3 cheap things in Fiji compared to Australia
When you travel to Fiji on holidays, or move to Fiji as an expat, or move anywhere as an expat, there are going to be certain things that you find more expensive than in your home country. In Fiji, I've found that mostly these will be the imported items, like surf-branded clothing (Billabong etc), branded Kids toys (Barbie etc) and imported food (hello, Vegemite!). A good old "Maccas run" will also set you back more dollars than you expected.
However, there are cheaper things too, like hair-cuts (my Hubby gets his in Suva for $3FJD) and eyebrow-threading (for me $2FJD). It's definitely a shock in the months we stay in Australia and Hubby's hair-cuts are $25AUD ($39FJD - thats $36 more in Australia than in Fiji!!).
Here are three things that we find cheaper when living in Fiji compared to living in Australia.
When taxi prices doubled back in 2011, taxi drivers in Fiji were understandably thrilled! Not so much the locals. However, as a foreigner arriving in Fiji, I think you will find the pricing very reasonable (so much so that you may be able to spare a bit extra as a tip!).
There are two types of taxis:
AIRPORT TAXIS - they are a uniform yellow in colour and only allowed to pick up from the Airport (they pay a premium for this right). Their flagfall is higher than normal taxis at $5, and meter rate is $1.00 per km.
TOWN TAXIS - they are all sorts of colours, and not allowed to pick up from the Airport unless it is pre-arranged (although it is a little hard to monitor). Their flagfall is $1.50 and meter rate is $1.00 per km.
When you are living in Suva, taxis are numerous (except when it's raining and you have no umbrella!). They are also loud. When they see an expat walking along the road, they will likely start beeping their horn at you to get your attention...
FIJI TAXI TIPS
* Make sure the Driver turns their meter on. I have experienced it so many times whereby they "forgot" and when we get to the destination which is normally a $3.60 fare, I get asked for "oh $10 will be fine because you've been a good customer".
* Once you find a good Driver, ask for his number. Not for a date! But you can ring him whenever you need transport and he will be there like a flash. We found a great Driver who would automatically be at our house at 7.45am each school day to take the kids to school. Value your good Driver, and he will value you.
* If you are doing a long trip, like Nadi to Suva for example, ask for a quoted price. Some of them won't do it, but others will. Or offer to pick up passengers along the way to subsidise your fare - if you have the spare seats, why not? You may even make a new local friend.
And this is a blatant cheeky plug by me - if you are arriving in Nadi with the destination somewhere along the Coral Coast (Shangrila, Outrigger, Warwick, Intercon, Naviti, Hideaway or any of the smaller resorts in between) the Driver I always recommend (and personally always use) is Praveen - he is awesome - and his family are lovely. He is professional, always on time, very safe and very reasonable. The car he owned prior to his flash new Toyota station wagon, had clocked up 1 million kms. I thought that deserved a prize from Toyota, so sent them the story but never heard back (boo to Toyota!) Anyway, I've digressed, but that's how well he looks after his cars! It was the end of an era when he sold that car a few years ago now. This is my girls with their family celebrating Diwali. This family is solid gold. He drives for himself, so you know your fare will be helping a genuine local family, not some big business lining their pockets. You can contact Praveen for a transfer quote here.
Who doesn't love going to the movies on a Sunday afternoon, eating popcorn and drinking cola? In Fiji, the movies are the bomb-diggity.
Firstly, they are cheap and air-conditioned. Don't underestimate the sheer joy that aircon give you in Fiji.
Secondly, the movies are always released before Australia. So you will have movie bragging rights on facebook to your friends back home.
Lastly, the locals with whom you share the movie theater with are the best entertainment (for free!). They laugh (really loud!) and sigh (really loud!) and scream (really loud!). They get really involved in what is going on, without shame.
Sometimes (most of the time) in Australia, we can be shy, or embarrassed of what people will think if we are loud and proud with our emotions in a public space. Fijians are not! And it's awesome. It gives you permission to get involved too. So, if it's funny - LAUGH OUT LOUD, or if it's dreadful - SAY SO! It's so fun and free-ing!
Most of the major cities have theaters now.
Damodar City Suva (my pick of the bunch)
Village 6 Suva (in town)
Village 4 Lautoka
Prices in $FJD (as at date of this post):
Normal Cinema (normal day) Adult $7, Child $5.50, Uni $6
Gold Class (normal day) Adult $20, Child $15
Prices in $FJD (as at the date of this post):
Normal Cinema (normal day) Adult $8.50, Child $7
Gold Class (normal day) Adults & Children $20
So that's Mum, Dad and 2 Kids to the movies in Suva for $25FJD or $16AUD. You can't beat that for an afternoon out!
FIJI MOVIE TIPS
* Go on Cheap Tuesday, and it will be even more inexpensive!
* Don't order a Large size Coke - you will get a bucket. Unless of course you want a bucket of Coke. You've been warned! (this goes for the drive-through at Maccas too!)
* Take a cardigan/jumper or a sarong to put over your legs - it gets surprisingly cold in the air-con, something which you won't anticipate in the taxi on the way to the theater when you're sweating like a pig, and struggling to slide out of the plastic-lined seats.
3. FRESH FRUIT & VEGGIES
Shop at the local markets for your fruit and veggies. Forget the big supermarket chains - most of the time their produce is old and squishy.
In-season produce at the market will be cheap. In normal circumstances (non-Cyclone) I'm talking $1 for a bunch of bananas, $5 for a pile of pineapples, and $1 for a pile of long-beans.
FIJI FRESH PRODUCE TIPS
* The best afternoon tea for the kids after school is a fresh Coconut off the tree for $2 each, or grab a couple of pineapple sticks at 50c each from the local market.
* If you're in Suva, and don't want to go to the main market in town, look for roadside stalls. I like the Flagstaff one (opposite MH) but there are many around.
What things have you found to be more expensive in your home country, than in Fiji?
Please leave me a comment below! Please, please, please (ain't too proud to beg, lol!)
Until next time, moce friends! XO