Temwen Vicinity & Nan Madol
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An Introduction to Temwen Island

Nan Madol ruins, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)

Sting ray, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)

Outrigger canoe, Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM)

The large volcanic island of Temwen (pronounced chĕm.mwĕn) is linked to Pohnpei’s southeast coast by a short causeway and is most famous for the awe-inspiring ruins of Nan Madol (nän mä.tōl) — a prehistoric megalithic complex on par with Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat, and the moai of Easter Island. Temwen, which has been inhabited for close to 2,000 years, is also the ancestral home of Madolenihmw’s paramount chiefs, or nahnmwarki (nähn.mwär.kee), who lived at Nan Madol until the mid-1800s. The island is a place steeped in history and ceremony that also offers a spectacular range of exciting outdoor activities for eco-tourists.

Temwen Island Eco-Adventure Guide

This 18 x 20 inch (45.72 x 50.8 cm) full-color double-sided field guide folds down to 9 x 4 inches (22.86 x 10 cm) and covers Temwen Island, the Nan Madol ruins, and the surrounding area. It contains:

Temwen Island Vicinity Eco-Adventure Guide Temwen Island Vicinity Eco-Adventure Guide

Temwen Vicinity Attractions


Madolenihmw Bay Area

Madolenihmw Bay Area Dauen Sapwalap / Senipehn Mangrove Reserve Visit the Paddling Around Madolenihmw page for a detailed description of this location and the adventures to be had in the area. Entering the mangrove reserve requires a permit. Visit our MPA ...
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Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia

Nan Madol Ruins

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Kalangan to Mickelson and Reagan at the Marine Environmental Research Institute of Pohnpei (MERIP) for the kayak rentals, use of apartments, information, and other assistance; Peterson Anson of Pohnpei Transportation & Infrastructure for helping to create the beautiful shaded relief ...
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15 cm Japanese naval gun at Dolopwuropwur, Temwen Island, Pohnpei, Micronesia

Dolopwuropwur Gun Battery

Dolopwuropwur Gun Battery The most extensive Japanese gun battery on Pohnpei lies on Temwen’s rounded central hill, Nindol, perched at its 60 meter peak, Dolopwuropwur. Gun Stations The four guns at the summit are identical to the one on Sokehs Mountain -- British-made ...
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Dekehtik Island

Dekehtik Island Dekehtik, which means "small island," is an uninhabited coral islet west of Na, of which it was once a part (not be confused with the island of the same name on which the airport is located). The north coast ...
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Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia

Mall Island

Mall Island Mall is located just to the south of Nahnningi, and though it looks larger, about half of the island's area is mangroves. The most interesting feature on Mall (also known as 'Small Island') is a prehistoric stone tomb located ...
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Na Island

Na Island Na appears to be the largest island in Madolenihmw after Temwen, although it mostly consists of mangrove forests. In the mid-1830s, Na was home to a renegade Pohnpeian chief -- the Wasai -- who joined a group of foreign ...
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Driftwood on the beach

Nahkapw Island

Nahkapw Island Nahkapw is the island directly across from Nan Madol, and if you want to stay overnight and explore the ruins over a couple of days, this is the place to camp. The island is composed of coral rubble and ...
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Nahnningi Island

Nahnningi Island Nahnningi is known by most as "Joy Island". There used to be a popular camping operation there in the 1990s, but for many years the island was not open to tourists. Recently it has become available again, but without ...
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Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia

Nahpali Island

Nahpali Island Nahpali is a long, narrow reef island running roughly northeast-southwest and located northeast of Temwen Island in Madolenihmw Municipality. The island is privately owned by the Senda family and has remained largely undeveloped. In 1836, a war that erupted ...
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Temwen Vicinity Paddling

Temwen Island Vicinity Paddling If Nan Madol is your primary destination, the southern route around Temwen is the shortest, following the tranquil passage of Dauen Moahk (a meditative way to begin or end the day). Note, however, that east-bound passage under ...
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Pohnpei Diving – East Side Sites

East Side Dive Sites "Straight Wall" This dive is on the outer edge of the long, straight fringing reef east of Nahnningi (Joy) Island. It's a good place to see schools of tuna and barracuda hanging out beyond the wall. It's also ...
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Temwen Vicinity GPS Data

Temwen Vicinity GPS Data Downloads >> GPS Central >> Temwen Vicinity GPS Data ...
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Pohnpei Marine Protected Areas (MPA)

Marine Protected Areas (MPA), Sanctuaries, and Forest Reserves Pohnpei Island currently has eleven marine protected areas, including three mangrove forest reserves and two stingray sanctuaries. Two areas (around Palikir Pass and Penieu Island) have been proposed as future MPAs, but these ...
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Snorkeling Pohnpei’s East Side

Snorkeling Pohnpei's East Side Temwen Vicinity Pahn Nahkapw Wall The best snorkeling in the area is west of Nahkapw (island) along the edge of the reef, where a coral wall drops quickly off into Pahn Nahkapw's blue hole. Fish are abundant here and ...
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Fat-Tire Biking

The Best Type of Bike Pohnpei is a wild place. There are no paved bike paths or bike lanes on the roads. Off-road conditions are muddy, rocky, slippery, and very rough. Potholes are everywhere. For these reasons, mountain bikes are the ...
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Autumn Yam Feasts

A great time to visit Temwen is in November during the kamadipw en wahu, a huge feast that marks the beginning of the yam season. Yams are a prestigous commodity on Pohnpei, along with pigs and sakau (sä.käū) — known elsewhere as kava — and play a part in most ceremonial events. Farmers compete to grow the biggest and tastiest yams, some so large they take twelve men to lift and are transported on flat-bed trucks.

Temwen Vicinity Birding

Birders who come to Pohnpei might think that they need to hike deep into the interior to find success. Not so. With a relatively small population and few cars on the roads, Temwen is a great place to look for birds. In 2007, researchers proposed that the area around Temwen, Nan Madol, and the southeastern coast of Pohnpei be designated as one of several Important Bird Areas (IBA) in the state.

  • See the Birding page for more info about the Proposed IBA.
The Nan Madol Footpath

Over the course of an hour-long amble along the footpath from the Silbanuz house to Nan Douwas, we spotted scores of birds at close range, including a half dozen Pohnpei Kingfishers, the Caroline Reed Warbler, several Pacific Reef Herons, whimbrels and plovers in plenty, the Caroline Islands Swiftlet, Brown Noddies, White-Tailed Tropicbirds, and more than one species of tern. Pohnpei Lorikeets, Micronesian Honeyeaters, and Micronesian Starlings were practically everywhere.

Southern Road, Temwen Island

The lonely, unpaved section of road beyond the turn-off to Nan Madol also yielded many bird sightings, including several Crimson-Crowned Fruit Doves and a Pohnpei Fan-tail. Caroline Islands Ground Dove calls were heard near a sadak tree just off the road (the doves eat the fruit of this tree). We didn’t spot one, however.


Kalangan to Mickelson and Reagan at the Marine Environmental Research Institute of Pohnpei (MERIP) for the kayak rentals, use of apartments, information, and other assistance; Peterson Anson of Pohnpei Transportation & Infrastructure for helping to create the beautiful shaded relief on our maps; Danko Taborosi of Island Research & Education Initiative (IREI) for his considerable support and technical assistance; Elcid Joseph of Temwen Elementary School for helping to check Temwen area place names for accuracy; and Bermance Aldis at FSM Resources & Development for covering the cost of printing and shipping.

Eco-Adventure Map Guides >> Temwen Island Vicinity