BULA! It can be a long flight to Fiji depending on where you are flying in from. You will land at the Nandi international airport on the main island of Viti Levu. From there you will transfer to a smaller plane or boat and you will end up on a boat to get to your resort of final destination. While Viti Levu is an interesting place to visit the best of Fiji ocean views are the smaller beach islands.
Fiji has a reputation as being the honeymoon capital but it is much more than that and there is much to see and do if you fancy touring the islands. The people are what really make Fiji; they welcome travellers and treat them with respect and a sincere desire to help. Fijians take great pride in their country and they want you to have the best time possible. Everyone says Bula as you pass by and everyone will try to help with directions and information. Fiji is a relatively safe destination, all the usual travel advice goes here just like any other place in the world.
Take the usual precautions with travel documents and cash keeping in mind that Fiji is a country where ATM’s can be hard to find in rural areas unless you are in a resort. Fiji is great for the active traveller but can be very difficult for the disabled staying on the main island wheelchairs can be accommodated but it is rare in the smaller islands where small prop planes and boats are the only method of getting to and from.
On Vitu Levu you can take a cab from the airport to the foothills of the Sebeto Range, an undulating green mountain area that has the famed Garden of the Sleeping Giant a botanical sanctuary created by the actor Raymond Burr. Nadi also has a wonderful open air souvenir market where you can buy traditional Fijian crafts from hand painted saris, wooden masks and kava bowls.
You should also take time to explore the Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple, which is an ornately painted temple of Hinduism. You cannot leave Fiji until you have taken part in a traditional Kava ceremony so pick up a kava root at the market as well.
Kava is a traditional drink and ceremony that is considered a welcome to the area or village. Kava is made from the pepper plant; the root is powdered and mixed with water. It is mildly narcotic and has a gritty somewhat bitter taste. Drinking kava will make your lips and tongue go slightly numb and leave you quite relaxed but cognizant of your surroundings. There is etiquette to a kava ceremony that should be followed.
First both men and woman must be dressed modestly and you should always bring a gift of kava root. Watch the other participants closely and follow the lead of your guide. Drinking of the kava is taken in turns of importance to the village. When it is your turn you will be offered high tide which is a full cup or low tide, half a cup. Clap once with a cupped hand and yell Bula and make sure you take the Kava drink in one gulp, then clap three times and shout Mathe.
Fiji is a vacation you won’t soon forget and you will long to be back there, the friendliness and the sheer beauty of this chain of islands makes it an outstanding place to visit.