Tonga offers a wide range of water-related activities; snorkeling, scuba, deep-sea diving, fishing, skiing, parasailing, and much more. The beaches are clean and sandy, while the ocean is crystal clear. The fastest mode of transport between the islands is by air. The Real Tonga Airline offers domestic flights, including Europe’s shortest flight between Tongatapu and ‘Eua taking just 8 minutes either way.
Visa & residence
The visa policy of Tango is quite relaxed. For instance, Schengen citizens can enter and stay in the country for 90 days, while Chinese nationals can stay for 30 days. For many countries, a visa is issued on arrival, and for others, an entry permit is to be applied for before traveling in. You can check out the official website (https://www.tongaconsul.com/visa.html) to see which category you fall under.
The economy of the country relies on agriculture and fishing. Though ecotourism can play a vital role in the GDP, however, the Kingdom’s tourism infrastructure has not kept up with the demand of travelers. The other major source of income for the Kingdom is remittance; sent by thousands of Tongan nationals settled abroad in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and other parts of the world.
Accommodation and living conditions
On January 14th, 2022, a major volcano erupted just off of Tonga, and the country was closed for tourism and traveling. However, during the last two weeks, people have started to return, and amazingly enough, the Kingdom has become one of the most popular moving routes as we write this article.
If the idea of a pristine ocean, endless golden beaches, and remote inhabited islands appeals to you, then look no further. The Kingdom of Tonga is just the place for you.
Now let’s answer the real question; is Tonga expensive? Although expensive is a relative term, depending completely on the affordability of the inquirer. However, by comparison, Tonga is very expensive. A one-bedroom apartment in a city area will not cost less than US$ 800/month. If you are willing to sacrifice Urban living and agree to settle in a suburb or a village, a 3-bedroom mansion will cost you nearly US$200.
Similarly, the restaurants here offer fine food and experience but are exorbitantly heavy on the pocket. The local street food is more affordable as it offers value for money.
Language and culture
The official language of the Kingdom is Tongan. Tongan (the language) is an Austronesian language branching from the Polynesian language, native to Tonga. English is the second national language and is widely spoken and understood. Tongans are of Polynesian descent and as such related to Samoans and other Polynesians; culturally, genetically, and language-wise.
The people of Tonga are lively and friendly, while cultural festivals are a consistent feature. Below is the list of some popular and more celebrated festivals.
- ‘Eua Festival: Held in the mid of May each year, promoting Tongan culture and language and attended by tourists around the world.
- Ha’apai festival: Mid of June every year. It is to celebrate the birthday of the King of Tonga. It goes on for a week after the birthday celebrations. During this season Tongan national flower is in full bloom and spreading colors everywhere you look.
- Vava’u festival & regatta: Held near the end of September, the festival runs for a whole week. The festival includes various events such as boating, rowing, swimming, etc. The event’s highlight, however, is the last night of the festival which is an all-night party!