Since I’ve been making travel TV shows for such a long time, one of the questions I’m asked the most is “what’s your favourite place?” I have loved every destination for one reason or another, but Palau always comes up on the short list as having a unique blend of beauty, cultural experiences and one-of-a-kind adventure.
Located 500 miles east of the Philippines, the sea is strikingly clear, warm and richly turquoise. The most amazing aspects are places like Jelly Fish Lake, a marine lake located on Eil Malk island which is part of the Rock Islands in Palau’s Southern Lagoon, between Koror and Peleliu.
Of course, we’re all terrified of swimming or snorkelling in an ocean where a jelly fish might brush up and sting us. In Palau, you can merrily swim amidst millions of them, and they won’t sting at all!
Why, you ask? Around 12,000 years ago, the lake came into existence with the jelly fish, but no predators lived in these waters with them. They have evolved to the point where, in the absence of predators, they have lost their urge to sting. Isn’t that a wonderful macrocosm for the world – that this lake has become a symbol of peace, because there isn’t a predator!
This is one you simply have to see for yourself.
The culture is remarkable too, and I experienced a village in the throes of celebrating the impending birth of a child. Two families came together with gifts, and the whole village danced and whooped it up, thrusting dollar bills at the happy couple. A necklace of beads was carefully brought from the father’s side of the family, solemnly unpacked from its special box and presented to the child’s mother. It’s such a long standing tradition that everyone in Palau who sees her wearing it will know everything about the history of the family from the color and significance of the beads. Not every tourist will find and revel in a local ceremonial celebration like this one, but it sure creates unforgettable memories, not to mention Instagram posts!