It's a workshop where you can observe artisans at work. storyboards illustrating Palauan legends are carved from teak wood. you can see products at various stages of finishing.
What to buy: Storyboards!!!
I will reccomend visitors to avoid buying trinklets made from sea shells and tortoise shells for conservation reasons.
What to pay: You can gauge the price range of storyboards by browsing the display items in the Duty Free Shop in Palasia Hotel and Ben Franklin at WCTC. After a while you will at the idea of prices for the size of the board, the level of details and wood quality.
Be prepared to bargain at souvenior shops.
What to buy: This is the most notable souvenir to pick up in Palau. I normally don't like wooden carvings too much but I found these really well done. It is not an old tradition, it was suggested by a Japanese anthropologist (Mr. Hijikata) in 1935 as a way to keep the art form of Bais and legends from dying out. They can be quite grand and quite expensive. I paid US $500 including shipping back home for mine but it is really large (larger than my pantry door) and really quite nice. Not all of them are board like, some are 3 dimensional. You can find them in a lot of souvenir places but the best place I found was the Palau Jail. Those were by far the best ones. Just go into the police station and ask to see the storyboards.
What to buy: Back with my fascination of collecting beer and alcohol from foreign destinations (I don't know why, I never drink it). Palau now has it's very own brewed beer. It is called Red Rooster Beer and according to my girlfriend, it is quite decent. According to the label it is "Hand crafted in Palau from Fresh, pure, rain water 100% natural ingredients. Mor artificial preservatives or flavor." I believe there is 3 or 4 flavours and now there is starting to be a few souvenirs orientated around this beer. It costs the same as other beers on the island.
What to buy: At the Belau National Museum they have Palauan Language cards for sale for $1 US. It covers the basics with the translation written both properly in Palauan and phonectically. So far this is the only thing on local phrases that I have seen so far.
What to buy: Legends Of Palau Volume 1 & Volume 2 is a book that covers just about all the legends Palau has to offer. It is a locally produced book published by Island 21st Century Publications. It contains 90 pages of storys and pictures to help you understand Palau's legends. One of my favourite things about the book is a warning about the sale of the book without it's cover. Which means the book was unsold and destroyed and shouldn't be out there and the warning is printed on the back of the cover. I don't remember the exact price but wasn't too pricey. We found this book at the national museum.
What to buy: This is by far the best map I have found in Palau. It has quite detailed maps of the islands especially of Babeldaob island where most maps only show the ring road. It covers all the main islands plus it has pictures and descriptions of some of the more notable sights. Another nice thing is that it has descpriptions of all the states and contacts for those states. I believe it cost $3.50 US and is endorsed by Belau Touristm Association.
The inmates are taught the skills of storyboard carving. Their works are sold to tourists and inmates get some cash.
I found their quality of workmanship less refined than Tebang, but of course the overall price is lower.
What to pay: Negotiate with the inmates yourself! seems to be an open concept peniteniary :-)
What to buy: You've read about storyboards and other crafts, but the souvenir I can recommend is reef hook. You'll need it when diving in the strong current, you could rent it or even save yourself a couple of dollars by making one at home, but I'd suggest you buy one. Every dive shop sells them and it will be a nice remembrance of truly spectacular diving in Palau, even if most probably you will never need it again.
One of the biggest, if not the most complete shopping mall in the town area. This department store sells local handi crafts, t-shirts for tourists, fridge magnets and little souvenirs. On the ground floor, there is a supermarket selling mainly american and japanese food stuffs.
What to buy: Things are pretty expensive in Palau, similar to that of the US ( bear in mind that the US dollar is their local currency).
Got a t-shirt and some fridge magnets.
What to buy: Palauan money beads are probably one of the more interesting bead necklaces I have came across. They were used as currency back in the day for common transactions. Today they are still used but in more traditional ceremonies such as births, weddings and deaths. The beads are not originally from Palau and are thought to come from the Indonesia/Malaysia region. Legend also have it that they came from a Yapese island. I found this to be one of the more decently priced gifts to give to the women you know.
A few tourist souvenir shops carry story boards, and the jail does as well. The jail is not that much cheaper than the shops that we saw, but they do have the best selection and more detailed works.
What to buy: These boards are carved pieces of wood, often teh roots from the tree. there is often some kind of local story attached to the back along with the carver. They are not cheap so be warned. small ones MAY be able to be had for $30 and they go into the thousands.
we bought one and hung it on the wall, very beautiful if you can afford it.
What to pay: $50-4000 USD most are around the $80-200 range.
I was intrigued by the motifs and grain of the teak wood. The style is very different from Balinese, Malay and Indian styles.