Solomon Islands Driving Guide
Solomon Islands is a unique beautiful country. Explore all of it by driving when you get your International Driving Permit
The Solomon Islands is a sovereign nation and archipelago located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. It has so much to offer, but it has been off the radar for travelers compared to its neighbor Tahiti and Fiji. With the country's plethora of mountainous landscapes, rich forests, and untouched coastlines, tourists will enjoy several destinations within one destination. People looking for a digital detox and break from the hubbub of urban life will find a haven on the island.
It is home to popular underwater exploration sites such as Munda and Gizo. You can also visit Honiara and Guadalcanal to see beautiful waterfalls, trails, and mountains. The Solomon Islands has a 770,100 population as of 2020, where 95.3% of which are of native Melanesian descent. Although English is the official language in the Solomon Islands, the majority of the population uses Melanesian Pidgin.
How Can This Guide Help You?
Going to your dream destination is not just all fun. If you do not know any information about that country, it may spell trouble. This guide will help you learn the vital information you need to know before you book a flight to the Solomon Islands. It will supply you with the things you can do in the Solomon Islands and the country's top must-visit destinations. Learn about the essential driving rules and etiquette together with some helpful car rental information to remember when driving in the Solomon Islands.
This country consists of two chains of volcanic islands and low-lying coral atolls in the Pacific Ocean's southwestern part. The capital and the largest city is Honiara. It has six major islands, namely, Choiseul, Guadalcanal, Malaita, Makira, New Georgia, and Santa Isabel. Although it is a tropical country, the temperatures are rarely extreme because of the cool winds coming from the surrounding seas. It is known for offering a raw and authentic island experience, so many intrepid travelers are attracted to it.
The Solomon Islands is about 485 kilometers east of Papua New Guinea and 1,900 kilometers northeast of Australia. It is included in the volcanic arc that extends from New Ireland to Vanuatu. This country has two islands in the autonomous region of Papua New Guinea. It has six major islands and almost 900 smaller volcanoes where 300 are inhabited. Its name is derived from the Solomon Islands archipelago, which is included in the Melanesian Islands collection.
Its islands lie in two parallel chains. On the southern chain, there is Vella Lavella, New Georgia Islands, Savo, and Guadalcanal. While on the northern chain, there is Choiseul, Santa Isabel, and Malaita. On Makira, the two parallel chains converge. You will experience hot and humid weather because it has a tropical oceanic climate. Still, it is bearable because it is relieved by cool winds and abundant rainfall year-round.
The declared official language on the island is English. They use it in official government transactions, business, and in several printed media. However, it is surprising that the official language is only spoken by roughly 1% to 2% of the population. English is not prescribed by the Ministry of Education and Human Resource Development, so it is not used as a method of instruction in schools.
There are more than 70 living languages throughout the islands and provinces of the Solomon Islands. Melanesian Pidgin is the country's lingua franca, and it is widely used throughout the country. As a tourist, you might have some challenges with language differences because many citizens are still not fluent in using it.
It has a total land area of 30, 407 sq. kilometers composed of forested mountain ranges and deep narrow valleys. Its size can be compared to Albania's size, and it is smaller than Maryland in the United States. The Solomon Islands is mostly composed of rugged areas, and its highest peak is 7,644 feet, located at Mount Popomanaseu of Guadalcanal Island. Its major islands are Choiseul, Guadalcanal, Malaita, Makira, New Georgia, and Santa Isabel.
The origin of Solomon Islands' inhabitants is uncertain. There are shreds of evidence that show it was inhabited by Neolithic people from South-East Asia way back 4000 to 6000 years ago. Based on the archaeological pieces of evidence, the natives of Bismarck are the ancestry of all Polynesians. Alvaro de Mendana is the first documented Spanish explorer who reached the island in 1568. He named the islands Isles of Solomon because he found alluvial gold on Guadalcanal.
For almost 200 years, Solomon Islands were not explored by any foreign countries. In 1886, Britain gained full control of the whole country. When World War II came, the island faced a bloody battle with the Japanese. However, in 1945, the British government conquered the island again. It was not until 1978 when the Solomon Islands gained independence and became self-governing.
