Nuku’alofa is the capital of Tonga and incidentally the largest town in Tonga. The town is located along the northern coast of Tongatapu and has a population of around 25,500. Popular attractions in Nuku’alofa include the Royal Palace, the Royal Tombs, Talamahu Market and a wealth of shops and eateries. Many of Tongatapu’s major boat activities, such as scuba diving, fishing and whale swimming, depart from the town’s Faua Wharf. Inter-island ferries depart from Queen Salote Wharf. Find out more about Tonga’s capital in The Complete Guide to Nuku’alofa.
Neiafu is Tonga’s second-largest town. The town is the main hub of the Vava’u Group located on the shores of the Port of Refuge in ‘Utu Vava’u (Vava’u’s main island). In stark contrast to Nuku’alofa, Neiafu is about the size of a small town with around 6,000 people living there. The town has a police station, schools, government offices, banks, shops, restaurants, post office and a hospital. Many of Vava’u’s popular boat activities depart from the “Small Boat Marina”, such as scuba diving, fishing and whale swimming. Inter-island ferries depart from Halaevalu Wharf. Find out more about Neiafu and Vava’u in The Complete Guide to Vava’u.
Located on the eastern side of Tongatapu on the shores of the Tongatapu Lagoon, Mu’a is known as the “ancient capital of Tonga”. The town is divided into villages that are all essentially connected to each other including Lapaha, Tatakamotonga and Talasiu. The town is known for its array of burial tombs of past Tu’i Tonga (a kind of ancient king in Tonga before the current Tongan line of royalty was established). On a less serious note, the town is also famous for its “fishing pigs”. Find out more about Mu’a in The Complete Guide to Tongatapu.
Kolovai is a village located on the western side of Tongatapu on the Hihifo Peninsula. The village has a population of around 4,000 and is famous for its lakalaka performers (traditional Tongan dancers) who can be seen performing at cultural shows at the nearby resorts. The town also has a preserved site of a koka tree to protect the population of flying foxes, a species of fruit bat locally known as “peka”.
The main hub of the Ha’apai Group, Pangai is Tonga’s third-largest town based on the island of Lifuka. The town is spread along Lifuka’s western shores and has a few shops, one bank, a market, bakery and one restaurant. Inter-island ferries depart from the Taufa’ahau Wharf in town. Learn more about Pangai and Ha’apai in The Complete Guide to Ha’apai.
Kanokupoli interpreting: the flesh of ʻUpolu, is a tiny village in the western region of Tongatapu. It is significant, however, in the history of Tonga as being the emerging place of the Tuʻi Kanokupolu ancestry, to which the present ruler of Tonga still trailing his succession. The inhabitants of Kanokupolu are the sole ones permitted to dress in a specific lakalaka outfit, named the folaʻosi, when they stage this dance.