Information, Shops & Services in Ha'apai©
Information, Shops & Services in Ha'apai

Information, Shops & Services in Ha’apai


What Services are Available in Ha’apai?

The beauty of Ha’apai is that it’s one of the least-developed island groups in Tonga. While this keeps the islands looking like paradise, it also means that information, shops and services in Ha’apai are limited. It’s best to come to these islands prepared. Nevertheless, we’ve put together this guide to the essential shops and services in Ha’apai so that you know what you are in for.

Although there are 62 islands in Ha’apai, most visitors only stay on the islands of Lifuka, Foa and Uoleva. Therefore, our information on shops and service suggestions will be limited to these islands.

Useful Services for Tourists

  • Ha’apai Visitor Information Centre – Corner of Hala Holopeka Road and Waterfront, Pangai
  • Salote Pilolevu Ha’apai AirportKoulo, Lifuka
  • Taufa’ahau Wharf – Waterfront, Pangai
  • Car Rentals – See Tonga Car Rental Companies for listings
  • Restaurants – See The Food Guide to Ha’apai for recommendations
  • Police Station – Corner of Hala Holopeka Road and Palace Road
  • Port of Entry – Taufa’ahau Wharf, Pangai.

Information, Shops & Services in Ha'apai©

Food and Groceries in Ha’apai

Grocery supplies are quite limited in Ha’apai but you can get the essentials in the town of Pangai, which is the main town of the islands, located in Lifuka.

Convenience Stores in Ha’apai

There are several small Chinese grocery stores in Pangai where you’ll be able to purchase a range of tinned, frozen and dried foods, as well as fresh fruit typically imported from New Zealand. Most stores can be found right along Hala Holopeka Road (the main road) in both Pangai and the neighbouring village of Hihifo. There are also around three or four grocery stores on Velitoa Road leading down to the wharf. Grocery stores on Ha’apai are typically open from 8 am to 9 pm Monday to Saturday.

Note that several of the grocery stores in Pangai also hire out vehicles. Find out more in The Guide to Renting a Car in Tonga.

Ha’apai Markets and Bakery

For fresh fruit and vegetables, it’s best to go to the Pangai Market on the corner of Waterfront and Palace Road. The market is open from 8 am to 5 pm, Monday to Friday. However, it gets an early start on Saturday morning at around 5 am with much more stalls than throughout the week. The market is usually packed up by midday on Saturday.

There is also a bit of a fish market at Taufa’ahau Wharf on a Saturday morning. It’s best to get there between 6 am and 8 am.

Finally, Matuku-ae-tau Bakery supplies much of the island with fresh bread and sometimes has bread and other baked goods for sale, found on the corner of Loto Kolo and Tuita Roads, Pangai.

Those on Uoleva will not have access to groceries, so must bring their own supplies and/or make use of their chosen accommodation’s meal plans.

For more advice on buying food, check out The Guide to Food Shopping in Tonga. Otherwise, more tips about restaurants, resort meals and more can be found in The Food Guide to Ha’apai: Places to Eat & Food Tours.

Information, Shops & Services in Ha'apai©

Medication, Toiletries and Pharmaceuticals

It’s recommended that you bring any medication or health products that you might need to Ha’apai with you, as supplies are limited and Ha’apai does not have a pharmacy. Check out What Medication to Pack in Your First Aid Kit for Tonga for suggestions.

Medication at Convenience Stores

You can sometimes get toiletries and health products, such as baby products, feminine hygiene, light medication (such as painkillers), basic first aid items and more from Pangai’s small supermarkets, as mentioned above. However, there are a lot of essential items missing or sold out from these stores, so we highly recommend that you come to Ha’apai with any medication you may need. Last time we checked, stores did not sell sunscreen or insect repellent.

Ha’apai Hospital

Ha’apai has one hospital, the Niu’ui Hospital, located at the end of Fau Road at the elevated eastern end of Pangai. This is your one-stop shop for any serious health issue in Ha’apai. It is open 24/7.

For more health and safety advice while visiting Ha’apai, check out Tonga Safety Tips: Is it Safe to Travel to Tonga?

Information, Shops & Services in Ha'apai©

Fuel Stations on Ha’apai

Need to fuel up? Fuel stations on Ha’apai tend to be open from 7 am to 6 pm except for Sundays. Note that fuel stations are fully serviced and an attendant will fill your vehicle for you; tell the attendant how much you want to fill up. Pay the attendant in cash.

Fuel stations can be found in Pangai: one on the Waterfront near the Pangai Market, one at the crossroads of Hala Holopeka and Velitoa Road, and there’s one at the northern entrance of Pangai a few hundred metres north of the European Cemetery.

Information, Shops & Services in Ha'apai©

Communication Services in Ha’apai

When it comes to staying connected, Tonga’s phone networks provide the most reliable and convenient option, as you can pick up SIM cards from any Digicel or TCC store and top up at most convenience stores and supermarkets. Otherwise, expect to pay for an internet connection in accommodations or rely on the patchy free WiFi available at resorts’ communal areas.

Phone Networks

There are two network providers in Ha’apai, Digicel and UCall (TCC), which both have branches on the same road as the “Mystery Cross” attraction in Pangai; at Hala Holopeka Road (the main road), take the road inland at the Customs Office and the phone network offices are about 100 m (110 yards) down this road. Learn more about these networks in The Best SIM Card in Tonga For Travellers.

Internet and WiFi

Internet and WiFi are certainly limited in Ha’apai, mostly offered by resorts in communal areas and sometimes for a fee. For this reason, we recommend getting a local SIM card and using a data plan as the best way to access the internet. Otherwise, other options include:

  • Ha’apai Beach Resort, Lifuka (free WiFi in the restaurant)
  • Kitesurf Tonga, Uoleva (WiFi available for a weekly fee)
  • Sea Change Eco Retreat, Uoleva (WiFi available for a flat fee)
  • Matafonua Lodge, Foa Island (free WiFi in the restaurant)
  • Sandy Beach Resort, Foa Island (free WiFi in the restaurant).

For more tips on staying connected, check out How to Get Internet & WiFi in Tonga.

Information, Shops & Services in Ha'apai©

Banks and ATMs in Ha’apai

Should you want to exchange currency or withdraw some cash, there are a few options in Ha’apai. We recommend getting the cash you need from Pangai before exploring the rest of the islands.

The BSP Bank and Tonga Development Bank can be found along Hala Holopeka Road (the main road) at the northern end of Pangai. They offer services like foreign exchange, which you can learn more about in The Best Place to Exchange Money in Tonga. Note that banks in Ha’apai tend to be open from 9 am to 4 pm Monday to Friday and 9 am to 3 pm Saturday, closing for lunch from 1 pm to 2 pm.

There is an ATM located at the BSP Bank (see above) which is available 24/7.

For an alternative currency exchange option, No1 Currency/Western Union is located behind the Visitor Information Centre in Pangai.

Learn more about paying your way through Ha’apai in What is the Best Way to Pay in Tonga?

More Information, Shops and Services in Ha’apai

Now that you know about the Ha’apai shops and services available, here’s more advice to help you plan a smooth trip to the island:

Finally, plan your whole trip to Tonga using The Best Tonga Travel Guide. Plus, find more helpful tips in the 30 Tips for Travelling 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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