Beware friendly, helpfull people in Nadi
I see there are already similar tips already posted but, this one had a little twist. We were strolling along in downtown Nadi and had just walked out of Jacks souvenirs. Jacks seems to be the best and safest place to shop, although you do get sick of the salespeople hovering over you all the time (seems browsing is not allowed).
A friendly Fijian man suggested we head further down the road to the Fijian area of town as it was cheaper shopping than the Indian part. We thanked him and kept heading in the direction he pointed, and he went away. Some distance on we bumped into him again. He told us we were nearly at the market but on the wrong side of the road and he helped us cross the busy street.
Once in the store we were introduced to a man in the shop who was very friendly and made us very welcome. To cut a long story short, within about 15 minutes we were now feeling very pressured to be very expensive items. By now 3 other men had appeared and were hanging around is the shop, with another one standing in the doorway of the shop.
He found out our names when we arrived and a small statue was carved which was our "free" gift as he knew people where we were from in NZ. The atmosphere had now changed and we felt threatened and worried about our safety. We had to buy several overpriced items and the men were very keen to see how much money I was carrying. We believe this could have turned fairly nasty.
Unique Suggestions: My advice is if looking for souvenirs Jack's is the place to go and beware of locals offering help. As this was the end of our holiday and we had nothing but good experiences on Plantation Island, we had let our guard down and walked right into this one.
Downtown Nadi is not worth visiting, and there are very good souvenir stores at the airport with excellent prices.
On a positive note, the Fijians at the resorts and hotels we did find to be very helpful and nice.Related to:
- Study Abroad
- Family Travel
That cheap resort that will save you a few $$....
When I book my holidays, I am always quite happy with myself that I've done my research and have come to a logical conclusion that I've chosen a good resort and paying a fair price. I have now come to realise that the pictures on some of the cheap resorts are really glamour shots of the place...most likely when it was first built still. I've seen photos of expensive resorts and when I get there...it actually really does look just like the photos. So I've now been suckered in twice like this.
When you book your holidya in Fiji, base your choice on the amenties you require or wish to have and the PRICE will tell you at what end of the scale the resort is in.
Unique Suggestions: I always believe you can make the best of a poor situation. In both circumstances of mine in Fiji, we went to Denarau and hung out there. The place is so big that staff do not always know whether you're a guest or not so you can get away with using their facilities. We had it lucky as we had someone we knew staying there each time. But the best idea is to just get out of the resort so you feel like you're doing something with yourself.
Fun Alternatives: Get out of there if its really bad. If they have your credit card and are going to charge it, then I guess you have to bite the bullet and stay. Just find activities to do outside of the resort. You will only find these mediocre resorts on the mainland. Every island I visited had heaps of different activities to participate in for adults and kids and you were never bored.Related to:
- Budget Travel
Mana Island bookings - take care
Be careful when making your own bookings for Mana-Island Fiji
Unique Suggestions: Take care by booking flights/SSC-Cruise by yourself (which can not be cancelled), as the Mana Island Resort will not welcom you for one day.
I first asked by e-mail whether they can organize transportation from the airstrip and lunch, everything was fine.
Right after I received a message that I need to pay a supplementary fee as a day guest.
At last they suggest to make the booking by SCC Cruise for a day, which I do not want.
So what; I can not cancel my bookings there&back by AirPacific and SSC-Cruises.
Fun Alternatives: Do not visit the island, there are better places to visit.Related to:
- Luxury Travel
- Spa and Resort
- Family Travel
The agents at the airport
The agents can be of a great help, but take evereything they say with a pinch of salt! Our agent Fili promised us that our room at Mereani's shared a bathroom with only one other room, and that the rate was 60 Fiji dollars for the two of us. What we paid was 70 + tax, and we shared two showers and two toilets with 20 other people. She also gave us the impression that transport to / from airport and harbour was included, but we had to pay taxi drivers all the time. Upon our return from Mana we had to spend a night at the "hotel" where Fili had her "office". We paid 10 FJD extra to have an air conditioned room, but all we got was an old fan. And Fili was nowhere to be seen, thus we never got back the change she owed us from our arrival.
Unique Suggestions: All in all it was OK to have someone fixing everything for us, we were brought here and there, and deals were made for us. But she cheated us, and I am sure she cheated the people running both Mount View and Mereani's too, the two places she had arranged for us to stay. Make sure to have all agreements written down and signed, with all prices including taxes. But be prepared for surprises anyway!
