Because I used frequent flyer mileage for this Fiji travel, it took me
over 33 hours to get to the Nadi (pronounced nahn-dee), Fiji
international airport from Tokyo
Narita, including my overnight stay at the Auckland, New Zealand
airport. Ugh! To travel on the dates that I desired, besides being
through New Zealand, I also had the pleasure of spending over 5
hours in the amazing Singapore Changi Airport.
"Pleasure," you may ask?! Well, Terminal 3, which opened in 2008, has
1st butterfly garden inside an airport, a free
24-hour movie theater, a very comfy snooze lounge, an aviation gallery,
(12m) high slide (the world's tallest inside an airport), and a koi
pond. The other terminals have a sunflower garden, an orchid garden, a
cactus garden, and believe it or not, they even have a rooftop swimming
pool. I was impressed with all the modern amenities in the Changi
Airport, including free PC Internet kiosks everywhere, and to my
I even found some free foot massagers.
Free foot massager @ Singapore Changi Airport
interesting part of my very LONG journey was the Air New Zealand
show before takeoff. Everyone in the
video, both cabin crew & passengers, is dressed like a character
movie. VERY cute. Even Director
Peter Jackson was in the safety video,
which you can view @ YouTube.
The magnificent Fiji Islands are so beautiful, they're almost
indescribable, but the mere fact that Tom Hanks' "Cast Away" and Brooke
Shields' "The Blue Lagoon" were filmed there pretty much speaks for
Day 1 - Thurs. Feb. 14, 2013 - Valentine’s Day
My arrival at the Nadi, Fiji airport was quite a treat, where I was
greeted by live Fijian music as I approached immigration (you can see
this 3-person band in my video below). After exiting immigration, I was
practically attacked by taxi drivers and all of the tour operators
trying to sell their various programs.
After inquiring for a Fiji map, I got hustled off to an office by a
lady who I originally thought was working for the Fiji tourism bureau,
and although she was very helpful, I believe she was more interested in
hooking me up with one of the area tour operators. In all the
confusion, I somehow missed the nice man from my hotel who had been
sent to the airport to pick me up, and who’d even gone to the trouble
of printing out my name on a sign to hold up as I exited immigration.
The first thing I noticed when I walked out of the airport building was
how nice and warm it was (dare I say HOT?). Well, OK, to be honest, it
was indeed very hot and humid, but quite a welcome relief from the
unbelievably cold winter we've had in Japan this year. In fact,
when I left Tokyo, it was a frigid 6° C (43° F). Ugh!
By far one of the luckiest things that happened to me during this
Fiji travel was my choice of hotels. After I first arrived at the Wailoaloa Beach Resort Fiji, I spent the first
half hour just walking
around the property and taking pictures… the place is just THAT pretty.
Wailoaloa Beach Resort Fiji, Room 405
Besides the complimentary airport pickup, the Wailoaloa Beach Resort
Fiji offers free breakfast, free Wi-Fi, a PC Internet kiosk in the
lobby, a beautiful swimming pool, fitness center, billiards table, very
cordial staff, and is only a 10 min. walk from Wailoaloa Beach.
One of the first things I did after arriving at the Wailoaloa Beach
Resort Fiji was...well, naturally...to head down to Wailoaloa Beach. Interestingly, I didn't
see anyone out in the water, even though it
was a gorgeous day. I decided to have lunch at the Ghostship Bar &
Grill in the Smugglers Cove Beach Resort, which overlooks their pool
and is right on
Because I arrived on Valentine's Day, that night my hotel's restaurant
offered a special Valentine's Day dinner menu. For starters, I
was served tomato soup, smoked fish rolls, and baked freshwater
mussels. There was a choice of 4 main courses and I chose the creamy
bacon wrapped chicken, served with buttered potatoes and steamed
For dessert, I had coconut ice cream & coconut jello,
covered with chocolate chips & butterscotch syrup. Oh, and for the
first time in my life I got to taste a Fanta Pineapple, which was
Valentine's Day Dinner @ Wailoaloa Beach Resort Fiji
After dinner, I decided to check out the nightlife, so I caught a taxi
up to Queens Road where I by chance heard some nice music coming from
the Sitar Indian and Thai Restaurant. After I went inside, I was
pleasantly surprised to see some Fijian dancers in action, so I sat
down, ordered a Coke Zero, and managed to catch 4 of their amazing
dances on video, which you can view below.
