Travel to Fiji – Episode 445

categories: pacific travel

Hear about travel to Fiji as the Amateur Traveler talks to David Brodie from Travel in 10 about his trip to this Island Paradise.


David says “of all the places I have been around the world, Fiji is one of the ones that really drew me back. On one of my first big international trips, I stopped over there on a flight to Australia. I spent 3-4 hours in the airport. I got to see what an amazing looking place it was but did not get to experience any of it. Years later I was on around the world cruise where we sailed through Fiji so again I got to see it in the distance but again not experience it. This was my 40th birthday, I wanted to take a big trip somewhere around the world. If I could have gone anywhere Fiji was the place.”

David and his family flew into Nadi and spent some time at the beautiful resorts in Port Denarau. “The one thing I would say about Port Denarau is that it is a great place after you have taken a long flight to spend a couple of days and acclimatize yourself before going out and exploring the rest of Fiji but it is certainly not the place where you would want to spend your entire trip. You really don’t get to experience much of the real Fiji there.”

From Port Denarau, they rented a car and driver which was cheaper than renting a car. “We went up to an amazing place called the Nausori highlands in the interior of the main island just a little bit north of Nadi. You get up there and it is very remote villages, still the majority of people there living a subsistence lifestyle in very traditional thatch housing. We had an opportunity to visit one of those traditional villages, drink cava which is one of the traditional drinks there, experience some of the local food, visit one of the local schools. We went to this amazing waterfall, crystal clear warm water that you could swim through.”

Of the more than 300 islands in the Fiji Archipelago, David and his family got to see about 20 of them during a two-week stay. “We did a boat trip which took us through a series of islands, the Mamanuca Islands, the Yasawa Islands, which are absolutely spectacular. When you think of a South Pacific paradise this is exactly what you imagine: crystal clear waters and white sand beaches, just amazing culture, and incredibly friendly people.”

Their cruise was a 7-day cruise with Captain Cook Cruises, a small format cruise ship with 150 passengers. “If there was a highlight of the trip that cruise experience was it. It is almost as though the further you get away from Port Denarau the more you get to see of the real culture of Fiji and the more of that picture postcard-type beaches and islands that you had imagined as well as you get off in these remote locations. Really interesting cultural experiences along the way.”

Whether you are cruising the islands in a liveaboard dive boat or finding your own corner of tropical paradise, listen to this episode to see if Fiji should be in your travel plans.

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Show Notes

Travel in 10
Fiji Travel
Nadi, Fiji
Port Denarau
Nausori Highland Tour
Sabeto Hot Springs and Mud Pool
Malolo Island
Captain Cook Cruises
Mamanuca Islands
Yasawa Islands
Waya Island (YouTube video)
Yasawa Flyer Ferry
Yasawa Island Resort
Sawa-I-Lau Caves


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I also spent 4 days in Nagano Prefecture during my time in Japan, and I would wholeheartedly recommend it as a destination. I think it is often overlooked as a side trip from Tokyo (most people seem to go to Kyoto or Osaka), but it is such a beautiful and special place. The incredible mountains, onsens, delicious food, and kind people made it an unforgettable visit. I even visited a 100 year old Wasabi farm! If one of your travel peers ever happens to pitch it as a future episode – I say go for it πŸ™‚



Chris: Amateur Traveler Episode 445. Today the Amateur Traveler talks about crystal blue waters, white sandy beaches and a warm and inviting culture as we go to Fiji.


Chris: This episode of Amateur Traveler is sponsored by which is a leading travel community filled with experienced travelers who can answer your travel questions. Great answers, great people. Check out next time you plan a trip. This episode is also sponsored by DK Eyewitness travel guides, these beautiful and informative guide books are my guide book of choice. Learn more about DK Eyewitness travel guides at

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Welcome to the Amateur Traveler I’m your host Chris Christensen. We’ll hear more from our two sponsors later on in the show but first, let’s hear about Fiji.


I’d like to welcome back to the show David Brodie, from Travel in 10 who has come to talk to us about Fiji. David welcome back to the show.

David: Thanks very much.

Chris: And I say welcome back we were looking to see the last time David was on the show. David has been on the show once. It was episode 127 which was about Cambodia, so that had to be something like six and a half years ago.

David: But we ran into each other a few times since then.