The nation's form of government is a constitutional monarchy with a unicameral legislature. The head of the state is the British monarch, but it is represented by a governor-general appointed by the unicameral National Parliament. The prime minister formally heads the government, but a coalition of parties or factions forms the majority in Parliament.
Transportation, economic development, health, and education in local government are handled by local government councils appointed by the government. In the Solomon Islands, education is not compulsory. The national and provincial governments run most of the schools on the island.
Solomon Islands' untrodden paradise has become an oasis for foreign travelers wanting to immerse themselves in authentic island experience and rich culture. In the Adventure Tourism Development Index (2020), the Solomon Islands has climbed 40 places among all the Pacific Island countries. This global ranking system checks how safe and welcoming the country is to all tourists concerning infrastructure and cultural resources.
The Solomon Islands now ranks 109th as the best country for adventure tourism around the world. The National Statistics Office has recorded a rising number of visitors since 2019, with approximately 30,000 visitors to its shores. About 360 hotel rooms are available for all foreign tourists, but they are still working on it to raise it to up to 700.
Driving in the Solomon Islands can be convenient if you have all the requirements to drive in the country. When you are in the Solomon Islands, it is best to get an international driving permit on our website because locals use Pidgin as their common language. The IDP helps you avoid troubles caused by the language barrier with the local authorities in case they ask for identification. Here are several things you need to understand about an international permit in the Solomon Islands.
Is a Local Driver's License Valid in the Solomon Islands?
Foreign tourists now need a local driver's license when driving in the Solomon Islands. To get a local driver's license, you need to pass the License Application form, two passport size photos together with your valid driver's license or international driving permit. If you already have your valid driver's license from your country, you will be given a Solomon Islands driver's license without undergoing any test. Note that the local license you'll get will be for the same vehicle category as your domestic license.
Do I Need an IDP in Cities and Districts of the Solomon Islands?
When you are driving in Solomon Islands' cities and districts, you can never be complacent because there may be unexpected road trouble you may encounter. Your international driver's permit will be valid proof of your identification when you ask for local authorities' assistance. Only 1% to 2% of the country's population uses English, while most of them use their lingua franca, Melanesian Pidgin.
The IDP you obtained from the International Driver's Association will help you a lot when driving on Solomon Islands' roads because it contains primary information about you translated into 12 widely spoken languages. Even if you cannot communicate using their language, it will still be more comfortable to approach locals or local authorities. You have to expect checkpoints in the country where police may ask for your driver's license and IDP.
Does IDP Replace Your Native Driver's License?
Your IDP will not be accepted as a replacement for a valid driver's license. When you are driving in any location in the Solomon Islands, you can't use your international driving permit alone for identification. Remember that your IDP will only translate your identity and vital driving information when visiting another countr
For as long as you have a legal driver's license and international driver's permit, driving at any address in the Solomon Islands will be hassle-free for you. Complete the application form on our website to get your IDP in just a few minutes. You don't even need to take any driving examination because it will be issued to you immediately. If you are not good at recalling roads, you can look it up on a map when driving in the Solomon Islands.
Renting a Car in the Solomon Islands
You can fully discover the untouched beauty of the Solomon Islands with a car rental. A reliable automobile will help you get around many destinations on all of the country's main islands. It is reasonable to book a rental car ahead of time to get discounts and coupons. If you book on the same day you will need the vehicle, it can cost you more, or there might be additional charges when you get your car from the airport.
This guide will help you choose from some of the best car rental companies in the Solomon Islands and the requirements needed to hire one. Check out the vital aspects to consider when renting a car in the country. Read on to discover the rules provided by the car rental company so that you will be ready as you go on with your adventure on the island.
Car Rental Companies
Several well-known car rental companies like Avis, Alama, Budget, Dollar, Europcar, and Hertz have branches in the Solomon Islands. You can conveniently book a car rental online before your flight on the island. It is advised that you book ahead of your arrival for foreign tourists because it is cheaper, and you can even avail discounts. There are also local rental companies in the area that allow walk-in booking.
