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Yap

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Yap is one of the four Federated States of Micronesia.

The main island of Yap

Understand[edit]

Yap is comprised of the main island atoll of Yap with Maap and Gagil connected by road and Rumung, commonly referred to as "The Forbidden Island", is accessible by boat but still within the reef. Outside the reef, Yap extends towards Chuuk (FKA Truk) and has many outer islands and atolls; some of which are accessible by plane.

The island is famous for its stone money, which is rather large and cannot easily be moved. The island was opened for tourism in 1989 and has seen a good amount of tourists visiting, especially for the scuba diving and to catch a glimpse of the traditional Micronesian island culture. Skin Diver Magazine has called Yap "the most interesting island in Micronesia" and gives Yap the honor of being one of the magazine's top 3 dive sites.

The state of Yap consists of 134 islands and atolls. Twenty two of these are populated, stretching across an excess of 100,000 square miles in total area. Yap's main island is made up of four high volcanic islands, accounting for 38 of Yap’s approximate total 50 square miles of land area. The main island of Yap is where the state capital and commercial center, Colonia, is located. Most of the outer islands stretching approximately 600 miles east of Yap Island are coral atolls. These atolls are sparsely populated by people different from the Yapese in both culture and language.

The US dollar is the official currency in Yap, and Micronesia.

Standard 110 volt and US type outlets are used on Yap.

Yap shares the same time zone (GMT + 10) as Sydney, Australia, and is one hour ahead of Tokyo, Japan.

Fading Culture[edit]

Traditional Outrigger Canoe

Many facts which you can still find in descriptions and even in new booklets from the visitor bureau are outdated. The Living Museum in the center of Colonia is dead. You can see some men houses, but nobody is there to show cultural skills. If you walk along the Eastern shore to the South, after 1 km you will see a stone money bank and an old stone street. If you make a sightseeing tour through the island, you woun't see much more then again men houses, stone money and stone streets.

The same applies to Rumung: men houses, stone money (at least the biggest one of Yap), and stone streets. The stone streets are in bad condition because nobody is there to keep them clean and tidy. Indeed: Rumung is dead. Most of the people work in Colonia during the week and come back to Rumung only on the weekend. Also the children have to go to school, and the school is in Colonia. The few people you can meet are wearing cotton clothes. The people of Rumung even plan to build a new bridge to the next island.

Mostly only on the Yap Day you can watch traditional dancing and singing. The girls are getting shy to wear traditional gras shirts, and they buy the paint for the beautiful colors fron the shop. They are not interested to learn how to make paint out of plants, and the boys find it boring to make ropes out of coconut fibre. They prefer GPS instead of learning traditional navigation skills from their fathers. The young generation is more interested of using mobile phones instead of keeping their culture alive. If you are lucky and talk with the people, you may find somebody who shows you how to make a basket out of a coconut leaf, how to make a gras shirt, how to make a mat or how to make a rope out of Hibiscus leaves or coconut fibre.

Yap tried to establish an "annual canoe festival" but they gave it up. The last canoe festival was in 2017. But it is still possible to sail on a traditional canoe. You can find some canoes on the Northeast shore of Maap. They use sails made from plastic, but the canoes are still really hand-made without using any part of metal.


Climate[edit]

Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°F) 87 87 88 88 89 88 87 87 87 88 88 87
Nightly lows (°F) 74 74 74 75 75 74 74 74 74 74 74 74
Precipitation (in) 7 5 6 6 8 13 13 14 14 12 9 9

Holidays[edit]

  • Yap Day - Observed in first week of March Annually.
  • FSM Constitution Day – May 10
  • UN Day – October 24
  • FSM Independence Day – November 3
  • Yap State Constitution Day – December 24

Talk[edit]

Yapese, Ulithian, Woleaian and Satawalese are the island's official languages (all of which are indigenous), but English is also spoken by many of the locals and travelers will have no problem getting by knowing little if any of the indigenous languages. Many of the elderly Yapese people are fluent in the Japanese language as well.

Get in[edit]

Visas are not required for tourists staying 30 days or fewer. Travelers must have a valid passport and/or documentation of citizenship. All visitors to Yap must have an onward or return ticket. Entry authorization for stays greater than 30 days must be obtained in advance from Immigration and Labor, FSM National Government, Kolonia, Pohnpei, FSM 96941.

United Airlines offers flights to Yap a few times a week from Guam.

Get around[edit]

Taxis cost $1 to $1.25 each way to go anywhere in Colonia. It's generally best to call for one rather than try to flag one down, as they are typically unmarked. While there are a few taxi companies to choose from, the cheapest appears to be the one run by Outer Islanders (350-6666).

Travelers are also free to use the public bus system in Colonia to get around. These buses are often used to transport students and government workers and run between Colonia and the outer villages in early mornings and evenings.

