The Ultimate Fiji Guidebook: Moon Fiji

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

I’m addicted. I pick up one of David Stanley’s books, and I can’t put it down. I read, and dream, and plan – but there’s SO MUCH to take in! Such is the life, yes?! My latest book love is Moon Fiji. But it’s not only for dreaming, in these cold Michigan winters. It’s a true planning guide, detailing culture, location, accommodations, restaurants, activities, and ALL of the islands in Fiji. Did you know that there are 322 islands in Fiji? That’s a lot to see and do. Luckily, David has carefully researched Fiji, and has shared this research in this extraordinary travel guide.

 

One of my favorite sections in the book (since I am so very interested in learning about culture) shares the land, flora and fauna, history and government, economy, people and culture, and arts and entertainment. Another key chapter in the book is the essentials – covering getting there, getting around (there are several transportation options in Fiji, but as you can guess, many are on water), visas, conduct, accommodations, food and drink, tips for travelers, health and safety, and information and services. This book is packed with photos, honest descriptions, and true knowledge that only someone that's been there frequently can share.

 

Specific island sections cover Nadi and the Mamanucas, the Yasawa Islands, Southern Viti Levu, Suva and vicinity, Northern Viti Levu, the Lomaiviti Group, Vanua Levu, Tavenui, and the Lau Group and Rotuma. David also collates some incredible itineraries: the 10 day best of Fiji, island hopper special, Fiji’s finest beaches, the real Fiji, diving and snorkeling in Fiji, for nature lovers, and the life aquatic.

 

Scuba, Fiji

Photo courtesy of the South Pacific Tourism Organisation

 

If you’re headed to Fiji, this is the ONLY book you need – it’s that complete.

 

We caught up with David and asked him about Moon Fiji, researching the book, travel recommendations, giving back, and more. Here’s what he had to say...

 

WE: Please tell us about your book, Moon Fiji...

DS: From 1985 until today my Fiji guidebook has gone through nine editions under various names: Finding Fiji, Fiji Islands Handbook, Fiji Handbook, Moon Handbooks Fiji, and now Moon Fiji. It was originally based on the Fiji chapter from Moon Handbooks South Pacific and has since developed into 419-page guide with 53 maps and 170 photos.

 

South Pacific Tourism Organisation

Photo courtesy of the South Pacific Tourism Organisation

 

WE: This guide is So comprehensive - what were the challenges (and joys) of researching this book?

DS: Over the past three decades, I’ve really enjoyed researching all nine editions. Fiji is a friendly, inviting country with a great variety of things to see and do. There are always lots of new facilities for me to check out and it’s fun getting back to old haunts. One of the biggest challenges I face on the road is maintaining my anonymity. I always try to experience things the way my readers will, which means freebies and VIP treatment are taboo. It’s often difficult to ask the necessary questions at hotels and restaurants while keeping a low profile. On a small Pacific island, when one person knows you’re researching a guidebook, everybody knows.

 

WE: Besides reading this guide cover to cover, what do you recommend travelers do before they head to Fiji?

DS: The most important thing is allowing enough time between flights. Two weeks is the minimum required to get a real feel for Fiji and one month is not too long. Beside that, there isn’t a lot you need to do beforehand as no visas or vaccinations are required. When packing, try to keep your bag down to 10 kilograms and bring something you can easily carry around. You won’t need a lot of clothing.

 

 Tourism Fiji

Photo courtesy of Tourism Fiji 

 

WE: What is your favorite island, in Fiji (and why)?

DS: I’m a history buff and for me Fiji’s old capital Levuka on Ovalau Island is tops. It’s very relaxing and there are lots of inexpensive facilities and attractions. Getting there from Suva is easy by bus and ferry, or you can fly in under an hour. When it’s time to leave, there are bus and ferry connections to Vanua Levu, another favourite island of mine. And from Savusavu you can easily continue to Taveuni Island by boat and bus.

 

WE: How can travelers best give back, while they are in Fiji?

DS: Money spent at locally owned facilities produce the most benefits for local residents. In my guidebook I give preference to hotels and restaurants with deep roots in the islands rather than international resorts. At restaurants, one should order locally harvested fish and vegetables rather than imported beef. When shopping, buy local handicrafts and apparel rather than imported watches and perfumes. Instead of renting a car, use Fiji’s excellent public bus system. It’s easier on the environment and your dollars support facilities which are also used by the local population.

 

Photo courtesy of Tourism Fiji

Photo courtesy of Tourism Fiji  

 

 

WE: HOW can anyone decide where to go? There's so much good stuff....

DS: It’s smart to focus on one area, and if beaches are your thing, western Fiji will not disappoint you. The Mamanuca Islands off Nadi are popular among families and couples on package tours while the more remote Yasawa Group is a favourite of independent travelers. Eastern and northern Fiji are ideal for those interested in history, culture, nature, and scuba diving. Taveuni Island has it all.

 

WE:  Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?

DS: The hardest part is actually deciding to go. Once you’re over that, the rest is easy. I’ve been to 181 of the 193 United Nations member countries and I don’t regret a single trip. As soon as I get home from one trip, I start planning the next. Traveling has been my life for almost half a century and I don’t feel I’m anywhere near the end of the road as yet. It’s a powerful addiction.

 

Photo courtesy of Tourism Fiji

Photo courtesy of Tourism Fiji  

 

 

 

David Stanley is the author of Moon Handbooks South Pacific, Moon Fiji, and Moon Tahiti, published by Avalon Travel of Berkeley, California. His personal website is http://www.southpacific.org

 

 

 

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