I heard that Fijian dancers perform there just about every night. I
also checked out Ed's Bar, which I was totally unimpressed with, and
the Bounty Restaurant & Bar where I heard a very good 3-piece
R&B band, even though I was the only spectator. Perhaps I was
just there a little bit too early in the evening.
Day 2 - Fri. Feb. 15, 2013
On my 2nd day in Fiji, I had only 2 things on my agenda: the Garden of
the Sleeping Giant & Nadi Town. The Garden of the
Giant, located just outside of Nadi, opened in 1977 and is famous for
the private collection of tropical orchids belonging to the late
Canadian actor Raymond Burr, known for his popular TV characters of
Perry Mason and Robert Ironside.
Orchid @ Garden of the Sleeping Giant
But his orchid collection has grown to be one of the most popular Fiji
Island attractions and now includes several rare Fijian orchids as
well, making this one of the largest collections of orchids in the
garden now has on display over 2000 various types of orchids (one I
heard even smells like chocolate) on a plantation which encompasses 20
hectares (~49 acres).
I'm guessing the humidity inside this lush garden was fairly close to
100%, and combined with the heat, it almost felt like a sauna, as the
sweat was just rolling down my face. Just when I was beginning to feel
a little discomfort, it suddenly dawned on me that it was mid-February
and I remembered the record snowfall accumulation this month in
northern Japan of 5.6m (>18 ft), and then
magically I didn't feel so hot anymore.
My 2nd stop of the day was Nadi Town, where I got to see the municipal
open-air food market where you can pick up any imaginable food
item…..fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, sugar cane, etc….VERY cheap. I
also had my first Fiji grocery shopping experience at
the MH Supermarket, where I stocked up on fresh fruits, yogurt, &
bottled water for my hotel frig.
In Nadi Town I
also checked out the beautiful Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple, which
is at the south end of the main street. It’s the largest Hindu temple
in the Southern Hemisphere.
Because I wasn't feeling that swift
this day, I packed it in in the late afternoon and hit the hay a
early that night. Apparently something I ate at my Valentine's Day
dinner wasn't agreeing with my system, because I had diarrhea for the
next 2 days.
Fortunately for me, a nice American guy staying at my hotel gave
me his unopened bottle of Pepto-Bismol, 2/3 of which I used to help
myself get back up to full speed again.
My sleep was disturbed that
afternoon by a hellacious thunderstorm, complete with severe thunder
and lightning. This was the 1st of 3 storms that I would encounter
during my 6-day stay in Fiji, all of them occurring mid to late
afternoon (pls. see discussion below on Fiji
Day 3 - Sat. Feb. 16, 2013
Since I'd read on a number of websites that Natadola Beach was one of
the best white-sand beaches along the Coral Coast (the south side of
Viti Levu, the main Fiji island), I decided to check it out this day.
After catching a taxi to the Nadi Town bus terminal, I rode on a
highway bus from there to the Natadola Beach cutoff. After I got off
the bus, there was a guy waiting there, who offered to take me down to
the beach for FJ$10, but being a little hardheaded, I
decided I didn't want to pay that & because it was such a nice day,
I just decided to walk.
Well, after about 20 min. of walking, a nice Fijian lady with her kids
stopped and asked me if I'd like a ride and so I eagerly accepted. It's
a good thing I did, because I learned later that that road down to the
is almost 10 km (~6 mi) long, which would've probably taken me around 2
hours to walk the entire distance.
In addition to its white sand, Natadola Beach is also known for its
horses for hire, which you can ride up and down the beach. One of the
highlights of Natadola Beach is the gorgeous Intercontinental Fiji Golf
Resort & Spa where I had a light lunch. The mixed green salad and
watermelon juice set me back FJ$28 (US$15). But for me it
was definitely worth it to experience such a beautiful sight.
Since it was Saturday, I was hoping to catch a little Saturday night
fever, so I had dinner at the Capricorn Hotel and listened for a while
to their live Fijian band. The band was good, but it was a very casual
affair with long breaks between songs, which included drinking kava and
shooting the breeze with a handful of customers who had gathered.
is a native drink made from a root with sedative and anesthetic
properties which is consumed throughout Polynesia. I’ve heard you don't
really get buzzed from drinking kava, but you’ll
get a slight numb feeling in your mouth after downing a few cups.
some reason, I guess due to my 3-day illness, I never got around to
checking out the White House Nightclub & Live Karaoke, but I heard
it's a pretty happening place with lots of gorgeous gals.
