d n u o r a g ettin
Drivers’ licences To drive in Samoa, visitors need to validate their foreign driver’s licence at the Land Transport Authority in Vaitele near the Samoa Breweries/ Vailima factory. Cost for validation is ST$12 and some rental car companies will also assist in getting your client’s licence endorsed. A few years ago, Samoa switched from driving on the righthand side of the road to the left. Most vehicles are lefthand drive, and drivers should be cautious if they are not familiar with driving on the left side of the road. Rental cars There are many rental car companies to choose from and clients can hire everything from sedans and soft top 4WDs to 12-seater vans. Taxis Taxis are available throughout the islands and are not metered so it pays to have an idea of what the journey will cost. Clients should agree on a price with the driver before setting off. Trips from the Faleolo International Airport to Apia cost around ST$50, whereas small trips around town will be between ST$3 and ST$12 depending on the length of the journey. Buses A fun way to explore the islands is to take a map and board a local bus. Buses come in a variety of colour schemes and all the seating is wooden. There are no bus stops around the islands, so clients need to wave down a bus if they want to get on. When they want to get off, they simply pull the cord to ring the buzzer. Passengers pay the fare as they leave the bus.
Encourage clients to get outside the resort to explore all Samoa has to offer. Suggest they pick up a car or jump on a bus and discover the beautiful treasured islands.
Passenger/Vehicle Ferry The passenger/vehicle ferry runs between the main islands of Upolu and Savaii. The ferry departs from the Mulifanua Wharf on Upolu near the international airport, so if clients are travelling from Apia, they should allow 45 minutes for the journey. The ferry departs from the Salelologa Wharf on Savaii for the return journey. The trip takes just over one hour each way and it pays to arrive early at the wharf to purchase tickets. One-way passenger fares are ST$6 for a child 2-12 years and adults ST$12. Vehicle charges (depending on the size of the vehicle) are between ST$80 – ST$110 each way. The full fare list is also available online. To get to Manono Island, boats operate from the Manono-uta at the western end of Upolu, just down the road from Mulifanua Wharf. One-way fares cost ST$1 for children and ST$3 for adults one way. Airports The main entry point into Samoa is Falelolo International Airport, 35 km from Apia on the island of Upolu. Polynesian Airlines operates daily flights between Apia and Pago Pago out of Fagalii Airport, which is located about 5km from the central business district. Upon arrival currency exchanges are open for all international flight arrivals and departures. Duty free allowances are one litre of alcohol, wine or spirits and 200 cigarettes per person. Airport shuttles are provided to the major hotels which can be booked prior to arrival or organised when clients arrive after clearing customs. Taxis are also available and a ride to Apia will cost about ST$50. If your flight is arriving during the day, then you can catch a local bus into Apia from the main gate of the airport. There are no set timetables and the fare will cost you about ST$5 one way.
Toolkit Alcohol Vailima is Samoa’s local brew and can be found all over Samoa. Originally set up by the Germans, Vailima now produces one of the finest lagers in the South Pacific and it can be purchased almost anywhere on the islands throughout the week, though on Sundays alcohol is strictly prohibited for sale except in hotels and restaurants. Bars and nightclubs There are many bars and nightclubs providing entertainment, but be aware there is a 10pm curfew on loud music and doors close at 12pm. Banks ANZ and Westpac are two international banks found in Samoa. Both have branches at the international airport, in Apia and at Salelologa on Savaii. ATMs are located in and around Apia and on the island of Savaii. Clients can use credit cards in the machines but they are required to have a PIN number to withdraw cash. Climate Samoa’s climate is tropical all year round, with two distinct seasons – the dry season running from May to October and the wet season from November to April. Average daily temperature is 29 degrees celsius and ocean temperature is in the low 20s. Currency The Samoa decimal currency is the Tala (dollar) and Sene (cent). All major foreign currencies may be exchanged in Samoa. Samoa Tala can also be purchased outside the country from a few selected banks. Major credit cards are widely accepted in
hotels, restaurants and stores. Travellers’ cheques are also widely accepted at major banks and hotels. Eftpos machines are found throughout Upolu and Savaii in major hotels, resorts and supermarkets and accept the following cards – Visa, Mastercard, Cirrus, Amex, JCB and Plus Cards and Access International Debit Card. Departure tax Departure tax of ST$65 applies to all travellers 12 years and over who depart from Faleolo International Airport. For travellers who are 2-11 years, the tax is ST$15. Travellers who are less than two years are exempt. Doctors There are many medical clinics in Apia. The Tupua Tamasese Meaole II National Hospital is located in Apia. There are private dental clinics and pharmacies. Dress Light summer clothing is appropriate all year round and packing a light sweater for the cooler evenings is recommended. As Samoa has a strong cultural structure and Christian faith, tourists are asked not to wear bathing suits in Apia or in villages. Nude swimming or sunbathing is prohibited and when leaving the beach to venture into the villages, guests are asked to wear a lavalava (sarong), pants or shorts and t-shirt. If attending church on Sunday, women are asked to wear a dress or blouse and skirt and men trousers and shirt. Entry requirements Visitors to Samoa are not required to obtain an entry permit for stays of less than 60 days. Clients must have a return or onward ticket and passports must be valid for six months or more at the time of entry into the country.
