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Wordtravels

Fiji Travel Information

The Basics

Time

Local time is GMT +12.

Electricity

Electrical current is 240 volts, 50Hz. Plugs have three oblique flat pins (Plug type I).

Language

The official languages are English, Fijian and Fijian Hindi, with English as the lingua franca for official affairs and business in the main cities.

Travel Health

No vaccination certificates are required for entry to Fiji, except for proof of yellow fever vaccination if travellers are arriving from a country with a risk of yellow fever or have transited for longer than 12 hours through an airport in a country where yellow fever occurs. Although they are not required, vaccinations for hepatitis A and hepatitis B may be recommended by a doctor for travel to Fiji.

Visitors should practice strict food, water and personal hygiene precautions to prevent typhoid as well as other diarrhoeal diseases. A typhoid vaccine is recommended, except short-term visitors who dine only at major restaurants and hotels, such as cruise passengers. Visitors should drink only bottled water or boil water before drinking if none is available.

The mosquito-borne disease, dengue fever, is a serious risk between November and April. Preventive measures include wearing long-sleeved clothes and using insect repellent at all times. The medical facilities in Fiji are adequate for uncomplicated treatment, but travel insurance with provision for medical evacuation to Australia or New Zealand is advised.

Tipping

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.

Safety Information

There isn't much serious crime in Fiji but petty theft is fairly common. Visitors should be careful with personal possessions and travel documents in cities and other popular tourist destinations. Pickpockets are active at bus stations and taxi ranks, and women on their own should be cautious.

Though the security situation is stable, Fiji has seen periods of political instability in the past, and visitors should avoid public demonstrations, political rallies and large gatherings of people. They should remain aware of the political situation when visiting.

Visitors should also take care when swimming, as there are rip tides and dangerous wildlife such as sharks along the reefs and river estuaries. Roads can be poorly lit and maintained, so visitors should avoid road travel outside urban areas at night.

Local Customs

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). Visitors should 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. Travellers should be surprised to find businesses closed on a Sunday. Homosexual acts conducted in private between consenting adults were legalised in 2010, but LGBT visitors should be aware of local sensitivities, particularly in rural communities.

Business

A fairly casual but neat approach to dress is generally appropriate and Fijians prefer using first names as opposed to titles. Patience is necessary as meetings rarely start at scheduled times, though 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.

Communications

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). WiFi is increasingly widespread in Nadi and Suva, though hotels may not offer it as standard and will often charge a fee to get online. WiFi is likely to be more expensive or restricted on island resorts.

Duty Free

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, or 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 1000 per person. Firearms and ammunition require official police permission.

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