I would take 4 flights with 3 airlines from Tonga to Taiwan;
[(Fiji Airways) Tonga -> Fiji -> Wellington, New Zealand] -> (Jetstar) Auckland, New Zealand -> (Air New Zealand) Taiwan
However, things got complicated right from the start. The last time I boarded a plane from Vanuatu to Tonga, I did not purchase additional luggage in advance, but it came at a cheaper price because it was discounted at the counter. So I didn’t buy extra luggage expecting a discount, but this time I was told to pay $522 instead. Tonga-(Fiji)-New Zealand plane ticket was only $160.
However, I later found out that it was $522 in Tonga Dollar (TOP). I bought the ticket in US dollars, so I thought I had to pay in US dollars. TOP $522 was U$224. If I miss this flight, I will miss all three flights that follow, so I decided to pay it for extra luggage. However, the employee suddenly asked me to pay the TOP $255 (U$110) with a credit card and pay the TOP $130 (U$55) separately in cash. The gate was about to close, so I did what the staff told me to do. I realized after boarding the plane, there was no receipt for the cash payment.
After arriving in Fiji, I went to Fiji Airlines and asked them to check the system. When I asked how much I paid in total for luggage, he said TOP $255 (U$110).
I asked the Fiji airport staff if there was a case of paying separately with cash and credit card, and they said there was no such thing. They also said that people do not pay for extra luggage and oversize separately in general. The Tonga staff did not know how much to charge overweight per 1kg, so she gave me the wrong price at first. And it seemed she found out that she couldn’t charge for extra baggage and oversize together, so she made complicated by asking cash separately. The cash I paid was not registered on the system.
I didn’t feel good due to the way Fiji Airlines handling the problem, but I quickly felt great after meeting Gary and Heather. I wrote about them on my previous Fiji blog. Every time I stopped in Fiji, they met me at the airport, picked me up, and provided a room to stay. I sincerely thanked for their kindness.
The next morning, after eating the island-style peanut butter they made and selling, I got the power to take the next flight.
This flight was going from Fiji to Wellington, New Zealand. Although Tonga-(Fiji)-New Zealand was one ticket, I had to pay extra baggage fees at the Fiji airport again. Fortunately, they did not charge for oversize. I took a flight with Fiji Airways more than 5 times, but the Tonga employee was the only one who charged for additional baggage and oversize together, which was not registered on the system even.
Anyway, after saying goodbye to the South Pacific, which taught me a lot about cultures and history of them, I arrived in New Zealand. In New Zealand, anyone with camping equipment or bicycles must pass a strict biosecurity. I had to show all my camping gear to the staff, leave my bike at the biosecurity office, and go out and wait. Fortunately, after waiting for about 30 minutes, the bike passed safely.
Previously, when I tried to go to Fiji from Australia with Jetstar, I was rejected due to paperwork problems and I lost money. This time again, I had a problem with Jetstar. I bought a flight from Wellington to Auckland with Jetstar, but the flight schedule was changed to the next day. Fortunately, flight from Auckland to Taiwan by Air New Zealand would depart two days later, so it wasn’t a big problem. If the flight leave in a few hours, I would have lost my flight ticket to Taiwan.
In fact, because the flight date was changed, I got a free hotel room which was directly connected to the airport, and the hotel room was really nice. (It doesn’t look nice in the picture, but in reality it was really good.)
They gave me a meal coupon, but since breakfast was not included, I had to use it for either breakfast or dinner. Since I usually eat light breakfast if I don’t cycle, I used the coupon for dinner. The pizza was thin crunchy and delicious.
It was my first time using an airport accommodation, and it was amazing. The flight schedule was displayed at the entrance of the hotel, which made me excited for traveling.
After dinner, I went for a walk around the airport. But even though it was about going into summer at the time, it was really cold. I suddenly remembered that nights in New Zealand were often cold. When I was traveling in the South Pacific, I didn’t have cold night, so this wind made me so cold.
The airport accommodation was right in front of the runway, so I could see planes taking off and landing, but I didn’t hear any noise. I wondered how they built perfectly to block the plane noise. But ironically, I could hear people talking and doors slamming from the hallway. I wondered why hotels all over the world couldn’t prevent noise from hallways.
The day was bright and the planes started to depart one by one. I packed my things and went out to take the elevator.
When I got off the elevator, I could see the Jetstar counter right away. What an amazing airport hotel was! Thank you, Jetstar for delaying departure day!
The counter staff said on the radio “Here’s full of tape with box going” when he helped me for ticketing. I laughed so hard. Tape 80% Paper 20%.. What a legend box.
Wellington Airport was really nice, so time passed quickly when I looked around. I ate croissant sandwich and coffee quickly and ran to the gate.
When an airplane flew through the clouds in rainy weather and suddenly reached the clear blue sky, it made me feel like I just arrived in heaven. That was my favorite part of journey on the plane.
Personally, I love transportation such as cars, ferries, trains, subways, trams, buses, airplanes! There was one important rule; I must always sit by the window. I never gets tired of looking at the earth.
I arrived in Auckland, New Zealand, and Robert, who hosted me three years ago, came out to pick me up.
The next day, Robert and his wife took me to show around Auckland.
What surprising thing was that it was Sunday, but all the shops were open, and the roads were so busy with cars and people.
In Fiji, Vanuatu, and Tonga, Sunday was a church day and family gathering day, so all shops were closed and it was very quiet. So this scenery was weird a bit.
When I came to New Zealand from Southeast Asia three years ago, I felt that there were not too many people, but when I came to New Zealand from the South Pacific, it suddenly felt like so busy city.
I thought that all experiences I felt was depending on where I just came from.
Finally, it was time to fly to Taiwan! I fixed the hole by attaching more tape to the box. Ticketing to Taiwan was really easy. I truly trusted New Zealand Airlines. No hassle so far in my experience.
It would take 11 hours and 30 minutes from Auckland, New Zealand to Taipei, Taiwan. The price was only U$360 including two 23 kg bags. I found this route while searching ways to get to Taiwan from Tonga.
However, going from Tonga to Auckland was a bit complicated and I had to pay for bicycle luggage every time, but I thought this was the best way to go with the reasonable price.
Bread, vegetables, cheese, crackers, snacks, and even ice cream were given.
Weirdly I could concentrate well on the plane.
It was nice to have dinner before landing.
Come to think of it, this was my first time taking an 11 hour and 30 minute flight. So far, the longest flight had been 9 hours and 30 minutes (Japan to Vancouver, Singapore to New Zealand, Saudi Arabia to Spain). I could take the plane for 24 hours, no, even 72 hours. I can even go to six months into the International Space Station without any problem if they offer me.
Finally I was arriving in Taiwan. In 2018, I went to New Zealand from Singapore. After that, I went to Australia and spent a year traveling by bicycle and working with Working Holiday Visa. Then, Covid broke out and I stayed in Australia about two years. Then, as the things getting better, I traveled to the South Pacific for 7 months. And here I came back to Asia again.
To visit Taiwan was for the first time, so I didn’t know anything about them. Well, I always get to know when I get there, so I didn’t have to worry.
There was only one thing that comes to mind about Taiwan. I heard food in Taiwan is amazing. Thinking about eating delicious food, I prepared to enter to a new country.
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Vlog about going to Taiwan from Tonga