Babelthuap Island (Babeldaob)

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Babelthuap (or Babeldaob) is the second largest island in Micronesia. It is covered by thick jungle and measures some 400 km² (150 sq miles), which is more than four times the combined surface of all the other islands in Palau. Despite of this, the island's population is very small and since most young people migrate to Koror in search of employment, the amount of people on Babelthuap is not increasing. The Melekeok State on Babelthuap was designated to become the location of Palau's future capital, but many doubt if it will ever get that far.

Babelthuap is a volcanic island with rolling hills that are covered by thick jungle. On the island's eastern coast are several beautiful sandy beaches, while the western side mainly consists of mangrove forests. There are numerous small villages on Babelthuap, many of which are still connected to one another by ancient stone paths.

Some of Babaelthuap's most marvelous beaches can be found in the northern Ngaraard State.

Many hillsides on Babelthuap were once terraced into steps and pyramids, but little is left of them. Archaeological excavations suggest that construction of the steps was begun around 100 AD, but is is unknown for what purpose they were built, or why they were abandoned. Only one village was built near the steps, in wide areas around all the other steps are no dwellings whatsoever.

At the northern side of Babelthuap, in Ngarchelong State is a large open space where so-called Badrulchau can be seen. According to legend these large basalt monoliths were placed there by the gods to support an enormous bai.

Palau's international airport is at Airai on the southern end of Babelthuap Island, just across from Koror. Accommodation is available in several villages around the island.

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