Fiji, officially known as the Republic of Fiji, is the island located in Melanasia of the South Pacific Ocean. It comprises of 333 islands of which only 110 are inhabited. A huge population of Indian migrants is based in Fiji.
The long-haul flight to Fiji is rather tiring, which turns out to quite worth it. The total travel time to Nadi, Fiji, from Mumbai, India is around 23 hours i.e. 6 hours to Hong Kong + a 7 hour layover + a 10 hour flight from Hong Kong to Nadi (Fiji Airways). However, once your land in Nadi, its paradise all the way. The entire travel fatigue is taken over by the sheer natural beauty of the clear waters & wonderful landscapes. The atmosphere & the entire chilled out attitude of the people made the entire travel fatigue just vanish. Even before I could see the sights & sounds of Nadi, I was aboard another aircraft to fly off to a small island resort – The Royal Davui Island Resort, an hour away from the mainland.
The aircraft was a tiny ‘seaplane’. For those who never have experience a seaplane or even anything smaller than a regular jet liner, then this is definitely a must do. The idea of an aircraft landing on water though is terrifying, but is an amazing experience.
Royal Davui Island Resort is an exclusive adults-only resort i.e. it’s not ideal for children & is targeted towards couples looking for a getaway, situated in Fiji's Beqa Lagoon. The resort sits on a 10 acre island with only 16 villas, which are exclusive and exude complete privacy. It is in fact, an ideal resort for a Honeymooning couple for a 1 or 2 night stay.
The next destination in Fiji is Wainadoi near Pacific Harbor on the main island. The journey from Beqa Lagoon to the main island can be covered by boat (30 mins) or by helicopter/seaplane. Wainadoi is famous for the ever thrilling Zip-Lining through the dense rainforests. You can enjoy spectacular views and unique flora and fauna from a unique viewpoint. This activity is highly recommended as it gives a traveler a beautiful outlook of the dense forests and the wonderful flora & fauna.
The next must visit & stay destination in Fiji is the Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa in Natadola on the main island of Viti Levu. This resort is ideal for those wanting to be completely away from the main areas of Fiji & yet be on the main island. This resort offers a good mix luxury & openness. The resort is a known for its world famous Natadola Beach, which has been voted one of the best beaches in the world and is also home to the Asia Pacific’s first PGA Tour Golf Course, which was conceptualized by the former World No.1 Golfer – Vijay Singh.
Further on from Natadola, we proceed to the Denarau Island, is the largest integrated resort in the South Pacific. It can also be termed as the Beverly Hills of Fiji. You will find the best resorts located on this island, which include the Sofitel. Hilton etc. Denarau is about a 20 min drive from the Nadi Airport. The Port Denarau area is famous for its restaurants offering various cuisines and big names like Hard Rock Café, all near the waterfront marina. For all the golfing enthusiasts, the Denarau area also offers a wonderful 18-hole golf course. Port Denarau also plays host to the Fiji International Jazz and Blues Festival & also the South Pacific Food and Wine Festival.
After a stay in Denarau, we proceed to the Nadi airport to board another tiny aircraft for an hour long flight to SavuSavu. The aircraft is a single engine with a capacity to seat 10 people including the pilot. The Company that runs the service from one island to the other is ‘Island Hoppers’ & have a fleet of aircrafts & helicopters for the island hopping services.
SavuSavu is home to the beautifully located resorts of Namale & Jean-Michel Cousteau. Both the resorts are recommended, depending upon the budget.
Jean-Michel Cousteau is luxury Resort that is located in the midst of some beautiful coconut plantation, with 25 bures (villas) to offer its guests. The resort has giver huge emphasis on ecology due to its patron Jean-Michel Cousteau, an environmentalist. The resort even has a marine biologist on site, who helps the guests understand more about the marine life around the resort and the importance of conservation. This resort is a good place to take kids & is extremely child friendly.
On the other hand, Namale Resort is an adult only super luxury boutique resort in Suva. This resort is an all inclusive resort, which basically means that all food & accommodation expenses are included in the cost. Namale is considered Fiji's #1 all-inclusive resort and spa. The resort sits on 525 acres of land that offers a lavish & beautiful mix of the rainforests & the ocean face and has only 19 villas in various categories. Namale has played host to some of the biggest A-listers in the world including, Donna Karan, Pat Riley, Russell Crowe, Edward Norton, Meg Ryan, Mike Myers, Quincy Jones, Anthony Hopkins etc. Honestly in my view, if in Fiji, then at least spend 2 nights in Namale to experience luxury of the different kind. It is one of the finest & best designed resorts I have visited in the world the best Fiji has to offer to the world. The level of detail, hospitality & ambience put Namale on my ‘top 10 must visit resorts’.
The local Fijian food is focused more on seafood and is a paradise for all the seafood enthusiasts. The fish, prawn, lobster and cray cuisines are a delightful experience for any seafood lover. Moreover, due to the significant Indian population in Fiji, the Indian delicacies also make their presence felt in the local food. The Indian Tourists should not face an issue with regards to finding vegetarian food or even typical Indian food anywhere in Fiji. Many resorts have an understanding with some neighbouring villages that allow the traveler to try traditional Fijian food. Apart from this, other restaurants are also available all over Fiji, that offer various cuisines & tastes that may fancy your pallet.
One thing that every tourist in Fiji must try is ‘Kava’. It is a mildly intoxicating drink prepared from the Kava root and known for proven medicinal effects, for anyone seeking to calm nerves or ease stress as well as anxiety during fatigue. Kava is often had in a ‘kava bowl’ and is had in a ‘Kava Drinking Ceremony’.
On the activity front, Fiji is a full of sporting activities and has enough to keep the sporty travelers busy. Water sports including, snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, kayaking, sailing etc. For the snorkeling fans, the best place to go for a snorkel are along the Coral Coast between Nadi and Suva, as well as in other locations, such as Nananu-i-Ra, Natadola Beach and the Pacific Harbor, where you can snorkel and dive in an extinct volcano crater. Scuba diving in Fiji’s waters is an exclusive and unforgettable experience, as you are able to see a wide variety of colorful soft corals and other different forms of marine life, including rays, dolphins, reef sharks, sea turtles and a large assortment of tropical fish. A world renowned scuba diving area between the islands of Taveuni and Vanua Levu called the Rainbow Reef, where you can find a beautiful variety of colorful corals.
On the shopping front, there is bound to be a disappointment. There isn’t much of shopping that a tourist can except local Fijian artifacts and the regular souvenirs. The Nightlife is Fiji is a disappointment, with a few odd pubs & bars in and around Nadi & Suva. The best places to enjoy the nightlife is within the vicinity of the Hotel/Resort, which have their own pubs & bars with good music & crowd
The best part about visiting Fiji as an Indian Citizen, is that you do not require a Visa to travel to Fiji. However, it is mandatory to have a Passport with a minimum validity of 6 months.
For an Indian Traveler, Fiji is a beautiful destination to visit, considering its natural beauty, amazing beaches, cultural proximity to India. Overall, a trip to Fiji is worth it and should be on the ‘must visit destinations’ for any traveler. It indeed is ‘Oceania’s Hawaii’.