Rental companies in the Solomon Islands offer visitors car rentals to suit their needs and preferences. Most rented car rental in the Solomon Islands is Toyota RAV4 or Avensis and Ford Mondeo because these are great with the rugged terrains. If you want to see a list of options, you can visit the Avis website because they offer a wide range of car rentals such as sedans, SUVs, vans, and luxury cars. They also have extras like other car rental products and services.
To avail of a car rental in the Solomon Islands, you have to follow a straightforward procedure. You need to submit your valid driver's license and other proof of identification. You will be required to submit an international driver's license and your domestic driving license if your license is not penned in the Roman alphabet. Furthermore, you can get your international driver's permit here at our website, and it will be immediately processed after a successful application.
Car rental companies ensure that you can find the best car rental deals in the Solomon Islands. The most common vehicles rented on the island are Toyota RAV4, Toyota Avensis, and Ford Mondeo because it is well suited for the country's rugged terrains. If you are coming with a large group of friends, there are also other options like SUVs and vans.
Car Rental Cost
A car rental in the Solomon Islands can cost an average of $99 per day. The price still varies depending on the vehicle's type, its size, and the insurance. If you want to furnish your car with additional products or avail of other services, then the price will also increase. You should thoroughly check the insurance conditions of your car rental because every offer varies. There are times when the insurance only applies to specific parts of the car, so you should check it.
Note that you should always check if the car rental corresponds to all the conditions stated in the contract. The fuel policy may also vary depending on the car rental company, so make sure to review it. If you still have queries, it is advised to contact the car rental company. Remember that the prices below can change without further notice. Here are the average prices for each type of vehicle you can rent in the Solomon Islands.
- Intermediate SUV: $99/ day
- Midsize SUV: $102/ day
- Full-size SUV: $118/ day
- Compact SUV: $101/ day
- Standard SUV: $117/day
- Full-size Van:$122/ day
- Passenger Van: $141/ day
Most car rental companies in the Solomon Islands will allow a minimum age of 21. However, from ages 21 to 25, you are obliged to pay young drivers fees. There are also limitations on what cars you can rent. Between the ages 21 and 25, you will only be allowed to rent mini to compact vehicles. The regulations may still vary depending on the car rental company, so it is best to check their detailed terms and conditions.
Car Insurance Cost
When scouring through your itinerary and driving in the Solomon Islands, you have to get car insurance. Most car rental companies ask for proof of insurance before they let you pick up your car rental. If you don't have one, you can just avail yourself of temporary insurance through the car rental companies. Make sure to read the insurance policy you avail of because some parts of the car may not be insured or car insurance's validity when you cross state borders.
Car Insurance Policy
In the Solomon Islands, it is best to have insurance coverage to avoid unfortunate financial risks. You could try to get a damage waiver so that the car rental company will not charge you if your car rental was stolen or damaged. Get liability insurance, too, because it covers damages caused by your car rental to other people's property. Personal Property Insurance covers any stolen or damaged personal property in the car rental you are using.
Road Rules in the Solomon Islands
As a foreign tourist in the Solomon Islands, you have to be familiar with the driving rules for your safety and to avoid facing problems with the local authorities. The Solomon Islands' driving rules are mostly just in line with the road rules in other countries. There may be some rules that they enforce strictly, so you have to ensure you are aware of them. Following the road rules are paramount when driving in at any location in the Solomon Islands.
Be responsible and learn the essential regulations you need to follow before driving to your itinerary in the Solomon Islands. Note that you are in a foreign country, so the consequences of not following it will not just cause you hassle but also punishment. It is better to be ready and knowledgeable than face serious consequences such as imprisonment, fines, or it may even cause casualties. Below are the vital road rules that you need to follow.
Drunk-driving in the Solomon Islands is an offense under the Traffic Act. No local driver or tourist is permitted to drive if their blood alcohol level is over 0.08%. Drunk-driving topped the traffic violations in Honiara last May 2020. The Traffic Department police continue to record an alarming number of violations in line with drunk-driving, so they impose strict penalties on violators.
Once the police find a driver under the influence of liquor that exceeds the limit, they have the power to detain the vehicle and the driver for alcohol impairment. Moreover, they can arrest any driver or person suspected of being unfit to drive due to alcohol, and they may also impound the vehicle with additional penalties. Police always advise drivers to think ahead before consuming alcohol and not to take their life into their hands because of drunk-driving.