Internet cafes There are eight broadband internet cafes to be found around Apia and one on the island of Savaii. Major hotels and resorts also offer internet terminals for guests in their business centres. WiFi is also available at many hotels around Samoa. Mobile phones There are two main telecommunications providers in Samoa, Digicel and Bluesky. Both providers offer coverage to most areas with over 95 per cent geographical coverage. Prepaid SIM cards are available at the airport and around Apia. Post office The main Samoa Post branch is located in the central business district, across from the main branch of the ANZ Bank. Religion Samoa is predominantly a Christian nation and the main denominations are Congregational, Anglican, Catholic, Methodist, Assembly of God, Seven Day Adventist, Bahai, Latter Day Saints and Jehovah’s Witness. Visitors are welcome to attend church. Clients should check with their hotel reception for service times. Tipping Tipping is not practiced or expected in Samoa. However, if a guest wishes to leave a gift for good service then they are welcome to do so directly with the employee or the hotel reception. Getting there Virgin Samoa, Air New Zealand, Air Pacific and Polynesian Airlines operate international flights. Samoa Air operates daily domestic services between Fagalii Airport on Upolu, and Maota and Asau Airports on Savaii.
a o m a S e t a Celebr Plan your client’s trip to Samoa around one of these upcoming events.
Teuila Festival The Teuila Festival is one of Samoa’s most celebrated cultural events and from September 2 to 8 there will be many cultural activities on show, such as the choir hymnal exhibition, traditional entertainment including fire knife dancing, traditional sports including the fautasi (long boat) race, wood carving, tattooing, two nights of variety shows and the Miss Samoa pageant.
Samoa hits a six The 2012 ICC World Cricket League Division Eight is a cricket tournament due to take part from September 17 to 23 this year in Samoa, after the nation was approved by the International Cricket Council as the hosts. It is part of the World Cricket League
and 2019 Cricket World Cup qualifying. The teams that will take part in the tournament were decided according to the results of 2010 ICC World Cricket League Division Eight, 2011 ICC World Cricket League Division Seven and regional tournaments and include Norway, Japan and Vanuatu. SIFA tees off Care for a round of golf in paradise? Le Penina Golf Course in Samoa will play host to the Pro-Am and SIFA Samoa Open in September - a sanctioned threeround event of the Australian PGA. The tournament begins with the Pro-Am event for sponsors, pros and all interested amateurs (including Aggie Grey’s Resort guests) on September 19.
Raggamuffin in Samoa Raggamuffin is heading to Samoa this September as part of the annual Teuila Festival. The concert will feature Spawnbreezie, Savage, Swiss, plus local Samoan bands and will take place on September 8 on Apia’s waterfront. Raggamuffin packages are available at www.samoa.travel.
Introducing Riggamuffin As well as the addition of the Raggamuffin concert, visitors can enjoy the new outrigger regatta, Riggamuffin. There will be three days of racing in Apia, finishing with a regatta and beach party from 9am to 3pm on September 7 at a secret location. Purchasers of Raggamuffin Samoa packages will receive a ticket to attend this beach event which includes return transfers from Apia. Packages are available at www.samoa. travel, which include the VIP Beach Party and Raggamuffin Samoa tickets.
Escape to Samoa’s Coastal Paradise In a land where unspoiled customs, culture and courtesies still exist, we invite you to share our piece of coastal paradise for your next tropical escape. Aggie Grey’s Lagoon Beach Resort & Spa offers a whole new holiday experience in Samoa.
Here you can relax around the lagoonside pool, dine at a choice of five restaurants, indulge in a therapeutic spa treatment or play a round of golf. There is also a great kids club and children under 12 years stay, play and eat free. WWW.AGGIEGREYS.COM/RESORT
Published on Sep 18, 2012