Cultural Shows and Tongan Buffets on Tongatapu
Tonga is a country with a rich and fascinating Polynesian culture. As an island nation that was never colonised, the locals are proud to claim themselves as the “True South Pacific”, which can be experienced through cultural experiences, such as a cultural show and Tongan feast.
Across Tonga’s main island, Tongatapu, there many Tongan buffets followed by captivating floorshows. The experience allows visitors to try a number of authentic Tongan food, as well as observe traditional dancing known as a “lakalaka”. Learn more about what shows are available and when in this guide to the best cultural shows on Tongatapu!
About the Tongan Lakalaka
What you will see at the cultural shows on Tongatapu is a style of Tongan dancing known as “lakalaka”. It is the only Pacific performing art that has won recognition from the United Nations as “A Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity”.
Traditionally, lakalaka are performed for special occasions, but visitors get the opportunity to experience it for themselves at the cultural shows on Tongatapu. The performances incorporate history, politics and entertainment, performed by both men and women. Women typically have gentle movements, while the men perform with vigorous movements.
In Tongan tradition, lakalaka are performed in huge groups, but visitors will observe smaller groups performing the lakalaka at the cultural floorshows.
For more information about the Tongan culture, see The Guide to the Tongan Culture.
Oholei Beach Resort Feast and Show
When: Wednesday & Friday at 6pm and Sunday at 11am
Location: Oholei Beach, eastern side of Tongatapu
Famous for having one of the most spectacular venues for a show on the island, Oholei Beach Resort’s Feast & Show is a top choice for most visitors. They offer both evening shows on Wednesdays and Fridays where the doors open at 6pm and the buffet starts at 8pm, and on Sunday afternoons with the doors opening at 11am.
The evening show starts with entertainment on the beach followed by a buffet of an array of Tongan dishes, from lu (meat wrapped in taro leaves) and ota ika (raw fish in coconut cream). There’s also a spitroast to top it all off, as well as a tasty Tongan dessert known as Faikakai made from taro, breadfruit and coconut cream.
After dinner, the show moves into the amazing Hina Cave with an open roof to enjoy some traditional Tongan dancing and an impressive fire-dancing performance.
Vakaloa Beach Resort Buffet Dinner and Show
When: Wednesday and Friday nights
Location: Kanokupolu Beach, western side of Tongatapu
Performed in a large dance hall at the Vakaloa Beach Resort, the Wednesday and Friday night performances and buffets are well worth checking out. The evening starts with live music played by a local band and drinks served at your table.
Then, the grand buffet is served with a wealth of offerings, from traditional dishes like creamy plantain, cassava, ota ika, lu and so much more! At the end of the buffet line awaits a suckling pig, as well as salads and all of the fixings.
After you’ve had a little bit of time to let the stomach settle, the show begins with a mix of traditional Tongan dancing from men and women’s groups, combined with some modern twists and frankly hilarious moments.
See more resorts in our list of the 10 Best Resorts on Tongatapu.
Fafa Island Resort Polynesian Night
When: Once a week (changeable)
Location: Fafa Island, north of Nuku’alofa
Exclusively available for the four-star island resort’s guests, the Fafa Island Resort‘s Polynesian Night is not to be missed.
Sit down for an indulgent barbecue feast with both Tongan dishes and international favourites. The feast is then followed by a cultural show where performers wear handmade traditional dresses and perform traditional Tongan “lakalaka” dancing.
Following the show, guests have the opportunity to sample the local drink, kava, in a Kava ceremony. The narcotic drink is a favourite among Tongans, made with the ground-up root of a pepper tree.
Learn more about this resort and similar accommodation in the 9 Best Luxury Accommodation on Tongatapu.
Ancient Tonga Buffet and Show
When: Friday nights at 6pm
Location: Tamakautonga Road, Fangaloto, Nuku’alofa
As well as offering cultural tours and workshops, Ancient Tonga also offers a Friday night Tongan buffet and cultural show.
Conveniently located in Nuku’alofa, Ancient Tonga is set among lush tropical gardens where shows take place under the large fale (traditional Tongan building). Shows are a little more intimate than some of the larger shows on the island, offering a less “crowded” experience.
Indulge in a number of traditional Tongan dishes, from tropical root crops to a Tongan favourite, the spit-roast pig!
After indulging in Tongan food, the show begins with dancers adorning handcrafted tapa-cloth dresses and a flower lei known as a “kohoa”. Enjoy traditional lakalaka dancing, as well as a fire show.
Liku’alofa Beach Resort
When: Wednesday and Friday nights at 7.30pm
Location: ‘Otuhaka Beach, Kanokupolu, western side of Tongatapu
Set in the resort affectionately named the “Beach of Love”, Liku’alofi Beach Resort not only offers beachside accommodation but puts on a cultural show and buffet for guests and casual visitors.
Enjoy a fun, educational and slightly quirky floorshow with dancing styles across the South Pacific in the Liku’alofa Beach Resort’s Wednesday and Friday entertainment night. The show gets the audience to join in on the dancing, so if you’re shy, best to take a table at the back (or, of course, sit at the front if you love nothing more than showing off your best moves!)
As for the food, dig into a huge variety of Tongan cuisine, where many can’t resist going up for seconds!