Pohnpei in Micronesia.
The Village Hotel.
Pohnpei is referred to as the "Venice of the Pacific" yet it is refreshingly unspoilt, low-key and totally secluded!
Micronesia is the Greek word for small islands and 2300 of them make up the independent nation of Federated States of Micronesia. Scattered over millions of square kilometres between Hawaii and the Philippines, most of the islands are less than two-and-a-half square kilometres in size, and some are so small they appear and disappear with the tides. The population of 521,000 enjoys an average temperature of 27°C.
The Federated States of Micronesia are: Pohnpei, Yap, Kosrae and Chuuk, all sharing similar histories with colonisation by Spain, Germany, Japan and American. They are mainly Christian, but their language is not so uniform; some dialects are spoken by fewer than 100 people, but most do speak English.
The name Pohnpei is made up of two local words meaning "upon a stone altar". Its capital is Palikir, but the main town is Kolonia. When it comes to tourism, Pohnpei is refreshingly unspoiled and low key. It has no big hotels, no duty free shops and no tour operators haggling for your business. What you will find are lots of natural attractions; jungle hillsides and flowering hibiscus. The abundant rainfall the island's centre gets more than 1000cm a year feeds a multitude of streams, rivers and tumbling waterfalls, and the uninhabited rainforest interior has soft, spongy ground and moss-covered trees. The waters are clear and beautiful, and while there are no beaches, some can be found by taking a short boat ride. There is an abundance of marine life so snorkellers will be well rewarded.
The island is surrounded with lush, dense rainforest and its most obvious landmark is Sokehs Rock, a steep and slippery basalt cliff face. It can be climbed by the brave although a guide is advisable. In terms of the man-made attractions, there are some Spanish stone walls and a German bell tower.
The ancient stone city of Nan Mandol is made up of 92 man-made islets dating back to AD1100. It was a most important political, social and religious centre and was the home of royalty and their servants. Natural 50 tonne basalt pillars that had formed on Pohnpei were quarried and hauled to Nan Mandol by raft, horizontally placed around the islets and filled with coral and rock. Temples, burial vaults, meeting places and bathing areas were built, with the upper town for priests and rituals and the lower part for administration. Sometimes Nan Mandol is called the Venice of Micronesia.
Accommodation on Pohnpei is fairly basic, but one place stands out. Before tourism was even thought of, Patti and Bob Arthur visited Micronesia, fell in love with Pohnpei and decided to stay and build a hotel. "The Village" is made up of 20 thatched pole bungalows rather like tree houses with necessary conveniences, but no phone, television or air-conditioning. The large screened windows provide wonderful cooling breezes and views, and the queen-size beds have nets. There is a restaurant, a bar and trips to other islands. Food on Pohnpei generally has either a Japanese (great sashimi) or Western influence.
Federated States of Micronesia
flies to Pohnpei once a week and has packages including return economy airfares, transfers, accommodation at The Village Hotel
and breakfast from $1,300 ex the east coast, $1,620 ex Adelaide and $2,000 from Perth, per person twin share.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.
More informationAir Nauru
Ph: (03) 9653 2405 1800 060 609
Fax: (03) 9650 4925www.airnauru.com.auThe Village
Box 339 PO, Pohnpei FM 96941
Ph: (0011) 691 320 2797
Fax: (0011) 691 320 3797
Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgPohnpei Visitors Bureau
Ph: (0011) 691 320 4851www.fsmgov.org/info/pohnpei/
For a safe and healthy journey, talk to the travel doctor
: 1300 658 844 or visit traveldoctor.com.au