So, you’ve made the decision to visit the south pacific and Fiji is on your list.. congrats!
Yes, its beautiful, lush (depends on where you go) and friendly.
What to expect in Fiji?
As some would say, its very laid back. Everything kinda runs on island time which means its slow and the locals are accustomed to having everything running slowly. If you are coming from a fast paced environment, it can be quite frustrating at times but that’s the charm of it. After all, you are here to relax (or are you?)
What to eat
Fiji has had a lot of influence on their cuisine over the year, from British, Indian and Chinese. There is a large Indian population who arrived here for labour and a small Chinese population, and over the centuries local cuisine has been adapted.
If you are here for the food, the good news is that you can certainly experience a lot of fusion cuisine as a result of years of integration. I had a tough time finding true local cuisine of the natives. There is a lot of Indian and Chinese influence in the cooking so you tend to see more of it.
When I say ‘local cuisine’, think of local taro or yam served with local fish cooked in coconut milk. Or coconut chips. Mmm yum!
Trying to find authentic local cuisine can be a tough task as the locals tend to have their everyday meals in private homes and not in restaurants.
How to get around
If you are in one of the main islands, public buses are an easy way to get around. There’s plenty of Taxi’s around in most parts too and is relatively cheap and ubiquitous.
Nadi is the main port of call for most international flights. If arriving in Nadi, many hotels and guesthouses can arrange a pick up for you. If offered, please take advantage of it. Some places charge for a pickup and you are better off hiring a taxi from the airport as it will be cheaper (All taxies are metered).
And if you plan on visiting a small island, check in advance if a taxi or other form of transport is available for you to get to your choice of accommodation. It is highly recommended that you arrange a pickup through your hotel to have some peace of mind.
Where to stay
There’s a myriad of accommodation options available to suit every traveller. Most visitors to the islands tend to spend their entire time in a resort and a few others go looking for the authentic Fijian experience exploring small islands (Think of Ovalau or Rotuma) and island hopping.
There are so many options and so much potential!
Cost of your accommodation depends on the level of service and facilities but always all of them tend to be overpriced for what they offer. Even relatively cheap backpacker hostels tend to be expensive than a comparable hostel in a developed country.
Some of the smaller guest houses I’ve stayed in Nadi cost FJD 200 for 2 nights for 2 people and the mid-range Novotel was FJS 240 per night!
Fiji islands are beautiful with crystal clear waters surrounding most of the islands and bays. This is the biggest drawcard.
Apart from the waters, other popular activities include Kava ceremony and kava drinking, local dancing, island hopping and sailing. Kava is an interesting drink made from ground up roots of kava roots. It looks quite muddy and is a new taste sensation if you’d like to try it. I recommend visiting a village to try this.
You could also enjoy snorkelling, kayaking, hiking and visiting villages. Find your activity of choice.
The highlight of my trip was the Seaspray day tour which takes you to Castaway island. Its a full day tour with lunch included and drinks (think Beer, wine, soft drinks and water). In addition to sailing around, this tour also took us to a village island and we took part in a Kawa ceremony. I highly recommend this if you are short of time.
There are popular day trips to close by islands from Nadi and can be arranged with most hotels and guesthouses. Or why not visit the popular Cloud 9 floating bar in the middle of the pacific! Sounds amazing right?
How much does it cost
The local currency is the Fijian dollar. 1 FJD is about 74c Australian cents. Be warned that prices in Fiji are quite steep and your money runs out pretty fast. Add up 25% of tax for everything. A local beer cost around FJD 6.80 (300ml Fiji Bitters), a plate of 4 Samosa’s for FJD 7-8, 1 main meal around FJD 12-20.
Tourism in Fiji is the main export so no matter what you do, you will have to pay a lot for it.
If you’ve enjoyed this article or have anything else to add or ask, leave a comment below 🙂