Turning Signal at an Intersection
When you are driving in the Solomon Islands today, you may notice how different the country's road conditions are. Unpaved roads are still observable in some of the country's highways, so you have to be extra careful when turning at an intersection. Some roads are not well-lit, so you have to use signals when turning, especially if you are driving at night. You can try watching videos of people driving in the Solomon Islands to get a better idea.
Even if you have several years of driving experience, you may find parking at a different level of difficulty. When you are in a different state, there are various parking habits that some locals may find annoying. So, make sure that you park in designated parking spots and you avoid conflict with other drivers. In the Solomon Islands, most of the hotels have free parking space, so you will not have too much trouble getting a spot for your car rental.
Ensure that you keep a safe distance when you are parallel-parking. Check if there is a reasonable gap between your car and from the cars behind or in front of you. This gap is helpful so you can conveniently drive out without being a hassle to the other vehicles. It is also advised to avoid parking your car on a hill or slope because you may want to avoid any accident or damage any property if your vehicle rolls downhill. Find a secure parking location at all times.
Make sure everything is in favorable condition before driving.
There can be far distances to cover when driving in the Solomon Islands. Check your car's condition before leaving. Make sure that you and the vehicle are in the right shape before driving. There can also be checkpoints, so make sure you bring your international driving permit, passport, local driving license, and insurance documents.
Established on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) status report, wearing a lap and shoulder seat belt diminishes the risk of fatal injury by 60% in an SUV, van, or pick up and by 45% in a car. Wearing seatbelts will prevent ejection from the vehicle and will save you from colliding with the vehicle's interior during a crash. These seatbelts are also designed to spread crash forces across different body parts to reduce the risks of fatal injuries.
Unrestrained drivers and passengers are prohibited in the Solomon Islands. The country currently has no law that requires drivers to fasten children in the car seat, but they impose children to be seated in the back seat, and they must always wear seatbelts. They also strongly advise the drivers not to put a child on their lap or in front of the vehicle when driving because it can cause serious injury in an accident.
General Standards of Driving
The standards of driving in the Solomon Islands are almost the same with other countries. It is essential to know that road safety in the country is impacted more by certain conditions, such as the state of roads. In the Solomon Islands, locals mostly use manual cars, but several people opt for automatic cars. Driving on a foreign road can be an entirely different experience, so it is better to choose what type of vehicle you are most comfortable driving.
Over speeding is one of the major contributing factors in road accidents in the Solomon Islands. It is always advised to follow the driving speed imposed because the country's road conditions are still not that well. There can be far distances to cover when driving in the Solomon Islands. Still, police recommend drivers to drive slower, especially if they are driving when the weather is terrible, nighttime, in heavy traffic, unfamiliar roads, or on narrow streets.
Inside the Solomon Islands cities, the speed limit is 40 Kph, while outside the cities, the speed limit is 60 Kph. When traveling in areas near schools or pedestrians, always slow down. If you are convicted of overspeeding, you may also pay a $700 fine or face six months of imprisonment. A driver who causes another person's death by reckless driving can be sentenced to five years in prison.
Driving in the Solomon Islands must be taken with extra care because a large percentage of their roads are still unpaved. Moreover, the standards of driving of many locals are often poor, so you have to be careful when you are traveling on the country's roads. It is also strongly advised to avoid driving at night because some roads and vehicles are not well-lit. You can use a navigation map to know the best routes when driving in the Solomon Islands.
Some local drivers chew betel nuts frequently and open their car doors even when traveling at speed just to spit onto the road. This practice may cause some trouble, especially if you are overtaking. Be aware of the vehicles around you when overtaking, and in case you are involved in a road accident, you must stop and stay at the scene until the local authorities arrive. Note that the local police phone number is 999.
Traffic Road Signs
Since the Solomon Islands' public solicitor is the United Kingdom, its judiciary laws are also aligned. The country follows the Highway Code that states the traffic signs published by the Department of Transport. The Solomon Islands has five groups of road signs: warning signs, signs giving orders, direction signs, information signs, and road works signs. Knowing and following these road signs is paramount for your safety and the other people on the road.
