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Tonga Travel Guide

Nomuka, Haapai Group
early 19th century view of Nomuka, Ha'apai



All of the low budget guesthouses in Pangai village allow guests to cook their own food, but a small additional charge for cooking gas is levied to use the communal kitchen. Of course, they'd rather do the cooking for you but you must order in advance. Their food is good and the portions are gargantuan (as you'd expect in Tonga). If you really do want to cook for yourself, check out the kitchen as soon as you arrive and ask about extra charges for gas and electricity if you use it. Expect to have to share the facilities with the managers, who will be cooking for other guests.

Fifita's Guest House, near the center of the village, offers seven comfortable rooms with shared bath in a two-story building and one with private bath, breakfast included. You can cook your own food and the popular Mariner's Café is downstairs. Bicycle rentals and boat trips to Uoleva Island can be arranged.

Evaloni Guest House in Pangai has three downstairs rooms with shared bath and two upstairs rooms with bath, fan, fridge, and coffee making facilities. Meals are available. Otherwise, you can pay a rather high daily fee to use the cooking facilities and a small grocery store is attached. They're seldom full.

The least expensive place to stay here is friendly, nine-room Fonongava'inga Guest House nearby. It has five small rooms in the main building and four larger rooms in the annex. The bathroom facilities are communal in all cases. You can cook your own food in the owners' house next door for a small fee, or order excellent meals. The atmosphere here is pleasant, with a large living room and front porch available to travelers. Your host Langilangi is very kind and helpful. Airport transfers are arranged.

In the southern section of Pangai is 12-room Lindsay Guest House with shared-bath rooms, private-bath rooms, and family rooms. Breakfast is included and other meals are served. You can also cook and a small grocery store and bakery are on the premises. Bicycles are for rent.

North of Town

Billy's Place is also known as Evaloni Beach Fales. Unlike the places in Pangai, which are serenaded all night by barking dogs and rocked by legions of church bells at the crack of dawn, Billy's is in a coconut plantation on a long, unswimmable beach, 1.5 km north of town. It's on the breezy ocean side of the island, across narrow Lifuka from a point north of Pangai. Watch for flying foxes headed north in the morning, south in the evening.

Billy's four rustic fales with lockable doors cost a bit more than the guest houses in Pangai but breakfast, bicycle, and snorkeling gear are included (minimum stay two nights). Children under 12 are not accepted. Guests and nonguests alike can order surprisingly good burritos, fish, pizza, and pasta to be consumed on their pleasant patio (lunch is no problem, but order dinner in advance). Airport transfers are free.

The Mele Tonga Guest House is on a reasonable beach at Holopeka about 500 meters south of the airstrip. There are eight basic rooms in the main house and an adjacent fale. Breakfast is included and a communal kitchen is in a separate building. It's a bit rundown and should not be your first choice.

Continue to   Lifuka & Vicinity: Practicalities   »