Country guides Australasia
The electrical current is generally 120 volts, 60Hz. Plugs are similar to those used in the USA and Japan, with two or three flat prongs.
The two official languages are Palauan and English. Palauan is the most widely spoken language but English and Japanese are also widely understood, with Spanish and German spoken to a lesser extent.
The local currency is the US dollar (USD). ATMs are available at the airport and in larger centres; some local shops accept credit cards.
Tipping is not expected in bars and restaurants, but patrons are free to add 10 percent for exceptional service. Visitors who've been taken around by a particularly good tour guide or private driver can also show their appreciation with a tip, though this is not expected either, and the amount is up to the guest.
Recommended vaccinations include COVID-19, hepatitis A and hepatitis B, and a vaccination for typhoid should be considered by long-term visitors planning to eat outside of hotels and restaurants. Health care is basic but generally sufficient for routine problems; air evacuation to another country will likely be required for any serious health issue. Comprehensive health insurance is advised and travellers should carry a supply of basic medications as well as any required prescription medication. There is a hyperbaric chamber for divers at Belau National Hospital.
Crime levels are low but travellers should be wary of petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching. Beaches are not usually supervised by lifeguards and tidal changes can cause powerful currents in the coastal lagoons that surround the islands. Several drownings occur each year; travellers should note that rescue services may not be consistent with international standards. There is still a significant amount of unexploded ordnance left over from World War II, particularly in Peleliu and Angaur. Visitors should take care, especially when diving or exploring caves.
Palauan social values are largely family-based, with respect and deference being shown to elders. A strong emphasis is placed on easy-going, harmonious social relationships. Travellers should avoid wearing beachwear around town, although casual dress is totally acceptable. It's important to remove shoes when entering someone's home. The head is considered a sacred part of the body, and should not be touched (unless by invitation). If travellers are invited to a social gathering of any kind, it's best to accept the invitation and not go than decline outright. Visitors should not remark negatively about the locals' habit of chewing betel nut. Public displays of affection between same-sex partners may offend locals and travellers should note that, although the law is seldom enforced, homosexuality is technically illegal.
Lightweight suits or shirt and tie are usually worn, though more casual options such as shorts, flip flops and Hawaiian-style shirts are acceptable in many situations as well. Punctuality isn't hugely important but if the meeting really counts, it's best to show up on time.
Visitors to Palau may import one pack of cigarettes and one bottle of liquor without incurring customs duty. Controlled substances and weapons are prohibited.
The international access code for Palau is +680. It is often cheaper to get a local sim card than to pay international roaming costs, and free WiFi is available in hotels, cafes and restaurants.
Passport & Visa
All visitors must have a passport valid for six months from their date of arrival, and are required to hold proof of sufficient funds. It is highly recommended that travellers' passports have at least six months' validity remaining after the intended date of departure from their travel destination. Immigration officials often apply different rules to those stated by travel agents and official sources.
US nationals require a passport valid for six months from date of arrival. A visa is not required for stays of up to one year.
UK nationals require a passport that is valid for six months beyond the date of arrival. Visa exemptions apply for stays of 30 days.
Canadian nationals require a passport that is valid for six months beyond the date of arrival. Visa exemptions apply for stays of 30 days.
A passport valid for six months beyond the arrival date is required for Australian nationals. A 30 day visa is obtainable on arrival. Extensions are possible for tourist visas.
A passport valid for six months beyond the arrival date is required for South African nationals. A 30 day visa is obtainable on arrival. Extensions are possible for tourist visas.
A passport valid for six months beyond the arrival date is required for Irish nationals. They are visa exempt for stays of up to 90 days.
A passport valid for six months beyond the arrival date is required for New Zealand nationals. A 30 day visa is obtainable on arrival. Extensions are possible for tourist visas.
The Bureau of Tourism: www.palaugov.pw/executive-branch/ministries/hrctd/bureau-of-tourism/911 (emergencies)