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Samoa Holidays: Everything You Need to Know

Samoa holidays are becoming increasingly popular among Australian travellers; Samoa is a place of vast natural beauty, delicious culinary experiences and home to a friendly and hospitable people.  Find out more about this island paradise and why you need to add it to your “must-see” list!

Where is Samoa?

Samoa is nestled in the heart of Polynesia, south of the equator in the Pacific Ocean, about halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand. It can be reached on direct flights with Samoa Airways or Virgin Australia from Brisbane in just under 5 hours and from Sydney in around 5.5 hours.

Samoan Weather:

The weather in this island paradise is warm and tropical year round and is divided into two distinct seasons, dry and wet season. From May to October the dry seasons reigns supreme while the wet season rules from November to April.
The climate in Samoa is hot and humid with an average daily temperature of about 29 degrees Celsius.  Trade winds will offer some relieve in the eastern and south-eastern parts of Samoa in the form of a year-round cooling breeze, mostly in the late afternoon and early evening.

Samoan Language:

The official national language of Samoa is Samoan. English is widely used for business communications and is widely spoken, especially in Apia and within the resorts. Of course it is   not only helpful, but can also be fun to know a few words of the local language.

Here are some simple words you can use during your stay to bring a smile to the locals’ faces:

Hello

Talofa (pronounced: Tah-lo-far)

Goodbye

Tofa (pronounced: Toh-far)

Thank you

Fa'afetai (pronounced: Fa-ah-feh-tie)

Please

Fa'amolemole (pronounced: Fa-ah-moh-le-moh-le)   

Yes

Ioe (pronounced: Ee-oh-e)


Fa’a Samoa - The Samoan Way:

Governed by Fa’a Samoa (the Samoan Way), this traditional and over 3000 year old society values family over everything. Using the Fa'a Samoa as a guideline, every child learns to lead their lives embracing traditional values, local culture and the environment. It still shows today in their local traditions, cultural practices and customs as well as their fabled hospitality. There are three key parts to the Samoan Way: The Matai (chiefs), the Aiga (extended family) and the church.

Samoans are devoted Christians. Every Sunday is a day of worship and family where no physical work should be done. If you are lucky enough to visit Samoa during a Sunday Morning you will see many Samoans going to church in their Sunday best.

Getting around Samoa:

Samoa is a fantastic destination to hire a car and explore the natural beauty and magical places on your own – see our perfect Samoa itinerary here. When driving please make sure to watch your speed as you will find locals walking at the side of the road or even animals crossing the streets. Samoa drives on the left side of the road since September 2009 and most vehicles are left-hand drive.

There are plenty of taxis around the islands, but you might have a hard time catching one from a remote location. Taxis are also not metered and we advise to get an approximate rate at your hotel and to agree on a price with the driver before driving off. While Samoans are an honest people it will give you peace of mind and help you budget.

If you love to mingle with locals and venture around the islands in an affordable way you can catch a brightly coloured local bus. Get a map and off you go! You will find the bus terminals in Apia located just behind the food market in Fugalei and another one opposite the flea market at Savalalo. On the island of Savai'i the bus terminal is right at the market in Salelologa. Aside from the terminals there are no designated bus stops and you will need to wave down a bus by using your whole arm while keeping your palm facing downwards. When you want to get off, simply pull the cord to alert the driver. 

Please note that you will pay your fare as you leave the bus, not when getting on. And just a little heads up: Locals might offer you to sit on their lap when the bus gets full, rather than standing in the aisle. This is very normal in Samoa and not meant to be rude, so please don’t react offended or shy if someone offers you their lap.

Getting from Upolu to Savai’i and vice versa:

There is a ferry that operates between the islands of Upolu and Savai'i. The ferry takes passengers as well as cars, and you might be able to take your hire car to the other island (depending on your rental agreement). The ferry departs from the Mulifanua Wharf on Upolu which is located near the international airport. From Savai’i the ferry departs from Salelologa Wharf. The ferry trip takes just over one hour each way and it pays to arrive early to get settled in. We recommend pre-purchasing tickets, but tickets are also available directly at the wharf.

Currency:

The official currency of Samoa is the Western Samoan Tala and we would recommend to either bring some with you or exchange money when in Samoa, either at the airport or in Apia. Most resorts accept credit cards, but you still might want to shop at a local market, eat at a smaller restaurant, tip a tour guide or take local transport where cash comes in handy. In Savai’i ATMs are less frequent so you might want to exchange beforehand.

Samoa Holidays:

Now that you know more, it’s time to go! View our Samoa Packages online or let us help you tailor make a package by contacting us on 1800 800 722.

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We know the South Pacific like the frond of every palm