Visitors Guide F


This is an abbreviated version of tofa, which means ‘goodbye’ so it is the equivalent of ’bye’ in English. ‘Fa’ starts a lot of Samoan words – see under ‘F-words’ below.

Fa’a Samoa

Simply means ‘the Samoan Way’. Embrace it with gusto (at a slow pace of course).


Pronounced ‘fah-lay’ these are traditional Samoan dwellings. Privacy is not a big issue in the design of fales. They have no walls (but blinds can be let down) and are usually built on a stone platform with mats covering the floor. Furniture may consist of a large trunk. Beach side fales for tourists may have a timber floor. This is an inexpensive and highly rewarding accommodation option, even if just for a night or two.

Traditional fales are of the following types:

  • Fale Tele: Round construction with a high vaulted roof and open sides. The roof is traditionally thatched with palm leaves and the floor laid with pebbles.
  • Fale Afolau: Similar to the Fale Tele, but oblong in shape.
  • Fale Oo: Small living house
  • Fale Umu: Cooking house

Ferry Crossings

There are a number of daily crossings from Upolu to Savai’i and back each day starting at 6:00am. The MV Lady Samoa II and MV Fotu-0-Samoa II are both car ferries. The crossing tales 6- to 90 minutes depending on which vessel. Passenger only costs are $12 (tala) each way for adults and $6 each way for children (infants free).

Fia Fia

Fia fias are fabulous! These are Samoan feasts that include dancing, song and the famous knife-fire dance. Most resorts have them and they vary in performance and style (e.g. – could be a friendly family affair at Tanu Beach Fales or a slick well-rehearsed production at Aggie Grey’s). They are extremely entertaining and give visitors a bit of insight into fa’a Samoa (the Samoan way). See also dance.


There is a once a week flight from Nadi to Samoa (and return!) and is often heavily booked. For more information on Fiji, visit Fiji A to Z.


Samoa is recognised as one of the world’s top ten sportsfishing destinations. Some of the big fish waiting in the waters are Blue and Black Marlin, Broadbill, Pacific Sail Fish, Yellowfin and Dogtooth Tuna, Albacore, Skipjack, Wahoo, Giant Trevally, Barracuda and Mahi Mahi. Professional operators like Troppo Fishing Adventures recommend the tag and release of all billfish species unless a SIGFA or IGFA record may be pending. SIGFA (Samoan International Game Fishing Association) holds its international tournament in May.

Fitness Centres

There are four fitness centres on Upolo – Genesis Fitness Centre 6:00am to 8:00pm (Ph 25 611); Health Attack 5:00am to 8:00pm (Ph 25 474); Heems Health & Fitness Centre 6:00am to 7:00pm (Ph 20 183) and Joe’s Fitness Centre at Lotopa. There is also an excellent air-conditioned fitness centre for guests staying at the Sheraton Aggie Grey’s Resort.


The Samoan flag has a red background with a dark blue rectangle top left (where the Union Jack is on Australian and NZ flags) with 5 white stars – four large, one small – representing the Southern Cross.

Flame Trees

Technically, these trees are a pest but what a pretty pest she is – vibrant orange and spectacular against a blue-green ocean background (November to March). Also known as Royal Poinciana or the Flamboyant you will find them in Apia, around the islands and at the burial spot of Robert Louis Stevenson.


There are direct flights to Samoa from America, Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand and Australia.


There are a number of florists in Apia – if you need one, try Salote Florist (20 914). It is located on the ground floor, CA & CT Chan Mow Plaza, Savalalo. Web – Salote Florist


Rugby is the favourite football game and Manu Samoa are an international force. From the haka to the final whistle they play a ferocious running game of rugby exhibiting amazing ball skills. Unfortunately for Samoan supporters they see more losses than wins on the International stage because of the small population and because cream of players have been enticed to play in Australia and New Zealand with lucrative contracts. Samoa is still ranked ahead of countries like Canada and Italy.


Frangipanis are delightfully scented white flowers with yellow centers (and occasionally pink). Chances are you will be greeted with floral lei and be intoxicated with the sweet scent. The name comes from the Marquis Frangipani of Rome, who invented a perfume for scenting gloves in the 16th century.


  • fa’afafine: transvestite – literally means ‘like a woman’ (fafine)
  • fa’afetai: thank you
  • fa’amolemole: please
  • fafine: woman
  • fa’i: banana

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