Chris: We have in fact, David and I presented together at the TBEX Conference in Cancun Mexico recently. You did a recent trip to Fiji and I wanted to get you on the show to talk about that because Fiji is not one of the destinations we’ve talked about strangely enough, but why should someone go to Fiji?

David:’s interesting. Of all the places I have been around the world, Fiji is one of the ones that really drew me back. I had a chance to…on one of my first big international trips, I stopped over there on a flight to Australia, sort of spent three or four hours in the airport. I got to see what an amazing looking place it was but did not get to experience any of it. Years later I was on a round the world cruise where we sailed through Fiji so again I got to see it in the distance but not experience it. This was my 40th birthday, I wanted to take a big trip somewhere around the world. If I could have gone anywhere Fiji was the place, so that’s where we decided to take off to.

Chris: The second time you were there you were on a round the world cruise, how long did that take?

David: It was a three-month trip through the Japanese government, an exchange program where they took a whole bunch of youth from around the world to travel to different countries around the world.

Chris: Wow, and you were there not as a youth I assume, but in your role as a travel PR representative?

David: No. This was back many years ago. I was one of the participating youth when I first went on the cruise, yes, for sure.

Chris: Excellent. So it had been some time since you had been to Fiji?

David: Absolutely, Yes.

Chris: What were the highlights for you? What would you recommend for an itinerary of seeing Fiji? We should say I think you probably put it in context there that we’re talking about an island in the Pacific on the way to Australia.

David: We’re talking actually about 300 islands in the Pacific on the way to Australia.

Chris: Is it that many? Okay.

David: It is. A massive group of islands and of the 300, we probably saw about 20 of them during our two-week stay, so I’ll probably get to see a better chunk of it, than a lot of guests do. We did a boat trip that took us through sort of series of islands the Mamanuca Islands, the Yasawa Islands, which are absolutely spectacular. When you think of a south pacific paradise, this is exactly what you imagine, crystal clear waters, white-sand beaches, and just amazing culture and incredibly friendly people.

Chris: Cool. So you flew in to the capital of I will assume?

David: We did into Nadi which is the main International Airport. It’s not the political capital but it is certainly the main transit point that most people fly into and from there sort of the standard itinerary, most people end up staying there for a few days a place called Port Denarau. Port Denarau is a sort of enclave of probably eight or nine international hotel brands that have huge resorts there and golf courses and things all set up on the beaches down there, beautiful resorts, but the one thing I would say about Port Denarau is that it’s a great place after you’ve taken a long flight to spend a couple of days and sort of acclimatize yourself before going out and exploring the rest of Fiji, but it’s certainly not the place where you would want to spend your entire trip. Because you really don’t get to experience much of the real Fiji there. The beaches are not great. I mean it’s not a place that you’d want to go snorkeling for example. The water is quite dark and murky around Port Denarau, but the resorts themselves are beautiful, but it’s really much more of a transit point and from there it really is a jumping off point where you can do a series of boat trips to a number of the islands throughout the island groups.

Chris: Is that really the way to see some of the other islands? There really isn’t an option of flying in different islands and so the boat trip is usually the best way?

David: It depends on what sort of experience you want to have, and one of the things you’re going to find there is there’s a lot of very exclusive, very high-end resorts. So for example, there was one that we were staying across the bay from. All the guests were being flown in by helicopter directly from the Airport. They landed, I think it’s about $4000 a night and you got the island to yourself essentially. Lots of place you can helicopter into. A number of float planes that go to the different resorts that are more moderately priced as well, but there are also regular boat service that gets out as well, but it does take to get to the parts of Fiji that you really as a tourist are most going to want to see, most of those islands it’s a good two-and-a-half, three-hour boat ride by high speed catamarans that go out of Port Denarau which is why most people, once they’ve come off an international flight end up basing themselves in Port Denarau for the first couple of days before they make their way out.

Chris: Got it, so what was you itinerary then?

David: We spent the first three days in Port Denarau and exploring a little bit around there. One of the things we found that was great, initially we were looking at renting a car and touring around the island. Car rentals was not very cost effective, it was quite expensive to rent cars, but what was surprisingly cost effective was arranging for a car and driver, for about $100 per day, you could hire out a brand new SUV, a local Fijian who would take you and really give you a very customized cultural experience.
We went up to an amazing place called the Nausori Highlands in the interior of the main island there just a little bit north of Nadi. You get up there and it is very remote villages, still the majority of people there living a subsistence lifestyle in very traditional thatch housing. We had an opportunity to visit one of those traditional villages, drink kava which is one of the traditional drinks there, experience some of the local food, visit one of the local schools. We went to this amazing waterfall, crystal clear warm water that you could swim through as well, and having the car driver for the day you could really go into these remote unexplored places that just a lot of other tourists weren’t seeing.