Car rentals are available from companies such as 7D and Pacific Bus Company, both located nearby the Manta Ray Bay Resort. Japanese right-hand drive cars are generally cheaper, with typical low-end prices ranging from $22 to $33 per day.

Most hotels provide transportation to and from the airport free of charge.

From Yap, visitors may charter a boat or take the government ferry to the Outer Islands. PMA Pacific also provides flights from Yap to Ulithi Atoll.

See[edit][add listing]

  • There are quite a few villages and places to learn about the unique island life. As always, you should ask permission before wandering about. An alternative is the Yap Living History Museum, a display village in Colonia where you can see traditional houses and stone money.
  • Beaches are relatively few on Yap, and since they are all privately owned, you should always ask permission to use the beaches. The beach at the Village View Hotel is a popular picnic spot among the locals, as it has several pavilions with picnic tables. While reasonably picturesque (if only at high tide), swimming is not suggested, since the area near the beach is more muddy than sandy. Once you wade out far enough, snorkeling will reveal a few lonely outcroppings of coral with attached marine life, but it's nothing compared to the reef.
  • The outer reefs around Yap are full of aquatic life (not just mantas), and they attract divers from all corners of the globe.

Do[edit][add listing]

Inquire about ship rides, private planes or for the more adventurous might consider looking into sailing on a tradition canoe.

  • Scuba dive, looking for Manta Rays.
  • Snorkel on the reef. The coral, fish, and even the giant clam species are similar to Palau, except that they are virtually untouched and unspoiled. And, if you go to the right spots, you can see manta rays or stingrays. A word of caution, however-- The tidal currents in Yap are extremely strong, and at certain times of the day you cannot hope to swim against it even if you are Michael Phelps with fins. Therefore, *do not* attempt to go out yourself-- Hire a boat, let the current take you where it wants, and wait for the captain to pick you up on the other side.
  • Surf the island's legendary waves.
  • Take a cultural tour and check out the local island life.
  • Visit the Traditional Navigation Society and take a ride in a traditional outrigger canoe.

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Fresh fish, including wahoo, yellowfin tuna, skipjack tuna, snapper, grouper, and various reef fish, all for less than $2 per pound. It's best to call and ask about availability-- Yap Fishing Authority (350-2185) and Quality Catch (350-7160) are good places to start. If you ask nicely, they'll even clean the fish and sashimi it for you.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Yap offers few restaurants, with most found in the Colonia area. In Colonia, you can choose between; O'Keefe's ($5.00 lunch specials include tea, rice, cabbage salad, soup and meat), MNUW (The schooner behind the Manta Ray resort - relatively pricey, but if you eat on Wednesday or Friday night, you may catch a movie!), Ganir (Filipino food with a raised veranda style dining area), ESA (a variety of options priced very well) and Trader's Ridge (more great food and still reasonable). Outside of the Colonia area you may find other eating options scattered. Grocery stores and convenience stores may also sell prepared food in takeaway containers in the morning and/or around lunchtime.

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • 7D pool open every Friday night up to saturday morning. A kind of beer garden with a dancing stage animated with live music and 5 pool tables where locals hang out.
  • The Pine Bar and Grill is a brand new bar on the banks of Chamorro Bay. Its neon lights look somewhat out of place in Yap.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Manta Ray Bay Hotel, [2]. One of the larger hotels on Yap. Here you can make arrangements to scuba dive, and view the Manta Rays that the waters around the island are famous for.
  • Yap Pacific Dive Resort, [3]. The hotel is on the site of the original pre-war Japanese command post. Good service, nice outside area with swimming pool and restaurant.
  • ESA Bayview Hotel, [4] A family owned and operated hotel located just outside downtown Colonia. Two scuba/snorkeling operators are located directly next door, to the right of the lobby entrance-- Beyond the Reef, and Nature's Way.
  • O'Keefe's Waterfront Inn, [5]. A very private and stylish guest house, right on Yap's waterfront.
  • Pathways Hotel, [6]. A more traditional design hotel with 9 local style cottages and full service restaurant.
  • Village View Resort, Wacholab, Maap (30 Minutes North of Colonia), 691-350-4679 (), [1]. Yap's only beach-front resort with a full restaurant, bar, and diveshop. Free pickup/dropoff to airport. Rooms have 110V, AC, mini-fridge, hot water. Rates start at $65/night for single occupancy; $75/night for double; $85/night triple. $65+.  edit

Stay safe[edit]

Yap practises a rigid caste system creating an additional element of control over would be trouble makers. So, as long as you are culturally sensitive and respectful, you will be able to experience an entire cultural immersion. Do not wear shorts in public, except at beaches or swimming areas - showing female thighs is considered vulgar and immodest. Public toplessness remains an accepted practice, though generally limited to ceremonial events and/or the older generation.

Get out[edit]

From Yap you can make the journey by boat or plane to Palau, Guam, or the Outer Islands of Yap. If leaving by plane, note that there is a $20 "airport facilities fee" payable in cash upon departure.Create category

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