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Nuku'faloa dilemma

by ivelramit Online Now Sep 2, 2011 at 2:57 AM

Hi all,

After a week in Ha'apai, we have a 1-day layover in Nuku'alofa before catching an early morning flight to New Zealand. The flight is at 5.50am which means that theoretically we are supposed to be at the airport by 3.50am.

The current plan is to get a hotel room, spend the day in town, wake up early and head out to the airport. But I'm wondering if it even makes sense to pay for a room under these circumstances. We could probably just catch a late night taxi to the airport straight form downtown, and wait for our flight there...

I have never been to Tonga, so I don't know what to expect. Do we really have to be at the airport 2 hours in advance for our flight? Honestly, I'd be surprised if this rule was enforced in Tonga! Is it a relatively short drive between Nuku'alofa and the airport? How late do restaurants and bars stay open on a Friday night?

I'm still leaning toward getting a hotel room because it would be convenient to leave our bags somewhere and get some rest. However, if we have to wake up at 2.30am to catch the flight, I'm not sure it's worth it. Any advice?

And an unrelated question: should I purchase Pa'Anga before I get to Tonga, or just take NZ dollars as cash? I seem to have read somewhere that they often accept NZD and AUD as payment - is that really true? If so maybe there's no need to exchange money?

Thanks!

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6 Answers
  • Odinnthor's Profile Photo

    Re: Nuku'faloa dilemma

    by Odinnthor Online Now Sep 2, 2011 at 7:18 PM

    I thought I might have something to add, but the above has it pretty well covered. Toni's place as basic but adequate, and the good thing is, they will wake you and get you to the airport.

    So, I simply agree with the above. Well covered.

    (International Date Line Hotel, has the Date Line go through the middle of the hotel, and while it is Sunday in one end, - it's Monday in the other......)

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  • Kakapo2's Profile Photo

    Re: Nuku'faloa dilemma

    by Kakapo2 Online Now Sep 2, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    I do not think just because they grow bananans in Tonga you should expect banana republic lenience at the airport - particularly not if you fly with international airlines like Air New Zealand or Pacific Blue.

    If your flight was at 2.30am I would surely say you should hang out in Nuku'alofa or at the airport.

    On the other hand, Friday is the big night in Nuku'alofa as on Saturday everything closes at midnight. You might know that nearly every normal activity but going to church and praying is not allowed on Sundays.

    So if you are strong and fit enough, just party until it's time to go to the airport.

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  • Odinnthor's Profile Photo

    Re: Nuku'faloa dilemma

    by Odinnthor Online Now Sep 2, 2011 at 10:58 PM

    Ah, I remember you now from prior forum. (My first time in Tonga was 1968.....d:o)

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  • Kakapo2's Profile Photo

    Re: Nuku'faloa dilemma

    by Kakapo2 Online Now Sep 3, 2011 at 12:50 AM

    Eric, did you travel to Tonga as a baby already? ;-)))

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  • Odinnthor's Profile Photo

    Re: Nuku'faloa dilemma

    by Odinnthor Online Now Sep 3, 2011 at 1:50 AM

    Heh heh, 'been around a while Sissi......d:o)

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  • Re: Nuku'faloa dilemma

    by ivelramit Online Now Sep 4, 2011 at 3:02 PM

    Thanks for all the responses so far!

    The Friendly Islander (Papiloa's) has a cheap room for Friday night that I could book. On the other hand, we're young and fit, so staying up would definitely be an option if Friday night is the big night!

    If you were to do an overnight transfer without getting a hotel, what would you do with your suitcases? Is there a safe place in town or at the airport to leave them at? Or shall I just ask one of the hotels how much they'd ask for to hold on to them? Thanks!

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