Tonga travel guide

Tonga Tourism | Tonga Guide

You're Going to Love Tonga

Nicknamed the "Friendly Islands," expect to be greeted by warm smiles the moment you step foot on the Polynesian paradise.

There's no limit of picturesque locations to dip in the water and snorkel among coral reefs, while laid-back beachside resorts provide the perfect place to watch the sunset over the ocean.

There are no traffic lights in the country, and this reflects the relaxed attitude towards transport: everything moves at its own pace.

What to do in Tonga

1. Go Swimming With Whales

As one of the best places in the world to spot humpback whales, there's no better opportunity to get in the ocean and see the magnificent animals up close.

2. Ponder at Haʻamonga ʻa Maui

The mesmerizing limestone trilithon rises 17 ft off the ground and is believed to have been constructed somewhere between the 6th and 11th centuries.

3. Catch Some Waves at Ha'atafu Beach

Pristine swell forms at the northwestern corner of Tongatupa and attract avid surfers from across the globe. The stretch of white sand beach is shielded by a jutting reef, which offers fantastic snorkeling spots.

4. Take a Trip to ‘Eua

The gorgeous island is home to a thriving ecotourism industry that includes basket weaving workshops, Tongan dance classes, cliff hikes, and cave trekking.

5. Wander Through Talamahu Market

Known as the heartbeat of Nuku'alofa, the lively market has fresh produce as well as delicate arts and crafts.

When to visit Tonga

Tonga in
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Tonga in
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1 night at 3-star hotel

Travel between May and October when the tropical climate stays dry. During this period most days have beaming sunshine and temperatures sit between 77-82°F.

How to Get to Tonga

Entry requirements

Citizens of the Schengen Area can enter for up to 90 days, while nationals of countries, such as Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, and New Zealand, can acquire a free 31-day visa upon arrival. Chinese citizens have visa exemption for trips less than 30 days. Foreign nationals not covered by these rules must apply for a visa before arriving and pay a fee of approximately 139 TOP (60 USD).


Nearly all tourists arrive by plane to Fua'amotu Airport. Air New Zealand and Virgin Australia offer nonstop flights from Auckland, while Talofa Airways has services from Apia and Pago Pago. Flights can be caught from Suva and Nadi in Fiji, with further connections available to Australia and the United States. The 3h service from Auckland can be bought for roughly 300-370 TOP (130-160 USD).

Popular airports in Tonga

Popular airlines serving Tonga

Singapore Airlines
Excellent (477 reviews)
Qantas Airways
Good (232 reviews)
Air New Zealand
Good (124 reviews)
Fiji Airways
Good (44 reviews)

Where to stay in Tonga

Budget-friendly guesthouses are common on Tongatapu, Vava'u, and Ha'apai, while beachside resorts that flank the coastline are also popular. Charismatic bungalows and lodges offer more of a relaxed vibe.

Where to stay in popular areas of Tonga

How to Get Around Tonga

Public Transportation

Bus services are reliable on Tongatapu and Vava'u but not present on other islands. Bicycles and motorcycles are more commonly used for transport within towns.


Tongatapu has two bus terminals on Vuna Road in the heart of Nuku'alofa, one responsible for eastbound services (Nakolo, Mua, Niutoua) and the other westbound (Ha'atafu, Foui, Nukunuku). There are also two bus stops in the heart of Neiafu on Tu'i Road and Fatafehi Road. Buses run from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm Monday through Saturday and tickets cost approximately 1-2 TOP (0.40-0.80 USD).


Tongatapu is the only island on which visitors can rent a car. Traffic moves slowly and no one is in a rush, making driving a refreshingly peaceful experience. A Tongan driving license must be purchased for approximately 25 TOP (11 USD).


Real Tonga operates an extensive domestic network of flights to ‘Eua, Ha'apai, Niuafo'ou, Niuatoputap, and Vava'u from its base at Fua'amotu Airport. The services depart from most locations multiple times per day, with trips taking between 30-90min and costing around 110-330 TOP (48-143 USD).

Flights to Niuafo'ou and Niuatoputap are less common, only operating once or twice per week. In line with Tonga being a deeply religious country, no services are scheduled on Sundays.


Ferries can be caught from Nuku'alofa to Pangai, Neiafu, and Ohonua. Neiafu then connects with Niuatoputapu and Niuafo'ou. Single fares range from around 79-121 TOP (34-52 USD).

The Cost of Living in Tonga

Eating out a fancy restaurant costs roughly 60 TOP (26 USD) per person, including drinks and an entrée, which makes enjoying the local cuisine quite affordable. Cash is king in Tonga as credit card machines often have large transaction fees (4-5 %). Money can be exchanged at the airport.