13 Best Things to Do in Tonga


The island King­dom of Ton­ga is famous for its trop­i­cal forests, coral atolls and sandy beach­es.


Things to do in Tonga

Since ancient times, the local islands have been inhab­it­ed by Poly­ne­sians. War­like tribes con­quered neigh­bor­ing ter­ri­to­ries and imposed trib­ute on the inhab­i­tants of Ocea­nia. The sacred chiefs had full pow­er until the begin­ning of the 19th cen­tu­ry. After Euro­pean mis­sion­ar­ies pen­e­trat­ed here, and the last leader died with­out leav­ing an heir.

The arch­i­pel­ago has a total area of ​​748 km² and con­sists of 172 islands, many of which are unin­hab­it­ed. The tourism busi­ness is only devel­op­ing, so com­fort­able beach­es are not every­where. Good infra­struc­ture on Ton­gat­a­pu, where about 75% of the sub­jects of the king­dom live. And in the cap­i­tal, Nuku’alo­fa, there are mod­ern hotels, shops and enter­tain­ment.

Ton­ga attracts peo­ple who want to take a break from the noise of big cities and enjoy untouched nature. Small coral islands are ide­al for leisure­ly walks, sun­bathing and swim­ming. Tourists come to scu­ba dive, study the flo­ra and fau­na of the Pacif­ic Ocean, and take pic­tures of mag­nif­i­cent seascapes.

Vavau is the cen­ter of sail­ing. From May to Octo­ber, yachts from dif­fer­ent parts of the world moor here to par­tic­i­pate in regat­tas over long and short dis­tances. Ordi­nary yacht­ing is also pop­u­lar: peo­ple rent a ship, choose a direc­tion and go on a sea voy­age. Mov­ing along the route, they are engaged in div­ing, fish­ing, water ski­ing.

Ton­gan tra­di­tion­al dances are an impres­sive sight. The mee­tu­u­pa­ki dance, per­formed by men, and the wom­en’s seat­ed otuha­ka dance are of par­tic­u­lar sophis­ti­ca­tion. The Ton­gan Lakala­ka has been declared a Mas­ter­piece of Intan­gi­ble Her­itage by UNESCO. This dance is danced on hol­i­days in every vil­lage, and all the inhab­i­tants par­tic­i­pate in the per­for­mance.

Ton­gan cui­sine, based on local prod­ucts, attracts with its vari­ety and orig­i­nal taste. It is based on bananas, yams, coconuts, sea fish, shell­fish, ten­der pork ten­der­loin. When relax­ing on the islands, it is worth try­ing corned beef baked with coconut milk and onions in taro leaves, banana soup, trop­i­cal fruit desserts and a heady kava drink from the roots of a Poly­ne­sian plant.

Interesting places



The ancient cap­i­tal of the arch­i­pel­ago is locat­ed a few kilo­me­ters from Nuku’alo­fa. It was she who was vis­it­ed by the Eng­lish nav­i­ga­tor James Cook, trav­el­ing through Poly­ne­sia — this is evi­denced by a com­mem­o­ra­tive plaque on the ocean shore.

Today it is an archae­o­log­i­cal site. With­in the city there are 28 roy­al stone graves made of huge lime­stone blocks. They resem­ble the bases of the Egypt­ian pyra­mids, as they are made of slabs of var­i­ous sizes with steps carved around the entire perime­ter.

Botanical Garden

bot sad

Neia­fu is the cen­tral har­bor of the Vavau arch­i­pel­ago and the sec­ond largest city in Ton­ga. There is a beau­ti­ful botan­i­cal gar­den here, found­ed 40 years ago. It presents dif­fer­ent types of plants, many of which are on the verge of extinc­tion. Tourists inspect ferns, banana palms, lan­thanum, ever­green shrubs, flower beds with orchids.

Paths are laid in the park, bench­es are installed, a good restau­rant is open. Guests can vis­it the attrac­tion with a guide or on their own by rent­ing a bicy­cle in the park for con­ve­nience.

Royal tombs

royal graves

In Nuku’alo­fa on Ton­gat­a­pu, one of the cen­tral attrac­tions of the cap­i­tal is locat­ed — the Roy­al Tombs. This is the place where all mem­bers of the rul­ing fam­i­ly rest. A wide path pass­es through the ceme­tery, mak­ing it pos­si­ble to have a good look at the mau­soleums, white stone mon­u­ments, sculp­tures of myth­i­cal ani­mals. A vis­it to the Roy­al Tombs is includ­ed in a two-hour walk­ing tour of the city.

Aatafu beach

pliag aatafu

In the west­ern part of Ton­gat­a­pu, it is easy to find the sandy beach of Aata­fu, framed by reefs. The wide lagoon is great for snor­kel­ing and the reef edge is per­fect for surf­ing. In the evenings, huge hump­back whales come from the depths of the Pacif­ic Ocean and begin to splash in the rays of the set­ting sun.

The beach is con­sid­ered the best on the island. In the shade of coconut trees, how many eater­ies work. Vaca­tion­ers can rent sun loungers, a boat and scu­ba gear.

Talamahu Market

rinok talamahu

An impor­tant attrac­tion of Nuku’alofe is the Talamahu mar­ket in the city cen­ter. Cov­ered malls are filled with exot­ic fruits and veg­eta­bles. Piles of bananas, man­goes, coconuts are stacked in bas­kets or direct­ly on trays.

