Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Traditions & Customs in Vanuatu

Australia and OceaniaVanuatuTraditions & Customs in Vanuatu

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Throughout Vanuatu, and particularly in the communities outside of Port Vila, life is heavily affected by “kastom” – a collection of ancient traditions and taboos that apply to a wide range of issues. Be mindful of this and heed residents’ demands for “kastom.”

When visiting villages, ladies should dress modestly, covering their shoulders and knees.

The Christian faith is extremely powerful. On a Sunday, it seems to be customary to invite and welcome guests to local church services.

Wearing revealing and seductive clothes (particularly in the capital) is not recommended, since over 100 years of missionary activity has influenced the idea of what is considered acceptable dress in the islands. Regardless, it is considered insulting to the local people and may be regarded as an offer to sex by certain indigenous residents.

Because Vanuatu is not a “fashion aware” country, no one will notice or care if you are wearing the newest from “the Paris Collection.” Bring a practical tropical wardrobe with you, such as light cotton summer clothing that can be hand washed, a’sloppy joe’ pullover, and a lightweight waterproof wind jacket. Bring a strong flashlight (with extra batteries, you’ll need them! ), lightweight walking shoes, sandals or excellent thongs (flip flops/croks) for rainy weather, and old clothing if you’re going to the outlying islands.

Tip: When visiting the outlying islands, bring all the old clothing you can carry, wear them, and then give them away to the locals when you’re done. In other ways, you and your children will be appropriately rewarded. Rather of throwing your used clothing in a charity collecting bin at your local shopping center and never knowing who really gets them (if they ever do…), your children will engage with the individuals who will receive those items (most NiVanuatu people buy these second hand clothes from shops in Port Vila).

Sharing and giving are normal parts of everyday life in Vanuatu. The T-shirt you gift to one individual will also be worn by all of his buddies. Their winter attire will consist of three T-shirts layered on top of one other…. You will give them with items that are difficult for them to acquire, saving them the cost of purchasing clothing (basic salaries in Vanuatu are very cheap), and you will leave with precious memories, as well as extra space in your baggage for bought local arts and crafts.

Communicating with the people of NiVanuatu:

  • In Vanuatu, expressing anger, dissatisfaction, or irritation against a person or circumstance can result in a stony silence and a lack of cooperation or understanding for your point of view. Please be patient since complaining is a waste of time. It will make no difference to the result. If you are verbally abusive, you will elicit one of three reactions: a smile, suppressed laughter, or a fist in your face.
  • Don’t pose a question that already has an answer. Locals will always agree to avoid contradicting you. “Is this the path to X?” will get a Yes. If you ask, “Where is the route to X…?” you may receive a different response.
  • Be warned that direct eye contact or increased voice level communication may be perceived as intimidation on the islands. A local’s voice tone and body language may be diametrically opposed to that of a European. He or she may nod in agreement with everything you say to avoid offending you, yet he or she may not have heard a word you said!
  • If you’re on a bus and people on the sidewalk turn their backs on you, don’t be offended: they’re just letting the driver know that they don’t need him to stop. Vanuatu has few bus stops, and those that do exist are seldom used.
  • It’s not what you think when you see guys or women holding hands. There is no sexual connotation to men holding hands with other men or women holding hands with other women. A guy holding a woman’s hand in public, on the other hand, is very uncommon since it is considered a public display of sexual relations.


Vanuatu’s people are a joy to shoot; they are polite, cooperative, and photogenic, particularly the youngsters, who are just stunning. Yes, they like being shot, but please do not offer to pay to shoot locals; this will rapidly discourage spontaneity and promote commercialization. Always seek permission before photographing locals.

Some individuals may be hesitant to be photographed for reasons you may never know. It is advisable to inquire about the price for shooting cultural events, since they may be very expensive. The rationale behind this is that they put on the event, people snap pictures, and they earn money selling these images of their show – therefore they want to be compensated appropriately (makes sense). Shooting an erupting volcano at night requires a minimum ISO of 800 and the use of a tripod.

