The Republic of Fiji is a state in the South Pacific situated on the eponymous archipelago. The archipelago consists of about 300 picturesque islands, 100 of which are inhabited. The main islands are Viti Levu, Vanua Levu, Ovalau, Mamanuca, and Yasawa. Sandy beaches, coral reefs, blue lagoons, palm groves and luxurious high-class hotels make a vacation in Fiji a true paradise.
Capital: Suva Official language: Fijian, Anlian Monetary unit: Fiji dollar (FJD) Time difference with Belarus: plus 9 hours Phone code: +679
How to reach Fiji
There is no direct flight from Minsk to Fiji. For example, one can fly from Moscow to Fiji with one change in Seoul with Korean Air flights. You can also change flights in Japan, Australia and New Zealand. The flight from Moscow to Nadi Airport will take about 27 hours.
Visa to Fiji for Belarusians
The nearest representation of Fiji which issues entry visas is the High Commission in London. For getting visa to Fiji the Belarusian needs a passport not older than 10 years, 2 photos 3,5х4,5 cm and a bank statement with the flow of funds.
Currency exchange in Fiji
You can exchange currency in Fiji at bank branches and exchange offices RFED. In addition, in the major tourist destinations – restaurants, hotels, stores – you can pay with plastic cards of international payment systems.
Banks in the archipelago, mostly open from 9.30 to 15.00 on Monday to Thursday and from 9.30 to 16.00. on Friday. On Saturday and Sunday are days off. On Saturday, you can exchange money in Fiji at the RFED exchange offices already mentioned.
Holiday season in Fiji
The ideal time for holidays in Fiji is from May to October. At this time the archipelago enjoys comfortable dry weather and the likelihood of cyclones is minimal. The period from December to April is considered the rainy season in Fiji.
The basis of the traditional cuisine of the islands of Fiji – “seafood”, root crops and coconuts. Nowadays it is not so easy to try Fijian dishes. Globalization has reached the islands of the Pacific Ocean and now fast food is replacing traditional restaurants in tourist spots. For authenticity, go to the villages on smaller islands or “ask” to visit the locals.
- Lovo – a mixture of meat, fish and fruit, cooked in a special earthen hearth
- Cassava – tapioca fried in sugar and coconut milk (a starchy paste made from the tubers of the cassava plant).
- Rourou – salad made of colocasia leaves (perennial herbaceous plant)
- Kokoda – fish baked with lime juice
- Palusame – colocasia leaves dipped in coconut milk.
Shopping in Fiji
On weekdays Fiji stores are open from 08:00 to 19:00. Bargaining in Fiji is not accepted in stores or markets. Unless you’re talking about Indian shops. Here haggling is possible, especially in the morning. The Indians consider it bad luck to lose the first customer. Therefore, in the morning shopkeepers are willing to go to a significant price reduction, just not to lose the first customer.
What to bring back from Fiji?
- Black pearls. There are several black pearl farms on the northern islands of the Fiji archipelago. You can buy both finished jewelry and individual pearls.
- Lali are Fijian drums. Lali are used in all the rituals of the local population.
- Souvenirs made of coconut. The most popular souvenirs from Fiji are coconut oil and soap.
Entertainments and sights in Fiji
The main “magnet” for tourists in Fiji, which is natural, is beach holidays with all the “ensuing” entertainment, such as diving, surfing, windsurfing, snorkeling, underwater hunting, parasailing, water skiing. One of the best beaches in Fiji is considered a Blue Lagoon beach on Nanuya Levu Island (Yasawa island group). In 1980 a famous Hollywood movie of the same name was shot here.
Couples from all over the world fly to Fiji to get married. Particularly popular among newlyweds is the island of Yasawa. On Fiji it is possible to conclude as an official marriage with delivery of the Fijian certificate of marriage with subsequent putting an apostille, or to make a symbolic ceremony.
Island of Beqa is famous for the fact that here are located several villages of Fijian natives, who are happy to introduce visitors to their customs and traditions. One of these traditions is ritual walking on glowing embers.
Fiji. Description of the country, photos. Attractions of Fiji
One third of the surface of our planet is covered by the Pacific Ocean. This vast vast expanses of water area of millions of square kilometers. Only small areas of land show up over the water surface. Sometimes these are small uninhabited islands, sometimes entire archipelagos, inhabited not only by wildlife, but also by man.
Very often you hear the phrase “pearl”, which implies something out of the ordinary and deserving the closest attention. Well, the word can be applied to the vast majority of islands scattered in the tropical latitudes of the Pacific Ocean. One such jewel is Fiji.
