Fiji information, travel details, language and much more. Find everything you need to know about visiting or planning a holiday in the Fijian Islands, in the sunny South Pacific Ocean. Fiji is an island nation made up of 300 islands, of which 110 are inhabited. Suva, located on Viti Levu, is the capital city of the Fiji Islands.

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About Fiji

General Information About Fiji

Image Source: Tourism Fiji. Cruising in Fiji
Cruising in Fiji
© Tourism Fiji
www.fijime.com

Fiji is an island nation in the South Pacific. The country is made up of over 300 islands, of which 110 are inhabited. The two main Fijian Islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, account for 87% of the population of almost 850,000.

The capital of Fiji is Suva, situated on Viti Levu. Almost three quarters of the total population live in Suva.

Important towns are Nadi, which is the location of the international airport, and Lautoka, which is a large seaport.

Other important islands in Fiji include Kadavu Island, the Lau Group, the Mamanuca Islands and the Yasawa Islands.

The majority of Fiji's islands were formed through volcanic activity. There is still some geothermal activity today on the islands of Vanua Levu and Tavenui.

Because of the abundance of forest, mineral and fishing resources, Fiji is one of the most developed economies in the Pacific island realm today. Natural resources include timber, fish, gold, copper and offshore oil and hydropower.

Fiji also has a significant amount of tourism with many people choosing Nadi or Denarau Island as their preferred destination. The biggest source of international visitors come from Australia, New Zealand and the USA.

The soft coral reefs of Fiji are the main attraction but there are also many other activities for people to enjoy.

Fijian Language

Fiji has three official languages – Fijian, English and Hindustani.

Less than half the population speak Fijian as a first language, while another 200,000 speak it as a second language.

Religion

The 1997 Constitution of Fiji guarantees freedom of religion. Indigenous Fijians are mostly Christians and the Indo-Fijians are mostly Hindu and Muslim. Fiji is very multi-racial and multi-cultural. Visitors are more than welcome to join locals for Sunday worship.

Fiji Culture

The Fijian culture is a relaxed, easy-going and friendly culture however it is still important to respect their customs. When visiting a village modest clothing is recommended, as is taking off your hat (it is considered an insult to the chief to wear one). If you are invited into a home, be gracious and thank your host, and take your shoes off before entering, leaving them at the door. Take note it is also considered an insult to touch someone's head – which is often tempting when surrounded by gorgeous children with big eyes and broad smiles. Also, be prepared to shake hands and answer personal questions like, where are you from, are you married, how many children do you have and so on.

Kava is Fiji's most well-known social custom and an essential experience to make your Fiji holiday complete. If invited to try kava, don't hesitate, just accept the offering and enjoy the unique ritual (and the unique numbing effect the drink has).

As a sign of thanks it is tradition to offer a gift, usually kava (or yaqona in Fijian), when you visit a village. The sevusevu (or gift) generally costs under F$20 for a half kilo and will be taken care of by your guide. Presented to the Turaga Ni Koro (traditional head of the village) it will be ground into a powder, added to water and served in the Turaga Ni Koro's house.

Fijians are some of the most friendly people in the world and are eager to welcome you as a guest into their villages and homes provided you respect their traditions and customs. This will provide a fascinating insight into their traditional way of life and adds a unique element of depth to your Fiji holiday.

Tips for visiting villages: Before visiting on your own, it is customary to purchase a bundle of unpounded yaqona (kava) – the traditional sevusevu (gift). When approaching the village, visitors should not enter immediately but wait until greeted. They will then be taken to the chief or turaga ni koro (headman), to whom the kava should be offered. Visitors who are accepted by the chief will be assigned a guide and host.

Once inside the village, please also note the following: visitors should dress modestly and not wear shorts or hats, and women should not have their shoulders bare; shoes should always be taken off when entering someone's house or any other village building; visitors should speak softly and not raise their voices too much as this may be interpreted as expressing anger; visitors should show respect but be cautious about praise as Fijians will feel obliged to make a gift of an object if visitors show too much liking for it. Fijians will always, out of custom, ask visitors to stay or eat with them; visitors who spend a night in the village should reward their host with a useful gift of similar value for each member of the party; money is acceptable if it's offered as a goodbye sevusevu and not direct payment.

Important Fiji Dates

The following are a list of holidays observed in Fiji:

2013

1 Jan – New Year's Day
26 Feb – Birth of the Prophet Muhammad
29 Mar – Good Friday
30 Mar – Easter Saturday
1 Apr – Easter Monday
11 Jun – Queen's Birthday
10 Oct – Fiji Day
13 Nov – Diwali
25 Dec – Christmas
26 Dec – Boxing Day

Please note that the exact dates of public holidays vary from year to year.

Image Source: Tourism Fiji. Relaxing in Fiji Image Source: Tourism Fiji. Cruising in Fiji Image Source: Tourism Fiji. Culture in Fiji
© Tourism Fiji – www.fijime.com

Flight Times to Fiji

The main airlines into Fiji are Air Pacific, Air New Zealand, Pacific Blue and Freedom Air. Flights arrive direct from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane in Australia, and Los Angeles, Hawaii, San Francisco and Vancouver from North America. There are also flights to Fiji from New Zealand, Japan and Korea.

From Auckland, New Zealand to Fiji the flight time is around three hours, while a flight from Los Angeles takes a little over ten hours.

» Flights to/from Fiji

Fiji Time Differences

Fiji is 12 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). During summer Fiji observes 'daylight savings', where clocks are put an hour forward to GMT +13.

Fiji Shopping

Image Source: Tourism Fiji. A market stall in Nadi, Fiji
A market stall in Nadi, Fiji
© Tourism Fiji
www.fijime.com

Shopping hours are generally from 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 3pm on Saturdays. Only a few small local shops are open on Sundays. Many places are closed from 1pm to 2pm for lunch.

There are a wide range of shops and boutiques in Fiji as well as several supermarket chains.

Be sure to have a look at Fijian handcrafts such as baskets, masi or tapa cloth, animal wood carvings, pottery and much more.

T-shirts with Fijian designs will make for great gifts for family and friends back home.

If you're paying a visit to Suva, be sure to visit the vibrant shopping scene of Cumming Street.

The shopping is generally very good, with plenty of duty free shops dotted around. Fijian crafts are best bought from local villagers at a cheaper rate if you bargain. Excellent souvenirs include yaqona bowls, kioa baskets and woven pandanus mats. Tapa cloth and soaps made from sandalwood or coconut make nice mementos and Fijian pottery can also be a fine buy.

Good quality ceramic jewellery can be found at the Government Crafts Centre in Suva. Most markets sell top clothing, a variety of Western and Indigenous. The main markets in town are the best spots to shop for these items.

Fiji Flag

The flag of Fiji is light blue, with a flag of the Union Jack in the upper hoist-side quadrant. The Fijian shield is centred on the outer part of the flag. The coat of arms in the centre depicts a yellow lion, the cross of Saint George, stalks of sugarcane, a palm tree, bananas and a white dove.

The light blue represents the Pacific Ocean and the Union Jack represents the links that Fiji has with Britain. The lion and the cross also are symbols of Fiji’s colonial past.

The Fiji flag was adopted on October 10, 1970 the day it received independence from Britain. The base of the Fiji flag, flown before Fiji's independence, was dark blue.

Useful Fiji Links

To help plan your Fiji holiday choose from the categories below:

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