Chris: The car and driver was that less expensive than just getting the car?

David: It actually was like if we were going to rent a rental car I think it was about $120, $130 US per day for a rental car plus gas, plus everything else, versus the cars and drivers that you can hire out for the day at the resort for a hundred and some dollars to take you out for the day.

Chris:That’s the oddest thing. I don’t thing I’ve ever heard of that before.

David: It’s very sad I don’t know if it was because of insurance reasons or whatever else.

Chris: You have to wonder at that point. Interesting. Anything else that you wanted to cover on that island before we take off on the boat?

David: Another very cool place was Sabeto Hot Springs and Mud Pools. Again sort of a remote destination a little bit off the beach track where you go into this essentially field where they’ve got a number of volcanic mud baths, they’ve got thatched huts where you can go for a massage, you’ve got hot-springs there as well, great fun place to spend the day as well. One other thing that I would mention as well for that few days trip is we were lucky enough to have landed on a Sunday and we were talking to the concierge in the hotel asking what are some of the more interesting local things to do around here. And they asked if we’d ever been to a Fijian Church service which of course we hadn’t and recommended to go check one out.

We don’t regularly go to church, but going to the church services there was phenomenal. The singing is like unlike anything you’ve ever heard. Just remarkable choirs of people. It’s really hard to describe. You’ve got to be there to hear it. But you hear the singing everywhere you go. When you go to individual islands there is often these cultural celebrations, but it is a very religious country. Church is a big part of it and families all come together on Sundays and just do some amazing singing, but even if you never attend church elsewhere in the world it’s somewhere where on a Sunday if you’re there, it’s something you’ve absolutely got to go do.

Chris: I want to take a break here to hear from our first of the two sponsors as I mentioned in the pre-role for the show that part of the audio we do before we begin the show, we are announcing a new sponsor this week which is and Trippy is an online travel community, one of Trippy’s core-values is pay it forward. As they say, Trippy is for people who like to do good. We’re helpers no question is too great or too small, we’ve all experienced the kindness of strangers on our journeys and love to keep that momentum going by sharing with others.

I want to encourage you to support Trippy who is supporting this podcast, one of the ways we’re going to do that is a question of the week. I’ll put a link in the show notes, I’d like you to go over to Trippy and answer this question, “Where is the most remote beach you have ever gone to?” I’m not going to give anything away here, but if you look at my answer over on Trippy, you’ll hear about crawling through a series of water caves to get to my favorite beach in the world. So, go answer our question of the week at I’ll be reading some of of my favorite answers on this show next week.

Chris: You get on the boat, we’re not talking about a cruise boat, but you’re just doing island hopping for a few hours then out to your next destination.

David: For our first trip, that’s what we did, it was just essentially a water taxi. It takes about 200 or so passengers, stops at a number of islands, and our first destination was a place called Malolo Island. Very family focused resort, it’s owned by local Fijians, got a beautiful white sand beach. It’s just a great place for relaxing, sitting back and having an incredibly relaxing vacation. Great snorkeling and diving directly off the beach, so we had sort of a beach hut that was right there beach front two steps out of the door you’re in the water and and just amazing sea life all around you. Everything from sting rays to every type of tropical fish you can imagine sort of surrounding you the moment you hit the water. They also had things like you could go out paddle boarding, you could go out kayaking, all from the resort, different tours that they would do on a daily basis. A number of different cultural activities and things there as well.

Chris: You mentioned family friendly, you were there I assume with your wife and two kids if I have the number correctly?

David: That’s right, two little guys, a three-year old and a five-year old and one of the things that you really notice in Fiji is society there is very much still organized around villages and sort of a tribal lifestyle and when you come as a visitor, you are incorporated straight into that. I have never been somewhere more welcoming with kids than they were in Fiji. People scoop up your kids from your arms and take them off and engage them in local games and activities. So much so when that when we were in Nadi which is a sort of a mid-size city probably I would guess 40 or 50,000 person city, we were out shopping one day and our five-year old was looking at some dresses while our three-year old was off looking at guitars or toys or something else in the corner and we turned around for a moment and our five-year old was gone.

