10 Amazing Reasons to Visit Tonga(c) tongapocketguide.com
10 Amazing Reasons to Visit Tonga

20 Top Reasons to Visit Tonga

(c) tongapocketguide.com

Why is Tonga a Good Place to Visit?

Looking for a new place to go on holiday? Perhaps seeking a unique backpacking destination or have a week off work that you have no idea what to do with. Well, perhaps Tonga is your calling… Tonga is a nation of 170 islands scattered across the South Pacific Ocean. It’s home to a unique culture, diverse wildlife and stunning island landscapes. If that’s all you need to know, head to The Complete Travel Guide to Tonga to start planning! Otherwise, scroll down if you need more reasons to visit Tonga!

1. It’s One of the Only (and the Best) Places You Can Swim with Humpback Whales

You might have heard of swimming with dolphins, manta rays and maybe even swimming with seals, but in Tonga, you can check one incredible experience off the bucket list: swimming with whales! Yes, we’re talking about 30,000 kg (33 ton) giants that you can join in their natural element! Between July and October each year, humpback whales migrate to Tonga to mate and calve. During this time, you can also legally swim with these gentle giants in Tonga, one of the very few places in the world where you can do so. Not only that but with the number of whales visiting Tonga’s water just a short boat ride from shore, it’s also one of the best! Learn more about this life-changing experience in The Guide to Whale Swimming in Tonga.

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2. The Culture is Unique, Authentic and Easy to Immerse in

Tonga is home to one of the South Pacific’s most fascinating cultures, the Tongan culture. The nation is proud to be the only Pacific nation to never have been colonised and is home to the South Pacific’s only monarchy. With around 98% of the population being Tongan, the culture is easy to immerse in as soon as you step off the plane. Cultural tours here are super-authentic, where it doesn’t feel like you’re getting rehearsed speeches or people and “putting on a show” (except for the cultural dance performances, because, well, they are a show!) Learn more about how you can interact with the locals in The Guide to the Tongan Culture for Travellers.

10 Amazing Reasons to Visit Tonga© Tonga Tourism Authority

3. The Snorkelling and Scuba Diving are Incredible

How about snorkelling into a cave full of shoals of fish or scuba diving into the South Pacific’s largest sea cave? In Tonga, you have access to incredibly varied snorkelling and scuba diving sites. Caves, coral reefs, tunnels, pinnacles, shipwrecks, drop-offs, tunnels… It’s all here in the crystal-clear waters of Tonga! Check out The Guide to Snorkelling in Tonga and The Guide to Scuba Diving in Tonga to “dive” into the details!

10 Amazing Reasons to Visit Tonga(c) Tonga Ministry Of Tourism

4. It Can Be Super Affordable if You Want it to Be

Food, accommodation and transport are super affordable, so you can relax when it comes to your travel budget. Guesthouses, which are accommodations mostly run by locals, provide a range of rooms for around TOP$50 for a dorm and around $100 for a private room. Pick up cheap produce from the local markets for self-catering, or eat out at one of The Top Cheap Eats in Tonga. As for getting around, take the bus for TOP$1, grab a taxi for TOP$20 or travel from Tongatapu to Vava’u on a ferry for around TOP$90! Plan your budget with our What is the Cost of Travelling in Tonga?

10 Amazing Reasons to Visit Tonga(c) tongapocketguide.com

5. Resorts Provide a Real Castaway Experience

Forget your over-developed luxury resorts with fake palm trees and where tourists stay by the pool all day. The resorts in Tonga are the real deal. Stay in quaint fales (beach huts), often made with local materials with thatched rooves and walls decorated in tapa cloth and/or woven panels. There are often only two to seven fales in one resort, giving you the whole beach lined with coconut palms to yourself! There’s usually watersports equipment for you to make the most of the surrounding natural environment. But don’t worry, you won’t have to collect your own coconuts, as the resort restaurant will keep you well-fed with a mix of Tongan and international cuisine! Start browsing resorts in The Top 25 Resorts in Tonga.

10 Amazing Reasons to Visit Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

6. It’s a Less-Visited Pacific Destination

Tonga is a country where you can truly get off the beaten track. Even in the high season, which is during the whale season, it never feels too crowded with tourists. Finding yourself at the most popular tourist attractions, the beaches or even a whole accommodation all to yourself is just another day in the life of travelling Tonga.

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7. Each Island Group is So Different

How can you feel like you’re in a different country each time you travel to a new island group yet be in the same country? Somehow, Tonga seems to manage it with each island group having a very different landscape and vibe! For instance, ‘Eua is a single rocky island with weathered formations and a national park forest. Ha’apai is a scattering of small coral and volcanic islands with beaches and lagoons. Tongatapu is a developed island awash in villages, plantations and historic sites. Vava’u is a labyrinth of inlets and tightly compact islands. The Niuas are a snapshot of the past. Compare all of the island groups further in The Best Islands to Visit in Tonga.

10 Amazing Reasons to Visit Tonga(c) tongapocketguide.com

8. It’s Safe

You don’t have to wander around holding onto your handbag or looking over your shoulder in Tonga. Crime rates are super low! Plus, dangerous animals are hardly an issue, with the only venomous sea snake not able to break through human skin (and don’t attack humans anyway). Tonga is also free of major diseases. However, that’s not to say that you should throw all caution to the wind. Check out How to Keep Safe in Tonga for advice.

