Fiji Travel Information
Local time is GMT +12.
Electrical current is 240 volts, 50Hz. Plugs have three oblique flat pins (Plug type I).
The official languages are English, Fijian and Fijian Hindi, with English as the lingua franca for official affairs and business in the main cities.
Tipping is not encouraged in Fiji but small tips are appreciated for good service. Some resorts operate a staff Christmas fund where tips are shared, instead of tipping staff daily.
Fiji has had four coups in 20 years and visitors should avoid public demonstrations, political rallies and large gatherings of people. It is a good idea to stay aware of the political situation in Fiji and to avoid all political gatherings and protests, but the country is a very popular holiday destination in the Pacific and most visits are trouble-free.
There is a high crime rate due to the uncertain political situation, poor economic climate and unemployment rates. As in most places in the world, it is unwise to carry large amounts of cash or wear expensive clothes or jewellery when travelling. Pickpockets are active at bus stations and taxi ranks, and women on their own should be cautious. There has been an increase in the number of violent robberies, which have occurred against foreigners, particularly at night and in urban areas.
Take care when swimming because rip tides along the reefs and river estuaries, sharks and other dangerous wildlife may cause severe harm. Be careful on the roads, as reckless driving is common and animals pose a hazard as well, particularly after dark.
Finally, cyclone season is usually from November to April, so be sure to be up to date with weather warnings at this time of year and it may be best to avoid this season unless going for a specific activity or event.
Visitors to Fiji should be careful not to offend local sensitivities. Wearing bikinis and swimming costumes is acceptable at the resorts, but not when visiting villages or shopping in town. Modesty is a value of the island's cultures, so a sulu (a sarong that can be worn by men and women) is useful as a wrap-around in order to avoid offending locals when wearing shorts or sleeveless tops away from hotels or resorts. Topless bathing and nudity in public is forbidden.
A popular excursion for visitors to Fiji is a visit to one of the traditional villages. Guests in villages should show respect and avoid wearing hats, as they are a sign of disrespect, and remove shoes before entering a house. When visiting a village it is customary to present a gift of kava (the national drink). Avoid overly praising an object, as Fijians will feel obliged to give it as a gift. Pointing is considered rude and touching of another's head is a local taboo, often receiving some shocked stares from the locals.
Fijians are usually either Christian or Hindu and typically conservative. Don't be surprised to find businesses closed on a Sunday. Homosexual acts conducted in private between consenting adults were legalised in 2010. However, radical shifts in leadership may change the status of LGBT rights in the country.
Business is relatively casual in Fiji. Only for very formal meetings would suits need to be worn, otherwise a fairly casual, but neat approach to dress is taken. Fijians prefer using first names as opposed to titles. Patience is necessary as meetings rarely start at scheduled times, but as Western business influence has increased in Fiji this is not always the case anymore. Business hours are generally from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. Kava (the national drink) may be presented as a customary offering and alcohol is often consumed at business gatherings.
The international country dialling code for Fiji is +679. The outgoing code is 00(or 05) followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the UK). There are no area codes and all numbers are seven digits. Most hotels have direct dialling facilities. Vodaphone Fiji Ltd has active GSM roaming agreements with most international networks. There are a number of internet cafes, often attached to hotels, and connection speeds vary depending on location and data availability.
Travellers to Fiji over 18 years do not have to pay duty on 250g of cigars or 250 cigarettes or a combination of tobacco products not exceeding 250g. Travellers cannot exceed 2.25 litres of spirits, or 4.5 litres of wine or beer, nor any combination exceeding the prescribed limit for any one of these categories. Visitors may bring other permissible items, so long as these items do not exceed the value of FJD 400 per person.
Bringing firearms and ammunition requires official police permission, as well as meat and dairy products from selected countries. Travellers who have been on a pilgrimage and return to Fiji with Holy Water may have to hand in their Holy Water for up to 21 days in order for it to be certified by health and safety authorities, before it can be returned.