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I like flying blind. Much to my mother’s worry, my curiosity and spirit for adventure sometimes means I sometimes go places no one else we know have been, sometimes even without doing much research. The little I knew of Fiji was that it has amazing resorts with azure waters to rival the likes of Maldives and Seychelles. With my childhood dreams of Hawaii – the birth of my bucket list —  yet unfulfilled, the allure of mysterious Fiji seas sang a mermaid’s song to my heart and made it onto my bucket list.

I dived into the sea of unknown in April last year, where I got to check Fiji off my bucket list. Check! 10 points to Gryffindor Rebeccador!

And how was Fiji? LOVED.

On our first day, our guide took a picture and told us to compare it to how we’ll look on the last day of our trip. He promised a transformation. Though the trip was just 5 days, he was totally right. In fact the effect lasted way into my return in Singapore, where I was wearing a deep delicious tan, a flower in my hair, smelling of coconut lotion, with a bright smile on my face and a spring in my step. The Fiji effect.

IMG_20160308_114810Me at the start. All tidy, in shirt and pants.
IMG_20160311_082437 Me after a couple of days. In island girl mode, curls all loose.

Not only is Fiji as incredibly beautiful as pictures suggest – forrealz – it is also one of those authentic places that lights something in you which stays with you long after you leave. The Fiji islands had a very real rejuvenating effect for me — exactly what you want from a holiday :)

So here I’ll share my top moments in Fiji.

Tip:

Fiji isn’t about checking off a list of must-see attractions so it’s not quite a ‘top things to do in Fiji’. You do you, in Fiji. It’s about relaxing, taking in the amazing views/nature and experiencing the amazingly warm hospitality of the local Fijian culture. So you might do completely different activities than I did, but you’ll surely find your own way to feeling just like I do. That is, all peace & love like a 60’s hippie.

 

The Best of Fiji – My Trip Highlights

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1

The Bula Spirit

The fun begun the moment we stepped off the plane! Our guide from Rosie Holidays was there to greet us in full Fijian traditional wear, and behind him a group of Fijians singing a lively welcome to the island. Apparently, the singing welcome is for EVERY plane landing in Nadi International Airport :)  Instantly, you forget all worries and slip into island holiday mode. Bula!

Fiji Airport Welcome Party

Btw, Bula is the local greeting – kinda like ‘Aloha’. Everyone and anyone on Fiji islands greets you with a big smile and a Bula! anytime you walk by :) It’s all smiles and love. Most island resorts also have a huge welcome for anyone checking in, with songs, garlands, wet towels and coconuts or totally yummy tropical drinks. Awesome!

bula-welcome-hideaway

 

2

The Views

Arriving at the first resort, I was gobsmacked by the view. Repeat this effect at every single Fijian resort we stayed in. I’m pretty sure whichever resort you choose to stay, you’ll be blown away by the super picturesque Fiji setting.

Swaying palmtrees? Straw-roof huts? Blue waves? A zillion plants and colourful flowers? Check, check, check!

Outrigger Fiji ResortView from my balcony at Outrigger Resort

3

Cloud 9

By far the most outstanding moment for me.

Cloud 9

Cloud 9 is a floating platform in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I KNOW RIGHT?! With cocktails and the clearest water I have ever seen in my life. (Coming from Singapore where we’re used to seeing brown water, about 50 ships on the horizon and going fishing 10 times before catching 1 fish, this was jaw-dropping. You’re able to see fish swimming deep down in the water with your plain eyes, and above, turquoise waters meets the blue skies on the horizon. Be-yu-ti-ful).

Just chilling on Cloud 9 is amazing enough but I have to say swimming in the middle of the ocean is a top moment in my entire life.

 cocktails-on-cloud-9  Cocktails on Cloud 9cloud-9-swimmingBest swim eva!Cloud 9 Guestscloud-9-barThe awesome bartenders who created a ‘Bex Special’ cocktail for me :)

4

Fresh Lobster at Intercontinental

For my main course at Intercontinental Fiji Golf Resort & Spa, I had a serving of fresh lobster. It didn’t come with sides so I had a small portion of pork belly. Man… that was the best lobster I’ve ever tasted. Absolutely delicious. Fiji does fresh seafood to perfection!

