Things to do in Nuku’alofa, Tongatapu, Part 2 of 2

View Around Tongatapu in a larger map This post is a continuum from Around Tongatapu, Part 1, where activities in Nuku’alofa and the island resorts visit-able by day-ferry were discussed. In part two, we’ll look at the farther-flung destinations of Tongatapu, all from the perspective of a do-it-yourself-traveler. For those who wish to simply book a tour,…

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Things to do in Nuku’alofa, Tongatapu, Part 1 of 2

View Around Tongatapu in a larger map So, you’ve landed on the main isle of Tonga: Tongatapu, taken the 40-minute taxi from the airport through coconut and taro fields, serenaded by the dulcet CD strains of ukulele and Pacific song, peering wide-eyed through the window as signs of a town approach and then … probably…

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Tongan Handicrafts and Souvenirs

My last post covered most of the produce and fresh sea food found around Nuku’alofa — especially the variety Meketi Talamahu offers up.  But Nuku’alofa’s main market packs in a lot more than edibles. To the far left side of the lower market, and more or less the entire upper level, visitors can find a…

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Fruit, Vegetable and Fish Markets in Nukualofa, Tongatapu

Back in the days of William Mariner, the island of Tongatapu was the dwelling place of royals, a land where, just living there, produced some level of envy to neighboring islanders.  Indeed, the word “Tongatapu” means “Sacred (tapu) South (tonga).”   And while the royal family still maintain principal dwellings here, for most visitors to the…

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Maui’s Fish Hook

The shape of the fish hook is found throughout Tongan crafts: wood carvings, bone pendants, and the like.  The designs fluctuate somewhat, but inevitably carry a fluid, almost tattoo-like shape, with embellishments placed here and there. While I always thought the designs were beautiful, it wasn’t until one artisan selling these hooks explained to me the symbolism behind…

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How to Make Tongan Tapa Cloth (Ngatu)

What’s Tapa? Tapa-making is a traditional art form whereby the inner bark of certain trees is softened and pounded into sheets of cloth, then bound together using natural starches such as root crop. The tapa making tradition is found all across Oceania, but due to the labor-intense nature of its production, the craft has largely…

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Guest Post: Amy’s Labor/Delivery Experience in Tonga

Today’s guest post is from Amy, who recently delivered a beautiful baby girl named ‘Iva in Nuku’alofa’s public hospital.  I asked if she would be willing to share her very unique story, and happily, she has agreed to do so!  So without further ado, here is Amy’s post. March 27, 2013 I initially came to Tonga…

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First Impressions Upon Returning to USA

It has been a month since my last post — about time to add something new! So, Sam and I left Tonga on February 23rd, and due to the magic of time zones, arrived the same day in the US-of-A.  It is wonderful to see friends and family members on the gulf coast (where we…

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10 Curious Customs and Quirks

After two years of livin’ life large in the Kingdom of T, here’s ten cultural, humorous, endearing and/or or otherwise baffling customs Sam and I have found of interest: 1.  Tongan Pop Radio Tonga is famous for its conservative values.  Indeed, old-school Christianity is the prevalent religion here, which is a whole other point perhaps…

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