Palau has experienced a major surge in Mainland Chinese tourists lately (since late 2014), with Chinese tourists now comprising approximately half of all tourist arrivals. Correspondingly, Chinese-owned (or Chinese-targeted) shops, restaurants, and other businesses have recently sprung up all over downtown Koror.
The airport is located on Babeldaob Island next door, and visitors will cross over to Koror via the Japan-Palau Friendship Bridge , usually in a rental car or shuttle bus. Some Koror-based rental car companies will pick you up directly from the airport. When returning, please note that taxis will charge an additional fee for late night service. Most hotels offer airport pick-up and delivery at US$10 per way, as long as prior arrangement is made.
There are three primary methods of getting around Koror: Rental cars, taxis, and the BBI shuttle. Walking may be an option for some, but most of the large resorts are located well outside the main shopping/dining area of Koror.
There are car rental terminals at the airport, as well as rental desks at some of the large resorts. Palauans drive on the right side of the road, though many of the cars are imported from Japan and have steering wheels on the right. Traffic tends to move very slowly throughout Koror, as the speed limits are low and speed bumps are sprinkled liberally throughout the city. Although the traffic flow varies throughout the day, the volume is light enough that there are no traffic signals in Koror.
Koror has a sufficient number of taxis, though they can be difficult to find if you are out walking around. It's usually easiest to ask the hotel concierge or even your waiter/waitress to call one for you. The taxis here are not metered, but rather have a fixed rate sheet based on your starting and ending points. A taxi ride from the far-flung Palau Pacific Resort into the heart of Koror costs $6-8, depending on exactly where you're getting dropped off.
In the evenings the BBI shuttle service is also an option. It operates roughly between 5-10pm, with two shuttles plying the same route in opposite directions. The shuttles stop at the two major resorts, Palau Pacific Resort and Palau Royal Resort, and cover the entire stretch of the main street through downtown Koror. Shuttle tickets cost $7 per person and are good for a week. The shuttles follow a timeline and schedules are easily obtained when you purchase your ticket. The larger resorts sell tickets right at the hotel.
There are a number of stores in Koror to purchase traditional Palauan storyboards, but the most popular location is the jail, which sells storyboards made (voluntarily) by the prisoners. The proceeds go to the prisoners' families to help support them while they are in jail. The jail has by far the largest selection of story boards in Koror, but can also be the most expensive place to purchase them. Helpfully, the jail puts a color coded sticker on each storyboard and offers visitors laminated sheets describing the story associated with each color. The jail is in the center of Koror, set back off the main street on the east side. The jail accepts cash only, and bargaining is accepted.
Another non-traditional location that has a vast selection of storyboards is The Rock Island Cafe. They are displayed around the restaurant, simply ask at the counter for pricing and selection. Some of the larger resorts have a small selection of storyboards in their gift shops. Locals can also point you to some out-of-the-way storyboard shops that you'd never find on your own. These hidden shops tend to have the lowest prices, but also usually have a small selection.
A small storyboard at an inexpensive store will start around $100. The largest storyboards at the jail, which may be several feet across and elaborately carved into the shape of an animal, can run several thousand dollars. Many of the places that sell storyboards can assist you with shipping them back home. Major shipping companies and even the USPS all service Palau.
There are small shops and markets located throughout Main Street in downtown Koror. The two largest shopping centers are the WCTC Shopping Center and Surangel's Supercenter, which are located right across the street from one another in the center of town. Each has a grocery store and department store, and the WCTC has some additional shops including an Athlete's Foot. Surangel's has the best selection of sunblock in town.
Palau uses the US Dollar as its official currency, and credit cards are accepted at most, though not all, shops and restaurants. The Bank of Guam and the Bank of Hawaii both have an ATM on Main Street in central Koror. As of early 2014 there are no surcharges for using these ATMs, though they do limit you to a maximum withdrawal of $300 per day.
Places to go for Palauan food in Koror: