Scooter Hire Tips for Tonga
Economically sound and fun to ride, scooters are a great way to get around Tonga to do some sightseeing. Scooter hire is available in Tongatapu and less so in Vava’u. Both islands have a network of well-maintained sealed roads that are a treat to ride on a scooter or a moped. However, there are a few things you need to know before hiring a scooter in Tonga. We go through our top scooter tips in this article!
While you’re here, get more moped advice in The Guide to Renting a Scooter in Tonga.
1. Research Whether You Need a Visitor’s Driving Licence or Not
A full valid driving licence from a visitor visa-exempt country or a Visitor’s Driving Licence is required to legally drive in Tonga. The latter costs around TOP$40 and can be purchased from the Ministry of Infrastructure in Nuku’alofa (Tongatapu) and from the Police Station in Neiafu (Vava’u). While scooter rental companies are not likely to check whether you have the correct licence, you will be fined if caught driving in Tonga without one. Learn how to get a Tonga Visitor’s Driving Licence here.
2. Be Prepared to Pay a Bond
You will need to pay a bond when hiring a scooter, not only as an incentive for you to look after the vehicle but so funds are available to the rental company in case you damage the vehicle. Different scooter rental companies accept different methods of a security deposit, the most common being cash (expect around TOP$600), while other methods could be preauthorising your credit card or holding your passport. Needless to say, these will be returned to you after you return the vehicle.
3. Take Out Your Own Insurance
Very few vehicle rental companies in Tonga have insurance policies for customers. Simply put, if you damage a vehicle, you will be charged an amount decided by the rental company. If you want to be covered, take out your own travel insurance that covers vehicles.
4. Plan Your Route
The best island to hire a scooter on is Tongatapu, which has a good network of well-maintained sealed flat roads ideal for scooters. You’ll be able to ride around the perimeter of the island without a problem. However, note that some of the attractions, such as Tsunami Rock and the Hufangalpue Land Bridge have short dirt roads leading to them, where we recommend parking up your scooter and walking to get to. Check out some other fun routes at The Best Roads to Ride a Scooter in Tonga.
5. Check the State of the Helmet
You should always check the quality of a helmet and that it fits you correctly before agreeing to rent a scooter. Especially in Tonga, some scooter rental companies have been reported to have poor-quality helmets. If you doubt the safety of the equipment or vehicle provided, don’t risk renting.
6. Know the Road Rules
Between the roundabouts, giving way to vehicles turning right, and driving on the left side of the road, there are a few road rules in Tonga that might be different from what you’re used to at home. It’s always a good idea to get familiar with the rules of the road in order to keep yourself and others safe. Check out some road rules that visitors need to know in Is it Easy to Drive in Tonga?
7. Avoid Driving at Night
The quality of street lighting is poor in Tonga, not to mention the lack of lighting once you get out of the urban areas. Keep yourself safe by avoiding driving your rental scooter at night.
8. Bring Your Own Puncture Repair Kit
There’s always a slight risk of getting a puncture when riding a scooter. Unfortunately, not all scooter hire companies provide puncture repair kits (and spare tyres are not commonly found on scooters) and they are not easy to find even in Nuku’alofa. However, puncture repair kits are compact enough to fit in your suitcase/backpack to Tonga, so it’s worth bringing it with you to Tonga and knowing how to use them.
9. Know How the Gas Stations Work
While a full gas tank should get you all around Tongatapu or Vava’u in one day, note that you will need to fill up your gas tank before returning it. The great thing about scooters is that they are much cheaper to fill than a car – only around TOP$10 compared to a car that would be around TOP$100 to fill. Note that almost all gas stations in Tonga are full-service gas stations, so ask the attendant to fill the tank up to full and pay at the counter.
10. Watch Out for Animals
You’ll quickly find that when scootering around Tonga that one of the road hazards are animals! Dogs and chickens roam the roads in Tongatapu, while pigs are everywhere in Vava’u! Animals are generally used to vehicles so, just slow down and let them move out of the way.
More Tips for Hiring a Scooter in Tonga
- Where to Rent a Motorbike in Tonga
- 10 Safety Tips for Driving in Tonga
- The Driving Times in Tonga You Need to Know
That’s it for our tips on hiring a scooter in Tonga. Be sure to bookmark our Tonga Transport Guide: 10 Ways to Get Around Tonga for even more transport tips.