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Tonga Frequently Asked Questions

  • Tonga Bungalows over water

What language is spoken in Tonga?

The official languages of Tonga are Tongan and English. 

What currency is used in Tonga?

The currency used throughout the country is the Tongan pa’anga. Credit cards are accepted at hotels and restaurants.  ATMs are found on the main island however banks are only found in the capital.  

Do I need a visa to travel to Tonga?

A visa is not required when travelling from Canada or The United States as a tourist for up to 30 days. 

When is the best time to travel to Tonga?

Tonga experiences a warm tropical climate year-round. However, from May to November it will be relatively dry without getting very much cooler. June to October is the humpback whale season when most tourists will want to visit Tonga.

Is there transportation within Tonga?

The main form of transportation between the islands is by air or ferry, however both have unpredictable schedules. On the main island taxis are available and limited bus service that does not operate on a schedule. You can also get around by bicycle to explore the flat islands and guest houses usually provide transfer services and excursions. 

Is Tonga a family friendly destination?

The Tonga people are warm and inviting and there is plenty of sunshine, sandy beaches and tropical rainforest for kids to play and explore. However Tonga does not have the tourism infrastructure that other island destinations offer with five star resorts and kids clubs. Your children will need to pack their imaginations. 

How welcoming is Tonga to LGBTQ travellers and families?

Tongan’s have been called the friendliest people in the world, they are accepting of all travellers who want to visit their beautiful islands. However it is good to note that Tonga is a very religious country and homosexuality is illegal. Public dispays of affection are frowned upon for straight and gay couples. There is a trans community in Polynesian culture that dates back to ancient times. In Tonga they are called fakaleiti. Today becoming a fakaleiti is an accepted lifestyle choice.  

Are there any religious customs I should be aware of? 

Tonga is a very religious country and it is important to know the rules before visiting. Everything shuts down on sundays. It is illegal to do any sort of exercising on Sundays; no jogging, swimming, kayaking, dancing etc. It is also illegal for any business transactions to happen on a Sunday. Men and women are not allowed to go topless however it is accepted for men to be topless at hotel beaches and resorts. If you plan on visiting a church, men will need to wear long pants and a t-shirt, women will need a knee length dress or skirt and have shoulders covered. 

What voltage and power outlet is used in Tonga? 

The standard voltage in Tonga is 240V and they use the type I plug with slanted prongs, the same as you would find in Australia and New Zealand. an adapter/converter is needed for North American travellers. 

What should I buy to bring home from Tonga?

The handicraft that Tonga is best known for is hand decorated tapa cloth. The cloth is made from beaten mulberry tree bark and painted with Polynesian style artwork. Other typical souvenirs are woven baskets and mats, wood carvings, carved pendants made from bone and pearls. 

What are some important items to pack for Tonga?

Water shoes/reef shoes are always handy to pack, if you step on coral while swimming you can be cut pretty bad. Sunscreen and bug repellant are also musts. If you will be visiting any churches, men need to have long pants and a shirt, women need a knee length dress or skirt and a shirt that covers the shoulders. 

What is the wifi like in Tonga?

Wifi access is not always common in Tonga. Hotels will advertise free wifi however things are ever changing and this may not actually be accurate.If hotels do have wifi sometimes there is a fee and it is only available in communal areas. There are some cafes and restaurants in Nuku'alofa that offer wifi. If wifi is a necessity such as you need to be connected for work, then it is best to get a local SIM card so your phone has access to the internet and you can use your phone as a hotspot for other devices.  

What are the main annual events held in Tonga?

Heilala Festival (July) - Tonga’s largest festival celebrates the culture of the country. The festival starts with the King's birthday and continues with talent shows, singing competitions and the Miss Heilala Beauty Pageant.

Tonga Day (November) - Tonga's national holiday, you can see some dancing and singing shows in the capital however it is a holiday more celebrated by Tongans who have immigrated to other countries. 

Vava'u Blue Water Festival (September) - A celebration of sailing and yachting. The events include yacht racing, dancing and singing performances and community barbecues.

What are some useful Tongan words?

Yes - lo

No - ikai

Thank you - malo

Thank you very much - malo aupito

Hi (Informal) -Malo e lelei

Hello (Formal) - Malo etau lava

Please- kataki

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