White House Nightclub & Live Karaoke in Nadi, Fiji
When the White House Fiji nightclub opened in July 2012, the South
Korean owner was quoted as saying, "The White House in Washington is
the top house in the world, so I named this club that in the hope it
becomes Fiji’s top club."
I returned back to my hotel, I discovered there was a live band there
as well. They were also pretty good, playing a lot of oldies, and I was
especially impressed with their rendition of the Eagles’ "Hotel
Day 4 - Sun. Feb. 17, 2013
I'm not sure what came over me exactly, as I don't generally worship
while on vacations, but for some reason, on this
day I decided I wanted to check out a traditional Fijian church.
This may have had something to do with watching a Fiji DVD I received
from the Fiji tourism bureau office in Tokyo before I left on my
vacation, which showed a rather lively church service in Fiji.
I wasn't successful in locating on the internet a church near my hotel,
so after I inquired at the front desk, lo and behold, one of the ladies
who works there said she was leaving for her church in about an hour
and asked me if I wanted to join her. Well, I didn't have my best
Sunday clothes with me, but I jumped at the opportunity.
The church we attended is known as the 3C Christian City Church Nadi,
and it was a very delightful and uplifting service (albeit a bit too
long…2 hours). After the service, they even served refreshments
outside under a beautiful, huge tree. You can see a few clips from the
C3 church service in my video below.
After service refreshments,
C3 Christian City Church, Nadi
(video clips of service in video below)
In the afternoon I decided to check out Port Denarau, as I heard this
was the high rent district for the Nadi area, with all the upscale
hotels like the Sheraton, Radisson, Hilton, etc., as well as the
Denarau Golf Club.
It also serves as a
marina and the passenger terminal for the boat cruises out to the outer
Fiji islands, including the Mamanuca Islands and the Yasawa Islands.
Needless to say, it's a pretty happening place.
Even though I was planning to come back to Port Denarau the
next day for my own boat cruise out to South Sea Island, I knew that I
wouldn’t have any time then for shopping or just walking around,
because I would be arriving and departing at the passenger terminal via
the South Sea Cruises transport bus immediately before and after my
Fijian smile @ Port Denarau Marina
The Port Denarau marina was a great place for eating and shopping with
a variety of different kinds of shops, including a fried chicken fast
food restaurant, a New Zealand ice cream shop, a convenience store, a
fishing tackle shop, pharmacy, and even the Hard Rock Café Fiji.
Day 5 - Mon. Feb. 18, 2013
South Sea Island, Fiji
My boat cruise this day out to the South Sea Island was without
question the highlight of my entire visit to the Fiji islands.
South Sea Island is the 1st stop along the long chain of Mamanuca
Islands from Port Denarau.
The half-day cruise that I chose through tour company South Sea Cruises
cost only FJ$135 (~US$75), and included the 1-hr
round-trip high-speed catamaran cruise, a very touching musical show by
Fijian performers, a gorgeous BBQ & salad lunch buffet, snorkeling,
swimming pool, sailing, kayaking, a ride in the Coral Explorer
semi-submersible vessel, and all the other island amenities.
South Sea Cruises high-speed catamaran
I was not that impressed with the Coral Explorer sub, as the water
didn't seem to be all that clear in that vicinity, so we couldn't
see that many fish thru the windows. On the other hand, where they took
us for snorkeling, the water was crystal clear and because the South
Island is surrounded by a marine sanctuary, I found Nemo & saw some
fish that I'd
never seen before, including a couple of friendly (and thankfully
small) white-tipped sharks
that kept us company.
Without question, it was the most awesome
coral reef snorkeling experience in my entire 6-decade lifetime.
Back at the hotel, for dinner I decided to have the dish with the
amazing garlic aroma that I'd already been smelling for 4 days…the
masala fish curry, which was totally DELISH!!
Day 6 - Tues. Feb. 19, 2013
My return flight back to Auckland, New Zealand and then back to Tokyo
Narita didn't leave until the evening, so I decided to spend most of
the last day of my Fiji travel just killing time doing stuff close to
the hotel. I went shopping at the RB Patel Jetpoint supermarket and
department store, where everything is SO cheap. I even found men’s
dress shoes starting @ only FJ$43 (~US$24). Wow.
