Tongan Funerals

Funerals are of enormous cultural significance in Tonga. In contrast with the taboos regarding death and dying in Western society, death in Tonga is met with matter-of-fact acceptance and a highly ritualised grieving process. Mourners are easy to spot custom requires that Tongans dress in black and wear ta'ovala (waistmats). Visitors might observe some locals in particularly tattered ta'ovala, some of which almost reach the neck and face. These signify the death of an immediate family member,...

Sea Kayaking

Sea-kayaking in Tonga was recendy voted amongst the top 50 adventure activities in the world. With its myriad islands, lagoons and beaches, Tonga offers great scope for sea kayakers - including the clear, sheltered waters of the Vava'u Group and the remote, traditional (and sometimes uninhabited) islands of the Ha'apai Group. Island resorts generally have a few kayaks for guest use. See p228 and p247 for details on rental gear and companies offering 'trip of a lifetime' kayaking camping paddles...

Before You Go

Prevention is the key to staying healthy while abroad. A little planning before departure, particularly for pre-existing illnesses, will save trouble later. See your dentist before a long trip, carry a spare pair of contact lenses and glasses, and take your optical prescription with you. Bring medications in their original, clearly labelled, containers. A signed and dated letter from your physician describing your medical conditions and medications, including generic names, is also a good idea....

The Land

The Samoan islands are made up of mostly high but very eroded volcanic islands with narrow coastal plains that lie in the heart of the vast South Pacific, 3700km southwest of Hawai'i. Tonga lies to the south, Fiji to the southwest, while Tuvalu is to the northwest, Tokelau to the north, and to the southeast are the Cook Islands and Tahiti. Samoa, with a total land area of 2934 sq km, consists of two large islands, Savai'i (1700 sq km) and 'Upolu (1115 sq km), with two small inhabited islands,...

Tickets

Automated online ticket sales work well if you're doing a simple one-way or return trip on specified dates, but are no substitute for a travel agent with the lowdown on special deals, strategies for avoiding stopovers and other useful advice. Paying by credit card offers some protection if you unwittingly end up dealing with a rogue fly-by-night agency, as most card issuers provide refunds if you can prove you didn't get what you paid for. Alternatively, buy a ticket from a bonded agent, such...

Haapai Group

Sprinkled across the kingdom's central waters, the Ha'apai Group is an idyllic South Pacific paradise - low coral islands, vibrant reefs and kilometres of deserted white beaches fringed with coconut palms. Traditional culture is not something you pay an entry fee to experience in Ha'apai - it's all around, unexploited and alive. You won't find the distractions of shops, nightspots (or even running water at times) but those willing to forgo the trimmings reap the rewards. Even bare-brass...

Nukualofa Walking Tour

And sides of the Royal Palace (4 pl87). Turn right onto Vaha'akolo Rd and head for the waterfront for the best palace views. Head northwest along the grassy waterfront of Vuna Rd for around 100m until you come to the manicured grounds of the British High Commissioner's Office and Residence (5). This beautiful building is the epitome of Pacific colonial architecture. The four cannons surrounding the flagpole on the front lawn are from the British privateer Port-au-Prince (pl82). Double back to...

The Gospel According to the Faa Samoa

Every village has at least one large church, and next to it is usually a church hall and a mansion for the pastor. Each village tries to build a bigger church than its neighbour. Churches don't just physically dominate the villages, they are a vital part of the social glue that holds everything together. Everyone from babes in arms to toothless grandmas dresses up in their Sunday best and goes to church at least once every Sunday. It's part religious belief, part social duty and part fashion...

In The Samoan Islands Tonga

AVAILABILITY & COST OF HEALTH CARE American Samoa has readily available doctors in private practice, and standard hospital and laboratory facilities with consultants in the major specialties - internal medicine, obstetrics gynaecology, orthopaedics, ophthalmology, paediatrics, pathology, psychiatry and general surgery. Private dentists, opticians and pharmacies are also available. In Samoa and Tonga, specialised services may be limited or available periodically, but private general...

Transport

The Information In this chapter Is particularly vulnerable to change. Check directly with the airline or a travel agent to make sure you understand how a fare (and ticket you may buy) works and to be aware of the security requirements for International travel. Shop carefully. The details given In this chapter should be regarded as pointers and are not a substitute for your own careful, up-to-date research. The physical isolation of the Samoan islands and Tonga means you need to give careful...

Southeastern Savaii

The southeastern chunk of Savai'i is where most of the island's business is conducted, namely in the banks, shops and marketplace of Salelologa. But once outside the shabby strip of commerce running north from the ferry terminal, you'll encounter some superb beaches and the lush wilds of the Tafua Peninsula Rainforest Preserve. Most of Savai'i's main facilities are in Salelologa and nearby in Tuasivi. ANZ Bank 51213 Salelologa S 8am-3pm Mon-Fri Situated beside the market, It has a 24-hour ATM....

