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a week too long?

Level Contributor
269 posts
23 reviews
34 helpful votes
a week too long?

we plan to visit Palau and Yap. From the UA's fly schedule we need to stay in Yap for a week. I know one week in Palau is not too long, but is one week in Yap too long? We are snorkelers, we want to go to Yap mainly for the stone money, also some snorkeling, kayaking, hiking if it's not too hard, thanks.

1 reply
Level Contributor
13 posts
4 reviews
1 helpful vote
1. Re: a week too long?

I know this is from a while ago, but I'll give you my personal opinion. I was in Yap for a little over a week about 13 years ago visiting a relative who was a fairly long-term (1 or 2 years) expat. I'm sure things have changed since then but I don't think they've changed THAT much, Yap is pretty far off the beaten path and from what I understand is pretty conservative concerning change.

I didn't find 10 too long but I was also in a different situation. If you're like me (and from what you wrote we enjoy the same types of activities), 5 days would be ideal but a week is not too long, especially if you don't mind doing some things more than once (i.e. go on two trails on different days, go snorkeling twice, etc.). Two things I would recommend: (1) try scuba diving - I did this for the first (and only, but not because I didn't enjoy it) time and Yap and it was great. I forgot which outfit I used but they were very good about instruction and I felt safe. I was the only person on the trip so I had 1-to-1 guidance, but I think most trips are like this or it would be easy to arrange, and 2 people is not too many. I didn't snorkel on Yap but my impression is that you would see more scuba diving, and there were plenty of fish to enjoy. (2) consider hiring a local guide- I'm sure your hotel can advise you about this. I found it very helpful to have a resident take me around - unless there is a very good map of the island, or you can have someone draw one for you, it's not obvious where churches, long houses, or other places you might want to see are, or where the trails between villages go (and how to get back). It's also helpful to have someone advise you on local customs - for example, all of the land is owned by someone, even if there is no one around, and you ask permission before picking fruit; it's polite to ask the village chief before entering a village, if possible; thighs are considered sexual (unlike breasts) so if possible, they should be covered with a skirt, bermuda shorts, etc. People are very polite and accepting that tourists may not understand their ways, but I felt more comfortable knowing that I was fitting in with the local customs.

Art and sculpture are very important on Yap and I enjoyed visiting some artists studios that are open to the public. I purchased a small painting and some stone sculpture for comparatively little money and have enjoyed them ever since.

Another thing you might consider doing, depending on how outgoing you are, is asking someone in your profession about how things work on the island - for example, if you're a teacher, visiting a classroom and speaking to the students about where you live. There is (or was) also a community college and depending on your profession they may enjoy a guest speaker. I was able to speak with some attorneys and did a brief pro-bono research project while I was there, which of course gave me a lot of insight into the legal system.

Also, when I was there, one of the hotels had a buffet and show of 'traditional' island dancing (you could attend them separately); even though the dancing was for tourists and I'm not sure how authentic it was, the dancers were really terrific and I was very impressed.

Also see if any festivals or other events are going on. I attended a school graduation which was intersting and something not a lot of tourists see (although there were several expats there, including my relatives, some Mormon missionaries, and a few others).

Although the Yapese aren't particularly outgoing (the local Filipino was more so), they are very nice once you make an effort to speak with them.

I think Yap, and Micronesia in general, is absolutely worth going to. There are a variety of cultures, most of which are at least somewhat different than Western culture, even the most westernized. They will be glad to see you (at least on Yap)! Enjoy!

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