A great sweep of azure, reefs, sand and forest in the South Pacific, Fiji is an archipelago of more than 300 islands. Only about one third of these volcanic remnants are inhabited, conjuring visions of unexplored paradise. Viti Levu is the largest and most developed island – home to the capital Suva and international transit point Nadi (pronounced 'Nandi') – and many beachfront Fiji resorts. Cruising and island hopping through the nearby Yasawa islands is also popular with visitors.

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Fiji serves up a fine concoction of things to do, most of which make this a water-lovers' haven. If you go a little out of your way, you'll be rewarded with coral gardens, manta rays and turtles when you dive the Great Astrolabe Reef off the tiny southern island of Kadavu. Surfers head to the Mamanuca islands for waves of legend. You could also jet boat up the Sigatoka River on Viti Levu, tour a Fijian village and try the famous local drink, kava. The Yasawa and Turtle Islands are cited as having some of the best beaches in the (sprawling) country. Find a hammock and just be.

Eat and Drink

Fiji restaurants and cafes with an emphasis on local cooking style will often use rice, sweet potatoes, taro, cassava, coconut and fish in their dishes. An example of a local dish is kokoda – raw fish salad with lime juice, onions, chillies, carrots, tomatoes and coconut cream. Many Fijians use their hands when eating and it's common to sit on the floor. If you try the ubiquitous local drink kava, you won't forget it in a hurry. Made from the root of a plant that's a member of the pepper family, it makes your lips and tongue tingle and head light. Not known for its taste, more as a social lubricant, kava plays a central role in Fijian life.

Fiji like a Local

When you take advantage of a cheap flight to Fiji and start to explore this part of the South Pacific, you'll get an introduction to 'Fiji time'. It's the same as island time. Things happen, when they happen. Why rush? You're surrounded by beautiful scenery, friendly locals and tropical ocean. Relax. Enjoy it. See your family and friends as a gift; listen, laugh and love. Then you'll be well on your way to seeing Fiji like a local.

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FijiWhen you've already tried the standard beach destinations in Asia, why not look a bit further afield and try Fiji for a tropical island getaway?

A 10-hour non-stop flight from Hong Kong, it takes some travel time but it really is a world away from the hustle and bustle. Fijians operate on "Fiji time" - a much slower, easier pace than what we're used to here in Hong Kong - so if you're looking for some relaxation then this is the place. The best time of year to go to Fiji is between May and October, when the humidity is lower but the temperatures are still in the high 20s.

Fiji Airways operate 3 non-stop flights weekly between Hong Kong and Fiji. They operate modern Airbus A330 aircraft with seat back televisions and on-demand entertainment. International flights arrive into Nadi Airport on the main island, Viti Levu, and from here most holiday makers will travel to either Denarau or the Coral Coast.

Denarau is about 20 minutes from the airport and here you will find several international luxury properties such as the Hilton, Sheraton and Westin. All properties have great facilities for families - kids clubs, several swimming pools etc, as well as everything Mum and Dad need - day spas, tennis courts, and a wide selection of restaurants. Denarau is also home to one of the best golf courses in the South Pacific, and Port Denarau shopping centre, if you're in need of some retail therapy.

The Coral Coast is a lovely stretch of coastline on the south of the Viti Levu, around one or two hours' drive from Nadi Airport. There's a wide range of accommodation along here, from backpackers/beach front bungalows, to major resorts such as the Outrigger on the Lagoon Resort. This one is a wonderful property for families - the staff are extremely helpful and friendly and there's plenty to keep the kids entertained. There's an adults only pool and bar too, so you can escape the kids if need be, as well as a day spa, gym, tennis courts and more.

One of the reasons Fiji is so popular for families is that the resorts have such great facilities - you really don't need to leave - but if you're looking for activities outside of your resort, you have several options. Sailing trips around the outer Islands are really popular, along with tours around the local villages, cooking schools, scuba diving and cave tours.

For the ultimate tropical experience, head out to the Mamanuca Islands or Yasawa Islands - accessible by boat or plane from Viti Levu. This is where you can find luxurious resorts such as Vomo Island Resort and Yasawa Island Resort. While there is more time and cost involved to get to these resorts, you really will be in a tropical paradise here - white sandy beaches, clear waters, swaying palm trees... the whole picture postcard scene.

Ellen Cannon
Personal Travel Manager – Flight Centre Business Travel
Email: Ellen.Cannon@flightcentre.com.hk