If there’s one vacation spot that seems straight out of a picture book, it’s Bora Bora. Situated in the Society Islands archipelago of French Polynesia, the tiny island (only 29.3 square kilometers, slightly larger than Sembawang and Yishun combined) is a major tourist attraction, and once you’ve been there, it’s easy to see why.
With crystal clear waters, scenic locales and an abundance of activities on offer, Bora Bora deserves a spot on every traveller’s bucket list. It might take almost a day’s worth of travel and multiple stops and transfers to get to this island paradise from Singapore, but it’s definitely worth the effort.
Don’t just take our word for it, though. Here are 7 reasons why Bora Bora is the stuff of dreams.
One of the best parts of a tropical vacation is enjoying the pleasant climate, and a trip to Bora Bora is no exception. An average annual daytime temperature of 30° C and the gentle South Pacific Ocean breeze make for perfect beach weather. Once the sun goes down, the average nighttime temperature on the island is a pleasant 23° C, allowing one to revel in the balmy evenings. So, if it’s the weather you’re worried about, breathe easy. It’s always a good time to go to Bora Bora!
Locals in Bora Bora live by a simple mantra – aita pea pea! The phrase, which loosely translates to “not to worry”, accurately sums up the way of life in this part of the world. Not only do the picturesque landscapes make it easy for one to relax and aita pea pea, but the locals are also known to be exceptionally warm, friendly and laid-back. Once you’re surrounded by all this positivity and, of course, the heavenly sights, it’s going to be a piece of cake to co-opt this philosophy.
Be sure to bring along your camera, as Bora Bora is a symphony of vivid colours and breathtaking sights. Overwhelm your senses with blindingly beautiful vistas of the azure seas, lush greenery or the vibrant coral reefs. Though the Bora Bora Lagoonarium and Coral Gardens offer enviable views of the flora and fauna, there isn’t a single part of the island that isn’t aesthetically pleasing.
As if that wasn’t enough, Bora Bora also serves as the perfect observation deck for some of the most spellbinding sunsets in the world. Lookout points like Mount Pahia also offer panoramic views of the island that are bound to take your breath away!
Though it may not initially seem like a foodie’s paradise, Bora Bora offers a variety of culinary options, allowing diners to find one that’s just right for them. Savour the local favourite, poisson cru, which is a type of tuna marinated in coconut and lime, almost like a Polynesian ceviche. Or try saumon des dieux also known as the ‘Salmon of the Gods’; one bite into this usually grilled fish (which tastes and feels something like a mix between tuna and salmon) will make the rationale behind its name immediately apparent.
And when it comes to dessert, you can’t go wrong with Tahitian fruit pudding (Po’e), made out of fresh fruit like bananas, mangos and papaya cooked with manioc (more commonly known in Singapore as tapioca) and coconut cream. This divine local cuisine, combined with the magnificent views that most roulettes and restaurants offer, will make sure that you dine like a king!
Bora Bora is primarily known for its neon-lit waters and beautiful beaches. But locals know that there’s a lot more to the island than initially meets the eye. The steep, 4 hour hike to Mount Pahia offers a reward in the form of a panoramic view of the lagoon. You can also walk through the rugged interiors of the island as part of the Valley of the Kings hike, and discover some divine fruits and flowers.
Seasoned hikers can also make their way to the Sacred Cave of Anau, a cave perched dramatically on a cliff face, while a visit to Mount Otemanu at the centre of the island is a must for every traveller. And if you’re not too fond of hiking, a number of tour groups also offer 4×4 tours, helicopter tours and boat tours of the mountain. Win-win!
Every inch of Bora Bora oozes history and culture that are just waiting to be discovered. From the ancient temples that adorn the island to historical sites that date back to World War II, its rich history is mirrored in the art and lifestyle of the locals. Dances like the aparima, traditional tattoo art, the signature cuisine and the customs all come together to weave a beautiful tapestry that tells of the past.
Tourists can immerse themselves in French Polynesian culture by visiting Heiva I Tahiti, the annual celebration that features traditional food, music, singing, dancing and sporting events. Here, guests can enjoy mesmerising compositions played on traditional instruments like the vivo (nasal flute) or the pu, which is also known as the ukulele. The festivities also feature singing competitions and multiple sporting events; including – but not limited to – javelin-throwing events, canoe races and the pa’aro ha’ari, a coconut shelling competition where competitors race to see who is the quickest to open and remove the meat from 50 coconuts!
All this, and much more, makes Bora Bora the ideal destination for every visitor, from the adventurer on a budget trip to the luxurious traveller who wants to bask in opulence!