Sia Ko Kafoa

Vava'u Island is nearly bisected by the Vaipua Inlet, which separates the Neiafu area from western Vava'u. The inlet was used by ancient Polynesian canoes en route to the fort complex at the village of Feletoa. The two sides of the island are connected by a causeway. On the western shore are the twin hills of Lei'ulu and Sia Ko Kafoa. Historically, this area has served as a burial ground, an 'esi resting site , a lookout and a fortification. From Neiafu, follow the road north past the hospital...

Food Drink

Samoans love food, glorious food, and skinny Samoans are as rare as hawksbill turtles. Traditional Samoan meals consist of root vegetables, particularly talo faro , niu coconut products , fuata breadfruit , pita a pork , moa chicken , i'a fish and other seafood such as shellfish, octopus and lobster. Young coconuts have delicious coconut water and a little jelly-like white flesh, mature ones have coconut water and firm white flesh, while sprouting ones are full of a spongy white substance...

The Fakaleiti

In a deeply Christian society like Tonga, there's not much tolerance for open displays of sexuality, rampant promiscuity or a tight pair of hot pants. Unless, of course, you are one of Tonga's fakaleiti. Fakaleiti, or leiti ladies as they call themselves, are men who dress and behave as women. The most high-profile event in the fakaleiti calendar is the Miss Galaxy pageant. Taking place a week after the king's birthday celebrations, this is an outrageous display of pole dancing, high heels and...

Medical Checklist

It is a very good idea to carry a medical and first-aid kit with you, to help yourself in the case of minor illness or injury. Following is a list of items you should consider packing. acetaminophen paracetamol or aspirin adhesive or paper tape antibacterial ointment, eg Bactroban for cuts and abrasions prescription only antibiotics by prescription only , eg ciprofloxacin Ciproxin or norfloxacin Utinor Noroxin antibiotic as well as steroid eardrops by prescription only , eg Sofradex, Kenacort...

Walking Tour

This walking tour takes you up and around the Mulinu'u Peninsula, which stretches out into the South Pacific Ocean to the northwest of central Apia. The peninsula seems to serve as a repository for political monuments and memorials, though most of these are now rather derelict. Start from outside Apia's lively Flea Market 1 p65 . The first monument you encounter while ambling along the sea wall that buttresses the peninsula's eastern shore is the German Flag Memorial 2 , which was erected in...

Lifuka Group

Most visitors to Ha'apai stay within the Lifuka group of islands, found along the eastern barrier reef of Ha'apai, including Ha'ano, Nukunamo, Foa, Lifuka, Uoleva, Tatafa and 'Uiha. Lifuka Island, with its main town Pangai the island group's capital , is the centre of Ha'apai's limited activity, including the airport and main inter-island ferry port. Lifuka's main town, Pangai, holds Lifuka's basic services shops, post office, bank etc and several guesthouses. There's litde for the visitor to...

Other Haapai Group Islands

Tofua Island Lake

From practically any west-facing shore in the Ha'apai group of islands the pyramidlike cone of Kao Tonga's highest mountain and the smouldering, volcanic Tofua site of the mutiny on the Bounty dominate the scene, and entice you to come a bit closer. Game fishing and diving around Kao and Tofua are excellent. On Tofua's southwestern beach, on 28 April 1789, Captain Bligh of HMS Bounty and 18 loyals landed after the famous mutiny. Islanders clubbed quartermaster John Norton to death. Bligh and...

Area sq km pop ISO

Tafahi Landing Site

Looming like the mythical Bali Hai the island created by James A Michener in his 1946 short-story collection Tales of the South Pacific , the perfect cone of extinct volcano Tafahi dominates the view from Niuatoputapu's north coast. On the right tide, you can cross to Tafahi 9km and 40 minutes north of Niuatopu-tapu by boat in the morning and return in the afternoon. A S' i-hour return walk to the summit 656m takes an intermittent trail, leading up the gradual northern slope and connecting the...

Northwestern Savaii

Western Savai'i ends at the remote Falea-lupo Peninsula, a snout-shaped piece of land where travellers can wobble across a rainforest swing bridge, acquaint themselves with some of Samoa's ancient le gends and technically look into the future. Meanwhile, committed hikers can trek from A'opo up into the island's wild heart. A'OPO CONSERVATION AREA amp MOUNT SILISILI It's possible to climb Mount Silisili 1866m , the Samoas' highest point, and at the same time experience the splendid natural...

Transport In Tonga

All travel through Tonga's islands requires a degree of faith and fluidity, and comes with a dose of uncertainty and unreliability, dependent on tides, strong winds, holidays, church events, weddings, funerals, or a late-night kava drinking session. Flying is the easiest and fastest way to get around Tonga, and the good news is that there are now two options Airlines Tonga Air Fiji and Peau Vava'u. Unreliability is still a problem and flights are cancelled or rescheduled at short notice, making...