A luxe guide to Fiji, the jewel of the South Pacific

Swaying palm trees, opal-blue water, and white sandy beaches… there’s no denying that Fiji paints an idyllic image of paradise. Here’s everything you need to know before you go!

It’s closer than you think

Direct flights to Fiji depart three times a week from Singapore, landing at the Nadi airport in less than ten hours. From there, all you need to do is a hop on a speedboat bound for the Mamanuca Islands, our go-to spot for exploring the sun-drenched archipelago.

Bula!” is the only Fijian word you’ll need

English is Fiji’s official language, but bula! (pronounced boola) is a word you’ll hear and say everywhere… and we mean everywhere. Much like the Hawaiian “aloha”, the ubiquitous word isn’t just a friendly greeting – it literally means health and happiness, and can be used in almost any context.

The resorts are spectacular

Live out your Robinson Crusoe fantasy in barefoot luxury because Fiji is home to some of the world’s most celebrated resorts. Want for nothing at the newly opened Six Senses Fiji, which recently made TIME Magazine’s list of the World’s Greatest Places.

Six Senses Fiji
Photo: Six Senses Fiji

The food is criminally underrated

While fresh seafood and tropical fruit is to be expected, it may come as a surprise that Fiji is a foodie’s paradise. Traditional dishes are a tantalizing blend of Indian, British, and Chinese influences, all made with locally sourced ingredients – think coconut milk, taro, and fresh-caught mahi mahi.

Many resorts are under the care of internationally renowned chefs, but our favourite culinary splurge is Gaiatree Sanctuary, a farm-to-table, three-course adventure, set in an organic spice plantation. Don’t go home without enjoying at least one meal prepared in the lovo – a Fijian take on the backyard barbecue.

Kava will keep you calm

You can’t go to Fiji without taking part in many a kava ceremony, in which you are invited to share an earthy, slightly bitter drink made from powdered kava root. It’s no Dom Pérignon, but it does give you a very mild euphoric buzz. Tip: If you visit a local village, score points with the chief by gifting him with a kava root!

Photo: Chad McMillan/Unsplash

You won’t need a watch

The moment you set foot on the island, you’re on Fiji time, a term that embodies the islands’ slower pace of life. Although you may find it frustrating at first, you’ll learn to love the lack of urgency – as the Fijians say, “no hurry, no worries.”

The ocean is your playground

With crystal-clear water and world-class reefs, Fiji attracts scuba divers and snorkelers from all over the world. Explore vibrant coral gardens that are home to sea turtles, manta rays, and tropical fish, as well as the occasional harmless reef shark. If you prefer to stay above the surface, there’s also kayaking, paddle boarding, parasailing, and surfing – including the Kelly Slater-approved Cloudbreak on Tavarua.

But it’s not all water activities

While a bikini should be the first thing on your packing list, there are also endless things to do that don’t require getting wet. Party it up at Waitui Beach Club, go for a scenic jungle hike, or set sail to the wind. Adrenaline junkies can get their fix by skydiving with Free Fall Fiji, which promises the most exhilarating, 4,000-meter views.

Free Fall Fiji
Photo: Free Fall Fiji

You can see where Castaway was filmed

If you want to visit the setting of the movie that made you cry over a volleyball, book a day trip to the uninhabited Monuriki Island, where Tom Hanks said his heartbreaking goodbye to Wilson. Don’t get confused by the nearby Castaway Island – Monuriki is the true Hollywood star.

It’s a great place to bring kids

Fiji might be known as a romantic honeymoon destination, but it’s also surprisingly family-friendly. That’s because Fijians don’t just like kids, they adore them. The resort staff will happily dote over your little ones while you enjoy some well-deserved mommy R&R.

You can go to Fiji anytime

That’s right – this palm-fringed paradise is a year-round destination, with beach-bumming weather every season. Crowds are at their peak from July through September, and tropical storms have been known to hit during November through April. That said, our favourite time for a Fijian getaway are the shoulder months of June and October.

Photo: Prem Kurumpanai/Unsplash

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Header image credit: Tourism Fiji

Shannon Valdes Leiderman

Shannon is a true Southern California girl at heart with an insatiable love for bikinis, craft beer, and Mexican food. While she’s typically on the hunt for sun & sand, she’s also a snowboard powder hound and an aspiring ice cream sandwich connoisseur.

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