Sightseeing in Apia

Old Government House © SPTOBoasting a beautiful natural harbour, lively markets and old colonial buildings, Apia is the heart of Samoa. Samoa's laidback capital has a good variety of shops, supermarkets, restaurants, bars and services for visitors. Most of these, including Aggie Grey's historic hotel, can be found on Beach Road. SamoaTel on Beach Road offers communications services, including payphones (outside the building), GSM cell phone services, fax, a post office and a post restante. Opening hours are Monday to Friday 8am-4.30pm. If you need visitor information, head to the Samoa Tourism Authority (STA) in the fale in front of Government Buildings on Beach Road. Opening hours are Monday to Friday, 8am-4.30pm and Saturday morning, 8am-12pm.

Markets © SPTOApia's flea market, also on Beach Road, is a great place to soak up some atmosphere, with everything from cheap clothing to imported goods and handcrafts such as siapo (tapa), kava bowls and coconut-shell jewellery. It’s open from 8am-4pm Monday to Friday, and 8am-noon on Saturday. For food bargains, head to Apia's Maketi Fou on Fugalei Street, just south of Beach Road. This colourful market has a lively atmosphere and the best selection of fresh local produce in town. You can also sample traditional dishes and sweets, along with freshly brewed koko Samoa (the local chocolate drink).

Aggie Grey's Hotel © Aggie Grey's HotelDon't forget to stop by Apia's legendary landmark, Aggie Grey's for a relaxing tropical cocktail. Founded by Samoa's 'mother' of tourism, this rambling colonial hotel made its name as a meeting place for war-weary GIs during World War II. As you sit down for that ice cold drink, you’ll be in good company. Over the years, Aggie's shady verandahs and poolside bar have entertained a host of stars, including Marlon Brando, Raymond Burr, Denholm Elliott, William Holden, Bond girl Tia Carrera and Charlie’s Angel Cheryl Ladd.

Before you leave Samoa, set aside some time to visit the lovingly restored home of Robert Louis Stevenson. The famous author settled in Samoa in 1890, building his home, Vailima, high in the hills above Apia. It was here that Stevenson finished his archetypal Pacific novel In the South Seas, writing in a room with a view of Mt Vaea. Now an excellent museum, the two-storey villa contains many of his belongings including old photos and travel mementos. The steep, half-hour walk up to Stevenson's tomb atop the summit of Mt Vaea is well worth it for the breathtaking views over Apia.

Fact File
Access & Entry Fees: Remember that most land and areas within a lagoon or bay are the property of a village, family or individual. You should always ask permission at the nearest village and you may have to pay a small entry fee.
Business Hours: On Monday to Friday, businesses are open 8am to 4.30pm, with lunch from noon to 1.30pm. Saturday hours are 8am to 12.30pm. On Sunday, all shops and businesses close except for small convenience stores.
Clothing: Light summer clothing is fine all year round, with a sweater for the cooler evenings. Samoa Visitor GuideSmart casual evening wear is ideal for hotels and restaurants. Visitors are requested not to wear bathing suits in Apia or in the villages, and not to sunbathe nude or topless.
Samoa Visitor MapTaxes: There is a 12.5% VAGST tax on accommodation, food and drinks. Departure tax is WS$40. Children under 12 years are free.
Time Zone: Samoa is three hours behind US Pacific Time and 12 hours behind Greenwich Mean Time.

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