Suva offers a rich cultural tapestry for travellers to explore. This former British colony has been heavily influenced by Indian culture and has embraced the colourful culture, Bollywood, and delicious food. Fijian culture is thriving alongside modern culture, businessmen in the traditional sarong is not an uncommon sight in the streets of the island nation’s capital.
The Fiji Museum is a must-see sight in Suva; it documents the cultural and political history of the country. Everything from tribal weapons and cannibal forks through to contemporary Fijian art is displayed here for guests to learn more about the different cultural influences at play. A big part of the culture in Fiji is Rugby Union; it’s practically a religion here! There will be a game on in one of the 80 parks on a sunny day, but if you visit Albert Park, you might even see the national team training for a game. Fiji has a skilled team who compete on a global scale.
Soak up the laidback atmosphere of the city by taking a relaxed stroll along the waterfront of Suva’s Harbour. Fishermen will be selling their day’s catch by the water, locals will be enjoying the cool sea breeze, and musicians will be playing traditional music. If you want fresh seafood, Tiko’s Floating Restaurant is located on the water here and serves Fijian seafood dishes using the fresh catch of the day. If you want a more challenging walk, just outside of town is Mount Korobaba which offers a moderately challenging hike. Its steep slopes are popular amongst active locals and expats and will be busy on weekends. Be sure to check the weather forecast; the trail can be treacherous in wet weather.
Fijians love nightlife, and there are a number of bars and nightclubs to choose from. Even in the capital, nightlife options aren’t fancy but have the basic elements needed for a fun night out. The crowd will be a mix of locals, backpackers, expats, and travellers. Cocktails, pool tables and good music for dancing are standard on a night out in Suva. Fijians are mad for Bollywood so along with Bollywood themed cafes, expect a few Bollywood hits to be on the playlist.
The best place to soak up life in Fiji is at one of the many markets. There are plenty to choose from, each specialising in different types of wares, craft markets, food markets, and specialist Indian markets selling spices, saris, and other delicious and colourful wares. Suva Municipal Market is the most popular market, where locals sell fresh fruit and flowers. Stop by and see the bustle of locals haggling for wares, and then head across the street to Suva Flea Market where you will find handicrafts for a unique souvenir of your trip. You will find traditional paintings, wood carvings, and weaving, among many other stalls.
The best time to visit Suva is during their dry season between May and October. The weather is warm but not overly hot, with temperatures reaching up to 25 degrees Celsius. In August, there is a nine-day Hibiscus festival which is a great cultural experience.
Fijian and English are the national languages of Fiji, with all residents speaking both fluently. Fiji is very popular with French tourists, so French is spoken by a lot of Fijians, especially those working in the tourist industry.
VOYA’S FAVOURITE PLACES TO VISIT INCLUDE
Thurston Gardens stands on the site of the former city of Suva before it was burned down in 1843. It has a large collection of plants native to the South Pacific and numerous walking tracks to explore the park. It is free to visit and open every day. Bring a picnic lunch and sit on the expansive lawns and soak up the sunshine.
The Presidential Palace is an impressive building which was built in 1928 for the British Governor. After independence, it became the residence of the President and the current President, Brigadier-General Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, currently resides here. There is a changing of the guard on the last Saturday of the month, so be sure to plan your itinerary around that.
VOYA’S FAVOURITE PLACES TO STAY INCLUDE
The Grand Pacific Hotel is an iconic hotel in Suva, it was left abandoned between 1992 and 2014 but has been lovingly restored and displays pictures of what the hotel used to look like. Many famous guests have stayed at this hotel, attracted by the impeccable service and extensive facilities. Their spa, Bliss, uses only Fijian products and offers Fijian treatments. All of the rooms are plushly decorated and have verandas or balconies. Their heritage rooms and suites are in the original hotel building instead of the modern wings. They all feature three-metre high ceilings and access to the wrap-around veranda.
The Five Princes is a boutique hotel that offers self-catering cottages and villas in a romantic jungle environment. It is right in the centre of Suva, a short walk from the main tourist attractions, but still offers free parking. The hotel also has a pool, a sun terrace, an onsite restaurant with a room service option.
VOYA’S FAVOURITE DISHES TO TRY
While you’re in Fiji, you have to try lovo, which is meat and root vegetables wrapped in banana leaves and cooked in a pit for several hours with heated stones. The meat is very tender and infused with the flavours of the vegetables and herbs. It is a popular experience for tourists, so you will be able to find a lovo feast even in Suva. One of the best places in town to have a lovo feast is the Old Mill Cottage.
Kokoda is another must-try dish. It is a bit like ceviche, with the fresh fish soaked in lemon or lime juice. The fish is then added to coconut milk along with spring onions, chilli, capsicum, and tomato. It is a very fresh dish, perfect as a starter on a warm day.