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needing advise

Coffs Harbour
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26 posts
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needing advise

I have been reading all of these forums and looking through the accommodation reviews etc..... all great info, but now I think I'm more confused than when I started! Everything seems fabulous!

My partner and I are going to Samoa at Easter (arrive 9th April) for 20 days....can't wait... But really confused as to where to stay initially! We want to do both island as it sounds like we've got enough time for that.... But where to start? We get in at about 4.30pm.... so would it be best to spend a night or two really close to Apia central to stock up etc and then head out to the beaches.... or would it be better to head straight for the ferry and do savaii island first.... we want to end up do a mixture of beach fales and then somewhere like savaii lagoon etc. Any advise appreciated! Also, does anyone know how much scooter hire is in samoa?

Woolgoolga...
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for Apia, Samoa
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1. Re: needing advise

Malo lava

and afio mai (welcome) - as you can see from my avatar we're virtually neighbours - I'm from Woopi, looks like we Coffs Coasters make great choices in holiday destinations.

Firstly, if you land at 4.30pm you won't be able to go straight to Savaii as the last ferry leaves at 4. They were going to schedule one for 6 but even then you wouldn't make it with the time it takes to go through Immigration and customs.

So it looks like 1st stop Apia. If you can let me know what your budget is it would make it much easier for us to make recommendations. If you want a truly authentic introduction to Samoan life and culture then I'd highly recommend Taumesina Hideaway (hideaway.com.ws). It is a small 'hideaway' in the village of Moata'a (about 5 mins from Apia) so the villagers are your neighbours. The fales are small but clean and comfortable and reasonably priced. It is situated right on a lagoon that leads into Apia Harbour so is great for swimming as well and if you choose the breakfast option there's no more magical way to start the day than sitting on the veranda, eating brekky and watching stunning sunrises. Your hosts, Sara and Masi will go out of their way to make sure you have everything you need and are a wealth of info on anything Samoan. They will also pick you up from the airport.

If you want to go to the beaches next, there's no better choice than the beautiful Lalomanu which has made a miraculous recovery from the devastation of the tsunami. I'd recommend Taufua Beach Fales or Litia Sini and you can choose either an open fale where you can sleep under the stars letting the sound of the waves loll you to sleep or an enclosed fale which gives you more privacy. Breakfast and dinner are also included at all fale properties If you wanted a night of luxury after the beach then head to Seabreeze Resort, it was utterly destroyed in the tsunami but has been rebuilt after a lot of hard work and is wonderful for a night or 2 of pampering. Also look at Sinalei Reef Resort, Samoana Surf Resort and Le Uaina.

On Savaii I can't speak hgihly enough of Savaii Lagoon Resort, the whole property is amazing, the 'bungalows' huge, the views beautiful, the food wonderful and the staff are always smiling and welcoming (I'm running out of adjectives!!!) It is my favourite resort on Savaii and the beach is just metres from your doorstep. Le Lagoto next door is great as well so if you feel like doing a bit of resort hopping for a change of menu and atmosphere it's literally a 5 minute walk. The beach is great for snorkeling and diving as well. Up the road a bit is Manase Beach where the majority of fale accommodation is. Have a look a Tanu's, Janes, Regina's and Vacations. If you want to 'slum' it a bit then go to my 2nd favourite - Vaisala Hotel, in Vaisala Bay at Asau. It is a charming, rundown hotel that is very traditionally Samoan and the only budget accommodation I know of in Samoa that has both hot water and air con. They have this beautiful little honeymoon cottage right on the beach. The other rooms all have balconies with great views. The food is superb and the prices even better - a large fresh lobby for 40 tala (around $AU15)!!! The menu is limited depending on the catch of the day and whatever other course they decide on. A great tropical breakfast is also included. Staying at Vaisala is like going back 50 years in time. Also at Asau, just around the corner is a more upmarket fale resort called Va-i--Moana Seaside Lodge, a beautiful resort with a great communal atmosphere and wonderful food and staff.

Well that's about all for my recommendations but I suggest you go to jasons.com/samoa for a more comprehensive list of accommodation and info on everything Samoan, you'll find details of scooter hire there as well. You can order a free travel guide and map which will arrive within a week and they are great help in planning.

I have one concern about going at Easter. Samoa is a very religious nation and you will find most places "shut down" over the Easter period (obviously not the resorts you're staying in) and this includes the ferries so I'd go to the Samoa Shipping Corporation website and checkout their Easter sailing schedule, if it's not posted on the site just contact them and they'll email you back with the details.

Are you thinking of hiring a car? It really is the best way of exploring and discovery this beautiful country.

I hope this helps. Any more questions fire away

Manuia le aso (have a great day)

Deb

Coffs Harbour
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2. Re: needing advise

thank you so much for all the info! I guess it is Apia as a first stop.... How long do you think it would be good to stay in Apia in order to get a bit of a feel for the place.... check out the markets etc?

All the places that you have mentioned are ones that I have come across and are looking at so at least I'm heading in the right direction! It's just the choice that's the hard part..... can't seem to decide between Litia sini or Taufua.... I initially didn't realise that they were next to each other so thought that we could use Litia as our bit more upmarket stay on that island (as I believe the beach front rooms are now about $130 AU) and then use Taufua as the fale accom for that island.... but its a bit stupid to pick two places next to each other!

On Savaii we are definately looking at Savaii lagoon (again I believe around $130 AU) due to all the wonderful reviews.Undecided on the fale accom on that island yet.

What is Lucia's lagoon ones like?

