The South Pacific region is abundant in rich and vacation-worthy islands. But maybe it’s time to divert away from the flashy places-to-be and go for a more authentic and warm destination.
Just south of Samoa, Tonga is known for its rugged sceneries and culture that are visible almost everywhere around you. Here are the things in store for visitors.
How to get there
Getting there is pretty easy. First, you will need a visa with 6 months validity. A 31-day visitor’s visa is given upon arrival. Another good news is that Tongan nationalities are now able to enter 33 more countries, so this proves the lenient yet safe foreign security.
Most direct flights to Tonga are from Auckland so book a ticket to Auckland first. Available airlines are Air Pacific, Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia.
Upon arriving, the subtropical climate will immediately greet you. Nevertheless, the ample amount of palm fronds and trees will give you shade. And though ATMs and credit cards are acceptable, be sure to bring enough cash.
Places to visit
There are a lot of places and sights to go to in Tonga. According to Lonely Planet, among these are: The islands of Pangaimotu and Makaha’a. At the sight of these islands, the South Pacific holiday is fulfilled. Fatai Kayak Adventures in Holonga Village in eastern Tongatapu offers kayak tours and rentals.
A symbol of ancient Polynesia, the Ha’amonga ‘a Maui (Maui’s Burden) trilithon near Niutoua resemble that of the world-famous Stonehenge.
Known as the “Forgotten Island”, Eua is a long stretch of paradise. It is believed to be one of the oldest islands in Tonga and the Pacific.
What to eat
Another staple not to miss in Tonga is their bountiful variety of food both from land and sea. Everything from its harvest down to your plate is fresh. Tongan cuisine, especially during a feast, is a mixture of ” 'Ota ika (raw fish with coconut milk, onions, tomatoes, lemon juice); fish, chicken, and sheep ribs (sipi) baked wrapped in taro leaves with coconut milk (lu); feke (octopus), and clams prepared in coconut milk.” according to Recipes.wikia.
For the budget travelers, Tonga isn’t really hard to get around. The biggest expenses would only be accommodation ($18-$20/night) and getting to Tonga.
Other than that, food and other transportation in Tonga is pretty affordable. Avoid booking online though, since those are the expensive ones, and opt for a budget hotel once you get to Tonga instead.
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