Pohnpei

Handicrafts for sale in Pohnpei

Pohnpei is one of the four states of the Federated States of Micronesia.

Cities

View of the airport and Kolonia from Sokehs ridge

Pohnpei is the Capital of FSM/Administrative Office are situated in Palikir ( FSM Federal Buildings / Capital of FSM Offices) Kolonia is the Capital of Pohnpei State.

Other destinations

Understand

Pohnpei is the largest of the islands in the Federated States of Micronesia. It is roughly circular and about 60 miles around.

Pohnpei is the most developed of the four states in Micronesia.

Pohnpei is also one of the rainiest inhabited place in the world. With about 300 inches of rain per year at the higher elevations and 150 inches at the waterfront, and no dry season, expect it to rain every day, with alternating patches of sun, clouds, and rain. However, since the temperature hovers around 85°F (about 27°C), the rain is never seen as much of a nuisance, and most people walk around without umbrellas or other rain gear. Rain can often be seen as a relief, because it cools the weather down a few degrees and keeps the humidity from feeling oppressive.

The Northern end of the island has most of the population, as well as the city of Kolonia. There are no well-defined boundaries to the city, and the townships are all quite near each other. There is a ring road that circles the island. Most people live on the ring road.

Talk

The regional language of Pohnpei is Pohnpeian. However, most people learn English as well. Outside of the capital and the college, most people only have rudimentary English skills, and once you get into the villages, only Pohnpeian is spoken, by and large. The older population has more proficiency in Japanese, the language of the occupation during their childhood.

Get in

United Airlines is the only airline with flights to Micronesia. They offer an island-hopper flight, which goes East to West on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and West to East on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. The airport is small, and most checking on the islands is done by hand, so expect to have all of your luggage (carry-on or check-in) hand-searched. Because of this, check-in generally happens at least an hour before boarding, even though there are never huge numbers of people at the airport.

Intrepid travelers arrive on their sailboats to visit Pohnpei. There is a very nice lagoon for sailboats.

Get around

Street names are not generally used to give directions. There are no addresses. Fortunately, there is only one main road and it is pretty easy to get around. If you are lost, locals know where practically everything is and are happy to give directions.

There are some car rentals available in Pohnpei. The roads are in fair to poor condition, and potholes are common. Cars will drive on the wrong side of the road to avoid potholes. It is acceptable to pass a slow moving car anywhere there is enough space. At night many drivers are intoxicated on Sakau and tend to drive very slowly. They also drive incomprehensibly slowly during the day. There is little in the way of direction signs.

There are also taxis, which are relatively cheap. A taxi ride in Kolonia will cost $1 per person. Prices increase the farther you go outside of Kolonia.

Walking is easy, as there are few distances within the Kolonia area which are more than a couple of miles away. Many people walk around town. Dogs may nip at you if you make too much eye contact with them.

See

Do

Reef scene off Pohnpei

Pohnpei's surf season generally goes from late October until April but there are occasional good waves other times of year in other spots. Pohnpei has been featured in many surf magazines from all over the world over in recent years and as a result there are times when heavy crowds swarm the best breaks. Other times though it still remains a quiet and uncrowded island for surfers. To get to the best waves in Pohnpei you will need to get a ride from one of the many local fishermen with boats. You can easily check to see if there are waves from the hotels in town. South Park Hotel sits above Kolonia harbor and faces directly north toward Main Pass, Center Channel and gives a peak of Lighthouse Pass. Ocean View Hotel, aptly named, has clear views to the reef line on the north side of the island which provide a full indicator of what the swell is doing.

A short drive to Nan Pohnmal (5 minutes)west of town where the U.S. Embassy housing complex is located provides a clear view of the entire NW reef including Palikir Pass which is easily seen from the bluff top vista.

The local crew recommends NIHCO Marine Park which is in Sekere along the north western shore of the lagoon at the closest point of land to Palikir Pass. Locally owned, NIHCO has the best accommodations and the newest boats and surf tourist accommodations in Pohnpei. []

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.

Drink

Sleep

Stay safe

The island is remarkably safe. Respect the local culture and you'll be OK. There are some problems with petty crime, particularly thefts from vehicles. Do not leave valuables on display.

Go next

The Marshall Islands or Guam are just a short flight away. The other islands of Kosrae and Chuuk are even closer.

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, March 22, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.