Apia is the gateway to the Pacific paradise that is Samoa, but it shouldn’t be overlooked as a destination in its own right. It’s a buzzy charming city and Samoa’s hub of business, government, shopping and nightlife. There’s the excellent Cultural Village, three markets, plenty of accommodation at all levels, a good range of restaurants and nightclubs, and excellent access to many beautiful natural attractions. Apia is an excellent place to explore or base yourself while you discover Samoa.
Your first stop should be the Samoa Cultural Village – here you will get an interesting introduction to Fa’a Samoa – the Samoan way of life. Fa’a Samoa is a code to live by – where respect to elders and service to your family is all-important and traditional culture and values are celebrated. On the entertaining tour of the Cultural Village you will see demonstrations of traditional Samoan activities – wood carving, tapa cloth printing, weaving, tatau, umu and ava preparation. You’ll then get to sample some traditional Samoan cuisine from the umu – fish, taro and palusami.
The cultural centre is next to the Visitor Information Fale – pop in here for any questions you have or to get suggestions from the experts – and ask if there is a fia fia night locally. This is a fun evening that consists of a traditional cultural performance by dancers and a feast of delicious local cuisine.
The markets are a must-visit in Apia. Check out the flea market on Beach Rd on Monday to Saturday for Samoan lava-lavas, carvings, jewellery and fabrics. MaketiFou on Fugalei Street has a great selection of local produce – try and buy new fruit and veg you haven’t tasted before, sample traditional dishes from the umu, and trying a cup of delicious koko Samoa is essential. The Fish Market is best visited early for freshly caught seafood – tuna, crabs, lobsters and other fish.
Apia has a number of good restaurants and great nightclubs to spend a fun evening at. Visit Paddles for good home cooking, Palusami for delicious fusion meals, Bistro Tatau for gourmet Samoan, Tifaimoana for Indian, or Burger Bill’s for tasty fast food. For music, dancing or a game of pool check out Club X or Y Not? on Beach Road or Ace of Clubs – these bars and nightclubs get busy and have a great party vibe.
Robert Louis Stevenson, the famous Scottish author who wrote Treasure Island and auther famous works of fiction, spent his last years in Samoa and about 5 kilometres from Apia you can visit his home and museum. His mansion Vailima is set in lush gardens and has been converted into an interesting museum. You can also troll through the beautiful botanical gardens and cool down in the pool where the author used to swim. You can also do the hike to visit his grave at the top of Mt Vaea.
The Papase’ea Sliding Rocks are only 10 kilometres out of town and a fun tourist site. Smooth rockslides have been formed over thousands of year of water running over the huge rocks and if there is enough water you’ll have a wild time zooming down the waterslides. There is a slide for kids and a slide for adults – just check the time of year to see if there will be enough water for sliding.
Total flight time from Sydney, Australia to Apia, Samoa is 5 hours and 35 mins.
Total flight time from Brisbane, Australia to Apia, Samoa is 4 hours and 55 mins.
Total flight time from Auckland, New Zealand to Apia, Samoa is 3 hours and 55 mins.
Total flight time from Apia, Samoa to Sydney, Australia is 6 hours and 35 mins.
Total flight time from Apia, Samoa to Brisbane, Australia is 5 hours and 55 mins.
Total flight time from Apia, Samoa to Auckland, New Zealand is 4 hours and 15 mins.