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Sunday, April 21, 2024
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Guns & Butter: Tonga Travel Guide

Tonga Travel Guide is part of the Bula! Fiji Hub Trip Report.

TPOL’s Guns & Butter Travel Guide is the best way to see as much as you can in as little time as possible. Here’s how it works: A trip is composed of two factors: Labor And Lazy. The opportunity cost (what is given up) for relaxing and being Lazy is gained by being adventurous in the form of Labor and vice versa. The guide includes inefficient activities i.e., tourist traps that should be avoided and aspirational activities that are worth doing but may be impossible to see given the constraints of time and resources.

I only heard of Tonga thanks to the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and the handsome man, Pita Taufatofua, who participated in my favorite hobby- walking around with no shirt, and he did so on international TV.

Abs obsession aside, here’s the game plan should you find yourself there:

Getting There 

The best way to fly to Tonga is from Fiji on Fiji Airways in business. It only costs 12,500 Avios and $52 versus $466 to fly business (see The Best Business 737 Experience).

a group of airplanes parked on a tarmac

two chairs in an airplane

Where to Stay

There are no points properties in Tonga. I picked a hotel because it had great reviews for pizza. The name of the establishment was Little Italy.a white building with arched balconies and stairs

a pepperoni pizza in a box
The pizza was damn delicious!
a bed with pillows and a lamp in a room
And I enjoyed it in my bed.

a white building with arched balconies and a fence

While $129/night is a bit steep, the service was awesome. They provided the contact information for the whale swimming (see Whale Swimming Tonga: What Was I Thinking?). They arranged my taxi to the Anahulu Cave (see Tonga Cave Diving, Jumping & Gimping). They arranged a taxi for my 3AM ride to the airport.

Getting There, The Hotel

Speaking of airports, it costs 70 TOP ($29) to get to the airport, though I was charged 80 TOP ($34) from the airport. Even on a remote island, hustling is required when it comes to airport transfers.

TPOL’s TIP: T-Mobile’s international roaming plan did not work in Tonga. I recommend an e-sim.

What I Did 

  • Whale Swimming: To summarize the post above, I have done my fair share of adventurous things. Some were riskier (and dumber) than others (see Wild One: TPOL’s Top Daredevil Activities). Swimming with whales in Tonga is officially at the top of the list for the most reckless activity.

a blue ocean with wavesa person swimming in the water

Here’s how it looks in calm conditions:

Here’s how it looked when I went:

Then there was fully immunized, Alex ‘TPOL’ Rodgers gimping his way into the fresh water.

a man standing on a beach
One would never suspect a freshwater cave would be a few paces away from this beach.

What I Didn’t Do

What I Would Skip 

  • I was not impressed with the dinner at the Seaview Lodge. The food was not expensive by Western standards but still too much for a casual night out. Lobster and octopus were $60. I should have skipped the $30 wine (see You Don’t Have to Order a Bottle of Wine). a man sitting at a table with a plate of food a plate of food on a table

What You Shouldn’t Skip 

  • Wings and beer at Billfish. It’s the watering hotel for foreigners and locals alike. I was there on a Friday night, and it was getting quite busy by the time I left, a wise choice given my 5:40AM flight (see Tonga to Fiji: Not The Same Business). a stage with signs and a sign on it a plate of food on a table a group of license plates a bottle of beer on a table

What I Was Told to Do Next Time 

  • Heilala Festival & Beauty Pageant which takes place at the end of June and July.
  • A cultural dance and dinner
  • Visit other islands in Tonga. I stayed in Nuku’alofa, the capital.a building with a sign on it


Tonga was a wild experience.




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