Voyage to the Kingdom of Tonga (September 2004)

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November 29th 2010
Published: November 29th 2010
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Small island in TongaSmall island in TongaSmall island in Tonga

Small island in Tonga
For a group of islands in the South Pacific, Tonga is not as popular as Hawaii, nor as spectacular as Tahiti or Fiji. But if you want to experience authentic Polynesian culture, there is nothing like Tonga. It's a unique place that is not easy to get to or even find on a map.

In 2004, I went to Tonga to swim with humpback whales. (I already posted about whale swimming, so I'll just focus on describing Tonga.) Tonga is a collection of more than 175 islands, most of them small. To get to Tonga from the U.S., I flew from San Francisco -->Hawaii-->Samoa-->to the main island on Tonga. Still, it took another flight and a boat ride to get to tiny Mounu island, where I stayed. Less than 5 people live on that island.

Tonga seemed so different from anywhere else. I noticed that the natives I talked to used solar power and did not have refrigerators. They tended to be heavy, in part because they ate huge meals consisting of fruit, fish, and other items. When people get sick, they had to take a boat to get to the hospital. They also had to take a boat to school. On top of this, hurricanes and cyclones can wreak havoc and destroy the small homes. But everyone seemed happy and carefree.

Coming back from Tonga, I caught a glimpse of many of the islands from the airplane window

The Kingdom of Tonga...a one of a kind place in the South Pacific Ocean!

Enjoy your travels,


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