The Kingdom of Tonga

The Kingdom of Tonga

The Kingdom of #Tonga is a wonderful archipelago of 176 islands in the South Pacific that is surrounded by untouched beauty and picturesque views. Tongans' have a wonderful simple lifestyle and strong traditional #culture. For #relaxation and a calm way of life, these are the islands that offer it all.


Ever since I took an anthropology class at university, and read about Tonga, I had been longing to go there.

The Island of Tonga 
The Island of Tonga 

The fact that the bigger you are in Tonga, the more prestige you have, shocked me. There was also something about cultural sexual norms hundreds of years ago that included encouraging teenagers to experiment with both sexes. Interesting. And many many years ago - cannibalism.

from  $70

Hotel Keleti International Beach Resort

 Tonga

I read that the people were family-oriented, gentle and super friendly, not to mention the intrigue of pristine, uncrowded and peaceful Polynesian islands. I wanted to go there for a long time, and it did not disappoint us. Tonga is still beautifully untouched and largely undiscovered.

Tonga is still beautifully untouched and largely undiscovered
Views along the coastline. Untouched nature. 
Views along the coastline. Untouched nature. 

Tonga is the last Kingdom in the South Pacific. That is, it is the only South Pacific island to avoid colonization, a fact that is the source of much pride among Tongans. The present King, George Tupou V, though more democratic than previous kings, follows the traditional structure of commoners, nobility, and above all royalty, with the royal title passed down from father to eldest son.

royal title passed down from father to eldest son
The Tongan Tradition 
The Tongan Tradition 

The Kingdom of Tonga (I love the grand sound of that) is an archipelago of 176 Polynesian islands, 52 of which are uninhabited. The unspoiled beauty of island after island surrounded by crystal clear turquoise waters is simply jaw-dropping.

surrounded by crystal clear turquoise waters is simply jaw-dropping
The view from the aeroplane 
The view from the aeroplane 

The people are a little shy but with easy natural smiles, and have a genuine warmth inconversing. These girls were just sitting in the ocean water picking and eating clams.

Fresh clams....fresh way of life
Fresh clams....fresh way of life

Family is the central unit of Tongan life, and core values include mutual respect (Fefaka’apa’apa’aki), sharing, cooperating and mutual obligations (Feveitokai’aki), humility and generosity (Lototoo), and loyalty and commitment (Tauhi vaha’a). Village life remains much the same as it always has been.

Family is the central unit of Tongan life
Kids playing in the village
Kids playing in the village

The traditional dress (woven waist mats), the most respectful form of dress in the Kingdom, are still commonly worn.

The traditional dress 
The traditional dress 

Many men wear wrap skirts in their daily lives because skirts are much cooler than pants in the warm sun.

Keeping cool from the summer heat 
Keeping cool from the summer heat 

Tongan Man 
Tongan Man 

Fish and vegetables are still cooked in earth ovens called Umus, and the ceremonial tradition of Kava drinking continues to be a very real part of Tongan life.

Fish and vegetables are still cooked in earth ovens called Umus
Invitation To A Kava Ceremony 
Invitation To A Kava Ceremony 

Tongan men drinking somewhat intoxicating and traditional Kava in daily Kava Ceremony. No longer true now, Tongans once revered fat people. The larger you were, the more prestige you had. They are still very large people. In fact T, who is considered a bigger man at home, with broad shoulders and muscular thighs, looked small beside most Tongan men!

The build of a Tongan Man
The build of a Tongan Man

Genuine, authentic and unspoiled, Tonga is one of the last South Pacific Islands that has remained virtually the same for the last 1000 years. Oh, it has cell phones and internet now, and they are no longer cannibals, but the culture and people and traditions remain the same.

We never did find out about some things, like the truth of being bigger in Tonga equating to more prestige, or anything about the cultural sexual norms hundreds of years ago that included encouraging teenagers to experiment with both sexes. And Tongans openly laugh about cannibalism, sometime with a teasing wink.

The Kingdom of Tonga. Peace. Beauty. Tranquility. And Humour. 

On the main island, Tongatapu, we stayed at the Keleti Beach Resort, reasonably priced, with tiny little cottages just back from the ocean, a restaurant and wonderful staff that we will always remember.

We flew from London, Canada to Los Angeles on Westjet, and from Los Angeles to Fiji, then Tonga, on Air Pacific.

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