Difference between revisions of "Federated States of Micronesia"
Revision as of 03:36, 20 December 2012
For the region of Micronesia, please see Micronesia (disambiguation)
The Federated States of Micronesia  is a country in the northwestern Pacific Ocean. It is composed of four major island groups totaling 607 islands that lie just north of the equator about three-quarters of the way from Hawaii to Indonesia, to the north of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands and to the south of the Marshall Islands, the Northern Mariana Islands and Guam.
Micronesia is a rather arbitrary name given to an enormous slice of earth. Greek for 'small' and 'islands', Micronesia is neither small nor a cohesive group of island people and cultures. Micronesia is comprised of 8 different nation-states; the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) is a country within and is comprised of over 600 islands. The country is further divided into 4 states that have many unique histories and cultures.
While the FSM government received independence in 1986 it retained deep ties with the U.S. which it continues to rely on for defence and monetary aid. Ironically many in the U.S. military are citizens of the FSM.
The FSM can be a fascinating place to visit as the islands' prior isolation has provided modern day travellers an easy means to see many unique cultures. Much of FSM retains much of its older traditions. These vary drastically between islands which can lead to confused tourists and sometimes insulted locals.
The cultures are not the only unique aspects of the country as the volcanic process that dotted the area with waters with islands wasn't very consistent. Islands growing, falling and hardly pushing above water have created great lagoons and reefs.
Chuuk is a popular state to visit with divers. A Japanese fleet was sunk off its shores in WWII making it among the best shipwreck diving sites in the world. Yap Island has unique hill scenery in contrast to the volcanic formations and coral atolls that created the rest of the FSM. Pohnpei is the most populated of the states while Kosrae is the least. Both are welcoming to tourists.
Although the islands stretch for 1,800 miles (2,900 km) the FSM is largely off the tourist map. Thus, tourism infrastructure isn't yet very developed. Many of the islands are difficult to reach by either plane or ferry. For willing explorers this also means hundreds of secluded blue water beaches and little visited regions.
Tropical; heavy year-round rainfall, especially in the eastern islands; located on southern edge of the typhoon belt with occasionally severe damage; Natural hazards : typhoons (June to December).
Islands vary geologically from high mountainous islands to low, coral atolls; volcanic outcroppings on Pohnpei, Kosrae, and Truk
In 1979, the Federated States of Micronesia, a UN Trust Territory under US administration, adopted a constitution. On 3 November, 1986, independence was attained under a Compact of Free Association with the US; economic provisions of the Compact are being renegotiated. Previously, the area had been colonized by the Japanese, the Germans, and the Spanish
Present concerns include large-scale unemployment, overfishing, and overdependence on US aid.
There are 4 states:
Ports and harbors
The remote atoll of Kapingamarangi is the southernmost island group in FSM.
If you are going to be in the FSM for less than 30 days you do not need an entry permit. Anyone who will be staying longer than that needs an entry permit. For citizens of the United States, Palau, and the Marshall Islands, this entry permit lasts 1 year. For everyone else, it lasts 60 days. You can get your entry permit on arrival, but if you're traveling for a purpose other than tourism, you need to apply for it in advance.
Most people will need to prove their citizenship with a passport that has at least 120 days of remaining validity, but if you're from Palau, Marshall Islands, or the United States, you can use your birth certificate or an FSM entry permit in lieu of a passport (but a passport still works, too).
If you need to apply for an entry permit on arrival, you must present an FSM Arrival and Departure Record. This is furnished by a carrier before entering the FSM. You will need a completed application form in addition to this.
The major airline that travels to FSM is United Airlines, which operates a thrice-weekly "island hopper" flight (UA172 eastbound, UA154 westbound) traveling Honolulu—Majuro—Kwajalein—Kosrae—Pohnpei—Chuuk—Guam and vice versa. The flight is fourteen and a half hours, leaving in the early morning and terminating in the evening, with a stop of about one hour on each island. There are also nonstop flights from various islands to both Honolulu and Guam.
Honolulu is the most direct gateway into the islands from North America. Guam is the most direct gateway from most points in Asia and Australia, although it is also possible to fly into the islands from Manila via Palau.
The major international ports are; Chuuk,Pohnpei and Yap. There are inter-island trading ships based in these major ports which visits the outlying islands.
The "Island Hopper," operated by United Airlines, flies between Guam, Chuuk, Pohnpei, and Kosrae. United also flies from Guam to Yap and Palau. However, it is not possible to fly directly to Yap from other islands in the FSM (you must fly through Guam first).
Even though there are no bus scheduled service on the island, some buses are available to hire or charter. Also, on Yap there is a school bus that runs twice daily from Colonia to the villages.
Taxi service is available throughout the islands and are inexpensive.
There are self-driven cars available in the major towns of the islands. However, It is required to have a National Driver's License or International Driving Permit.
See the remoteness of the islands, especially Kosrae, the jungles of Ponhpei, the diving in Chuuk, and the traditional culture and stone money of Yap. There are many other things to see on these islands as well.
Some popular activities are:
Diving Viewing traditional culture Swimming
U.S. citizens may live and work freely in Micronesia.
The Federated States of Micronesia is generally one of the safest countries to visit. However, there has been some reports of crime in Weno, the capital of Chuuk. Crime is certainly a problem in Weno.
Some islands are very traditional, especially Yap state. Be sure to respect their culture.