Travel Guide Oceania Micronesia Micronesia Pohnpei

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Introduction

Sohkeh's skyline

Sohkeh's skyline

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Pohnpei is largest island in the island-nation of Micronesia. It is home to the capital, Palikir, and also the main island in the state of Pohnpei, which also includes numerous outlying atolls, some of them hundreds of kilometres away from the main island. An estimated population of 35,000 calls the island home.

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Geography

Pohnpei is a large volcanic island, surrounded by 8 nearby small atolls. It covers a total area of 344 square kilometres. Most of the island's coastal area is covered with mangrove swamps. The nice beaches are found on the small islands situated within the reef.

The interior of the island is rugged and mountainous. At its highest, at Mt Nahna Laud, it is 798 metres. Owing to a high annual rainfall, there are numerous streams flowing towards the ocean with some spectacular waterfalls along the way.

Pohnpei is located just about 5,200 kilometres southwest of Honolulu, Hawaii and about 1,700 kilometres southeast of Guam.

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Towns

  • Kolonia is the largest town on the island and the hub of activity
  • Palikir, although only a small settlement, is Micronesia's capital and the location of all government buildings.

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Sights and Activities

  • Nan Madol is a city in ruins built on numerous small artificial islands, earning it the nickname Venice of the Pacific. It was the capital of the Saudeleur dynasty until roughly 1500 AD. Construction of the islets is estimated to date back to the 8th or 9th century.
  • Surfing - In particular Palikir's Pass is a hotspot for adventurous surfers. The season runs from October to April. A surf camp was opened in 2004, which has seen a dramatic increase in exposure.
  • There are numerous waterfalls on the island of Pohnpei, offering a great destination for short hikes and a nice place to cool down on the invariably hot days.
  • Sokeh's Rock, the prominent rock feature visible from Kolonia can be climbed if you feel energetic. It offers some nice views of Kolonia and the island.
  • The Spanish Wall is what remains of a Spanish fort that was constructed in 1899.
  • There are several spectacular waterfalls on the island owing to its extraordinarily high annual rainfall. The most popular ones include Kepirohi, Lehnpaipohn and the Liduduhniap Twin Waterfalls.
  • Scuba Diving is a major drawcard throughout Pohnpei. There are many suba diving sites in Microneasia.
  • Snorkelling is a good alternative for those without their diving licenses. There are numerous good places to snorkel throughout Pohnpei.

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Events and Festivals

  • Pohnpei Cultural Day - March 31
  • FSM Constitution Day - Each of the Federated States of Micronesia have their own constitution day holidays, but the entire island nations celebrates the date, May 10, on which the country’s national constitution was founded in 1979. This is not really a lively festival, but rather a day of rest and relaxation which Micronesians spend at shopping centers and parks on this day off from school and work.
  • FSM Independence Day - This November 3 holiday celebrates the nation’s sovereignty and accomplishments since its liberation from its colonizers. Independence Day is marked by all kinds of festive events with music, overflowing feasts and cultural presentations.
  • FSM Veterans of Foreign War - Observed November 11, this highly patriotic day in Micronesia commemorates the contributions of veterans who served in the US Armed Forces during the Foreign Wars.
  • United Nations Day - Few places celebrate United Nations Day with more fervor than the Pacific Islands of Micronesia. Fairs serving foods around the world and international cultural performances also fill this day celebrating the anniversary of the United Nations charter.
  • Liberation Day - September 11 remains a day of celebration on the Pacific Islands of Micronesia, whose citizens still associate this date as the anniversary of the United States WWII victory over Japan. Pohnpei’s main Liberation Day events are sporting competitions among the island’s communities.
  • Tree Planting Day - As part of the forestry program in the Federated States of Micronesia, a tree-planting day is observed on June 1 each year in accordance with environmental week and Earth Day.
  • Micronesian Culture and Traditions Day - Established to celebrate Micronesia’s cultural and traditional heritage, this day is honored on March 31 every year.

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Weather

The weather in Pohnpei is invariably hot and humid, with temperatures throughout the year hovering around 80 °F. Pohnpei is one of the wettest places on earth, with an average rainfall in excess of 400 inches a year. [1] Don't think you have had bad luck if it is raining every day. It is in fact unusual to have a dry day on Pohnpei.

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Getting There

By Plane

Continental Micronesia provides flights from Guam and Honolulu, touching down in Kosrae, Pohnpei, Yap and Chuuk several times a week. Departure taxes are US$10.

By Boat

There are no regular boat services coming into Micronesia. The most likely reason to arrive in Micronesia by boat is if you own your own yacht.

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Getting Around

By Plane

There no scheduled flights within Pohnpei.

By Boat

Irregular boat services run from Pohnpei to the outlying atolls. It is not uncommon for these boats to only run once every few months, depending on whether or not the boats are in a good state of repair.

By Car

Cars drive on the right in Micronesia. Interestingly though, many of the cars on the road also have the driver's seat on the right. Roads are generally in a poor condition and driver education leaves a lot to be desired. It is not uncommon for cars to stop suddenly in front of you to take on passengers or for pedestrians to practically leap in front of the car. Fortunately, speed limits are very low (40km/h, about 25 miles an hour), ensuring a reasonable level of safety. Nonetheless, drivers are well advised to be alert at all times.

