- One more route across Pacific Text & photos: Wojciech D¹browski ©
|For some people (like me) travel is a passion of their life. They are working hard and spending for travel all their savings, going year by year farther and farther. Finally they start dream about taking the longest way: around the world. There a lot of different options how to pass Asia, Africa and the Americas during such travel. But if you come to plan how to cross Pacific you the choice become limited, especially if you travel on a budget.|
It looks that there are three basic routes:
1. Northern - the simplest one: from East Asia (Seoul, Tokyo, Taipei, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Manila) to US West Coast, usually with only one stopover - on Hawaii.
2. Southern - from South East Asia via Australia, New Zealand and Polynesia to US West Coast with many possible stopovers on the islands.
3. Central - from US West Coast via Hawaii and Micronesia to East Asia (Manila, Taipei) - also with stopovers on Micronesian Islands
Few years ago during my first round-the-world journey I did the most interesting variant of the southern route flying Singapore - Australia - New Zealand - Fiji - Cook Is. - Tahiti - Los Angeles. Last year I travel around the world for the second time (now in west direction) on central route. Continental - Air Micronesia are flying this route and offer some interesting fares e.g. circle fare to Guam and back from Los Angeles or Honolulu. Please note that there are US military installations on Johnston and Kwajalein islands and you cannot leave the plane there without special permit.
My general impression is that Micronesia is beautiful, free of tourist crowd but expensive. Here are some travel tips from my diary.
for those, who needs a visa: T-1 visa is issued free of charge on arrival
at the arrival hall of the Majuro airport you will find people who are ready to take you for free to the hotel of your choice. It is also common, that hotel owner will drop you to the airport at the departure. They increase departure tax to 15 USD
I stayed at Majuro Hotel, it is probably cheapest hotel on the island: they charge 29 USD for the single room with fan and shower and 37 USD per night in the a/c room. “Capital Terrace Hotel” charges 55 USD for the cheapest room.
ground communication on the atoll is inexpensive: taxi ride anywhere between Majuro Bridge and Rita costs 30 cents, minibus from Majuro to Laura - 1,50 USD
all people older then 12 must pay 1 USD entry fee entering Laura Beach - best on Majuro. There is toilet and shower
do not try to photograph president’s house - security guard is very strict, it is also forbidden to picture the coastline around this place.
Iet Ehu Tourist Agency is worth to recommend. They charge 20 USD for the climbing Sokehs Rock with you and 40 USD for the boat trip to Nan Madol with snorkeling on the way and stopover at Kepirohi Falls. Light packed lunch is included in the price.
Iet Ehu offers also round the island tour for 50 USD, and diving at the reef for 65 USD (lunch and 2 tanks are included)
the view from the Sokehs Rock towering the harbour is breathtaking. But it is not easy (if you have not a guide) to find the beginning of the path. The trail itself is not well maintained - there are concrete steps, but at the first part only. Then there are fallen trees on the path and a segment where you must just climb the tree to follow the trail. Round trip took me 1,5 hour including 15-minutes stopover on the summit
When planning a trip to Nan Madol ruins - the “Venice of the Pacific” it important to know the time of the high tide. If you will not come to the ruins at the high tide you will be not able to go through the channels - you will see only the main building in the complex. If you will come to the ruins at low tide sometimes it will not be possible to pass over the wall to the complex. We have been there 3 hours before the high tide. We visited Nan Douvas, but the rest of the complex at this time was accessible only by small boat (local people with a canoe are waiting there, but they asked 20 USD for the short trip around ruins).
Kepirohi Fall is worth to see. At the beginning of the path there is announcement, that you must pay 3 USD to enter the place. Swimming in the pool is refreshing, but to get into the pool you must cross the river: stones are very slip. There is the rope - very helpful.
In Palikir - the FSM capital there is nothing special to see except the architecture, especially on weekends, when everything is closed.
there are car rental booths in the airport, but the cars are not always available - book in advance!
If you are in a hurry - rent a taxi by hours - I paid 30 USD for a half a day.
I stayed at DW motel - they were waiting in the airport for the tourists. They charge 35 USD per single room and 45 for double with a/c and shower. Coffee and tea is free for the guests and they will drop you back to the airport at the departure.
at the old bai at Arai the caretaker is charging 10 USD for the usage of still camera and 50 USD for video camera - just look around and buy a bai postcard at the supermarket
Palau museum disappointed me - there is not much to see. They charge 2 USD for entry. In front of the museum there is another bai and they charge again 50 USD for video recording, but still pictures are free
Interesting shell museum on the main street of Koror charges 1 USD and there is also souvenir shop
Marine Center on Malakal Island is a must, if you wish to see giant clams. They charge 2 USD for entry and you can buy there small clams shells for 10 or 20 USD depending of the size
Paradise Air offers round trips over the Rocky Islands to Pelieu. From the air you will see the best view of Palau and emerald Rocky Islands - it is really worth the price (58 USD round trip)
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