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Old 4th December 2013, 22:47   #1
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Default Slice of India in Taveuni, Fiji

I was always intrigued by Fiji. Only Pacific island 12000 Kms away from India, where it is predominantly Indian. Also there was the motivation to scuba dive in one of the most fascinating location underwater.
We decided to take a quick trip to Taveuni Fiji during the Thanksgiving holiday in USA. Wife lives in West Coast, so it was just a matter of hop, skip and jump to Taveuni. We figured that if we take 3 days off (Mon-Wed), then it becomes a nine day vacation due to the Thanksgiving holidays. Buying the ticket was hassle free and we were on our way to Taveuni. Also one of the very few places on earth where Indians can travel without visa. So all in all very easy to travel except for the enormous distance I was traveling.

Fiji has around 330 islands out of which around 100 are inhabited. The largest island is Viti-Levu where the capital Suva is located. Taveuni is around 45 minutes flight from Suva. It is one of the greenest island in the world due to very heavy rainfall. Another big island Vanua Levu is next to Taveuni and separated by Somosomo strait.

Now Somosomo strait is narrow passage linking Coral Sea with South Pacific Ocean. This results in massive currents during tides and wonderful underwater life. This also makes it a toughj scuba dive as diving in current is not that easy. But the reward is amazing. Anyway we will come to that later.

We flew from Los Angeles to Nadi (pronounced Nandi) and then an island hopper to Taveuni. Fiji Airways (Air Pacific) is a delightful airlines with just two jumbojets and few island hoppers. I somewhere read that Fiji Airways serves great food. So asked Mrs. Acurafan to not eat much and keep room for the food on-board. Unfortunately the food turned out to be cold Turkey sandwich. If eyes could kill, I would have died many times over in that flight. Any way we arrived at 8 AM in the morning at Nadi and lo and behold, there was this amazing food in the airport.
Slice of India in Taveuni, Fiji-fiji1000016.jpg
Mutton Samosa served fresh !!
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Old 4th December 2013, 23:06   #2
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Default re: Slice of India in Taveuni, Fiji

Nadi is a small airport with nothing much to do. The main city Suva is an hour drive from Nadi airport. Our connecting flight to Taveuni was two hours later and we waited.

Na(n)di Airport
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Checking in for the island hopper
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Tempo Traveller's are bigger inside :-)
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All set to board
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Seat assigment for this flight was done based on the weight of the passengers. The pilot had to balance the RHS and LHS properly, so that we don't become a castaway !! With 200 uninhabited island it is quite possible.

Then begins the amazing flight over the Fijian Islands.

Over Viti Levu
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The coral reefs are the reason why Fiji is a great place for scuba divers and big wave surfers. The breaks are just outside the reefs and they can be gigantic when the storms strike.
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Attached Thumbnails
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Last edited by acurafan : 4th December 2013 at 23:16.
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Old 4th December 2013, 23:54   #3
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Default re: Slice of India in Taveuni, Fiji

When we left Nadi it was sunny and 45 minutes later we arrived amidst heavy rain in Taveuni. We decided to stay in Paradise Beach Resort, which is at the other end of the island and typically takes around an hour of drive in a 4x4.

Arriving at Matei Airport (Taveuni)
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We were supposed to be picked up by a driver instead we saw our host Teri waiting for us. Now it can be great hospitality or it can be something really bad. After the pleasantries it turned out to be the later kind. The resort is overbooked and they don't have our cottage (Bure) ready, so we need to find another accommodation.
Fortunately she has graciously accommodated us in another resort. Typically these things turn out to be really hit or miss. We were kind of bummed at this point. She drove for few minutes in her Range Rover and entered a resort we had seen before, but on the pages of Konde Nest's Luxury Traveler.
Taveuni Island Resort had been nominated for World Luxury Hotel Award few times and we could figure out why.

Arriving at the resort
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Not that bad view from the cottage
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Bedroom
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Living Room
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Lazing room
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Infiniti Pool
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There were few other things such as Jacuzzi and outdoor shower !! By this time our jaws were kind of hurting as it was hanging for some time. Teri waved us good bye and went her merry way and we were stuck in this god forsaken place !!
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 5th December 2013, 00:15   #4
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Default re: Slice of India in Taveuni, Fiji

Looks like you had a great trip! Good pictures and description. Hopefully will make it to such a trip next year but closer home - Lakshadweep islands!
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Old 5th December 2013, 08:41   #5
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Default re: Slice of India in Taveuni, Fiji

Nice pictures Acurafan, looks so much similar to Maldives (Have written a travelogue on my expeience there). Eagerly waiting for the rest along with expense details!