The pork belly was also super duper delicious. Tender and juicy and mmm-mmm.

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5

Kokoda

Kokoda (pronounced kokonda) is fresh fish cooked using a traditional Fijian recipe which, rather interestingly, doesn’t include a flame of any sort. Not steamed or panfried or baked.. Nada. Instead, the fish is slow cooked by marinating in lemon juice for hours. The citrus then cooks the fish. That’s it! How fascinating!

The marinate includes a delicious mix of flavours, resulting in a very fresh serving of fish served in a sea of coconut and chilli. Surprisingly delicious and definitely a new flavour for me.

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6

Kayaking in the Pacific Ocean

Early morning kayaking at Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort in the Sigatoka area. Energizing!

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7

Early Morning Swim at Intercontinental Fiji Resort

Pool, beach, horizon. #picturesforreal #neverbluffone

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8

Cultural Performances

We had the privilege of witnessing several cultural performances in Fiji. I even got up to join one — at Musket Cove Resort.

The Fijians sing beautifully and use simple instruments to create great tempos and melodies. I was impressed by all the warrior dances that look manly and graceful at the same time. Here’s a clip of just one of the many performances. This one was after dinner at Outrigger Resort along the Coral Coast.

 

9

Bed, Bath and Beyond at Intercontinental

My favourite room of all the hotels. The Intercontinental Fiji has all the comforts and luxuries you can imagine, plus amazing views and an authentic set up. This room at sunset though just blew my mind. Just look!

intercontinental-fijiview-intercontinental-fiji-resortbed-intercontinental-fiji-fiji-intercontinental-bathtub\

The luxurious bathtub is OUTSIDE overlooking the rest of the resort below and the sea beyond it. They provide a Pure Fiji coconut soak and a little candle so you can enjoy a totally relaxing bath and emerge like a goddess under a golden sunset. Okay, I exagerate. But seriously, what a room!

Lots of chairs too if you just want to sit outside with a glass of wine.

 

10

Liku Liku

Even just saying Liku Liku is fun, kan?

I may not have stayed the night but I was still really impressed by Liku Liku Lagoon Resort. This is the famous resort on Malolo Island that has bungalows built over water, so you can see through the floor of your room into the ocean. And of course your balcony leads out to an unbeatable view.

There are few places in the world that have accommodation like this, and the beauty of Liku Liku is that it’s in a part of the world that isn’t overrun with tourists. Stunning. You need only peer at the water to see the colourful protected marine life swishing about, and live corals under your bungalow.

The island is private. No kids allowed.

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Bonus: The People of Fiji

My individual favourite experience would definitely be Cloud 9 but the best part of Fiji is really its people. They are incredibly friendly and this comes from a deep-rooted culture. It’s evident as you wander Fiji and never fail to get a friendly Bula! and a smile. Service is excellent everywhere.

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Our tour guide Eroni, who is easily the best tour guide I’ve ever had, taught us loads about the local culture. They have some incredible sayings that they live by.

“We share everything. If I don’t share it, it’s not mine”

For one, they address tourists as “family” and believe that whoever makes it to Fiji was selected to be there, to share in their happiness. What’s important to them?

“God, nature and you.”

They seem to take tourism to heart, so when you visit it’s more like receiving a big hug from Fijians who go out of their way to welcome you and make sure you are filled with happiness as you explore their home.

“I’m on Fiji Time. No hurry, no worry”

What a beautiful people and a beautiful place.

Bula!

fiji-warriors   fiji-village sunshine-fiji-kula-eco-parkfiji-familybula-fiji-coconutsroni-malolooutrigger-fiji-warriors


Bikini On and Ready for Bula Time?

From April 6, you will be able to fly direct from Singapore to Fiji on Fiji’s home carrier, Fiji Airways. Roundtrip fares are currently on sale. Check out the latest ticket prices for flights from Singapore to Fiji on Expedia. Flights operate twice a week.

Fiji Airways Flight to Nadi