How To Travel To Vanuatu

By boat Port-Vila on the island of Efate and Luganville on the island of Espiritu Santo are Vanuatu's major ports.P&O Trips offers frequent cruises through Vanuatu's seas.Tallship Soren Larsen, +64 9 817 8799, sails from Fiji to Port Vila and Santo once a year to explore the northern Banks Islands....

How To Travel Around Vanuatu

By plane There are a few charter airlines, including Unity Airlines, Sea Air, and Air Safaris, but the domestic network is operated by the government airline, Air Vanuatu. Several businesses in Vanuatu provide watercraft services between the islands. Fresh Cargo, Ifira Shipping Agencies, and Toara Coastal Shipping are among them. By bus Buses...

Destinations in Vanuatu

Regions in Vanuatu Vanuatu's islands are divided into six geographic provinces, with names derived by combining the initial syllables or letters of the main islands in each. TorbaTorres Islands and Banks Islands Sanma (Luganville)Espiritu Santo and Malo PenamaPentecost/Pentecote, Ambae and Maewo MalampaMalakula, Ambrym and Paama Shefa (Port-Vila)Shepherd Group and Efate TafeaTanna, Aniwa, Futuna, Erromango and Aneityum/Anatom Matthew and Hunter...

Accommodation & Hotels in Vanuatu

There are several levels of lodging available. Resort The most popular and biggest of the resorts is Le Lagon. It has been in operation for more than 30 years. It provides significant discounts for children, so there are a lot of youngsters visiting during the Australian school vacations. Iririki Island is a...

Things To See in Vanuatu

Vanuatu is not on the typical traveller's bucket list. Except for those who like scuba diving, since divers have long found the underwater riches of this South Pacific island. Even if you don't intend to swim in the country's clear blue seas, it's a vibrant blend of traditional Melanesian...

Food & Drinks in Vanuatu

Food in Vanuatu There are many restaurants and cafes in Port Vila, ranging from high-end businesses catering to visitors and expatriates to more casual options. Lunch will cost you between 1000 and 1500 vatu, depending on where you dine and what you eat. Lap-Lap The typical meal, lap lap, is a root...

Money & Shopping in Vanuatu

The Vatu is the native money (VT). (The ISO 4217 code for it is VUV.) 100VT is now worth about 0.94 USD, 1.25 AUD, 1.40 NZD, or 0.84 EUR as of March 2016. There are notes in denominations of 200 VT, 500 VT, 1000 VT, and 5000 VT, as...

Language & Phrasebook in Vanuatu

The official languages are English, French, and Bislama. Bislama is a pidgin language – and now a creole in urban areas – that blends a characteristically Melanesian syntax with a mostly English vocabulary. It is the sole language that the whole Vanuatu population understands and speaks, usually as a...

Internet & Communications in Vanuatu

Telephone Vanuatu's international country code is +678. To call someone in another country from Vanuatu, dial 00 followed by the appropriate country code and phone number. Ambulance (22-100), Fire (22-333), and Police (22-333) are the emergency phone numbers (22-222). GSM mobile coverage is available in Port-Vila, Vanuatu, and most GSM...

Culture Of Vanuatu

Vanuatu culture maintains a high level of variety due to local regional differences and international influence. Vanuatu is split into three cultural areas. Wealth in the north is determined by how much one can give away, as determined by a grade-taking system. Pigs, especially those with rounded tusks, are...

History Of Vanuatu

Vanuatu's prehistory is unknown; archaeological evidence suggests that people speaking Austronesian languages initially arrived on the islands about 3,300 years ago. Pottery pieces ranging from 1300–1100 BC have been discovered. The Vanuatu group of islands first came into contact with Europeans in 1606, when the Portuguese explorer Pedro Fernandes de...

Stay Safe & Healthy in Vanuatu

Before visiting Vanuatu, it is recommended that you get immunized against Hepatitis A and B, as well as typhoid fever. Malaria is prevalent in certain parts of Vanuatu but not in Port-Vila. If you want to go outside of the resort regions, consult with your doctor beforehand. Malaria may not...



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