For a moment we panicked and started looking around, and it took about two minutes to find her and we went back and she was actually back in the change rooms, three Fijian women were with her and they had probably 10 dresses picked out and she was already on her third dress that she had tried on with them. If it was anywhere else in the world, we would have panicked, but there it’s just what they do, it’s just it was great how welcoming people were and how good they were with the kids.

Chris: I’m curious three and five very different ages, from 40. They won’t necessarily remember this trip or at least the three-year old won’t necessarily but for them they haven’t been to as many places as you have. What stood out for them for Fiji?

David: Unquestionably the cultural experience. It was just so different than their day-to-day life here in North America. If you’ve been to a place like Hawaii, in Hawaii you get sort of the cultural shows that show you what the culture, essentially used to be like a 100 years ago in Hawaii. When you’re going to Fiji, particularly some of the outer islands, it really is the way people still live on a day to day basis. It’s very much people living on subsistence agriculture. We were going to islands at times that where maybe 500 people living in an island with a single generator, a single satellite phone, and that was the only access to the outside world they had other than the once a week that a boat came by with a few visitors, so you’re really getting to access a very remote parts of the world and they loved it in terms of the kids and things they got to meet it was incredible.

Chris: So good snorkeling but not necessarily fast internet out there on a remote island. I shouldn’t necessarily move the travel blog out there.

David: It would be tough to do the travel blog particularly our next stop after Malolo Island was getting on a sort of very small cruise ship. It was about 150 person cruise ship that took us through a series of islands, we had internet on board, but it would take, if you wanted to download a song, it was probably about three days until you got that song.

Chris: That works okay on island time, but-

David: That’s right.

Chris: Anything else about Malolo Island?

David: Another thing that I will say was a highlight there was the food. They had a couple who were the chefs who’d come over to the island, South African and Canadian couple who were running all the food services, great chefs, great experience in terms of food.

Chris: When you say food, a lot of sea food I would assume, but what kind of food are you having?

David: They certainly have a mix of, sort of international dishes that you get anywhere around the world. In terms of local cuisines, absolutely a lot of sea food, a lot of fresh produce, a lot of coconut incorporated into everything, local fruits incorporated into everything as well depending on the time of year that you’re there and the season. The other thing is it’s quite influenced by Indian culture, a large portion of the population are Indian Fijians, a lot of curries and papadums and things like that as well.

Chris: Okay, Excellent. Where to next?

David: Next after that, we boarded a trip with Captain Cook Cruises. It’s sort of a small format cruise ship about 150 passengers, and we went through two groups on islands, the Mamanuca Islands and Yasawa Islands. There were seven days on board the boat, and if there was a highlight of the trip that cruise experience really was it, because it is almost as though the further you get away from Port Denarau the more you get to see of the real culture of Fiji and the more of that picture postcard type beaches and islands that you had imagined as well as you’re get off into these remote locations. About 15, 20 islands over the coast of the seven days that you visit, really interesting cultural experiences along the way.

Chris: So small boat cruise, we’re not talking a lot of shuffle board or midnight buffets or things like that?

David: Not a lot of that, a lot more of one of the things that they were really set out for was getting you out into the water, so they had these sort of little skiff boats on the back that will take 20 or 30 passengers out and get you into very remote locations for snorkeling and diving and everyday basically had two different sites that you would go to for beach experiences, snorkeling and diving. Quite often the beaches you were going to you’re on a deserted island, you are the only people on that beach around that island entirely. Normally, two locations like that throughout the day that you’d experience and then in the evenings most times, you’re going into a more remote village and that maybe for dinner on the island and a feast that a local community would cook for you, that maybe visiting a school and the schools are amazing because most of them are boarding schools where children from 15 or 20 of the even more remote islands would come in to one central location and that was great for the kids particularly that part, getting to meet them and the experiences at the school there.

Chris: Excellent and of the whole week which islands stand out?

