When traveling to a country where you don’t speak the local language, it’s always a good idea to learn some basic phrases – not only to ensure you don’t have any communication mishaps, but also because it will greatly enrich your overall travel experience. Fijians are some of the most friendly people in the world, and your dream trip to Fiji will be even more memorable if you engage in the vibrant culture and make an effort to chat with the locals.
So, here’s a quick guide to some common phrases you will find useful when you travel to beautiful Fiji!
“Bula” is the Fijian greeting for hello, or welcome – you’ll hear it over and over again when you visit Fiji.
Bula literally translates to “life,” but it has many meanings. When Fijians use it as a greeting, they are wishing you good health (or good life). Fijians also use bula after someone sneezes, the same way many say “bless you” in English. Having a drink with some new Fijian friends? Bula works as “cheers,” too.
Other variations of bula that you will hear in Fiji are “drau bula” or “dou bula.” You can spice up your greetings to impress local Fijians by saying “ni bula” for good day, and “ni sa bula” for good evening.
Your simple yes and no are: Yes= io, and no= sega.
Starting a Conversation
If you want to switch back to English after the traditional greeting, you can ask Fijians if they speak English like so: “Ko ni kila na vosa Vaka Valagi?”
If you are greeted with a response that you don’t understand, say so by telling them “au sega nit aura rawa.”
To tell people where you are from, say “O yau mai” and then the name of your home.
Of course, if you need to find a bathroom, you will ask “E vein a vale-lailai?”
If you wish to buy something, you can inquire about the price by asking, “e vica?” which means “how much?”
Mind Your Manners
Polite as you no doubt are, you can say your please and thank yous as such: Please is “Yalo vinak,” and thank you is “vinaka” or “vinaka vaka levu.” If you happen to overstep your bounds and wish to apologize, you can say “vosoti.”
While travelling, if you don’t know what something is, ask “what is this?” by saying “gunu.”
As you enjoy some traditional Fijian Lovo, you can wish your friends Bon Apetit in Fijian by saying “Da Kana.”
As the meal draws to a close, you can direct the bill to whoever in your party will be paying (or whoever didn’t study up on Fijian before arriving) by telling your server “na turaga oqo e na sauma taucoko,” which means “the gentleman will pay for everything.” If a lady is paying, replace “turaga” with “marama.”
After dinner, if you decide to try the nightlife and connect with the locals, you can ask someone if they would like to dance with you with a simple “Ko Via meke kei au?”
If you are visiting Fiji with the love of your life on a honeymoon, anniversary, or wedding, they will surely appreciate your romantic gesture of learning to express your love for them in a new language. Sweep your partner off their feet by saying “Au domoni iko.”
When It’s Time to Say Goodbye
Even though it’s likely that you won’t want to leave Fiji, “Moce” is how you say goodbye. Your new Fijian friends may say “Vanuinui vinaka e nomu volau,” which means bon voyage, or have a good journey.
And of course, you will want to come back and visit your Fijian friends at Namale Resort, so you can tell them “sota tale”—see you again (soon!).
Still haven’t booked your trip to Fiji? Learn more about our ultra all-inclusive amenities and rates!
You might also be interested in these tips on How to Create the Perfect Island Getaway.