Fiji is a group of unique islands, part of the eponymous archipelago located in the Pacific Ocean 3000 km east of Australia, and 2000 km from the North Island of New Zealand. In addition, Fiji is one of the young independent states, located on 332 islands of varying sizes, with only one-third of them inhabited. All of Fiji’s islands are of volcanic or coral origin.
Viti Levu is the largest and most populous of the islands in the archipelago. It covers an area of 10,429 sq. km and is home to about 70% of the country’s inhabitants. The second largest island, Vanua-Levu, is almost half the size (5,556 km2). Other islands are even smaller. Taveuni is 470 km2 and Kandavu is 411 km2. The others are quite small. The entire area of the state of Fiji is 18274 km2. The highest point of the archipelago is on the island of Viti Levu. It is Mount Tomanivi 1324 meters high.
Fiji on a map
- Geographical coordinates -17.728078, 177.925546
The name Fiji originated from the name of the largest island of the archipelago Viti Levu. The natives referred to it simply as Viti. Fiji’s neighbors, the inhabitants of the Tonga Islands, called it Fisi. Because of the differences in pronunciation, Europeans began to call it Fiji. It is under this name the islands appeared on the charts of British navigator James Cook.
Climate of Fiji
The climate on the islands is mild humid tropical with pronounced seasonality. Tropical dry and wet seasons are characteristic of the Fiji Islands. Summer (from November to March) is the wet season, with high precipitation and increased relative humidity. The temperature is 26-27 degrees Celsius. In winter (from May to September) there is less rainfall and humidity. Temperatures are also slightly lower (23-25 degrees). The average annual rainfall is 1700-4000 mm. On the islands it is possible to distinguish the areas with different amount of precipitation in the same period. For example, in the eastern part of the island of Viti Levu from 3 to 5 thousand mm, and already in the western part of just 2-3 thousand mm. The islands of Fiji are often exposed to destructive tropical storms. In a decade, 10-15 cyclones are recorded here, 2-4 of which are usually quite destructive. In February 2016, for example, Hurricane Winston destroyed tens of thousands of homes, killed 44 people and caused $1 billion in damage.
Nature of Fiji
Most of the islands of Fiji are covered with dense tropical forests. But despite this, there are no large animals here. And in general, very few native mammal species (flying fox, 6 species of bats and small rodents). You can find introduced animal species, that is, those brought in from other parts of the world. For example, mongooses were brought in to control snakes. And the world of insects is extremely diverse. There are up to 3,500 varieties. Ants alone have 187 species. Birds are also quite diverse. There are 55 species. You can also find three species of Fijian iguana, lizards, frogs and several species of snakes. In coastal waters sea turtles, crabs, shrimps and a large variety of fish are widespread.
A little bit of Fiji’s history
The archipelago was discovered by the Dutch navigator Abel Tasman in 1643. At that time there were internecine wars on the islands. Periodically the tribes attacked each other. Enemies were often not only killed but also eaten. Cannibalism was very common in the islands of Fiji.
In 1774, the English navigator James Cook visited there during his second circumnavigation of the globe. About the middle of the 19th century the first missionaries arrived here, and in the 1860s Europeans were already growing cotton here. A little later, in the 1870s, it was replaced by sugar cane.
The founder of statehood in Fiji is considered to be Tokambau. This man (a former cannibal) was the first to unite the country, adopted Christianity, and was the ruler of all the islands from 1871 to 1874. Under him, a government body similar to today’s parliament was formed. In 1874 Tokambau effectively handed power over to Britain by abdicating in favor of Queen Victoria. It was not because he was bribed or forced to do so. Tokambau enabled the British authorities to help resolve numerous social and economic differences. In particular, to finally unify the country, since many territories still wanted to retain their independence. It is worth noting that until his death Tokambau was a highly revered man and carried the proud title of “Supreme Chief.
Until 1970, Fiji was a British protectorate. And from 1970, the country was part of the Commonwealth of Nations under the same British leadership. In 1987, as a result of a coup, Fiji was expelled from the Commonwealth, and the country was proclaimed a republic.
In general, coups d’état and putsches were quite frequent in the country. Power periodically changed hands. Several times in history the state changed names.
From 1871 to 1970 – Kingdom of Fiji From 1970 to 1987 – Republic of Fiji From 1987 to 1990 – Republic of Fiji From 1990 to 1998 – Sovereign Democratic Republic of Fiji From 1998 to 2010 – Republic of the Fiji Islands
For the time being, the name “Republic of Fiji” has reverted to “Republic of Fiji
Population of Fiji
As of 2015, the population of the country was about 910,000. Most of the population (about 87%) lives on the two large islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. It is noteworthy that a census has been conducted here since 1891 and takes place every 10 years. Slightly more than half of the local population lives in cities. The official languages are English, Fijian and Hindustani (a related language to Hindi).
