The Kingdom of Tonga stands east of the international date line: when it comes to a Saturday full of fun on the beach in Samoa, it is time for prayer on Sunday in Tonga. Thus it is said, more often by the tourism industry of the island, Tonga is “the place where time begins”. Others, perhaps observing the rhythm of local life, they call the place where time stands still. Both statements are true in a sense, as eclectic Tonga is a country where ancient traditions sit alongside the latest offerings of modern life. Tonga eagerly devour the DVD and download the latest hip-hop or international news and views via the Internet, but also remains difficult to solve problems in the traditional way, over a cup of kava, and many even weave, and wear, traditional rugs.
For the traveler, Tonga offers a different experience in Samoa. The snorkeling and diving are much higher for something. And some travelers to plan their trip around Tonga wonderful whale watching. There relaxed resort life if you wish, although without the same infrastructure surrounding resorts in Samoa. There are many opportunities to get right off the beaten track in 170-odd islands of Tonga, with small islands of forest for your name from left and right. The Ha’apai Group offers white deserted beaches, vibrant reefs and only a handful of other travelers. For all the fun in the water that might reasonably be expected to handle, the Vava’u Group and the U.S. are the destinations of the activity of Tonga, with sea kayaking, fishing, surfing and diving available.
For those seeking a true cultural experience, society is the only kingdom in the Pacific has remained impervious to outside influences of Samoa (and certainly more traditional than American Samoa). You may find that you have to work a bit to get into the confidence of the locals – Tonga are not as outgoing as the Samoans – but worth the effort.