With a total surface area of about 750 square kilometres, Tonga is a very special place to visit if you fancy the islands of the Pacific. Stretching upon a massive total of 169 islands, 36 of which are inhabited, it harbours a little over 100,000 people. Sitting deep within the bounds of the tropical climate zone and thus enjoying warm weather all year long, this fine little island nation is one of the most coveted tourist destinations in the world. But why is it so alluring? Let’s elaborate on that with our top five Tonga facts!
No tourist should visit a country before getting down the basics of the basics: the tipping etiquette. So, how are things in Tonga? Well, simple: the locals do not expect to be tipped at all. Such behaviour does not pertain to the local culture and it is only slightly practiced by unaware tourists. Thus, if you are planning on leaving a little extra, nobody will mind. Why? Because most servicemen and servicewomen are direly underpaid and they are glad to see anything that augments their income. Be a dear and line their pockets (wink)!
2. Friends, always:
Did you know that Tonga is nicknamed the “Friendly Islands”? Well, if nothing else, that should give you an idea as to how welcoming its residents are. The hospitality industry is booming with the heart-warming attitude of its workers and any local is more than happy to speak to foreigners. You won’t find any trace of the metropolitan rush in the vicinity of Tonga and this makes it an excellent place to relax at. In fact, it is the flawless embodiment of the axiom: “Don’t worry, be happy”!
3. Language barriers:
The official language of Tonga is, as you may have already guessed, Tongan. But can you expect language barriers? Hell no! Most locals speak English to some degree and they are more than happy to use their hands and feet to get their meanings across if you’re having problems understanding them. This, however, should not stop you from putting a little effort into learning a couple of basic Tongan words. The aforementioned hospitality of the locals should be rewarded with at least a few familiar words. It goes a long way, believe us!
4. Mosquito assault:
If you are visiting the tropical climate zone, you are bound to run into pesky little pests. And yes, the case is quite rampant in Tonga: mosquitos are virtually swarming after dusk and if you are not adequately protected, you can expect an onslaught. The best thing to do is to pack some extra-heavy protection and, if you find one, rent a room with a bed that is covered with a mosquito net. Stay smart and stay safe!
There is one important aspect that you must keep in mind when visiting the fascinating islands of the Pacific: they use cash mostly. In Tonga, however, most major credit cards are somewhat accepted – not the presence of the word “somewhat”. This is not a guaranteed venture and cash should always be in your wallet – you do not want to find yourself in a situation where you cannot pay for something only because you solicited the services of a non-card establishment. The best way to pay for goods and services is to wave around a few banknotes. And since crime is by no means a problem in the country, you should not worry about getting mugged all the time. Don’t forget: “Don’t worry, be happy” (triple wink)!
Did you enjoy our list? How was your time spent in Tonga and what can you share with your peers? Tell us all about it in the comment section below and be sure to check back from time to time for some exciting new content See you on our next adventure!