While walking down to have my triple cheeseburger @ McDonald's, I
bought a chilled coconut from a nice lady right alongside the road who
chopped a hole in the top of it and put a straw in it so I could drink
the fresh juice. It was SO nice!
at the hotel, I lounged around & swam in the pool for a while and
because this was my 1st ever visit to the southern hemisphere, my new
American friend, a fellow hotel guest, and I performed some
scientific experiments to determine whether water really drains
in the opposite direction in the southern hemisphere.
As you can see in
my video below, our results were inconclusive, and it wasn't until I
returned back to Japan to discover that the idea of it draining in
another direction is just an urban legend. As it turns out, the
Coriolis force has no effect on draining water
But it was a lot of fun
conducting the experiments nonetheless.
Friendly staff @ Wailoaloa Beach Resort Fiji
On both the inbound and outbound legs of my Fiji travel, I stayed at
the Ibis Budget Hotel at the Auckland, New Zealand
airport. It was very
nice, reasonably priced, and of course, very convenient as it is only
about a 10 min. walk from the international terminal, although you can
catch the free park-and-ride bus, which stops at the hotel.
My Fiji Travel Photos
pics in the collage below are a sampling of my Fiji travel photo album
hosted at Flickr. Clicking on the collage will open up the
album on a separate page. I hope you enjoy them!
Click here to view all of my 156 Fiji travel pics.
My Fiji Travel Video
Besides the amazing fish (and sharks) I saw snorkeling (too bad I don't
have an underwater camera), the prettiest place I saw in Fiji was
Natadola Beach, especially in front of the Intercontinental Fiji Golf
Resort & Spa. But
by far the most touching experience was the South Sea Island
performers (whom you can see in the image & video below). The C3
pretty cool too. Enjoy!
travel video cue
marks (in min.):
0:00 Singapore Air in-flight airshow -
Singapore to Auckland, NZ flight
2:10 Air New Zealand in-flight airshow -
Auckland, NZ to Nadi, Fiji flight
7:07 Musical Fijian welcome @ the Nadi,
7:26 Fiji flag
7:49 Wailoaloa Beach Resort Fiji
8:18 Fijian dancers @ the Sitar Indian
restaurant - Dance 1
10:06 Fijian dancers @ the Sitar Indian restaurant -
12:42 Fijian dancers @ the Sitar Indian restaurant -
17:00 Fijian dancers @ the Sitar Indian restaurant -
20:16 Kava ceremony & Fiji cultural presentation
27:14 Riding on a highway bus to Natadola Beach
27:49 Natadola Beach
28:11 Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa,
29:12 Riding on the highway from Natadola Beach back
to Nadi Town
29:34 C3 Christian City Church Nadi
31:40 The Denarau Golf Club
32:47 Port Denarau Marina
34:09 Port Denarau passenger terminal
34:24 Boat cruise to South Sea Island
37:29 Welcome greetings @ South Sea Island
40:00 South Sea Island lunch buffet
40:23 South Sea Island Fijian song & dance
52:20 South Sea Island Coral Explorer
55:07 South Sea Island snorkeling boat
55:18 Return boat cruise from South Sea Island back
to Port Denarau
59:22 Fresh chilled coconut juice
1:00:10 Does water drain clockwise or counter-clockwise in the
Southern Hemisphere? THAT is the question.
1:01:04 Japanese high school boys in the Auckland airport wait
for our flight to return back home to Ibaraki Prefecture from their
10-day excursion to New Zealand
1:01:20 Beautiful cumulus cloud we passed en route back to Japan
(1) "Bula" in the Fijian language means "hello" or "welcome."
(2) Kava is a native drink made from a root with sedative and
anesthetic properties which is consumed throughout Polynesia.
Fiji Google Map
If you've ever wondered exactly where in the South Pacific Ocean that
Fiji is located, it lies around 5,100 km (~3,200 mi) southwest of
Hawaii and 3,150 km (~2000 mi) northeast of Sydney. Fiji's main island
of Viti Levu is located @ approximately 18 degrees south latitude and
178 degrees east longitude, lying just west of the international date
get a better feel for Fiji's location,
you can zoom out in the Fiji Google map below, or click open a larger
Google map on a separate page. Also, if you have Google Earth installed
on your PC, using GE's tilt & rotate features, you can check out
the 3D view & actually fly around Fiji as if you were in an
I found taxis in Fiji to be numerous, cheap, and yet borderline
irritating. Before leaving Japan, I shopped online for a Fiji rental
but the cheapest I could find, as I recall, was around US$60 a day,
even for a compact. After I got on the ground in Fiji, I immediately
In Fiji there are taxis EVERYWHERE. You never, ever have to worry about
not being able to get a taxi. But what I found irritating about them is
that every single taxi ride anywhere required a price negotiation. This
got old in a hurry. And sometimes just walking down the street, taxis
would stop (or honk) to see if you needed a ride.
