Peleliu is peaceful and laid-back. There's not much to do and that's entirely the charm, for you can really hear the silence. Often it will seem like you've got the entire island all to yourself (you might not spot another tourist during your entire stay, and maybe not even a local, if you walk far enough). It's a lovely little place, and that's why it's so hard to imagine it torn apart by war. Yet during 1944 Peleliu was the site of one of the bloodiest battles of WWII. Although the island is only 13 sq km, in two months over 15, 000 men were killed here, almost equalling Palau's current population. Peleliu's forests were also bombed and burned to the ground.
Today there's no immediate sense of war at all, save for the unearthly sensation engendered by an encounter with an eerie, rusted pillbox or tank in the jungle's secondary growth. Even then, the experience is leavened by the whistles and songs of tropical birds thriving in the regenerated vines and leafy foliage, a cornucopia that has mostly healed the hideous battle scars of old.