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Fiji Etiquette

Brisbane, Australia
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709 posts
13 reviews
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Fiji Etiquette

Hi. I'm travelling to Fiji for the first time in three weeks, and I haven't really been able to find too much that tells me about cultural etiquette.

The main things I've found is Bula means hello, not to wear a head covering in the villages, and ladies to cover up when in the villages.

How do you pronounce Bula? Is it Boar-la?

Is there anything else that you can tell me that I should learn?

Thanks for your help!

Sydney, Australia
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63 posts
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1. Re: Fiji Etiquette

Hi, I've just returned from Fiji 2 weeks ago, so I have a few ideas that may help.

Bula is actually pronounced MBula as all words with b are pronounced mb, additionally all words with q are pronounced 'ng' and words with d are pronounced 'nd'. Confusing? You won't master it, but it's handy to know.

Another common word is Vinaka, which is thanks.

Another tip for the villages, no sunglasses or hats inside.

Habe a good time,

Cheers,

Rock

Brisbane, Australia
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709 posts
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2. Re: Fiji Etiquette

Oh my goodness! LOL Wow, no, I probably won't get it in a week. :( Thanks for the tip about sunglasses!

Brisbane, Australia
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3. Re: Fiji Etiquette

Oh, and thanks for Vinaka. It was going to be one of the words I was going to look up! :)

4. Re: Fiji Etiquette

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Tea Gardens...
Destination Expert
for Mana Island
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1,761 posts
38 reviews
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5. Re: Fiji Etiquette

In addition to dress etiquette the following should be observed-

No nude or topless sunbathing as this is considered offensive.

If offered a bowl of kava at least try it-considered rude if you don't

Take off shoes when entering a bure or house,

Don't touch any Fijian,s head- considered offensive.

If visiting a village stay with the host and dont wander around

Brisbane, Australia
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709 posts
13 reviews
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6. Re: Fiji Etiquette

That's great! Thank you! I didn't know about the head! I knew to take off the shoes. :)

Trust me, at 41, nude or topless sunbathing isn't an option. ;) Thanks so much!

As for the kava, would each "offering" have different strengths? Like, some may affect more than others? I'm keen to try though.

Tea Gardens...
Destination Expert
for Mana Island
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1,761 posts
38 reviews
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7. Re: Fiji Etiquette

No the kava all comes from the one big kava bowl which may be stronger if taken from the bottom. If you ask they will give you a full tide or half tide bowl.

Reno, Nv
Destination Expert
for Matangi Island, Fiji
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5,541 posts
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8. Re: Fiji Etiquette

Kava is considered a mild narcotic. Can numb the tongue and give a buzz depending on how strong it is mixed. The kava root is pulverized and mixed with water. Not very appealing. Looks like dirty, muddy water. Will admit was very apprehensive about trying it on our first trip to Fiji. It is meant to be gulped down, and not sipped. Best to ask for "low tide" meaning the coconut shell will be half filled opposed to full. Know the cup is passed from person to person.

Have been to several resorts in Fiji. Some guests chose politely not to partake in the kava and no offense was taken by the staff. It is up to you whether you want to partake or not.

Bellingen, Australia
Destination Expert
for Fiji, Mamanuca Islands, Navini Island
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9. Re: Fiji Etiquette

Bula is pronounced - bull arrr.... Vinaka ;is pronounced - Vee narka. good morning is Yadra pronounced yarn dra. Goodnight is Moce proncounced - more they No hats in village, shoulders must be covered and women must wear sulu (sarong) covering their knees, ask permisson to wear sunglasses. Fijinas consider thier heads sacred so don't touch or pat them on the head. You can refuse Kava politely but why not try it...ask for 'low tide'. No nude or topless sunbathing and guys should cover their chests at meals unless dining outdoors.

Melbourne, Australia
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10. Re: Fiji Etiquette

When speaking Fijian to elders, chief of village or strangers it is polite to use Ni Sa (pronounced nee sa) infront of your sentence eg/ ni sa bula, ni sa mode etc... Kerekere (pronounced Kery-Kery) = please, io (pronounced ee-yo) = yes, sega (pronounced senga) = no... Bula also means cheers (when toasting a drink) and moce also means goodbye... Kava can come in different strengths, depends on how much water is used when making it... Have fun!! :)