Amazing Facts

12 Amazing Facts About Tonga You Never Knew

Facts About Tonga Island
Swimming with the whales in Tonga. Nothing compares with seeing a mother and calf swim | Photo: CNN

Tonga is a Polynesian kingdom of more than 170 South Pacific islands.  Many of the islands are uninhabited, and most are lined in white beaches and coral reefs and covered with tropical rain forest. There are hundreds of amazing facts about Tonga you haven't heard.

Outside these few facts, there are a number of other very amazing facts about the country.  For example, what part of the body must both men and women keep covered as a mark of maximum respect?  How do you need to ask questions to be able to get the facts you need?  How do Tongans view being drunk in public?

Get the answers to these and more in the following 12 amazing facts about Tonga.

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Capital:                         Nukuʻalofa

Currency:                      Tongan paʻanga

King:                            Tupou VI

Prime Minister:              Akilisi Pohiva

Population:                   105,323 (2013) World Bank

Continent:                     Oceania

Official languages:        English, Tongan

Government:                 Unitary Parliamentary Constitutional Monarchy.

Amazing Facts About Tonga

1. Keep Knees Covered

It is considered maximum respect to keep your knees covered.  This applies to both men and women. Be properly dressed everywhere except at the beach. You would finds it amazing that topless men off cruise liners have been arrested and held until after the ship has left!  Be warned!

2. Strongly Revered Day

Sunday is a strongly revered day and the vast majority of the population will attend religious services.  The amazing thing is that only very few shops will be open and there is very little activity.  Hotels will open, as will some restaurants and beach resorts.  So schedule your time with this in mind.

3. Unwritten Dress Codes

Tonga is a very Christian country and tourists may unintentionally overstep the borderline of what is considered good taste.  Dressing here is all about the body being decently covered.   The following should therefore be avoided except in hotels/resorts:

  • Hot Pants
  • Deeply cut gowns
  • See through material
  • Belly-free dresses
  • Mini-skirts
  • All bikinis

4. Meal On the Floor

If you are invited to a meal, be prepared to sit on the floor and to eat with your fingers.  Watch your host and follow his actions.  Tongans like to have some fun with the tourists - if any story told to you seems not very plausible, ask clarification from another source!

Amazing Facts About Tonga

Tonga, Kiribati e Islas Marshall estcs

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5. Absolutely No PDA

Exchanging "hot" kisses is not to be done in the public.  Please avoid doing it, Tongans feel deeply embarrassed and ashamed if they see it.  And you certainly don't want to cause them that.  The amazing aspect is that there is no exception to this...even if the person is your spouse.

6. Being Nice Better than Being Truthful

The answer you get for your question may not be the truth; it may just be what they think would please you to hear.  This is because people are more interested in pleasing you than telling you a truth that might hurt you or embarrass you.  Now, tell me that is not amazing!

7. Ask Questions with Insight

If you want to have a clearer picture of anything, it is better to phrase your questions such that the person asked could find it hard to avoid the answer.  For example, it is best to ask questions that require more than just a yes or no answer.

8. Tonga Time, No Time

"Tonga Time" no time; and it is a very common expression in Tonga.  They are usually late for events and meetings.  But "Palangi" time which indicates foreigners' time would tell them that lateness would not be tolerated.

9. No Personal Time

Personal time is not recognized in Tonga.  You might find it amazing that they would wake each other, interrupt each other's meetings, or just stop by unannounced.  And they expect you to drop whatever you are doing and respond to their needs.

10. No "Alone" Outing for Women

Women are not allowed to go out alone.  In fact, unmarried women are hardly allowed to go out.  This is not for safety reasons, but for the implied implication.  It is believed that a woman who goes out alone is up to something naughty.

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11. Bottle Emotions Up

Keep a lid on your emotions.  They are very calm and polite people.  Therefore being loud and obnoxious is frowned upon and considered as rude.  No matter how you feel about an issue, bottle it up and try to discuss it calmly.  That is the amazing Tonga way.

12. Being Drunk is Illegal

Being drunk in public is illegal.  This is strictly so.  In fact, if the police catches you stumbling around, they will arrest you and take you to any nearby local jail to "sleep it off."  So, by all means, get drunk.  Just don't do it in public!  Is that amazing or what!

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