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Fiji is home to so many beautiful destinations. It's easy to see why it's a popular place for tourists, especially Australians, Americans, and New Zealanders, who make up the vast majority of people who visit the island nation.
However, just like every other country, there are rules, cultures, and traditions that guide Fiji. We will discuss everything you need to know before traveling to Fiji in this article. Whether your destination is Yasawa Island, the popular Denarau Island, The Remote North or Lau islands, or any other place in Fiji, you need to know these things before you travel there. Let's get started!
Things To Know Before Visiting Fiji
Be careful of animals on the road
Fiji is plagued by stray dogs that wander, howl at all hours, and forage for street scraps. Infestations of fleas and other diseases are a real possibility, as most of them have been abandoned. Animals like horses and cattle are familiar sights in paddocks and along the highway. If you crash into a cow, you're in for a bad day.
In the resorts, you can get away with wearing essentially anything. But people expect visitors to be modest in cities, island villages and rural areas.
Men should wear shirts instead of singlets and longer-length shorts, and women should wear modest clothing that covers their shoulders and knees. Remove your hat and sunglasses before entering a home or a village. Never touch a Fijian person on the head without first asking permission.
Sundays are for worship
Fijian culture places a strong emphasis on Sundays because the majority of the population in the villages and outer islands is Christian. On Sundays, everyone dresses up for church, with the men often donning white shirts and black sulus.
Since many businesses are closed or have limited hours on Sundays, it's best to do all of your major shopping and other tasks on another day of the week.
Due to the large Fijian-Indian populations, Hinduism is the second most common religion, particularly in the cities and towns. If you happen to be in Fiji for the festivals of Diwali or Holi, you will be treated to daily celebrations and fireworks displays.
The limit for highway travel is 80 kilometres per hour (km/h)
If you are caught going faster than the posted limit, you will be issued a monetary fine. However, the rest of the road rules in Fiji may seem... relaxed. It's essentially nonexistent at times.
To avoid unpleasant surprises, always be on the lookout for drivers who suddenly pull out in front of oncoming traffic or who seem to appear out of nowhere.
You shouldn't go out walking late at night
Even though Fiji is not a very dangerous place to visit, you should still be careful. Even in small groups, women should be cautious when going out at night in areas that aren't crowded or resorts. Even for male travelers, taking a taxi at night is preferable to walking.
Inspect reef fish for potential toxins before eating them
If you can help it, it's recommended to steer clear of reef fish while visiting Fiji or any other South Pacific islands; they've been linked to illness. Fish that live in reefs feed on coral, which can become infected with a toxic bloom at certain times of the year.
Go for fish such as wahoo, tuna, marlin, and Mahi Mahi that live in deep water. Consume only filtered or boiled water, eat only freshly cooked food, and avoid rockmelons, which aren't always grown in sterile conditions, to avoid food poisoning in the Pacific.
Helpful Travel Tips When Visiting Fiji
Location and time zone
Fiji is precisely 12 hours ahead of GMT due to its location on the 180th Meridian (GMT). Between the months of November and January, Fijians set their clocks ahead an hour for daylight saving time.
Here, you'll experience two distinct but equally hot seasons. The warm tropical sun will melt away any remnants of winter. Temperatures range from a pleasant 22° to 33°C from December to April. Temperatures will average around 29 °C from May through November.
Inhabitants and dialects
More than 880,000 people call Fiji home, including native Fijians (i-Taukei), Indo-Fijians, Chinese, part-Europeans, and residents from other South Pacific islands. Locals are referred to as Fijians regardless of their cultural backgrounds. While English is the country's official language, many Fijians also speak the main Fijian dialect (Bauan) or Hindustani.
Religion in Fiji reflects the country's diverse population. All three major religions—Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam—coexist without conflict.
Malaria, yellow fever, and other major tropical diseases are absent in Fiji. If you are leaving an infected area, you must get a vaccination. You can find hospitals, clinics, surgical centers, dental services, and public and private pharmacies in most cities. So, make sure you have your health and travel insurance before your Fiji travel expedition.
Electricity in this region is supplied at 240 volts at 50 hertz. Fiji uses the same standard three-pin plugs that are found in Australia and New Zealand. The outlets in most five-star hotels and resorts are dual voltage, so you can use your 240- or 110-volt electric razor or hair dryer with ease.
If you are going to a rural area, it is recommended that you bring a universal adapter and/or voltage converter with you, even though you can find them at the largest department and hardware stores.
Connections and Wireless Internet
The international dialing code for Fiji is +679. There are usually direct-dial phones in many hotels and resorts (IDD). Global cell phone service providers like Vodafone Fiji Limited, Digicel, and Inkk Mobile all have significant operations in Fiji, making it easy to get a signal and stay in touch.
Most major hotels in Nadi have free wifi, and you can get 30 minutes of it at the airport's arrivals terminal. In addition, you can pick up a temporary local SIM card at any of their locations in the airport or major cities.
Economies and Banks
There are $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100 bills in addition to the more typical $5, $20, and $50 bills in circulation. The denominations of the coins are five cents, ten cents, twenty cents, fifty cents, a dollar, and two dollars. Nadi Airport's arrivals area and those in the country's major cities have 24-hour currency exchange facilities.
Sunday hours vary by location; however, most banks are open from 10:00 to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9:00 to 1:00 p.m. on Saturdays. There are ATMs in major cities and at many hotels and resorts across the country.
A current and valid driver's license is needed when booking a rental. On the contrary, right-hand-drive vehicles must go on Fiji's left side of the road.
On the highway, drivers can enjoy speeds of up to 80 kilometers per hour (about 50 miles per hour), whereas, in rural areas like villages, speed bumps limit speeds to 40 to 50 kilometers per hour (24 to 31 miles per hour).
Although tips are not expected, rewarding someone who has done exceptionally well is not out of place.
Most stores are closed on Sundays and national holidays, but there are always exceptions.
Another vital travel tip to remember is Fiji's taxation. Products and services in Fiji are subject to a value-added tax (VAT) of 15%.
Ensure you have your original receipt when applying for a tourism VAT refund at the airport.
Pests and diseases from other regions of the world can quickly spread to islands. Fiji needs import permits from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forests before you can bring any plant or animal in. This is to protect their ecosystem.
Let A Tour Guide Plan Your Fiji Vacation
In this article, we walked you through some of the things you need to know about Fiji. This information will be helpful as you visit the Fiji Islands, traversing the entirety of the country from Vanua Levu and Taveuni in the Remote North to Mamanuca Island and from Yasawa Island to The Botanic Garden of the Sleeping Giant in the Nausori Highs.
Better still, get yourself a travel guide or contact a cruise line agency to help you plan your trip, get acquainted with the country's rules, and make your experience seamless.