Fun Alternatives: Make your reservations by internet before you get there.Related to:
Enjoy the kava, but prepare to buy something
Many of the shops in Nadi that are run by villagers from the mountains who will invite you in for kava. We had a welcome ceremony especially for us and spent an hour joking and drinking kava on a mat in a store in Nadi. But of course, after much hospitality, you SHOULD buy something from the store to help support the village. Just realize that some of the prices and items are much more expensive than the souvenires you can get at "Jack's" down the street (however, they are more rare and usually better quality).
The sword sellers again!!!
This one seems to be a favourite but its still going on. Wandering around Lautoka we were approached by a friendly local (they mostly are) who started chatting to us and telling us about his brother who lives in Auckland etc etc. In no time he not only has your names, but in your hand is a newspaper wrapped set of small wooden swords which he snatches back and starts to engrave your name on and then asks for money.
Unique Suggestions: We politely declined and walked away, but friends were caught. Whilst its disappointing that this happens (we were keen to talk to locals) it seems to be a fact of life.
Fun Alternatives: The only ways around it are either (a) give yourself a really foreign sounding name so they don't know how to spell it, or (b) just don't talk to anyone (not a great solution).
The island of Beachcomber attracts young people. There is accommodation on the island but it's not pleasant for a day tour. We found it very crowded, not cheap at all, and if you are there only for the day, you feel like an intruder.
Fun Alternatives: Much better: go to one of those uninhabited islands, used only for day trips
Blue Lagoon Beach
If your in the Yasawas, the trip tp the blue lagoon will be a day trip offered to you. It is not very impressive, and most of the time has several cruise ships and yahts parked in front. It kinda looses its appeal when its not secluded. You will probably have the lagoon pointed out to you from the boat that takes you to your resort anyway. So save your money and go for the cave trip instead.
The 10 Minute Handshake
Watch out for those shopkeepers who extend their arm to shake your hand, if you do they will hold on and lead you into the shop. To avoid this, without being rude, I found that I could grab the tips of thier fingers for a shallow shake and say bulaand keep walking.
The lip trembling eye bulging serial killer stare also works to thwart these shopkeepers, they usually pull their arm back real fast!
NADI SHOP KEEPERS
While in the shopping areas in Nadi, beware extra nice shopkeepers. Dont let them hand you anything, and if they do put it down. Dont drink Kava with them. They will expect you to pay for everything. This is not the same in the villages, generally if someone wants to give you something it is genuine kindness.
Carving - Yes i have fallen for this.
One thing to be aware of in Fiji. While your wandering down the street looking for bargins, beware of the odd Fijian who stops and asks your name, before you know it he has pulled out a set of wooden carved knives or boats and etched your name in it and insists you buy them. This will usually only cost you $5-10 Fijian dollars.
Unique Suggestions: If you have this happen to you, i suppose there isnt much to do apart from pay the man and smile as you walk off with your newly acquired knives or boats as the case may be.
I suppose you can say you have a piece of Fiji and a good story to tell your mates when you get home.
LIke most cities the hustler...
LIke most cities the hustler exist here.it is usually the Indian people who are more
$$$$ focused..the average Fijian would never dream of approaching you..Crafts in the
shops are not impressive...but expensive...You can buy the shirts ,sarongs, etc in the
native stores for far less at least half of the gift shop prices..Use Fiji $$..In Singatogaka
pressure selling is more aggressive...avoid the craft dealers there...the will hound you
Not necessarily a tourist trap...
Not necessarily a tourist trap per se, but the shopping at the Shangri-La was preferrable to going into town. The prices at the closes town were expensive and they basically had the same items that the resort had. The resort had all types of shops: convenience store, clothing, camera shop, and many souvenier places. The people are very friendly and eager to help. If you go to Nad's say hi to Rakesh from Judy who visited last year fro Canada (I was the one that bought the beautiful wooden sculpture as a wedding gift to my husband)!
Sword Sellers. Especially in...
Sword Sellers. Especially in towns, tourists are often approached by people who will ask a few general questions and then offer to give you a sword with your name on it as a gift. They will then ask for money. You are under no obligation to buy the sword and you can pick them up at handicraft stores for much better prices.
The picture is of Sigatoka, where we were approached by a sword seller. On a side note, the bridge in the picture was used for vehicles until 1997. Hmmm.
Overpriced tour buses from...
Overpriced tour buses from resorts and hotels. Many resorts have buses that take people into town for a much higher price that you pay catching the local bus. If you pick the right local transport (eg and express bus) it's usually cheaper and more fun because you get to travel with the locals. Ask around before deciding how to get somewhere.
This picture has no relevance, I just wanted to put it up!
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