“The Kingdom of Tonga” the True South Pacific reflects Tonga’s unique position in the South Pacific and what it could offer visitors: the variety of sceneries, relaxed and happy lifestyle, people’s friendliness and hospitality, and a lot of exciting and interesting experiences.
Tonga is known as the Friendly Isles of the South Pacific. This name was given to them by Captain James Cook, a British navigator, who visited Tonga in 1773, 1774 and 1777. Captain James Cook was very impressed by the friendliness of the people of Tonga. The ancient Polynesian Kingdom of Tonga is one of the most scenic and unspoiled of the Pacific island nations. There are 176 islands scattered over 700,000 sq km of ocean. Tonga is located to the west of the International Date Line and is the first in the world to greet each new day.
Tonga has a variety of scenery that is not usually found elsewhere in the world, with dramatic volcanic landscapes, low-lying coral atolls, pristine coral reefs and magnificent sandy beaches. Tonga is divided into four main island groups. In the south is Tongatapu, where the capital of Nuku’alofa can be found, and ‘Eua to its south-east. One hundred and sixty kilometers north is the Ha’apai group, and 100 kilometres further north is the Vava’u archipelago. In the far north, 300 kilometres from Vava’u, lies the remote Niuas, a fascinating part of Tonga where traditional life still thrives. The Tourism industry in Tonga has potential for investment particularly in the northern group of Vava‘u, Ha‘apai and the Niuas. Tourism Products and Destination
The main island, offers tourist activities such as exploring the island’s natural beauty and historic attractions by bicycle, car, bus or tour bus. There are ancient monuments and terraced tombs (langi), natural rock arches, limestone caves and spectacular blowholes to discover.
Is water lover’s paradise. There’s an extensive charter boat from July to October to watch magnificent humpback whales coming to warm waters to mate and calve. You can enjoy snorkeling, diving, sportfishing and sea kayaking and make journeys to remote underwater caves and mysterious shipwrecks. Vava’u has a sheltered harbor, which is a haven for yachties and one of the world’s great sailing centres.
Where time stops. No traffic jams, no crowds, no queue’s except peace and tranquility. This island is a wonderful eco-tourism destination and a paradise for divers and snorkellers. ‘Eua Island – with its rugged relief and lush green, almost untouched vegetation, ‘Eua offers an ideal destination for those seeking adventure and enjoys in touch with nature, with its spectacular high cliffs, numerous caves and sinkholes; caves, chasms and waterfalls; and taking a walk through the pristine rainforest of ‘Eua National Park, and exploring the rocky southern coastline. The Niuas – are Tonga’s most northern islands of Niuatoputapu and Niuafo’ou, lying midway between Vava’u and Samoa, offers visitors the cultural experience of a lifetime.
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Tonga enjoys a sub tropical climate throughout the year which reflects its position being within the trade wind zone of the South Pacific. There are two seasons: a wet season from November to April and dry season from May to October. Mean annual temperature ranges from 23 – 28 C and the mean humidity is round 75 %. Winds over Tonga are dominated by the south-east trades all year round. Tropical cyclones are confined to the wet season which is also called the Cyclone Season, with highest frequency during the month of February. During a normal year rainfall in the dry zone of Tonga, mainly Ha’apai Group and southern Tonga are lower than normal during the Dry Season but specially towards the latter part of the season. Flooding in Tonga is not common but when it occurs it is mainly due to prolonged heavy rain, storm tides and heavy sea swell, mainly at southern Tonga and the Ha’apai Group which are the coastal low lying areas.
Because of Tonga’s sub tropical climate all year round, it is recommended that visitors wear light casual clothing. In Public places, clothing should be respectful without too much exposure due to Tonga’s cultural value of respect. Men wears a shirt and short, or long pants or a tupenu (wrap round skirt for Tongan men). At formal functions, women are expected to wear dresses that cover their shoulders and at knee length, or wear a tupenu (traditional long skirt for women which goes down to the ankle). Wearing swimming suits and swimming topless in public is not recommended. Water shoes would be comfortable due to corals. For footwear, wear open style or shoes suitable for walking.
There are three commercial banks in Tonga: BSP Bank, ANZ Bank and MBF Bank. ANZ and BSP Bank have branches in Neiafu, Vava’u; BSP Bank has branches in Pangai, Ha’apai and ‘Ohonua, ‘Eua. Banking Business hours are from 9:00am to 4:00pm for all Banks. ANZ Bank and BSP Bank opens Saturdays from 9:00am to 12:00pm. All Banks are closed on Public holidays.
All business transactions are carried out in the Tongan Pa’anga (TOP).
There are hospitals in all the islands of Tongatapu – Vaiola Hospital; Vava‘u Group – Prince Wellington Ngu Hospital; Ha‘apai Group – Niu‘ui Hospital; ‘Eua Island – Niu‘eiki Hospital. Dental Services are available in each hospital. In Tongatapu itself, there are about eleven pharmacies which opens from 9:00am to 5:00pm and some closes at 8:00pm.