David: Good question. Probably the one that stands out the most in my mind was one of the most remote places we went, a place called the Waya Islands. What stood out most was just the friendliness of the people, this was one of the islands where we did go`visit the school about 500 kids there between 6 and 12 who wanted to better themselves with better education so they’ve come in from the remote islands, are there to attend school and so friendly, just the most friendly people you’ve ever met on the island and touring through it the local villagers would take you through and really wanted to give you an experience of seeing what their day to day life was like. Taking you through the fields, seeing how they grow the crops, the way that they live on a day to day basis was so interesting to see.

Chris: Interesting. You’re out there sort of two major islands in the Fijian islands but you’re away from that in some of the smaller ones is my Impression.

David: Correct and the two island groups that we went to, the Manamuca and the Yasawa Island are two of the more accessible island groups. The Manamucas is one where you will find more islands with quite well known international resorts on them, and in most cases that’s all on the island is maybe a single resort, but once you start getting out into the used to be an area that was more, I would say more geared towards back packers, now there’s a few really high-end resorts of that way as well but also a lot of just very remote Islands with these remote villages that you can go experience.

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Chris: I’m curious if someone is a backpacker is there still a Fiji for them? It sounds like there’s a lot of high end resorts coming in but I don’t see a lot of backpackers doing the helicopter thing, airport transit.

David: There’s a boat called the . . . it’s terrible. I can’t remember the name. I think it maybe the Yasawa Clipper, this yellow boat, a high speed catamaran that really is entirely set up to take back packers out to some of the more remote islands and out on the Yasawas you would find places where, it’s not going to be as inexpensive as South East Asia for example but you could certainly find places that were, I would say in the $30 to $50 US ratings per night to stay out on some of those more remote islands as well. There’s a few where you’ll actually find results that are sort of half and half. There’s one on the Yusawa Island itself that was a beautiful resort that they had Bures that are sort of Fijian style bungalows that were fully catered out and very modern and those were going for $500 or $600 a night but then they had a much more basic version of that just a few steps away on another portion of the island that you could get for $30 or $40 a night, but then some great shared facilities between both halves of the resort as well so a number of different resorts that seemed to cater to both ends in the market.

Chris: Excellent. So you had just barely seen Fiji before and now you’re seeing it in a little more depth, what surprised you?

David: The friendliness of the people and how well they’ve been able to preserve their culture as well. One of the things you would find going onto the remote islands, even going on the cruise ship, this wasn’t 1500 people getting off a cruise-ship and changing the style of the island, it was in the case of the week we were travelling, it was a ship that could hold 150 but I think there were only about 40 of us on board at the time and many times on the island excursions maybe there were 20 or 30 of you who would go out and visit the island. When you arrive there you had to incorporate sort of traditional dress into what you were wearing going to the island. So they have what they call sulus like a sarong or wrap that both men and women are expected to wear to have their knees covered when they go on to the island, and the Chief of the Island, if you’re not respecting of the culture will ask the boat to go back and won’t allow you to come on to their island. A gift has to be presented to the Chief as you arrive to allow you to go into the village. So they’ve really worked hard to preserve their traditional culture and they’ve really been able to maintain that.

Chris: What do you wish you had known before you went?

David: The difference between the main island that you land into Viti Levu what you can experience around there, around Port Denarau and the other Islands. Port Denarau was great as a stopover point and somewhere to acclimatize yourself to Fiji, we ended up on our . . . . it was a little bit over two weeks, about 17, 18 days we were there, and we probably spent the first three and then the last three in Port Denarau. I probably would have shaved down that portion of the trip and spent even more exploring the other islands like an 11-day cruise versus a 7-day cruise would have been been great because you could have got even more other locations.

Chris: If you were standing in the most beautiful spot in Fiji, where are you standing and what are you looking at?

David: For me it was probably waking up in the morning on Malolo Island, stepping out of that beach bungalow on to a white sand beach, looking out across from you is a perfectly shaped mountain out on the distance, out on the crystal clear water and the sun rising above it, that was the most beautiful setting that I’ve seen probably anywhere in the world.

Chris: Okay. Interesting. To really experience Fiji in your opinion, one thing you should eat, one think you should drink and one thing you should do.

David: One thing you should drink is an easy one, is Kava. Kava is a big part of the culture there. It almost has an alcoholic type effect but you don’t get any hangover from it. It’s a root that that they grind up and it’s a huge part of the culture in Fiji. Every village that you go into, one of the first things that will happen is a Kava ceremony. There are some very specific protocols about the way they make the Kava, the way that you enjoy the Kava together with the community. So that’s something you’ve absolutely got to try when you are there, and there are a lot of opportunities to try it.

