Let’s be honest, Honiara it’s not one of those cities that you will fall in love at first sight. If you are researching online about the latest travel advice and how to stay safe in Honiara, you will be happy to read this article as well as our Honiara Travel Guide.
Upon arrival you will quickly notice that it’s crowded, there is litter everywhere, people are spitting betel nut in the streets and from children to the elderly most are barefoot.
It’s overwhelming at first, “but if you past the dirt to the friendly locals, the smiling children, the naturally blonde hair that some of them have, the relaxed pace of life and the strong traditional culture of wantok, then it is a really special place” by Morgan Hannah, The Eco Backpacker
Many people quickly catch a connecting flight to the Western Province, but don’t be too hasty. Honiara deserves some time. The National Museum, various coffee shops along the high street and Honiara Central Market are some of the best spots to spend an afternoon. You don’t have to buy anything, you just need to observe the locals, and believe us it’s a hell of an experience!
The variety of cultures and customs is striking, and the traditional ways are remarkable alive. The bustling atmosphere gives a real taste of what is life like for Solomon Islanders.
We wrote down a few suggestions, but please don’t let them put you off visiting Honiara. Remember to be street aware, walk in a group and during the day.
You might come across a few drunkies, and if you do just ignore them and keep walking. There are so many wonderful people in town that you will be pleased to meet them.
Around Honiara Town
- There aren’t street lights, so always carry a torch/lantern (we don’t suggest using the phone for security reasons)
- Around town there are a lot of ditches, so be very careful at night
- It’s common to see young adults smoking and chewing betel nut
- Solomon Islanders don’t treat dogs as pets
- Bus fares are between SBD$2-$3 (USD$0.25/GBP£0.19), depending on distances, but if it happens that you are overweight, the bus driver has the right to charge you more
Honiara Street Awareness
- Don’t walk around the streets alone at night, best to go in a group
- Visiting the suburbs around Honiara on your own is a no-go
- Wear bags across your body, not hanging out on the shoulder (you will notice the locals have their bags on their necks)
- Don’t display phone or money
- Leave the expensive watches and expensive jewellery at home
- Always carry small change
When I say that we were both lucky to have Solomon Islanders with us at all times, I mean it. They took care of us, as we walked in town freely, and had no worries. Whereas if we had to do it again, on our own, it would be different. But not THAT much of a difference to be honest. If we were on our own we just had to be more street aware, and that’s it.
Not once, we felt threatened or in danger. People will stare but that is just normal, come on we are tourists!
Our advice is to be confident when walking around town, as there is no need to keep looking over your shoulder. And finally, do not believe in everything you read in the Media.
Note: – Do not let these points put you off visiting Honiara. Some are just common sense, and can be taken into consideration pretty much everywhere in the world when visiting a capital city.
Honiara is not a reflection of what life is like amongst the other islands. We decided to stay locally because of the Deaf Community and the strong bond we developed from our week over there. Apparently the other islands are breathtaking, so if you do have the time and the money, because flights are expensive, please do explore this little gem in the South Pacific.
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We are Thomas and Telma – the writers, photographers, videographers and founders of Blank Canvas Voyage.
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