We spent a cumulative of 5 nights in Koror. We drove it and the adjoining islands of Malakal and Meyungs, and we walked Koror and Malakal. We stayed in two hotels, one in downtown Koror and one on Meyungs.
Here are some notes we took from our long walk through Koror and Malakal Island:
- There are no bars at which to stop and have a beer in the early afternoon.
- Every restaurant we checked was closed between lunch service and 5:00 or 6:00pm.
- Traffic, traffic, and more traffic on the main roads that run through Koror and Malakal.
- We saw only three motorcycles and a handful of bicycles. People drive cars here, despite the small size of the Koror area. This contributes to the traffic.
- There are sidewalks, but they are ill-maintained and often poorly placed.
- Vehicles would stop, sometimes reluctantly, when we crossed the road. Pedestrians don’t get much deference.
- Koror and its two adjoining islands are a mix of hotels, restaurants, dive shops, convenience stores, grocery stores, gas stations, homes, boat and auto repair shops, other commercial operations, schools, and government buildings like the Palau Supreme Court Building. There is new and old, wealthy and poor, private and public — all stuffed into a very small space.
Koror gets crazy on the weekends, particularly payday weekends. We were there for one of them. On Friday night, we were awakened at 11:30pm to the loud, pulsing sounds of a live band at nearby club in downtown Koror, which didn’t end until 1:30am. This caused us to move the next day to a different hotel on the island of Meyungs. Saturday night, Dan drove into downtown Koror to pick-up dinner, and saw a pedestrian get hit by a car in the insanely-busy traffic.
Koror brings together many nationalities. We talked with a Filipino driving for a hotel, a Guamanian taxi driver, a Bangladeshi at the register of a convenience store, and an Indian working at a restaurant. We saw white Westerners riding bicycles and motorcycles, and very much looking like they lived there. And we saw many, many Chinese, Japanese, and Western tourists.
Our impression is that Koror is more a place to go from, than a place to go to. It is best used as a preparation and staging area for trips afield. If we had were to do a Palau kayak and camping trip again, we would only stay in Koror for two days and three nights: one day to clear jet lag and tour Koror and Babeldaob; and one day to obtain permits and prepare equipment.