Chris: You say specific protocols like what?

David: If I remember correctly normally men were invited to Kava first, there’s the Chief of the village, and whoever is sort of considered the most senior person from the delegation that’s visiting, the Chief who will give the drink to the senior person who is there, you’ve got to clap your hands in a certain way prior to receiving the Kava bowl and drinking it and then clap your hands in a certain pattern once you’ve given the Kava bowl back as well, so a number of different cultural things that you discover as yo go along the way.

Chris: Do they give you a briefing as you headed out in the skiff from the ship or how did you know?

David: Absolutely. There’s no shortage of briefings on how to drink Kava. It’s pretty popular part of the local culture. In terms of things to eat, probably the most Fijian meal we had was out on some of the outer islands, in this case it was a group called the Sacred Islands that we went to visit and one of the evenings they had a dinner that had been cooked entirely underground in hot stone and everything from an entire roast pig that was cooked rare to yams and fresh fruit and exactly the sort of thing you’d imagine in a South Pacific Island like that, so in terms of something to eat that’s something that you would want to do.
One thing to do, I would say is you’ve got to get underwater whether that’s snorkeling, diving, if you’re not a snorkeler or diver some of the islands have glass bottom boats. In one or two cases I think they’ve even got submarines that will take you around to see the underwater world there because the reefs are really stunning. I mean both soft and hard coral and just a huge variety of marine life.

Chris: Excellent. What warning you would give?

David: Don’t expect to go snorkeling around Port Denarau, a lot of people see the picture postcard brochures, they get to that first resort and the beaches look quite nice when you first arrive, you get out of the water, it’s really murky water and the local Fijians will tell you sharks are not uncommon there, it is murky water. It’s probably not the best place to go snorkeling, so one area you would want to avoid for sure. The other thing is you would also want to do a bit of research in terms of time of the year that you want to go there, like any tropical location there’s typhoons and other things as well so you would want to definitely do your research and make sure you’re going at a time when the weather is going to be best if what you’re going there for is really to get that sort of tropical beach vacations.

Chris: You were there what time the year I don’t remember?

David: We were there in June and the weather was spectacular. I think out of the 16 days we maybe got one afternoon of rain when we were there. Other than that it was great.

Chris: Most memorable local you met.

David: One of the things that was great on the cruise ship that we did was that they.. if you had children under a certain age, I don’t recall what the cut off was, but it was mandatory that you had to hire a local Fijian nanny to watch over the children when they were on the boat. We had a great nanny with us Tomasa who just really the seven days that we were travelling throughout these islands with her really became part of the family. The kids were in love with her after the first hour they’d spent with her and was just somebody who taught them so much about her culture and the history of the islands and everything else as we were travelling through. If you’ve got young kids and you’re going on a vacation, it’s pretty amazing to be able to have someone there to help out that when you want to go out diving or snorkeling or have a dinner while you’re out for the seven days on the boat you’ve got someone there who can help out as well.

Chris: When we talk about remote destinations like Fiji one of the questions we usually ask is when did you feel closest to home and when did you feel farthest from home? When was it very familiar and when was it unfamiliar?

David: Probably the first time going in and doing one of the village visits, you really realize how different this was from home. The fact that just the lifestyle that people live there on a day to day basis was so foreign to what we do in North America, they still are living a very . . . I wouldn’t say this is everywhere. When you go into the big cities, the big cities are very modern and very much like a North American City would be but when we go into the more remote village kind of locations, it’s like stepping back in time and that was really probably the place where it was most different.

Chris: This also isn’t the Polynesian Cultural Center these are.. you’re walking into the village and then the day that you leave it’s going to be the same way.

David: Absolutely. And the type of songs and dance and ceremony and things that are being performed, isn’t just being done for tourists I mean this is part of the regular day to day life of the village and the culture of the village, so that was one of the great parts of the experience.

Chris: Well it feels like we’re winding this down a little bit, is there anything else you think that people need to know before they book their trip to Fiji?

David: One other location that was really spectacular and it was a tough one to get to, it was out in the Yasawa Island group on one of the more remote islands, a place called Sawa-I-Lau caves important part of Fijian culture and history. It’s played into a number of battles that have happened between tribal groups of the islands so a lot of history there but just a great sort of place for a soft adventure day, where you can…there’s cliff diving, there are crystal clear waters and a really fun way to spend an afternoon.

