Tongan life is all about ‘Famili (family). Each family member is brought up knowing how to love and respect one another. This also reaches out to extended family members. There are four core values ‘Fa’i Kavei Koula’ that the Tongan culture is built on and expected to be upheld on a daily basis, they are known as:
* ‘Ofa – Love
* ‘Faka’apa’apa – Respect
* ‘Anga Fakato ki lalo/ Lototoo – Humility
* ‘Tauhi Va – Gratitude
Considered a Christian Kingdom, Tonga’s religious practices are found throughout all the islands. There is a reason why no flights operate on a Sunday. Transactions on a Sunday are considered ‘void’ and each member of the community is required to go to church. Every Sunday morning you can hear the faint beat of the ‘lali’ along with the chimes of the church bells. The churches are filled with harmonious singing, with every man, woman and child dressed in their finest.
Feasting brings everyone together, with big appetites expecting to get fed well. Traditional dancing, and handicraft making, along with a big feast is a common tradition in Tonga. Kava, a spicy liquid made from the roots of a ‘kava‘ plant is known through the South Pacific. Kava is normally served at Tongan ceremonies as an ancient custom. It is quite a popular and social event bringing the community together to gather round the kava bowl in their villages and create conversation.
Tongatapu, known as the ‘Sacred South’, is the main island of Tonga and the launch pad for exploring many of the other islands that surround the Kingdom. Nuku’alofa, the capital of Tongaputa, and the hub for international arrivals, is located on the north coast, and is filled with long stretches of white beaches, charming cafes, and ancient churches. You may even see a few pigs roaming around if you’re lucky.
Hilly and covered in lush rainforest, ‘Eua’s combination of breathtaking beauty and rugged, idiosyncratic landscapes is the perfect destination for travelers. A concise seven-minute flight links Tongatapu to the island of ‘Eua on its southeastern tip, world’s shortest commercial airline flight.
If you’re looking for off-the-beaten-path experiences, then look no further then Ha’apai, a central island group consisting of 62 islands. Isolated, uninhabited and undiscovered, this tropical paradise is filled with shallow lagoons, deserted beaches, vibrant reefs, giant volcanoes and breaching whales. Travellers can fill in their day with endless activities such as hiking, snorkelling, kayaking or even horseriding along the white sandy beaches.
Truly unspoiled, this remote group of islands are dotted along the Kingdom of Tonga, and offer year-round climate suitable for snorkelling, swimming, sailing and diving. Surrounded by crystal clear water, these 61 islands offer an abundance of activities in and out of the water. For those sailing around the South Pacific, Neiafu, is a popular spot to dock your yacht, allowing you to explore more of Vava’u Islands natural beauty.
Niuatoputao is a flat coral island situated furthest north within the Kingdom of Tonga. Located between Vava’u and Samoa, this ‘sacred island’ is mostly remote and underdeveloped with a noticeably warmer temperature than the other parts of the Kingdom, especially in the southern end.
Niufo’ou, located about 100km west of Niuatoputapu, is one of the world’s most remote islands. From a birds-eye view, this volcanic rimmed island could be compared to a floating donut. The coastline is rocky and steep, with few black sandy beaches. Niuafo’ou, together with Tafahi & Niuatoputapu island are referred to as the Niuas.