Re:car.... initially were looking at getting a car, but it seems quite expensive...around $50 AU a day... and over 20 days that gets quite pricey. That's why I was looking at the possibility of scooters and perhaps not having them for the whole time, but just hiring them for a couple of days when we're in the mood for exploring if that makes sense. so that we're not just wasting money when we decide to bunker down and not do anything for a few days except swim, read, swim, eat etc!

WOuld love to have stayed in sinalei as that looks really pretty but it seems its definately up there in price! I was actually quite surprised at how expensive the accom in Samoa is now..... I had heard so many reports of how incredibly cheap it was and even thinking back to Bali etc if you were to pay $150 or so for a room in Bali you could get something that looks along the lines of sinalei.... and not something like Savaii lagoon (looks wise)

Still can't wait to go though! Thanks again for the help!

kurrajong
Destination Expert
for Samoa
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3. Re: needing advise

Hi i totally agree with deb's recommendations, and yes i agree that some places they are a bit pricey, but samoa is not really set up for lots of tourists, which is one of the many reasons why is LOVE samoa!

in choosing between litias and taufaus, they are both great, just a little different and both on an incredible beach! if your keen to experincetraditional fales then i would stay at taufaus really lovely basic traditioanl fales, all the food is served buffet communal style ( at both places) and very generous, nothing fancy but really good honest tasty food!

if your not keen on fales then litia's is lovley ( but yes a bit more pricey) the rooms have a fan, light and powerpoint, and a great covered verandah, which is nice either to keep out of the sun or the rain.

In savaii i have the same favourite as deb, and last sept was my first time staying there, so i have stayed at suifaga, lelagoto resort, reginas fales, vacations fales, vai moana and savaii lagoon is my favourite ! the rooms are great and you have plenty of space, they dont have aircon, but they have fans, the food is incredible! and the staff are amazing, and all on an increbible lagoon!

other nice places - in town - manumea resort really nice rooms!

near the airport ferry - levasa - ( they also have some cheaper garden rooms - just ask!)

hope this helps

i havent been to bali - so i cant compare but trust us there is something really 'special' about samoa.

hope this helps

sue

Woolgoolga...
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for Apia, Samoa
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4. Re: needing advise

Malo lava

I agree with Sue's explanation re pricing in Samoa for accommodation, it still has a fledgling tourism industry and is not geared to mainstream tourism so prices are higher because there aren't as many visitors. Also, because it isn't on a main freight route for supplies they have to pay big money for cool storage for perishables. Sometimes it'll be 3 months between visits of supply ships. The lack of tourists ads to the overall magic of this beautiful country and actually makes you feel lucky to be there. I never want that to change, it will ruin a pristine environment but it will change as the economy grows.

If you want an authentic Samoan fale experience then opt for Taufua, if you want a bit more privacy and a little more upscale then go Litia's. Bear in mind that both have shared facilities though. Also, I don't know whether you were aware, all fale accommodations only have cold water so it's a matter of taking a deep breath and getting under the shower, it's a bit of a shock at first but then you realise it's very refreshing because of the heat and humidity.

Re hiring a car - the longer you take it the cheaper it gets, you can get some great deals. Contact Samoana Rentals, Island Renta, Funway Rentals and Go Rentals and see what deals you can do. Even if you have one for a week to get around Savaii, it's a much bigger island, it's truly worth it. A taxi tour around the island would set you back around 280 tala so even for a day the car would be cheaper. As I said with the scooter, check jasons.com/samoa and look under "getting around".

Are you leaving from Brisbane or Sydney? If you decide to stay at Taumesina it's and excellent base for a couple of days in Apia being only 5 mins away. Sara and Masi would pick you up at the airport and settle you in and either take you into town or get you a taxi so you can go in for any supplies you want. Alternatively, if you can afford to stay at somewhere like Manumea (further out of town) you'll be settled and have dinner and get ready for the next coupled of days. I'd give Apia 2 days to get around and see everything, you can easily spend half a day wandering around the markets. Then the rest of the days exploring th the streets, shops, cafes, restaurants and visiting places like Robert Louis Stevenson Museum, Papapapasee'a Sliding Rocks (lots of fun) and just enjoying what is still a very colonial little town. For lunch I'd recommend Gourmet Seafood and Grill opposite the International Wharf - the best fish and chips in the world or if you want to experience the history and old world charm of Samoa then you can't go past Aggie Greys Hotel andBungalows.

On the afternoon of the 2nd day head toeither Taufua or Litia's. The taxi will probably cost around 80 tala, then just chill for a while and watch paradise go by.

With the prices at Savaii Lagoon, $AU130 is cheap based on what you'd pay for the same sort of accommodation in Australia. Have a look at Opal Cove, Anuka or Pacific Bay and see if you can get a room for $130??

Lusia's is great, they have lovely over the water fales BUT they are right in the middle of Salelologa, the main town and where the ferry docks. The only asset is that they are a short walk or bus ride from the Savaii markets. You would definitely need a car to get around from Lusia's, same goes for Vaisala Hotel and Va-i-Moana as they are a little isolated.

With Savaii Lagoon in Fagamalo and then the fale accommodations just up the road at Manase Beach it's not necessary for a car as you can walk everywhere.

Another tip if you aren't going to go with the car many places run their own tours,the fale ones when they have enough people. Also, sometimes you'll find that people with a car are quite happy for you to tag along if you contribute to the petrol.

Bali is basically a tourist mecca which is why their prices are so low. You'll find vast differences in the beauty of the scenery, the culture and the people, Samoan traditions and environment remain in tact, Bali has basically been ruined by tourism. As Sue says, Samoa is very special and you'll be in awe.

I hope I've covered all your questions. Phew!! Anymore though, please come back and don't forget to check out Jasons.

Manuia le aso

Deb

5. Re: needing advise

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