Chris: One thing that makes you laugh and say, “only in Fiji.”

Daniel: Our daughter being scooped up and taken away by a saleswomen at a local store.

Chris: I appreciate that you can laugh about that, I’m thinking that wouldn’t be the first reaction for a lot of people.

David: And I think if it had happened to us on our first day in Fiji it would have been terrifying, but it happened near the tail of the trip and you got to know the culture and it was certainly terrifying for a moment until we found her. Instantly we realized what happened and then why it had happened and that’s certainly something I hadn’t experienced anywhere else in the world and I think is a very unique Fijian moment for sure.

Chris: One thing you should remember to pack when you go to Fiji.

David: Your snorkel and mask.

Chris: All right and finish this sentence, “You really know you are in Fiji when. . . what?

David: When you drink your first bowl of Kava.

Chris: And if you had to summarize Fiji in just three words, what three words would you choose?

David: Relaxing, peaceful and cultural. I guess would be the three.

Chris: Excellent, and David where can people here or read more about your travels.

David: Well, on my travel podcast I’ve got a videocast that I’ve done from Malolo Island and put up there recently, I’ve also got one coming up shortly on cruising around the islands ad some of the experience there and we’ll probably have another cast on Nadi and the main island and some of the things you can see in that area as well.

Chris: And Travel in 10 is about the same age as Amateur Traveler. I can’t honestly remember which one of us started first, but it was within a couple of months of each other so it probably doesn’t matter at this point.

David: That’s right.

Chris: Although doesn’t come out quite as often I believe.

David: That’s right, you’re a little more prolific than I am. I am more of a monthly podcaster versus you’re doing at least one a week now?

Chris: Yes, about six a month or so if you count This Weekend in Travel also. Excellent. Well David, thank so much for coming back on Amateur Traveler, it’s been a while, and sharing with us your obvious love for Fiji.

David: Happy to do it and hope we get to hit the road together somewhere else around the world too.

Chris: Excellent. Sounds great.


We haven’t been doing as many news spots on this show because I do that on This Week in Travel more these days. But we do have a new story that’s coming out of Venice that just has to be mentioned. According to a story originally in the daily mail, Venice is going to ban rolling suitcases. Venetians apparently are fed up with the tourist and noise pollution in their picturesque town. If you are caught with a rolling suitcase making noise on the cobble stone streets you will be fined 500 Euros. One alternative of course is staying elsewhere in the Veneto and then just taking a boat over and leaving your suitcase behind and of course also leaving your hotel dollars some place else.


In news of the community I heard from Sarah who took me up on the suggestion to go see Kamakura in Tokyo, Japan and Sarah writes, “You were right. I did love Kamakura. It was a fantastic day filled with shrines, temples, the beach and ending with a beautiful sunset of Mount Fuji from Enoshima island. Thanks so much for suggesting it to your listeners. I also spent four days in Nagano prefecture during my time in Japan and I would wholeheartedly recommend it as a destination. I think it is often overlooked as a side trip from Tokyo. Most people seem to go to Kyoto or Osaka but it is such a beautiful and special place. The incredible mountains, onsens, delicious food and kind people make it an unforgettable visit. I even visited a 100-year old Wasabi farm. If one of your travel peers ever happens to pitch it as a future episode I say, “go for it.” Thanks very much Sarah.


With that we’re going to end this episode of the Amateur Traveler. If you have any questions feel free to send an email to host [at] Don’t forget to answer our trippy question of the week and also visit our sponsor This episode is thanks to You can also follow me on Twitter at chris2x and as always thanks so much for listening.

Transcription sponsored by JayWay Travel, specialists in Central & Eastern Europe custom tours.


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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

3 Responses to “Travel to Fiji – Episode 445”

Leo Thai


Thank you for your interesting story, Chris
Not everyone dares to drink cava with the locals. I’ve heard that it does not contain alcohol, but it is very unpleasant to the taste.

P.S. You have a pretty busy life!!!



To be fair, that was David who went to Fiji. They don’t let me out of my little podcasting closet πŸ˜‰



Hi Chris, I heard and read a lot about Fiji. The good write ups about this place was the reason why its in my bucket list. Is it budget friendly to travel solo?

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