10 Amazing Reasons to Visit Tonga(c) tongapocketguide.com

9. There’s So Much to See on Land

In South Pacific countries, water activities can take all of the limelight but in Tonga, there’s so much to see on land too! Check out incredible historical sites, like the mysterious Ha’amonga ‘a Maui trilithon or Tsunami Rock! There are royal palaces and tombs of ancient chiefs. Not to mention the natural wonders, from miles of blowholes to giant banyan trees to majestic limestone caves. Get a taste of Tonga’s land attractions from the 10 Best Natural Attractions in Tonga and the 10 Best Historical Sites in Tonga.

10 Amazing Reasons to Visit Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

10. Tonga is a Year-Round Destination

When is the best time to travel to Tonga? Well, it’s when the best time is for you to travel to Tonga! As we’ve already established in our other points, there’s so much to do and see in Tonga. However, there are subtle differences in the tropical climate throughout the year and a very small selection of activities are seasonal. Check out The Best Time to Visit Tonga should you want to dive deeper into the subject.

10 Amazing Reasons to Visit Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

11. Easy to Access from New Zealand and Australia…

If you’re coming from New Zealand or Australia, well, Tonga couldn’t be an easier destination to get to. There are multiple flights per day from Auckland Airport, while there are several departures per week from Sydney.

See Which Airlines Fly Directly to Tonga? to see how easy it is to get here!

10 Amazing Reasons to Visit Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

12. … And Easy to Add to an Island-Hopping Itinerary

Tonga is even connected to several other South Pacific Islands, making it a worthy country to add to the list while doing some island-hopping!

Check out Which Airlines Fly Directly to Tonga? to see how to fly to Tonga from Fiji, Samoa and American Samoa.

10 Amazing Reasons to Visit Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

13. English is Widely Spoken

If you’re reading this list of reasons to visit Tonga, chances are, you speak English. So do most people in Tonga, making it an effortlessly easy island to travel to for English speakers. Learn more about the languages of Tonga in What is the Tonga Language?

10 Amazing Reasons to Visit Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

14. Unique Crafts

One that takes many visitors by surprise is how amazing and unique the crafts and gifts are from Tonga. Browse any market or gift store and you’ll see an array of finely woven bags, colourful lavalava (sarongs), tapa-printed attire, coconut jewellery and body care products. Learn more about these crafts in the 10 Best Souvenirs & Gifts from Tonga. Better yet, you can learn to make it yourself by following the advice in our guide, Tongan Handicrafts: Top Tours & Workshops.

10 Amazing Reasons to Visit Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

15. Local Dishes and Drinks Will Awaken Your Palate

If you’re an adventurous eater, then you’ll love the variety of local dishes and even beverages that are homegrown in Tonga. Aside from indulging in the sweet pineapples and papayas you’re ever likely to try, pick up sweet faikakai or manioke tama in peaked parcels of aluminium foil or more traditional banana leaves from the local markets or roadside stalls. Conclude your day with creamy lu slow-cooked in an umu! Wash it all down with Tonga’s very own Tiki or Maui beer, a tropical fruit smoothie or ‘otai!

Get your mouth watering by checking out Traditional Tongan Food: 10 Foods to Try in Tonga and 10 Drinks in Tonga You Have to Try.

10 Amazing Reasons to Visit Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

16. It’s Great For Couples…

With remote island resorts to boutique guesthouses and unforgettable adventures from kayaking over lagoons to swimming with whales, Tonga certainly offers some romantic stays for couples. Combine this with many romantic backdrops that are usually enjoyed unaccompanied by others, and Tonga presents a tempting prospect for couples.

Plan your romantic escape starting with The Honeymoon & Romantic Getaway Guide to Tonga.

10 Amazing Reasons to Visit Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

17. … Families…

Tonga is a fun destination to take the family to. Kids are accepted at almost all of Tonga’s resorts and Tonga is like a natural playground. Break the usual cycle of a Fiji, Rarotonga or Bali holiday and try something a little different!

Learn more about planning a family trip in The Complete Travel Guide to Tonga for Families.

10 Amazing Reasons to Visit Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

18. … And Backpackers!

Quick! Before Tonga becomes just another South Pacific Island that’s full of resorts, strap on your backpack and enjoy an awesome and inexpensive trip to paradise. Rent a bicycle and hop on a ferry and travel the country staying at a different backpacker resort or guesthouse each night, experiencing genuine hospitality and meeting other adventurous world-travellers along the way.

Plan it all starting with The Backpacking & Budget Travel Guide to Tonga.

10 Amazing Reasons to Visit Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

19. It Will Force You to Unplug

The WiFi in Tonga is so expensive or non-existent that it will force you to unplug! That’s right, we’re spinning this into a positive because people visiting Tonga are usually in need of a digital detox.

10 Amazing Reasons to Visit Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

20. Enjoy a Slower Pace of Life

If you need a break from the rat race, Tonga is ideal. Even the driving speed limit is 50 kph! You’ll learn to slow down and enjoy life at a more relaxed pace.

10 Amazing Reasons to Visit Tonga© TongaPocketGuide.com

More Reasons to Visit Tonga

Another reason to visit Tonga is that we make planning a trip there so easy! Check out these guides to make your trip to Tonga effortless:

Finally, do a little good by planning a more sustainable trip to the islands using the 30 Ways to Travel More Sustainably in Tonga.


Robin (Lopini) C.

This article was reviewed and published by Robin, the co-founder of Tonga Pocket Guide. He has lived, worked and travelled across 16 different countries before settling in the South Pacific, so he knows a thing or two about planning the perfect trip in this corner of the world. Robin works and consults regularly with the Ministry of Tourism of Tonga. Robin is also the co-founder of several other South Pacific travel guides and is a regular host of webinars with the South Pacific Tourism Organisation.

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