Tonga Travel Tips: Biking in Tonga
Smooth roads, flat gradients and gorgeous tropical weather… How can you not want to cycle in Tonga?! The four main island groups where tourists go have several bike hires available. You’ll be able to ride from natural wonder to historical attraction in Tongatapu, from monuments to gorgeous beaches in Ha’apai, from bustling towns to secluded beaches in Vava’u and much more! However, there are some things you need to know about cycling in Tonga, which we go through with these Tonga cycling tips!
For more advice, be sure to head over to The Guide to Cycling in Tonga.
1. Check for Accommodations with Free Bike Hire
Bicycles are sometimes one of the perks of staying at the resorts in Tonga. This is especially the case for resorts in Ha’apai, while Vava’u also has accommodation with free bike rental. Check out which resorts off bike hire free-of-charge in Where to Rent Bicycles in Tonga.
2. Always Ask for the Newest Bike
Some resorts and bicycle rental companies have had bikes for a loooong time! To ensure a more comfortable and reliable cycling experience, always ask for the newest bike.
3. Bring Your Own Puncture Repair Kit
If you plan on doing a long ride in Tonga, be sure to bring your own puncture repair kit from home. They are not readily available around Tonga and most bike hires don’t have them included. Puncture repair kits don’t take up too much room in your luggage and will be a lifesaver in the unlikely event that the worst should happen to your rental bike…
4. Be Aware of the Traffic Rules in Tonga
Cycling in Tonga often means cycling on main roads which will be shared with traffic. Don’t worry, most roads are quiet with the exception of around Nuku’alofa, but it’s still important to have a good understanding of the Tongan road rules. For instance, traffic needs to keep left and you need to give way to vehicles turning right. Get a complete rundown on the road rules in Is it Easy to Drive in Tonga?, as well as in How to Drive in Tonga.
5. An ID is Sometimes Required to Hire a Bike
Some guesthouses and resorts are pretty relaxed when it comes to bike hire, but others will go through a more formal process. Just in case your chosen bike rental is the latter, turn up with a form of ID, such as your passport, so the rental company can take down your ID number. This is used for security purposes.
6. A Credit Card or Cash Deposit is Sometimes Required
For bike rentals with more expensive equipment, like e-bikes or mountain bikes, you may also be required to pay a credit card or cash security deposit. You will receive a full refund upon returning the bike undamaged. Deposits range from TOP$100 to $250, so have the cash/credit available.
7. Distances Can Be Deceiving
While some islands are pretty small in Tonga, riding across islands can take a pretty long time. Combine the distance with the hot tropical climate and it can be a little too much for some people. Plan a route that suits your abilities and take enough food and drink on the road to keep you replenished.
8. Don’t Return Your Bike Late
Bikes are hired out in Tonga in half-day, full-day and multi-day periods. While hiring out a bike for the day can be quite cheap in Tonga, be sure to not return the bike late. Often the fee is double what you paid for the day hire!
9. Ask Advice on the Best Routes
Many of the roads are unmarked in Tonga, so heading off on the wrong road is pretty easy to do. Tell your rental company where you want to go and they should be able to suggest the best route or give you ideas on better places to go. Alternatively, check out The Best Bike Trails in Tonga for more routes.
10. Consider a Guided Bike Tour
Admittedly, Tonga doesn’t have many bike tours yet, but there is one in Vava’u which provides an awesome mountain biking tour with a guide. You’ll explore the rugged northern coasts of Vava’u, as well as its secluded yet stunning beaches. Find out more in Bike Tours in Tonga.