Your experience of culture shock in Tonga


Living in a foreign country implies to discover its culture, to learn and master the cultural codes.

How did you deal with that? Share with us your culture shock stories where you experienced a funny or awkward moment in Tonga.

What is your advice regarding the don’ts and what would you recommend to avoid any mistake?

Thank you in advance for sharing your stories,


Hello Christine

I see not many people on this Tongan Expat-Blog. I recently had a vacation on Tonga and the outer Islands for a period of 2 months and will be returning to live on one of the outer Islands in a Tongan community with no other   ex-pats on this island. I will not say which Island because all the community has made me a part of their family.
My new home on the island is already built and I been asked to live there by the family. My new home has a beach and 1 acre of garden. The culture shock is that they do not care about money and share everything with  each other. Here you pick fresh fruit from trees and use coconuts for many things including cooking. The sea food is abundant and we share what we catch with everyone. On days when Tongan feasts occur the food of many different types is put on the Table about 50 different dishes. In Tonga you eat starter main course and pudding together on one plate. You try food from each dish and when you cannot eat any more everyone at the feast must take food away to eat later. This may include whole pigs if you want it. You must do this to show respect for the community.   I anyone requires further info just ask. Regards John

To John my husband and me will be moving to nu fall fa in about 3 to 4 weeks.he will be your Baker in a few Cowley overseeing the whole bakery. I will not know anyone so will join ex pats club hopefully.

Hello Christine
Do you mean Nuku'alofa the capital city of Tongatapu Tonga. I Hope you will enjoy living in Tonga. The capital city is like living in a village in England ie small. I suggest sit under the large Banyan tree near the Kings palace and people watch. If you would like further info about the main island just ask.

I will visit the main island sometimes but I will be living a real distance away. If you ever use the ferry service to the other islands; Do not go economy service as you will be walking in peoples excreta. People sleep on deck with mats. Far better is to have a cabin to yourself. The seas between islands are very rough so relax in bed most of the time. Tongan people are very nice and treat palangis with respect. Show respect for them and their customs and they will show respect for you.

Bread in Tonga goes mouldy very quickly in Tonga due to the heat. Hope you you enjoy your new life in Tonga. regards John

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