1. Welcome, lone traveler from Ashburn!
Tonga is a small kingdom in the South Pacific Ocean. It is made up of over 170 islands, but most of these are not inhabited. The word Tonga means south in the Polynesian language since it is the southern-most group of islands in central Polynesia, an area known for its beautiful beaches and sea.
Tourism is not as developed in the Kingdom of Tonga as in many other nearby places, like the Samoa islands for example. This can make your visit to the South Pacific even more of a unique experience, getting a better taste of the Tonga way of life. Of course, there are resorts and hotels, good ones, it is just that the whole infrastructure around resort life is not as intense as in other island groups.
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One of the main attractions of Tonga is the whale watching. From June to November, the humpback whales come here to give birth. Whale watching can be done at very close range, thanks to the shallow waters around the Kingdom of Tonga. Watch the enormous whales from the boat, or get into the water with them. It is possible to snorkel on the surface, just above a whale and her calf. At times the singing of a courting humpback male whale can be heard, the sound carries very far in the waters. Whale watching is an experience you will never forget, in fact many people return year after year.
Tonga has a beautiful coral reef, which is teeming with fish and other sea creatures. Snorkeling is a pleasure, and diving a dream come true. Since the waters are so clear, it is possible to see a long distance. Turtles, mantas, whale sharks and a lot of other fish, the world under the sea is very complex and diverse here. You can spend many days diving here without even getting close to being bored, there is always something new and exciting to see.
The people of Tonga are nice and friendly, although not known to be as outgoing as in some other Polynesian countries. The pace of life is very slow, and a lot of the traditional customs are being kept. This does not mean the country is not modern, they are mixing old and new in a fascinating way. Many people still wear traditional clothes, and live life the way they have done for centuries. The local handicraft is beautiful, including bonecarvings, weaving and woodcarvings. Everywhere there are little markets where the good are sold, and it is also easy to have a look at how they are made.
Fishing, birdwatching, surfing- if you like any of these activities, then Tonga is the place for you. Since tourism in Tonga is not too developed yet, there are plenty of opportunities for off-the-beaten-track experiences. In fact, there are some tour operators who specialize in this, making sure you will have a thrilling trip. Want to try jet kayaks, karts, and kite boards? All in the setting of the beautiful Tonga waters.
With its fantastic sea and wonderful nature, in combination with activities and culture, the Kingdom of Tonga is a perfect place for a relaxing vacation. Whether you wish to stay in a simple guest house, or stay in an air-conditioned hotel, there is something for everybody here. For sure you will enjoy your stay in this paradise Kingdom.