There are so many different ways to travel these days. From budget travel and backpacking to luxury travel and cruising, there is something for everyone. But more and more it’s becoming popular to avoid the traditional touristy places such as London and Paris in favor of more off-the-beaten-path destinations. These lesser known places are quickly becoming the new hot spots and popular tourist destinations, however, as people “discover” them and flock to them. Places such as Iceland and Cuba are quickly becoming the new go-to spots for a fabulous vacation away from the crowds. It’s becoming harder to find a truly remote destination to get away from it all. As travel becomes cheaper and easier, more places are becoming popular.
But there are still many places on this globe where the tourist scene has yet to fully arrive. And one of those places is the tiny Kingdom of Tonga in the South Pacific. Tonga doesn’t have much of a tourist infrastructure at all, which makes it a perfect place to have an authentic local experience. You will need to pack lots of patience and a relaxed attitude before heading to Tonga. You won’t find fancy western resorts or even grocery stores and fast food restaurants. Instead you will find a basic, simple way of life nestled in among jaw-dropping scenery. I could rave about Tonga for days on end. The stunning and unspoiled nature is simply undescribable. It’s just someplace you really have to experience for yourself. Here are a few things you can see and do when in Tonga.
Visit Pangaimotu island for a day.
For 45.00 TOP (Tongan Pa’anga), or about $20 USD, you can take a short boat ride from Tongatapu (the main island) to Pangaimotu and spend the day snorkeling or just relaxing on this tiny slice of paradise. The 45.00 TOP also includes a nice lunch.
Book a Real Tonga flight over to another island
For 100 TOP (or about $50 USD) I flew round trip from Tongatapu to ‘Eua for a few days. There aren’t many options for accommodations and tours on this island, so you’ll have to make sure you arrange something before you go. I was lucky I had friends to stay with on ‘Eua and didn’t need to arrange anything. But a tour of the island is definitely worth the visit. Many people visit just to go swimming with the humpback whales. While it will be the most expensive part of your visit (I paid 200 TOP for my whale swim), it’s definitely a highlight and a must-do when on the island. We weren’t so lucky with our whale swim, as the weather was bad and the whales kept diving. But it was still an incredible experience to be so close to the whales while they jumped out of the water!
Visit the caves
Tongatapu has some fabulous caves that you can visit for a small fee. And unlike a lot of other places, you are free to take pictures inside!
You can even jump into the natural pool in the cave and go for a swim if you like.
Go to a fire show and dinner
For about 55.00 TOP you can go to a dinner and show in the Hina cave at Oholei beach. The traditional dinner is buffet style and after dinner there is a show in a cave nearby.
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Tonga and highly recommend it for the person who is looking for a unique destination with lots of beautiful nature to enjoy and fun outdoor activities to participate in.
Have you been to Tonga? Which islands did you visit?