Apia, Samoa’s capital, leads the listed Top 20 Cities of Samoa. As it stands vibrant, warm and inviting, Apia remains a busy town, now comprised of 45 villages built around the original village. It has a population of around 40,407.
Mt. Vaea, resting place of the author, Robert Louis Stevenson, rises at the south. An extensive garden of lush greens nestled by a wonderfully landscaped pathway reveals his house that warmly welcomes tourists. It serves as a museum that one just had to pay around 20 Samoan Tala (5 Samoan Tala for those under 12 years old).
WHAT DOES APIA HAVE TO OFFER?
Are you nature lover? Or a beach bum? Are you the type of tourist that wants a laid back feel to escape the hustles and bustles of your work? Well, Apia, the capital of Samoa, might just be the place that you need!
Right at the moment you step out of the Faleolo Airport, a wave of warm air assures you of a great welcoming adventure. Because of its tropical weather, it’s safe to pack just shirts, sleeveless tops, shorts and slippers. It is important to take note of the people’s hospitality but they remain sensitive with their culture.
Get your camera ready as you drink in of Apia’s beauty.
Natural harbour surrounds the north. The refreshing wave of the sea air from the waterfront of the Vaiala Beach along to the marina at Apia wharf on Beach Road makes it ideal for strolling or jogging through town and along Mulinu’u Road up to the observatory. A lot of historical attractions are located here including the Mulinu’u, the old ceremonial capital, and the Parliament House. In addition, the Paololo Deep, a marine reserve between Apia Harbour and Vaiala Beach, offers excellent snorkelling and swimming.
Opposite the Catholic Cathedral on Beach Road is the Visitor Information Centre. Apia also has a public library by the town clock in addition to the excellent Museum on Vaitele Street at Malifa.
WHAT ARE THE FAMOUS FOODS SAMOA IS KNOWN FOR?
Through the years of visitors coming and going, Apia’s cafe scene soared significantly. Both visitors and locals are treated to a high standard of food and coffee with the cocoa Samoa and panipopo (bun baked in coconut milk) being some of the staple and famous delicious products of Samoa. Georgie’s pizza also made a name among many non-believers that Samoa has one of the best pizzas in the world. There are fast foods in Samoa. 1 McDonald’s and an array of diners full of Samoan food: taro in coconut milk, chunks of salted corned beef, lamb in soy sauce and chopseuy (read as sapasuy).
Shopping for clothing, jewellery and craftwork can be especially rewarding in terms of quality and price. Tanoa Samoa offers trending designs with their newly released sports wear while the Elei Company, established in 1929, continued to soar wiith traditionally designed wardrobe pieces. It is worth spending some time in these shops to talk with the shop assistants to grasp the true Samoan preference when it comes to local and traditional style.
Specifically, the carrier brand of Elei Company offers wardrobe, uniforms, casual and formal in the name of Eveni Pacific. Their branch in the city had grown tremendously because of people who continuously believe in their products. That of its quality and authenticity.
A lot more strive to be recognised and in the wet markets, lava lavas are sold for as low as 15 Samoan Tala each depending on the design. Lava lavas are the skirt-looking material that local people of Samoa wear. Yes, by both man and woman.
THE CITY VIBE
Large supermarkets are present around the city. They stock imported goods sourced mainly from New Zealand and Australia including many popular brands. The Chinese are starting to invest in Apia as well employing a lot of Filipino sewers of garments and clothes.
Fuhalei Street serves as the food market for fresh fruit and produce and cooked food. Expect that the produce are fairly priced. But as far as spices is concerned, garlic is not commonly available surprisingly.
Kekepua’a (Samoan pork buns) is always a Samoan overseas worker craving. It is one of the greatest delicacies that says a lot about Samoan culture. This is available at the marketplace.
Having strong ties with China, trading continuously happens until today and because of it, a share of each other’s culture flowingly exists.
As of the present, China extends a kind gesture of opening an exchange student program offering scholarships to Samoans who pass the qualifying examination. Once they get in, Samoans are taught of the Chinese language to keep up in learning their chosen major. For the reason that almost every subject is taught in their mother tongue (Putonghua), the Samoan graduates in China are expected to be versatile in dealing with Chinese ways yet they should stand up for the country of Samoa as an ambassador of good will and heritage .
Buy your fresh fish and seafood at the Fish Market by the waterfront.
TRAFFIC IN SAMOA
There are traffic lights in Apia. And it is OK to turn left on a red light if they way is clear and is permissible. This often happens during Sundays. You may see that the streets are not at all busy. It’s either they are in the church or they are at home preparing for the Sunday feast.
Keep an eye on the footpaths, some are a bit cracked and bumpy. Take care especially when it rains.
If you don’t have plans to rent a car and you are based in Apia, taxis can bring you to different parts of Upolu. Samoans are hospitable people and they are willing to help you out. Specifically, most drivers are very happy to be your guide for however long you like on the island. Taxi fares are very reasonable but you should ask and agree on a price first before accepting the service.
If you are on a budget, the best mode of transportation to take around are the buses. They are very well patronised because of tradition and they are a fun experience. Samoa has no bus stops though. You can simply wave the buses down as they approach. It doesn’t matter when you pay. You can do so between the time you come in until the time you get off as long as you pay.
In Apia, the bus terminal begins from the main bus depot by the Fish and the Flea Market (by the oceanfront side) or at the Main Bus Stop by the Food Market at the corner of Fugalei and Saleufi Streets. Catch the bus between these locations. All the buses are named with their destination just ask the driver if you need help. Locals are happy to help as well.
Apart from the fish market which is open from 5:30am-8:00am, Samoa, specifically, Apia, is quiet on Sundays. This day for them is a day of worship, rest, family and feasting.
The Samoan people who joins the church choirs put a lot of effort during practise. As a result, they produce outstanding music. Their choirs are some of the finest in the world.
It is a wonderful experience to visit a church of any denomination on Sunday to hear these choirs sing. Visitors are very welcome and it is a great opportunity to chat with the locals after service.
My family and I went to Baha’i House of Worship since my husband’s family are Bahai’s. Out of the 8 churches in the world, one stands in Apia and their service is joined in with prayers and angelic songs.
Majority of the Samoan people share the faith of Christian Congregational Church of Samoa with 32% of the Samoan population composing it. Roman Catholicism, Mormon, 7th-day Adventist, Worship Centre and other Christian congregations.