If you don't want to spend all your time exploring ancient ruins there's lots more to see and do
on Pohnpei. A few suggestions:
Spend a while in downtown Kolonia, the capital and only real town on the island (and not to
be confused with Colonia, the capital of Yap island) It's a bit like a wild west town, with all sorts of
ramshackle little stores competing. Right on Main St., beside the tourist office, there's a rusting Japanese
tank, a reminder of World War II occupation.
A few kilometers southwest of Kolonia there's a picturesque hillock rising straight out of
the plain. Legend has it that in ancient times the ruler-god changed himself into a giant rooster to fly to Nan
Madol, and on the way he left a huge pile of droppings which became the hillock. The Pohnpeians, who care not
for euphemism, call it Chickenshit Mountain or Pwusehn Malek.
Joy Island, near Nan Madol, is a good place to get away from it all, to a real desert
island, with a white sand beach. You can stay overnight, in rather primitive huts, and rent the caretaker's
outrigger canoe for fishing.
With so much rain, there are naturally plenty of watercourses and at least one pretty
spectacular waterfall, the Kepirohi Falls, which your Nan Madol guide will take you to.
On Sokehs Island, reached by a causeway just west of Kolonia, you'll see the mass grave
where 17 Pohnpeians, leaders of a rebellion against German forced labor in 1910, were buried when the Germans
ruthlessly suppressed dissent.
Reminders of Pohnpei's colonial past, under three foreign regimes, are seen in the Old
Spanish Fort, the bell tower of a mission built by the Germans, and a Shinto shrine to Japanese war dead.
A visit to the Pohnpei Cultural Centre just across the river from Kolonia is a must if you
enjoy traditional singing, dancing and foods.