still much sunshine. Typhoons are rare as Palau is located outside the typhoon zone.

Currency & Credit Cards :
The official currency of the Republic is the U.S. Dollar. Visa, JCB, Master Card, and American Express cards are widely accepted at stores and visitor facilities. There are FDIC insured banks and major hotels with limited foreign currency exchange. In addition, Palau has money transfers such as Western Union or through Bank Institution.

Customs, Immigration & Health Requirements
One (1) bottle of liquor and one (1) carton of cigarettes can be brought into Palau duty-free. Importation of controlled substances and weapons is strictly prohibited. Travelers must have valid Passport. All visitors must have return travel arrangements or approval by the Chief of Immigration for an extended stay. The fee is $100.00 (U.S.). Cholera and Yellow Fever immunizations are required for those arriving from infected areas.

Getting There

Many visitors to Palau arrive on Continental Airlines by way of daily flights from Guam--gateway to Micronesian. There are daily connections to Guam from Tokyo, USA, and other metropolitan centers around the world. Continental Airlines provide daily flights from Guam to Palau and twice a week from Manila, Philippines.

In addition, there are scheduled chartered ariline services and they are Asiana Airline from Incheon, South Korea, China Airline from Taipei, Taiwan-ROC, and Japan Airlines from Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka, Japan to Palau.

From the western seaboard of the United States, you can hop to Hawaii, skip to Guam, then jump to Palau. For a scenic island route, you can do an island hop across Micronesia to Palau. Through Asia, there are twice weekly charter services between Taipei, Taiwan and Palau and additional flights are also available during peak seasons. From Europe,visitors can fly via Emerates direct to Manila, Philippines and onwards with Continental Airlines to Palau--this is possible without overnight stay in Manila.

Beaches and Diving

Palau is one of the most extraordinary diving spots on this planet. Far to the southwest of Micronesia the Republic of Belau (the traditional name) consists of an archipelago of 343 islands, spread north to south over 100 miles form the atoll of Kayangel to the island of Angaur plus five tiny islands, known as the southwest islands. 

Palau's profuse, unspoiled reefs offer a wealth of marine life, coral formations and wrecks. Dives begin in knee deep water and plunge straight down to depths of 1000 feet and more. 
Blue holes, huge caverns and an immense variety of rare and exotic marine species are easily accessible in clear water with visibility exceeding 200 feet. Vast numbers, not found anywhere else in the world, of large pelagic predators, sharks, turtles, dolphins and many species of migratory fish gather here at a unique crossroads of three of the world's major ocean currents. Land locked marine lakes, accessible from the sea through tunnels beneath the island's steep shorelines, are home to rare jelly fish, anemones and soft corals. 

Palau's famed "Rock Islands" are a collection of rounded, foliage-covered isles which seem to float above the surface of the water. A boat trip through them will reveal a number of magnificent white sand beach hideaways perfect for a secluded picnic or adventurous overnight stay. Below the water's surface, divers and snorkelers are treated to a diverse technicolor paradise of fabulous drop-offs, blue holes , breathtaking reefs, crystal caves and World War II wrecks. 



Monday, December 29, 2008

Vietnam Beaches

Vietnamese Beaches, the best time to go there:

The country has a long coastline, varied, complex climatic zones and generally a fair amount of rain.
The best beaches are mostly in the southern half, and that's best Dec- May [dry, but hot and humid]. However, in that area it doesn't usually rain for long periods at any time, only showers, unless an infrequent typhoon hits the coast, so the beaches are basically OK all year round.
The worst season is probably July -Oct [humidity, occasional rains, typhoons, and of course July-Aug is always a busy holiday period].
Oct - Dec has the best weather over the whole country for sightseeing, with clear skies and temperatures in the mid 20Cs.
Plan ahead if you wish to travel during the Tet New Year festival [late January to early February] - it can be a problem getting accommodation and transport

China Beach, between Da Nang and Hoi An [Central] Best May-Oct
The most unspoilt Vietnam beach is
 the endless white sand of China Beach, where US troops landed during the 70's unpleasantness.
The main beach is officially around the Non Nuoc Resort hotel but some locals argue that the real China Beach is at My Khe Beach about 5 km north of the hotel [both are near the tourist attraction of Marble Mountains]. Development is in on the way!

Nha Trang, Vietnam [Central] Best May-Oct
Nha Trang, 'the Vietnamese Riviera', is a delightful little town of tranquil, friendly locals. It has 6 miles of splendid white sandy beach with azure water, backed by green hills and palm trees. The town has little noise or pollution because locals prefer walking or biking to motorbiking.
You can find good Indian restaurants there and some of the best seafood restaurants in the country.

Tran Phu
 [public beach] is inviting but beaches north of the town and on islands in the bay are a better option. For instance, Doc Let Beach [34 km north of Nha Trang], Dai Lanh Beach [37 km north], Bai Tru Beach in Bamboo Island are worth the trip for peace and quiet.

Mui Ne Beach, Mui Ne Bay, near Phan Thiet [South] Best Dec- May
Mui Ne Bay is about 20mins [by bus] from Phan Thiet, which is 120 miles/198 km [a 3 hour drive] from Ho Chi Minh City. It has fabulous stretches of white sand, a scenic landscape and lovely locals. The climate is hot and dry almost all year, with an average temperature of about 27C.
The good bits
 [e.g. Rang Beach] are the outlying beaches to the north, but the best is Mui Ne Beach, an upcoming resort area known for its spectacular sand dunes. This is regarded as one of Vietnam's most beautiful beaches, but locals still needs to develop an attitude to cleanness, as rubbish piles up between resorts. 
The beach is also known for world-class wind/kite surfing [good wind almost guaranteed - though the sea-breeze can be over-the-top for sun bathing sometimes. See 
Mui Ne Beach Pictures. No hustlers/sellers. Lots of comfortable, reasonably priced hotels are available.

Hon Chong Beach, Ha Tien [South] Best Dec- May
The coastline of Ha Tien 
is on the border with Cambodia [5m/9 km] and has some superb beaches, including the site of the French film L'amant [The Lover, 1995].
Hon Chong Beach
 is a very seductive beach with soft white sand and calm tropical water, while nearby Tien Cave has interesting rock formations. White sandy Duong Beach is also worth a try.
The Hai Tac islets accessible by boat from Ha Tien offer some great diving for scuba freaks. The biggest of these islands, Hon Doc, has also some splendid white beaches. Or try Nghe Island [1 hour one way].

Bai Tam [Long Beach], Phu Quoc Island [South] Best Dec- May
Phu Quoc Island in the Gulf of Thailand is Vietnam's largest island. Off Ha Tien, it's a hidden gem of Southeast Asia. The island has mountains, forests and superb sandy beaches perfect for nature lovers as well as sun-seekers.
Some of the beaches can only be reached by hiking sandy paths - 
Bai Truong [Long Beach] on the west coast is apparently the best, where you can see sunset over the water. 
Bai Thom in the north and Bai Khem in the south are also popular. Major development plans are afoot.

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