In my recent quick guide to Fiji, I briefly talked about Suva, the country’s capital as well as the business hub and Nadi (pronounced Nandi), the tourism central. Many travelers opt out of visiting Suva as most tourist destinations are close to or concentrated in Nadi. In fact, expats call Suva ‘not the real Fiji’ and recommend visitors to explore outside the capital in order to experience the ‘real paradise’. Although Suva may not be home to crystal clear waters and sandy beaches one might expect to see in postcards, there are still plenty of unique attractions that only the largest city in the South Pacific can offer. I’ve put together a list of fun activities you can do in Suva below. Happy exploring!
1. Visit the Fiji Museum & the Thurston Gardens
What better place is there than a museum to learn about a country’s history and culture? The Fiji Museum is the only museum in the country located in the very heart of Suva city and surrounded by the beautiful botanical Thurston Gardens. The Museum houses cultural items of indigenous groups and other inhabitants and preserves archaeological artifacts dating back to 3,700 years. After the tour, enjoy a cup of coffee at Ginger Kitchen right outside the museum overlooking the flora and the lush green of the Thurston Gardens.
Museum hours: Monday to Saturday 9.30am to 4.30pm (closes at 4.00pm on Friday)
2. Drop by the Suva Municipal Market
I absolutely love my weekly trips to the Suva Municipal Market! You can find fresh produce at a very affordable price and the profit goes directly to the vendors. Rise early in the morning to grab the freshest fish and seafood and avoid purchase in the afternoon as it won’t be so fresh. Walk around the market and ask the vendors about their organic, locally-grown fruits and vegetables. Remember to refrain from plastic bags by bringing your eco bags (trust me, you’ll need more than one bag!).
3. Stop by the monthly ROC Market
Speaking of market, you’ll want to check out the ROC Market that takes place on the third Sunday of every month. Named after the initials of the Republic of Cappuccino coffeeshop, this monthly gathering of vendors and sellers takes place at Dolphin Plaza in town. There’s live music and entertainment while you visit the stalls proudly displaying handmade crafts, cosmetics, pot plants and paintings. And of course, if you’re like me, you can sample homemade food and desserts at a reasonable price.
ROC Market hours: third Sunday of every month, 9am-3pm
4. Run/walk along the Sea Wall
There’s no better way to stay fit than to run next to the ocean, right? Well, running has never been my cup of tea so I just like to take slow walks by the sea wall and capture the sunset with my camera.
5. Buy souvenirs at the Handicraft Centre
You can easily spot the Handicraft Centre as you run (or if it was me, walk…) along the sea wall. These handmade Fijian artifacts are pieces of fine craftsmanship you can only find in the Pacific. They also make great gifts for your family and friends!
6. Go to the movies
Did you know that Fiji has earlier release dates for most movies before the western world? Tickets are also incredibly cheap so make sure to take advantage of it!
7. Stroll around Albert Park
Again, if you’re into running or walking, Albert Park might be a good place for you to hang out. There are people playing sports or jogging around the park almost every evening.
8. Take a free tour of the Parliament
Located across the street from Albert Park, the Parliament complex is a historic landmark in Suva that’s worth a visit. Free tours are offered if they’re arranged in advance.
9. Pamper yourself at the Pure Fiji Spa
Pure Fiji is a famous beauty brand sold widely across the world. If you’re in Suva, pay a visit to the Pure Fiji Factory Outlet and purchase their popular products at a discounted price. The Outlet opens once a week on Saturday and it’s advised to go early as the items sell out quick. Some of their top-selling products include sugar scrub (my personal favorite!), body lotion and candles. I LOVE their insect repellent lemongrass candle (keeps the ants away…a must-have item for houses in Fiji). After you’re done with shopping, treat yourself to a foot soak and a massage at the Pure Fiji Spa next door.
Pure Fiji Factory Outlet hours: Saturdays 10am-1pm
Note: pictures are not allowed inside the Pure Fiji Factory Outlet
10. Dine out
Suva = capital of international business = wide variety of international cuisine, amirite? From the food stalls in the streets to themed restaurants, there is plenty to choose from. Fijian, Indian and Chinese cuisine are the most popular and widely available in Suva. Fijians enjoy a meat-based diet but don’t worry, there are ample vegetarian options available as well. You can read more about Fijian food here. Try out different restaurants and discover the best delicacies in town!
Have you been to Suva? Are you an expat here? Let me know in the comment below if I missed anything!
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