With over 170 islands arrayed across 740,000 square kilometres of West Polynesia, the Kingdom of Tonga is one of the most beautiful and unspoiled of Pacific island nations. Dramatic volcanic landscapes combine with tropical rainforests and pristine coral atolls and beaches, sustaining and nurturing flora and fauna. As the only Pacific nation never to have been colonised, the Kingdom’s robust history, culture and traditions are still a vital part of daily life.
Tonga is located in the South Pacific in the region of western Polynesia. It consists of an archipelago of over 170 islands covering 740 square kilometres. The Kingdom is made up of three major island groups, Tongatapu & ‘Eua in the south, Ha’apai group in the centre and Vava’u group in the north and 200 kms north of Vava’u lies the small Niua group.
Tonga is a unique Polynesian Kingdom ruled as it has been for centuries, by a King, Royal Family and Nobles similar to many European Monarchies.
Located on the main island of Tongatapu, Fua’amotu International Airport is a modern, efficient airport catering for international flights from Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Samoa and the USA.
Tongatapu’s domestic airport is located alongside Fua’amotu International Airport and from there Chathams Pacific, Tonga’s domestic airline flies to Pilolevu Airport in the Ha’apai group and Lupepau’u Airport in the Vava’u group. They also operate flights to Tongatapu’s neighbouring island of ‘Eua. This flight (7 minutes) is reported to be the shortest commercial flight in the world.
Tonga has a uniquely benign climate with an average annual daytime temperature a comfortable 75ºF. In the summer from December to April the temperatures are warmer and more humid and the winter months from May to November are cooler and dryer. Overall Tonga enjoys a climate that is extremely comfortable and pleasant year around. Anytime of the year is a perfect time to visit and enjoy this unique pacific island Kingdom and all it has to offer.
The Tongan dollar is the Pa’anga and comes in $1,$2,$5,$10,$20,$50 & $100 dollar denominations. While most major credit cards are accepted in Tonga and there are over 200 EFTPOS outlets, it is important to note that Tonga is essentially a cash society and all visitors should make sure they have sufficient funds to pay for services. There are no credit or EFTPOS facilities to pay for excess baggage at the domestic airports for example and many cafes and guest houses only accept cash, also Taxi drivers often claim not to have change so small denomination notes are a good idea.
Main centres have banking and money exchange facilities provided by ANZ, Westpac, Western Union, Moneygram and Meli-mei-langi. There are also numerous ATM machines in the town centres.
Tonga’s businesses operate Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 4.30pm, on Saturday from 8.30am to 12noon. It is important to note that all businesses are closed on Sundays, this includes most cafes and bars. Food is available in hotels and resorts.
Tonga has two major telcos, Tonga Communications Corporation TCC and Digicel Tonga. Both offer satellite connection, email, fax, telephone and mobile phone services.
Because Tonga has strong Christian values, Tonga is very conservative, especially when it comes to dress. Tongan law prohibits anyone appearing in public without a shirt and it is not acceptable to wear revealing clothing such as brief shorts or skirts, bikinis etc in public or when swimming at public beaches. While this dress is acceptable at resorts it is not acceptable in public as adult Tongans swim fully clothed.
In main centres and resorts tap water is treated and safe. However in more outlying areas it is advisable to drink bottled water.
Electricity in Tonga is 240 volts AC Hz/50 cycle.
Tongan is the official language of the Kingdom, although English is widely spoken by most Tongans.
Tipping is not expected in Tonga but is always appreciated as a reward for good service.
Visitors from most countries do not need a visa to enter Tonga (for a period of no longer than 31 days). These include:
Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Canada, Cook Islands, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominica, Estonia, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Finland, France, French Polynesia (New Caledonia, Tahiti, Wallis & Futuna), Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kiribati, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Monaco, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Niue, Norway, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russia, Samoa, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lusia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Sweden, Switzerland, The Bahamas, Tokelau, Turkey, Tuvalu, Ukraine, United Kingdom & Northern Ireland, United States of America, Vanuatu.
Please note, visitors from all others need visas prior to arrival. If you do require a visa it is always best to make those enquiries from your travel agent or contact the Tongan Immigration Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone +676 26 696 or +676 26 970.
Tonga Visitors Bureau
KINGDOM of TONGA
Tel: +676 25 334
Fax: +676 23 507
Tongatapu – ‘Sacred South’ – is the sleepy southern starting point for visitors exploring the authentic Polynesian vibe of...More here
Hilly and covered in lush rainforest, ‘Eua’s combination of breathtaking beauty and rugged, idiosyncratic...More here
Ha'apai Island Group
Uncrowded, unhurried and undiscovered. Well off the beaten path for visitors, the 62 scattered islands, atolls...More here
Vava'u Island Group
Welcome to the adventure hub of the Kingdom of Tonga. An azure tropical labyrinth of 61 different islands dotted with...More here