Taxis are abundant, particularly around Kolonia and are a convenient way to get around town.

By Bike

Bicycles can be a very convenient way to get around due to the relatively slow traffic and small distances. Some hotels may be able to provide a bicycle for your use. Alternatively, buying a cheap one for use while there may be an option.

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Eat

There are about ten restaurants to eat at on Pohnpei. At most you can expect lunches from about $6.50 or $7, and dinners between $12 and $20.

  • Coco Marina - Owned by the Neime Company, is a restaurant with an extensive menu of both local and American standards, and the only place on the island to get a proper Caesar Salad. The Hawaiian Style Poke is definitely something to try and the chef, formerly from San Diego, knows how to do a burrito the right way. The menu also features steaks and produce, fresh from Hawaii, and the fish is always fresh. The bar is well-stocked and drinks are potent and inexpensive. It's located in Kolonia, across the street from the Australian Embassy and Sea Breeze Hotel. +691 320-5631.
  • The China Star Restaurant down by the shipping port is by far the best restaurant on the island. The cooks are from China and most dishes have fresh veggies. Meals are between $8.00 and $16.00. +691 320-6849
  • The Joy Hotel and Restaurant is known for its Joy Lunch, a Japanese-style set lunch of fried fish, tuna sashimi, rice, salad, and soup. They also serve local snacks like breadfruit and banana chips as a free appetizer. You can get it at dinner there, as well. Joy lunch is $7.50. Joy dinner as around $10.00 a plate. +691 320-2447
  • PCR / Nanchelik PCR has a river view and a Japanese revolving lazy susan, where you sit and pick off the dishes you like- sahami, sushi, fried fish and chicken, seafood spaghetti, etc. All you can eat lunch (which usually includes sashimi and cucumber rolls) is $6.50. +691 320-5444
  • The Peppermill had a good lunch menu of sandwiches and light dishes but closed in July 2009 due to econmic decline. +691 320-7612
  • SEI restaurant is known for its buffet lunch, which, at $6.99, has all-you-can-eat sashimi, rice, and fritters, among other things. Architecture alone is worth a visit. +691 320-4266
  • Angie's "Fast Food", right next to the now defunct Peppermill, has food which isn't really fast. However, they do have burgers and fries, and cheap prices. +691 320-1480
  • The Village Resort is known for its Sunday brunch and great view. Try the banana pancakes! It is a great place to take a book and hang out for hours!
  • The Orchid Located at Ocean View Hotel, it is reasonably priced and has great view. +691 320-3075
  • Cliff Rainbow Restaurant has a Joy Lunch style set but their best lunch is the seafood spaghetti! Their pizza is also the best on the island, but you have to specifically ask them for the pizza menu, as they do not hand it out for some reason. And don't forget the fried ice cream! +691 320-2415

Cupid's Bar and Grill enjoys a fantastic view over the ocean - ideal for sunset. Food is very good, choose the fresh tuna.

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Drink

  • The Rusty Anchor - the most popular bar on Pohnpei. It is located in the shell of an unfinished hotel and has an excellent view of the yacht harbor. It is known as the expat bar, but locals also frequent the bar. Beer is between $2 and $3.50. There are pool tables.
  • Club Flamingo - the only nightclub on the island. $3 cover. Open on the weekends, after 10:00pm, the party can go on until 3 in the morning. Don't get caught on the dance floor after a song ends!
  • Tattooed Irishman - at the Village Hotel. Probably the best view and fanciest bar on the island. A great place to see a sunset. Beer is between $2.50 and $4.
  • Sakau en Pohnpei - many people around Pohnpei enjoy anesthetizing themselves with a goopy concoction known as sakau (a.k.a. kava). Try some and you'll understand why people say "like the feeling, not the taste." There are numerous sakau bars (markets) around town. 'Green Bay' is a popular sakau bar. The atmosphere at the market is very quiet and low key. The price is usually $7 for all you can drink in a shared cup. For about $10 you can get a personal cup.

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Sleep

Midrange

  • Ocean View Plaza, ☎ +691 320-7049. Probably somewhere close to a two star hotel, it is neither new, nor old. It serves as a decent place to sleep. All the rooms feature kitchenettes, air conditioning, private balconies, full bath, cable TV, telephones and laundry service.
  • Seven Stars Inn - One of the popular hotels in Kolonia. Rooms are comfortable and internet usable. Food in the restaurant is very good. It is a short walk into the centre of town. Credit cards accepted.

High End

  • The Village Hotel is a high end eco-tourism hotel that can arrange tours around the island and diving. They can also offer good tours to Nan Madol. The starting rates for a room or cabin is US$113 a night.
  • The PCR Hotel 10 rooms with AC, TV, internet connection, fridge and a restaurant and small private marina located downstairs. The Pohnpei Surf Club is based here. Land and ocean tours anywhere on the island and off shore. Snorkeling, surfing, sport fishing and all equipment included. Please contact Pohnpei Surf Club at +691 320-7845.

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This is version 16. Last edited at 8:30 on Jul 19, 17 by Utrecht. 16 articles link to this page.

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