Samoa - Shopping & Crafts
Samoa’s handicrafts are some of the finest in the South Pacific. Baskets, bags and fine mats woven from pandanus fibres make excellent gifts and souvenirs and are inexpensive to buy. You’ll find exquisite examples of siapo (Samoan tapa) made from the bark of the paper mulberry. Keep an eye out for the beautiful siapo at Apia’s Arts and Crafts Fair, held in March, and at the Teuila Festival in September. Wooden crafts include weapons and model canoes, and many people take home the beautifully carved ’ava (kava) bowls. These are the wooden bowls used for the ceremonial kava drinking. Other crafts and souvenirs include a huge range of coconut shell jewellery, shell ula (leis), kirikiti bats and balls, printed t-shirts and the local lava lava (sarong).
A good place to browse for bargains is Apia’s Flea Market on Beach Road, which runs from 8am-4pm Monday to Friday, and 8am-noon on Saturday. The stalls sell everything from cheap clothing to imported goods and handcrafts such as siapo (tapa), kava bowls and coconut-shell jewellery.
, the Salelologa Market is located near the wharf, where the ferries depart for Upolu
. You’ll find lush tropical fruits, vegetables and all sorts of local produce for sale. For self-caterers, there are general stores in Salelologa selling staple items as well.
Apia has a couple of galleries for those interested in purchasing local works. Contemporary Samoan painter, Momeo von Reiche, operates the Madd Gallery (Ifiifi Street). The gallery showcases paintings and siapo, and stages dance, poetry readings and workshops.
On Monday to Friday businesses are open 8am to 4.30pm, with lunch from noon to 1.30pm. Some shops and offices close for lunch. Saturday hours are 8am to 12.30pm. On Sunday, all shops and businesses close except for small convenience stores.
- A written declaration is required for every visitor entering Samoa.
- A litre of spirits and 200 cigarettes per person may be brought in duty free. Firearms, ammunition, explosives, drugs and indecent publications of any kind are prohibited.
- South Pacific Duty Free Shops, Faleolo Airport, phone (685) 42 476, fax (685) 42 395
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