Ethnic Composition of the Fiji Islands
About 60% are Fijians – descendants of the original inhabitants of the archipelago, about 34% are Fijians-Indians – they were brought by Europeans from India in the late 19th century to work in the sugar cane plantations, the remaining small part consists of Europeans and Asians.
Religious makeup of Fiji
65% Christians 28% Hindus 6% Muslims The remaining percentage is divided among Sikhs, atheists, and followers of other religions to varying degrees.
Regardless of ethnicity and religion, the elderly are held in high esteem in Fiji. Women are treated very decently. They are usually housewives doing everyday household chores. Fijian men value and respect their women and try not to burden them too much. The man is obliged to support the family to the extent that the family helps himself.
Culture of Fiji
Fijians are very original people, which, however, is not alien to modern trends. Local residents quietly combine life in traditional homes with the technical innovations of modernity. Ancestral traditions easily coexist with today’s democratic ways. Ancient faith is intertwined with Christianity and Hinduism.
While the indigenous Fijian culture and traditions are very vibrant and are integral components of daily life for most Fijians, society has evolved over the past century with the introduction of foreign Indian and Chinese traditions. The local culture was also greatly influenced by Europe and the cultural heritage of its Pacific neighbors, particularly the people of the islands of Tonga and Samoa. In this way, different cultures came together on the Fiji Islands, creating a unique multicultural national identity.
Attractions of Fiji
The most important attraction of Fiji is the insanely beautiful nature. The archipelago is rightly considered a true tropical paradise. Many kilometers of sandy beaches, coral reefs near the coast, clear water of turquoise lagoons – all this beckons travelers who want to find themselves in a quiet, comfortable place away from the bustle of the city and the newly fashionable noisy resorts.
Laucala Island is one of the most fashionable and expensive resorts in the world. A place of absolute privacy and first-class service with unique pristine nature and complete serenity.
SavuSavu Tropical Gardens, a natural retreat in the town of the same name on Vanua-Levu Island, allows you to see a large number of tropical plants in a relatively small area.
Taveuni Island – In addition to its classic tropical charm, there is an interesting attraction here – the Line of Date Change. It is through Taveuni that the 180th meridian passes, recognized as the line of transition from one day to another. However, for some reason, the official date change line has a rather curved trajectory.
Economy and tourism in Fiji
For the most part, the economy of Fiji is based on agriculture and forestry. Fishing is well developed. Because of the large stocks of minerals found on islands (copper, lead, zinc, bauxites, iron ores, and even silver and gold) their extraction and export is widely developed. The food industry and light industry are developed. Fiji exports sugar, textiles, fish and gold.
Additional budget income comes from tourism. The vast majority of tourists to Fiji are from Australia, New Zealand and the United States. In recent years the travel industry has developed a lot. Fiji has a lot of excellent 4-5 star hotels. You can find more affordable accommodation, but it is located a little further away.
Fiji is popular for weddings, as well as the traditional honeymoon after the wedding.
The islands are also of interest to diving enthusiasts. The Great Sea Reef, located off the island of Vanua Levu, one of the main marine attractions of Fiji, and the third largest reef in the world.
The flow of tourists is increasing year by year. Thus, as of 2015, more than 750,000 people visited the Fiji Islands. The Fiji Islands offer travelers entertainment for all tastes and wallets.
Interesting facts about the Fiji Islands
- In addition to the developed tourism business, the Fiji Islands are known as an offshore zone. That is, you can open a company here and minimize all tax deductions. These islands get a lot of attention from people who make various frauds in the economic sphere
- Rugby is so popular in the country that it is practically a national sport. Even at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Fiji’s rugby team won a gold medal
- On the territory of islands of Fiji there are 30 mountain peaks higher than 1000 m
- Hardly ever marriages between native Fijians and Indians
- Fijians are probably the only people in Oceania with a proud cannibalistic past
- Although once cannibals and skilled warriors, Fijians are now renowned as one of the friendliest peoples in the world
- It is not customary to speak loudly on the Fiji Islands. An elevated tone is considered an expression of anger
- One should never touch the head of a Fijian. According to local customs it is a taboo
- As many as 28 airports on Fiji Islands, but only four of them have long runways able to receive all kinds of aircraft
- It is believed that the last person eaten in Fiji was Reverend Thomas Baker. He was eaten in 1867. It wasn’t until 2003 that tribal representatives apologized to his family
- in the U.S. water under the Fiji brand is one of the most expensive
- On the territory of Fiji is the largest Hindu temple in the southern hemisphere, Sri Shiva Subramanya with a thirty-meter pyramid
- In ancient times the traditional greeting of a common aboriginal to a chief was the phrase “Eat me!”
- It is believed that the first human settlements in Fiji appeared about 3,500 years ago