"Tonga - The Friendly Islands" Top 5 Page for this destination Tonga by pure1942
Tonga Travel Guide: 180 reviews and 326 photos
The Pacific Islands have always aroused a certain curiosity in me and when planning my round the world trip in 2009-2010 I was determined to stop off in a few of them on the way. Deciding on which islands to visit takes some time but eventually we decided to include Tonga as it seemed like one of the most interesting, economical, accessible and least visited of the south pacific islands. In hindsight it was a good choice. While islands like Fiji and Tahiti have always been major draws for tourists, islands like Tonga and Samoa have only recently opened up to visitors and attracted attention. Because of this, there is a lot more originality on show in these islands and that appealed to us from the moment we landed on Tonga. The tourist industry has not developed as much as in other more popular Pacific Islands and you get a rougher more genuine experience of a true South Pacific nation.
Tonga is a nation made up of an archipelago of 176 islands (52 inhabited), divided into 4 main groups and spread over an area of 700,000 square kilometres.
Tongatapu is the main island group and includes the beautiful island of Eua. It is home to almost 70% of the country’s population. The capital, Nukuʻalofa, is located on the island of Tongatapu as is the country’s main airport. Most visitors will enter the country through here and most budget travellers will end up staying here as it can be expensive to travel further into the archipelago. The Ha’apai are north of the Tongatapu group and can be reached by regular flights from Nuku’alofa and there is rumours of a ferry service starting soon. Even further north is the Vavaʻu group which is popular with yachties and pleasure sailors and is a paradise for water based activities including snorkelling, diving, kayaking, whale watching, fishing and sailing. The last group of the Tonga islands are the seldom visited Niuas. Isolated and less populated than the other groups these islands can be difficult and expensive to reach but for the adventurous could be a real find.
We only managed to visit the Tongatapu group on our trip as we were short on time and money but really enjoyed our stay. Tongatapu has some fine beaches especially on its outer islands and although you will find better beaches on Ha’apai and Vava’u and on the islands of other pacific nations, Tongatapu has more to offer than just beaches with plenty of art, culture and history on display . You also have the beautiful rugged island of Eua, which is only a short ferry ride away, and has some spectacular, secluded hiking opportunities through thick forest and along its dramatic coast. An interesting and unique place to visit.
The flag of the Kingdom of Tonga is red with a corner square of white bearing a red cross. The cross represents Tonga’s... more travel advice
Mat weaving is a traditional art in Tonga usually carried out by groups of women who weave the mats by hand. These hand... more travel advice
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