Last edited by Maverick5490 : 5th December 2013 at 08:47.
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Old 5th December 2013, 09:00   #6
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Default re: Slice of India in Taveuni, Fiji

Nice quaint location. I love the look and feel of small airports and train stations. Sometimes we cannot tell which decade we are in, just looking at the aeroplanes!

I am curious to know what flight path you took. Of course, if mrs. acurafan is in the west coast, then it makes sense to take that route. Else, there should be a quicker connection via HK/ Singapore if travelling from India?

Now we await more details and of course pictures of the reefs and whatever diving you could do. I hope you had more sun (better light conditions) during the diving part of your vacation.
Great memories to treasure for a lifetime, thanks for taking us along on the trip!
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Old 5th December 2013, 14:20   #7
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Default re: Slice of India in Taveuni, Fiji

Beautiful serene place! I like these type of island destinations away from the hustle and bustle (though never visited any ). Thanks for sharing a hatke location.

Just checked up the route from India, seems Quantas and Cathay Pacific have flights to Fiji via Mumbai-Singapore-Brisbane-Nadi, journey of total 34hrs 45min . Sadly due to the huge wait times for changing planes.
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Old 5th December 2013, 14:37   #8
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Default re: Slice of India in Taveuni, Fiji

Thanks guys. Fiji is a very peaceful place. Also the local people are very friendly, they will shout "Bula" (hello) when you drive through their village and anytime you meet them.
Our resort host asked us to bring some school supplies if possible for the village kids, we brought bunch of pencils, eraser, sharpeners etc. One should have seen the happiness in the kids eyes even with such simple gifts.
I have picture of Taveuni Hindi School, which is probably the most scenic school I have ever seen.

Regarding the route, I flew BLR - FRA - LAX - Nadi. The total flying time is quite close to 34-35 hours though I stayed in West coast for few days in between. I believe the other option is to fly BOM - SIN - SYD - Nadi on Qantas but there will be long stop over in Sydney. It is always quite difficult and time consuming to fly to these offbeat places.

Regarding expenses, Fiji is quite expensive. The flight is around $900 from LAX, Lodging is around $450-500 per night per couple in Paradise Resort and $850-900 in Taveuni Island resort. Meals are included. These are mostly adults only resorts. Though it does not mean anything sinister but just that kids below 16 years are not allowed. Most of the clienteles are either retired pensioners or honeymooners. We were just an outlier
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Old 5th December 2013, 21:27   #9
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Default Re: Slice of India in Taveuni, Fiji

After enjoying the great food and beverages we slept like a log. At this point I have no idea what time zone I am in. So when in doubt I just follow the sun, thereby avoiding all possible jet lags etc. The owner of Pradise resort called in the morning and said our cottage will be ready and it was time to bid farewell to our temporary luxury.
Also today was supposed to be long as I needed to dive and the early morning dives are the best due to the calm sea. The trade winds pick up in the Somosomo strait during the afternoon and makes life difficult.

Enjoyed the early morning walk around the resort
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Owner's doberman
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Somosomo Strait calm in the morning
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So the plan of action was that wife gets picked up by the Paradise car in the morning and I get dropped at the municipal pier where the dive boat will pick me up. The municipal pier is like a local bus stop as the primary mode of transport between the islands is using the waterways. It was fun to see people carrying goats, chickens in the boat along with kids going to school, men and women going to work etc.

As soon as I was picked up by the boat, I realized I committed a boo-boo. I had left my wallet with my wife as I figured our money cannot be used underwater. But what I forgot that my certification card was in my wallet. Though I have been certified for 10 years, one needs to see the car before allowing me to get in to the water. Fortunately the boat captain radio-ed the resort and I remembered by certification number. Everything was sorted out and I was ready to dive. As a teaser this is what I saw !!

Slice of India in Taveuni, Fiji-spirit-freedom-7a-28.jpg
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On the other hand my wife who was driven across the island saw these sights

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Last edited by acurafan : 5th December 2013 at 21:30.
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Old 19th May 2015, 12:11   #10
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Default Re: Slice of India in Taveuni, Fiji

Quote:
Originally Posted by acurafan View Post
AEverything was sorted out and I was ready to dive. As a teaser this is what I saw !!
Thanks for sharing this wonderful travelogue. Between, where are the updates?! It's been over a year.
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