This is the last in the series of excellent articles on exploring Fiji on a budget, courtesy of our friends at Lights, Camera, Backpack.
If you missed the first 3 articles, you can find them in the IQPlanner 'Holiday listings' magazine archive.
The top 5 Fijian words to use on the island
The main languages they speak in Fiji are Fijian, Hindi and English — which is the official language. Most Fijians speak really good English so most tourists don’t bother to learn much Fijian.
However, we do recommend learning a few essential words, as you’ll be treated much more like a local – even though Fijians seem to have a genuine love for tourists!
It’s likely you may have already come across this word if planning a trip to Fiji. It means ‘hello’ as well as ‘welcome’ and apparently anything else you want it to mean!
It’s shouted at full volume several hundred times a day, and you may be threatened with starvation if you don’t reply accordingly – no big Bula, no breakfast!
To put it simply, this means ‘thank you’ as well as ‘good’. It can be added to other words such as ‘kana’ (food), which translates directly as ‘food good’ but actually means ‘tastes great!’ You’ll fare even better if you learn some of the local dialect while exploring the islands, and it’s more easy than you might think.
In the Yasawas, say ‘vinandu riki’ and really roll the ‘r’ in ‘rrrriki’ when you want to thank someone (instead of ‘vinaka’). Try it and see what happens!
Sa Vakacava Tiko
Another useful phrase to know, this generally means ‘how are you?’ The pronunciation’s a little tricky because a ‘c’ is pronounced ‘th’ in Fijian, but you’ll get it with a little practice.
The correct reply to this is of course ‘vinaka’ because you’re in Fiji, so everything is good.
A great word to know in Fiji, because it means ‘awesome’ and is always accompanied with a two-hand thumbs up. That said, be sure to finish your Fiji Bitter before attempting a wananavu!
Sega na lega
You could call this Fiji’s ‘hakuna matata’ because it means ‘no worries’!
Expect to be using this one a lot, mainly because there’s really nothing to worry about when you’re in paradise!