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There is absolutely nothing going on in Tonga on a Sunday, and from what I saw, not much on any other days either. Unfortunately, I didn’t read the Lonely Planet introduction before my arrival: “Forget any notions of ‘fancy’ tourist service; everything here is authentic and subservient to religion. There’s nothing flash, no ‘Western comforts’, and everything can wait until tomorrow.” Of course, none of this would have bothered me if, for example, 1:) I could get something to eat on a Sunday (it was no thanks to Tonga that in the end, I didn’t go hungry) and 2:) if they could find some better way than writing an email to me on Saturday evening, in this country without internet, to tell me that my Monday morning flight had been rescheduled from 10 am to 6 am. 3:) If my ‘dear, sweet, beloved’ the telephone hadn’t chosen this precise country to one again play up on me (I don’t think Filipino LCD screens are the best quality, so now my new LCD screen was dying, just like the last one). Anyhow, I got the message at last and headed out to the airport at dawn on Monday morning. It was still dark, and the road to the airport wasn’t even illuminated. Confidence-inspiring. When I got there the airport still wasn’t open, though check-in should theoretically have started. Our flight, when we, at last, took off, held a grand total of five passengers, plus one stewardess and the two pilots. I was glad they switched the landing lights on because the runway can’t have been more than one kilometer long, right at the edge of the island. (2018)”

Practicals

Transport

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Tonga - oldie car - Elter photo

Accomodation

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Polynesia - Tonga - Nuku'alofa - Loumaile Lodge - Elter photo

Shopping

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Oceania - Polynesia - Tonga - souvenirs - Elter photo

Background

Destination in brief

Size: 747 km² (288.4 mi²)

Population (in 2020): 106,000

Capital city: Nuku'alofa

Official language: Tongan and English

Religions: 99% Christians (65% Protestant) 

Political system: hereditary constitutional monarchy - Tupou VI is the current king (2020)

Currency: Tongan paʻanga (TOP)

Average net monthly salary (in 2020): 770 USD

Most common surname: Latu

Geography

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Polynesia - Tonga - rocks - Elter photo

History

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Polynesia - South Pacific - Tonga - Ha'amonga 'a Maui Trilithon - ,,Stonehenge of the Pacific" - Elter photo

Tonga - Nuku'alofa - Mala'ekula (Tongan Royal Tombs) - Elter photo

Tonga - a memorial of the landing of Captain James Cook in 1777 - Elter photo

Polynesia - Tonga - deceased king Taufa'ahau Tupou IV. (1918-2006) - Elter photo

Nowadays

 According to an international survey, Tonga is one of the most corrupt countries in the world (2019).

Polynesia - Tonga - ships - Elter photo

People

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Polynesia - Tonga - lady - Elter photo

Polynesia - Tonga - head dress - Elter photo

Polynesia - Tonga - schoolgirls in church - Elter photo

Tonga - Bible reading in a Methodist church - y.m. photo

Attractions

Nuku'alofa

Oceania - Tonga - Nuku'alofa - wooden Royal Palace built in 1867 - Elter photo

Tonga - Nuku'alofa - Free Church (yes, that is its name), damaged by Cyclone Gita (2018) - The church is for followers (including the king) of the Free Church, a religious denomination of Methodist extraction - Viktor Ohotin's photo

Tonga - Nuku'alofa - Royal Tombs (fenced off) - Viktor Ohotin's photo

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