While many, if not most, of the taxis have meters, they are not as
clearly visible as in Japan or in the states, so there was always that
sense that you might be overcharged or that the taxi driver was trying
to extract as much tourist cash from you as possible.
On my 4th day in Fiji, I received a lengthy and somewhat condescending
explanation from one taxi driver that there are two different kinds of
taxis in Fiji… LT (for “local taxis”), and LH (for “local hire”
taxis).…and these identifying letters are even indicated on their
This taxi driver explained that LH taxis are more expensive because
they are company-owned and are all covered by insurance, whereas the
LT taxis may not have insurance. He also said there are many unofficial
taxis without any kind of government license, but are just individuals
trying to cut into the taxi business.
I then asked this LH taxi driver why his taxi didn't have any
identifying information on the outside of his taxi, e.g., company logo
or the little illuminated taxi sign on the top of his car, and how I
could tell that his taxi was in fact an LH taxi as opposed to an
unlicensed taxi, but he didn't have a very good answer. Oh well, live
I even searched pretty thoroughly for a place to rent a motorcycle
(even inquiring @ the Nadi airport), but
the only place I found was at the Smugglers Cove Beach Resort and they
were asking FJ$70 for all day, plus another FJ$20 for insurance, and a
deposit. Uh, no thanks! In Phuket, Thailand I rented a scooter for 24
hours for only 200 baht (~US$6.50).
Fiji Weather & Nearby Seismic
Although Fiji's average temperatures vary by less than 4 degrees C
throughout the year, Fiji's warm season, November to April, is also the
wet season & cyclone season. In Nadi, February (when I visited) is
statistically the 2nd warmest month (January wins top prize) and the
2nd wettest month (March is the victor).
Cyclone frequency is generally greatest during January & February,
but category 4 Cyclone Evan caused catastrophic damage to Fiji as it
passed thru just a week before Xmas 2012. Before striking Fiji, Cyclone
Evan had already hit Samoa a few days prior, causing widespread
devastation and killing 5 people. Evan battered Fiji with wind gusts of
up to 270 km/hr, destroying hundreds of homes, farms, & schools,
ruining crops, tearing down vital infrastructure such as power poles,
submerging bridges, & damaging roads due to landslides.
Some parts of Fiji recorded 200 mm (about 8 inches) of rain over a
24-hour period, causing substantial flooding and widespread power and
water outages. More than 8000 people had to take refuge in emergency
evacuation shelters, airlines suspended flights in and out of the
country, and tourists unable to leave Fiji in time were forced to stay
put in their sand-bagged & boarded-up hotels.
Less than a week before my departure, between Feb. 6-10 in the nearby
Santa Cruz Islands (part of the Solomon Islands) there were 14 quakes
of magnitude 6.0 or greater, including the Feb. 6 M8.0 quake which
caused a 1.5m (~5 ft) tsunami there which killed 9 people and other
smaller tsunamis as far away as Japan.
Fiji 3-prong, 240V wall outlet
Oh, by the way, if you're from Japan or America or any of the other
countries that use standard Type A, 2-pronged plugs for your
electrical appliances, if you want to recharge your camera, cell phone,
PC, etc. in Fiji, you may want to bring along an electrical plug
work with the same Type I, 240V, 3-prong wall outlets they use in
Australia & New Zealand.
The adapter plug below I picked up for around 5 bucks @ Yodobashi
Camera in Tokyo's Akihabara Electric Town, where it is sold as a Type
Type O2 adapter plug
(photo credit: rakuten.com)
Y'all Come Back Now, Ya Hear?
What a great, exotic place Fiji is! And I'm convinced you won't find
any friendlier people anywhere in the world.
Six days in Fiji was not nearly enough time, and I can
hardly wait to go
I hope you found this page both informative & entertaining,
and that it will benefit future
this Pacific island
It is also my hope you will find time to check back again soon to this
page as I
it in the future with more details on some of the other local
you have any questions or comments, or perhaps have already visited
Fiji, feel free to share your experience in the comment section below.
Thanks so much for visiting and please come back again soon...
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