My wife loves beaches – born in a coastal town, she has spent her entire early life near beaches, so when it came to our honeymoon, we chose to spend time together on an island and we shortlisted three islands for our visit. It was either Hawaii, Zanzibar or Fiji. After some discussion and possibilities of visiting other places with greater ease in the future, we finalized on Fiji and boy, did we love Fiji! I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that 40% of the Fijian population is of Indian origin.
Whenever I plan a trip, I usually keep my schedule packed but when it comes to spending some quality time together, we fancied our vacation to be laid back or so as they say, we wanted to live on “Fiji time”. A common saying in Fiji is “Fiji time,” meaning, “Don’t worry about time; it will eventually get done, and if it doesn’t, it is not that big a problem anyway.” Quite like my wife’s Hakuna Matata philosophy.
Where Is Fiji?
Fiji’s islands are located in the South Pacific, to the east of Australia and north of New Zealand. These three countries form almost an equilateral triangle.
How to get to Fiji?
Nadi International Airport is your stop in Fiji. Fiji Airways is the common carrier flying to Fiji and has great connectivity from Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and US west coast. There are 2-3 flights from other carriers as well.
What to do in Fiji?
Though Fiji is very small, just imagine the United States is about 538 times bigger than Fiji! Fiji spans over more than 300 islands and more than 200 of have people living in them. Viti Levu and Vanua Levu are two main regions of Fiji where more than 90% of the population lives. Rest of the area is divided into 3 other regions “Ovalau & the Lomaiviti”, The Mamanuca & Yasawa Groups” and “Kadavu, Lau & Moala Groups”. Each region has its own best things to do but beaches, diving and snorkelling are popular within every island.
What to do in Fiji? It all depends on your mood. Fiji has a range of activities and no matter how you plan your trip you will never run of places to go and things to do.
Fiji has a series of activities varied from Skydive, Scuba Dive, Snorkeling, Hiking and other sports activities. Fiji is one of the best places for Scuba and of the few places that has Shark Dive, though you have to be a certified scuba diver for Shark Dive. There are a lot of hiking in its main island of Viti Levu. There are also many guided village tours, which sounds quite interesting if you have time visit. Fiji does have hostels but those are mostly restricted to its main islands, for everywhere else you will have to book a hotel.
If you are looking for a romantic retreat the best thing to do is book a beachside resort and simply stay there for a couple of days. There are many resorts with their own private beach and have all the amenities within. One that we stayed in had a swimming pool, infinity pool, restaurant, bar, spa, water activities, scuba dive, shops practically everything that you will need. Generally, every resort also has a sports centre where you can ask for daily tours and activities. If you are looking to spend some quality “Fijian Time”, booking a resort is the best way.
Fijian cuisine has traditionally centred around a few staple ingredients, Rice, sweet potatoes, taro, coconuts, cassava, breadfruit, and of course, fish, have made up the majority of the Fijian food. Given a high proportion of Indians in Fiji, Indo Fijian food is also a must-try. Fiji has a collection of some amazing tropical cocktails and don’t forget to have coconut rum, it is one of their best. If you are dining in a resort, you will get all kinds of cuisine varying from Italian, American to Chinese. I personally never ran out of variety for food on my trip to Fiji. No matter what you are eating, water views always make for dining delights.
Bula, welcome to Fiji! This is how you will be greeted around all places. Fiji is very safe; though the recommendation is not to roam around alone at night, we did not find anything abnormal in Fiji. Fijians are very friendly and no matter where you go, you will be greeted with a smile. Travelling from one island to another might be a little tricky so plan in advance. If you and your kids love water, Fiji is an amazing gateway. It has beaches for laid-back life, scuba for adventure seekers, amazing cocktails, delicious food, village tours, and cruises. Fiji has everything that will make your vacation unforgettable.
Islands are always a heaven for laidback life. Every time I visit an Island, I love its vibe, there is no hurry and work is done at its own pace. Once you talk to a Fijian you will start getting a feel of how chilled out life is in Fiji. Fijians have a common saying “Fiji time,” meaning, “Don’t worry about time; it will eventually get done, and if it doesn’t, it is not that big a problem anyway.”
How to get Fijian Currency?
It is very difficult to get Fijian dollars outside Fiji. We could not get Fijian dollars at Indian or Singapore airport. There was a bank counter for currency conversion at Nadi Airport but they would not accept INR. There were a handful of currencies that they were ready to take. However, one good thing is that almost every resort will give of FJD if you swipe your card with a 3% processing fees, but do check this in advance with your resort/hotel.
We had 5 days and 4 nights in Fiji so we decided to split between two resorts. This way we would still go from one island to another and explore some of Fiji at the same time we would be on “Fijian Time”. For the first 2 night, we stayed in Fiji Marriott Momi Bay Resort, which is around 1-hour drive from Nadi International Airport. For the next 2 days, we took a ferry to Malolo Lailai Island. Malolo was around 1-hour ferry from Denaru Port, which is 15 min drive from the airport and 1 hour seemed like enough distance to travel for a 2-night stay.