Young Pioneer Tours

Visiting Nan Madol in Pohnpei

Visiting Nan Madol is one of the highlights of traveling to Pohnpei, the capital “island” of the Federated States of Micronesia.

There are a lot of cool things about YPT; principal among them that compared to other countries we truly get off the beaten track. In our early days we concentrated on communist and formerly communist countries, but since then have very much expanded our scope. We now visit places as diverse as Antarctica and the Pacific Islands.

To read about our next Antarctica tour click here.

The Least Visited Countries Tour

The least visited countries tour is very much the benchmark for our “new travel” ethos. In the past these would not necessarily be the kind of countries you would associate with YPT, but now they are some of our most popular tours.

Every year, coronavirus not with standing, YPT visit some of the least visited countries in the world, all located in the Pacific.

In 2019 we added the Federated States of Micronesia, even spending Christmas there. Yes, this place, Nana Madol was a trip highlight.

Nan Madol

What is the Federated States of Micronesia?

Formerly a US colony the country is now a quasi-independent state in free association with the USA. One if its constituent parts may actually become one of the newest states in the world in 2021.

To read about which new countries you might see in 2021, click here.

To read about the Pohnpei football team click here

What is there to see in the Federated States of Micronesia?

Quite a lot actually, especially considering that it is a fairly small Pacific Island nation. The highlight by a long stretch though is Nan Madol.

Oh and they also have great raw tuna.

Waterfall in Pohnpei

What is Nan Madol?

Essentially it is a bunch of ruins, but what makes it so interesting is that no one really knows the history of it. The name Nan Madol means “within the intervals”. This is a reference to the canals that crisscross the ruins.

It can be visited very easily on a day trip where you drive around the island of Pohnpei.

Due to no one knowing the story, it has been given titles as lofty as the real Atlantis, and even the 8th wonder of the world.

Are there any theories about Nan Madol?

According to Pohnpeian legend, Nan Madol was constructed by twin sorcerers Olisihpa and Olosohpa from the mythical Western Katau, or Kanamwayso. The brothers arrived in a canoe and built Nan Madol as a place of worship.

It was essentially used as a living area for nobles, and a place for priests to pray.

It now covers 18 square kilometers and is a considered a national treasure.

Part of the lost continent?

Nan Madol has been interpreted by some as the remains of one of the “lost continents” of Lemuria or Mu. It has also been surmised that because it took real technological ingenuity to built Nan Madol that whoever did built it were somehow wiped out. There is no record of any civilization with the know how to have built it. Of course this could also mean that Nan Madol was built by Aliens, if you believe in Indiana Jones 4 type Jazz.

Nan Madol

Visiting Nan Madol

Again one of the most amazing things about our tours is that we see some amazing stuff. To travel to a forest in the middle of one of the least visited countries on earth and see what is considered the 8th wonder of the world surely takes some beating.

Nan Madol

When you get to Nan Madol it means a little trek through the Jungle, before you see a local man with a boat who has a dwelling made from leaves. He is the caretaker. Honestly were you anywhere else in the world this is the kind of place that would have been ram-packed with tourists. You are not anywhere else though, you are in a least visited country. This means you can explore Nan Madol mystery to your hearts content.

I remember the written receipt he gave me being particularly amusing. I cannot even remember the cost, but it was barely a few dollars per person. This included the short “boat trip”. When I say boat to Nan Madol I mean raft. As you will see from the photos this in itself caused a fair bit of amusement for the group.

We spent a good few hours checking out Nan Madol and managed to get some great pictures. Aided by the fact that it was empty. We were the only ones there. The caretaker as we’d mentioned was leaving in a camp he’d made from leaves. He even let us take pictures inside, again not your standard wonder of the world trip!

And that is how you visit Nan Madol, truly one of the wonders of the world, but one few have heard of, and even fewer have visited.

We will definitely be back….

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