In addi­tion to prod­ucts, orig­i­nal sou­venirs are sold here. As a mem­o­ry of the trip, peo­ple are hap­py to buy earth­en­ware jugs, hand­made woven rugs, wood­en fig­urines, coral jew­el­ry, beau­ti­ful shells.


Haamonga a Maui

hammonga a maui

In the north of Ton­gat­a­pu ris­es a large stone arch. The mega­lith­ic struc­ture was built from three coral slabs. Each stone is 6 meters long and weighs up to 20 tons. The blocks are pol­ished by unknown crafts­men and care­ful­ly fit­ted to each oth­er.

The exact pur­pose and time of cre­ation of the Ton­ga Gate is unknown. Sci­en­tists sug­gest that the arch was erect­ed in the 13th cen­tu­ry and sym­bol­izes the uni­ty of the rul­ing fam­i­ly. Some believe that the stones were used to deter­mine the time of the sum­mer and win­ter sol­stice (notch­es on the hor­i­zon­tal plate cor­re­spond to the posi­tions of the sun).

Royal Palace

royal palace

The cap­i­tal is home to the Roy­al Palace, the wood­en res­i­dence of the head of state, built in 1867. This is a two-sto­ry colo­nial-style house, dec­o­rat­ed with a quad­ran­gu­lar tow­er with an orig­i­nal dome. Inside the audi­ence room, throne room, monar­ch’s office. In the left wing are the pri­vate apart­ments of the roy­al fam­i­ly, in the right wing there is an archive and a meet­ing room.

The Roy­al Palace is sur­round­ed by a high met­al fence. Trees have been plant­ed in the yard and flower beds have been laid out. In front of the entrance to the palace is a lawn on which stands a bronze sculp­ture of the first king.

Free Wesleyan Church

svobodna vslianska cerkov

The Wes­leyan Church was found­ed by Lon­don mis­sion­ar­ies about two hun­dred years ago. This is the largest tem­ple in the king­dom. Hun­dreds of believ­ers vis­it it dai­ly. The Free Wes­leyan Church is engaged in the edu­ca­tion of the pop­u­la­tion — it man­ages 30% of the schools in Ton­ga.

The tem­ple was repeat­ed­ly rebuilt and changed its appear­ance. Now it is a mod­ern build­ing, lined with white plas­ter. On the side ris­es an ele­gant chapel, on top of which there is a bal­cony with thin columns. A huge cross is engraved on the cen­tral wall.

natural attractions



The coral arch­i­pel­ago of Ha’a­pai attracts trav­el­ers with clean, seclud­ed beach­es lined with pic­turesque bun­ga­lows. It is locat­ed in the cen­tral part of Ton­ga and includes 51 islands. The cap­i­tal of Haa­pai is the vil­lage of Pan­gai on Lifuk. There is a big mar­ket, shops, a bank, a catholic church, cafes.

Tourists go to swim, watch hump­back whales in the coastal zone, explore dor­mant vol­ca­noes. From any­where in the arch­i­pel­ago, you can get here by yacht. And on Lifuk, an air­port is open that receives flights from the cap­i­tal of the king­dom.



Pan­gaimo­tu in Ton­ga­papu is a beau­ti­ful atoll washed by the waters of the Pacif­ic Ocean. Its area is about 9 km², and the ter­ri­to­ry is inhab­it­ed. Accord­ing to the cen­sus, 835 peo­ple live here. Locals are engaged in pearl min­ing, fish­ing, vanil­la cul­ti­va­tion and serv­ing for­eign­ers.

Pan­gaimo­tu is a famous tourist attrac­tion. There are all con­di­tions for scu­ba div­ing, under­wa­ter fish­ing and sail­ing, as well as for watch­ing dol­phins, tur­tles, whales, coral fish.

Anahulu Cave

peshera anahulu

In Ton­gat­a­pu, 5 min­utes from the beach, there is a net­work of lime­stone caves cov­ered with sta­lag­mites and sta­lac­tites. The largest of them — Anahu­lu — has a length of 400 meters. Not far from the entrance, a nat­ur­al pool has formed with clean clear water suit­able for swim­ming and div­ing. The cave is lit by gen­er­a­tors, but to get a bet­ter view of its nat­ur­al beau­ty, it is bet­ter to take a water­proof lantern.

Eua National Park

nac park eua

Eua stands out among oth­er islands with its moun­tain­ous ter­rain and lush veg­e­ta­tion. The height of the pic­turesque hills reach­es 383 meters. The rain­for­est is part of the Eua Nation­al Park and is pro­tect­ed.

Coconuts, palm trees, tree ferns, gua­va, dif­fer­ent vari­eties of orchids grow here. The fau­na is rep­re­sent­ed by fly­ing fox­es with a wingspan of about one meter, col­or­ful par­rots, herons, ducks. The coastal zone is home to count­less col­or­ful fish and shell­fish. The beach­es are cov­ered with coral and vol­canic sand.



To the north of Vavau lie the vol­canic islands of Niuas, which include Niuafoou, Niu­atop­uta­pu and Tafahi. Over the pre­vi­ous 100 years, there have been sev­er­al strong vol­canic erup­tions. The last one hap­pened in 1946 on Niuafoou, because of which the local pop­u­la­tion was evac­u­at­ed for 10 years.

The islands are round­ed. Lakes with clear water formed in the craters of dor­mant vol­ca­noes, and the hills them­selves were cov­ered with dense for­est. The beach­es are strewn with white sand and lined with coconut palms.


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