A local bus station opposite the Tonga Visitors Bureau has city buses to Halaleva, Ma'ufanga, Va'epopua, and Vaiola. The Halalevu bus goes south to Fanga'uta Lagoon, then east to Queen Salote Wharf. The Va'epopua bus travels east to Queen Salote Wharf and the Friendly Islander Hotel. The Vaiola bus goes south to the hospital.
Opposite the Ministry Block farther west on the waterfront is another station with long-distance buses marked Fahefa or Ha'akame to the Houma blowholes, marked Hihifo or Masilamea to the Kolovai flying foxes and Ha'atafu Beach, marked Veitongo, Folaha, Vaini, or Atele to the golf course, marked Pakimoe To'i, Malapo, Lapaha, or Mu'a to the Lapaha archaeological area, and marked Niutoua to the Ha'amonga trilithon. Fares are reasonable and visitors often use these buses.
The local bus to the airport from opposite the Ministry Block might be labeled Halaliku or Fua'amotu. It's unusual for a tourist to take one of these buses to the airport, as the entire tourism establishment assumes you'll want to use a special airport bus or a taxi.
The bus stations are rather chaotic but people are generally helpful. The bus service starts very early around 0600 but the last bus back to Nuku'alofa from Kolovai and Ha'amonga is at 1500. The buses stop running just before 1700 and don't run at all on Sunday. You pay as you get off. They're inexpensive and a great way to observe Tongan life.
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