How to Book and Pay for a Bus in Tonga
Getting around Tongatapu and Vava’u by bus is the cheapest way to get around these larger islands of Tonga. Local buses are available and extremely cheap, running around the islands to no real schedule between 7am and 5pm. If you do want to get around Tonga with a “time and place”, book guided tours and airport shuttles. Learn more about where to book bus transport in Tonga in our quick guide to where to book bus transport in Tonga.
Tips for Booking Buses in Tonga
- Local buses don’t need booking, just pay on the bus!
- On a related note, you pay the driver the bus fare when you get off the bus, not when you get on
- Local buses don’t have schedules at bus stops – ask the driver what time will the bus return
- It’s always best to pay for any type of bus transport in Tonga with cash, as most of the time, other payment methods are not available
- Bus tours and airport shuttles can be booked through accommodations, travel agents, the Visitor Information Centres or through booking agents like Viator, Tripadvisor and Tours By Locals.
For tips on taking the local buses in Tonga, see 10 Tips for Taking the Bus in Tonga.
How to Pay for Local Buses in Tonga
Local buses are available on the islands of Tongatapu and Vava’u (and its causeway-connected islands). Buses do not run on a schedule, so you cannot “book” them, but simply pay when you get off the bus.
In Tonga, you pay the bus driver with cash when you get off the bus. Say where you got on the bus and the driver will tell you the fee.
You can only pay for bus fares with cash. Because bus fares are so low (no more than TOP$3), it’s best to pay with coins and small notes. That way, the bus driver will likely have enough change to give you.
On Vava’u, some bus drivers have been known to not charge if the distance is too short. However, you can always show your appreciation by paying a pa’anga or two anyway.
Find out more about how much it costs to travel around Tonga by bus here. Plus, learn more about taking the bus in How to Travel Around Tonga By Bus.
How to Book Airport Shuttles
There are no public buses to or from the airports in Tonga. The next best thing is private airport shuttles, which are operated by tour companies and accommodation providers.
There are two ways you can book your airport shuttle before you arrive in Tonga. Either book shuttles directly through some tour operators’ and accommodation providers’ websites/by phone, through travel agents or through tour booking systems like Viator and Tripadvisor. Once in Tonga, you will be able to book shuttles through your accommodation, travel agents or the Visitor Information Centres.
Either pay for your shuttle through the operator’s websites (in the rare chance it’s available) or pay with cash on pick-up – the latter is a more likely scenario. A limited number of accommodations and tour companies will accept credit/debit card, which will be handled once you arrive at your destination or their office.
How to Book Bus Tours in Tonga
“Bus tours” in Tonga are more like mini-van tours. There are a number of ways to book guided tours, including through your accommodation, travel agents, directly with the operator by phone or through their website, or through tour booking systems like Viator, Tripadvisor or Tours By Locals.
Bus tours can either be paid in cash on pick-up or electronically through travel agents or when booking online.
For guided tours with links to online bookings where possible, see The Best Guided Tours of Tongatapu and 5 Best Guided Tours of Vava’u.
Learn more about tours in Tonga in The Best Bus Tours in Tonga.
More About Where to Book Bus Transport in Tonga
- 10 Ways to Get to Tongatapu (& Around Tongatapu)
- 5 Ways to Get to Ha’apai (& Around Ha’apai)
- 10 Ways to Get to Vava’u (& Around Vava’u)
That’s it for where to book bus transport in Tonga. For itineraries to inspire you on where to go in Tonga, take a look at the following compilations: The Best Tonga Itineraries for 2 Weeks, The Best Tonga Itineraries for 1 Week, The Best Tonga Itineraries for 5 Days and The Best Tonga Itineraries for a Weekend.