Warning road signs in the Solomon Islands are often distinguishable from their red and yellow color, signifying potential danger ahead. You can quickly identify it because of its triangular shape. Only the roads in Honiara are well-paved, so it is best to check the warning signs when driving in the Solomon Islands. Common warning signs include:
- road narrows ahead sign
- slippery road sign
- warning for traffic jams sign
- uneven road sign
- two-way traffic ahead sign
- rail crossing ahead sign
Signs giving orders in the Solomon Islands are easily seen because they are mostly encased in a red circle. If you see an additional plate below the sign, this is to qualify the sign's message. When you see signs with blue circles with no red border, then it means positive instruction. Common signs giving orders include:
- national speed limit applies sign
- stop and give way sign
- no overtaking sign
- keep left/right sign
- minimum speed sign
- maximum speed sign
Direction signs are mostly rectangular signs. Freeway signs have a blue background, while primary road signs have a green background. When you see a direction sign with a blue panel within a green panel, it means that the freeway begins at the junction. However, if you see a direction sign with a white panel within a green panel, then it means that a local/non-primary route begins at the junction ahead. Common direction signs include:
- tourist attraction sign
- route confirmatory sign
- picnic site sign
- direction to car park sign
- on approaches to junctions sign
- route confirmatory sign
The Solomon Islands' information signs are easiest to identify because they are always square or rectangular. These signs provide drivers with general information about the road and also the road ahead. Common information signs include:
- parking permitted sign
- one-way traffic sign
- end of motorway sign
- tourist information point sign
- priority over oncoming vehicles sign
Road work signs in the Solomon Islands can also be seen frequently because the unpaved roads are still under construction. You can easily spot these signs because they mostly have a yellow background or a triangular shape. Common road work signs include:
- temporary hazard at road works sign
- temporary lane closure sign
- mandatory speed limit ahead sign
- lane restrictions sign
- one lane crossover sign
Right of Way
Knowing the right of way in a foreign country is important because it varies depending on several factors. Being aware of the give way rules in the country will prevent possible conflicts with other drivers. In the Solomon Islands, drivers that are already on the roundabout are typically the ones that have the right of way. On the other hand, if you are just reaching the roundabout, priority should be given to the traffic approaching your right unless directed.
Legal Driving Age
The legal driving age in the Solomon Islands is 18, which is just the same with other countries. However, car rental companies in the country require drivers to be 21 years old or over, and they must hold their driver's license for at least two years. The majority of the Solomon Islands roads are still unpaved, so young drivers may experience difficulty handling the road conditions.
Drivers from ages 21 to 25 are also obliged to pay young driver’s fees. There are also some restrictions on what cars they are allowed to rent. Usually, most car rental companies only enable young drivers to drive mini to compact vehicles. Depending on the car rental company, the regulations and restrictions may vary, so ensure that you check their detailed terms and conditions.
Laws on Overtaking
Overtaking in the Solomon Islands should be taken with utmost care because the country's standard of driving and vehicle maintenance is low. Local drivers are also used to frequently opening vehicle doors, including on the driver's side to spit the betel nut they are chewing, so make sure to be aware of this when planning to overtake. If you are driving at night, overtaking is not advised because roads are not well-lit.
Overtaking is on the right side of the Solomon Islands' road because vehicles are driven on the left side of the road. Make sure to give an appropriate signal to the drivers behind you before you overtake. Remember to check if there is an opening between your car and the car you are overtaking. This process is important to avoid unfortunate accidents on the road.
The Solomon Islands follow the Highway Code that states the traffic signs published by the Department of Transport of the United Kingdom. Hence, you will use the left side of the road when driving in any location in the Solomon Islands. It can take time before you get used to it, primarily if you are used to steering on the right side of the road, but it is still best that you follow this at all times to drive conveniently in the country.
Driving Etiquette in the Solomon Islands
We know how exciting it is to travel in a different country and the anxiety of being on unfamiliar roads and places. There can be differences in the country's essential etiquette that you have to learn not to offend anyone. It is best always to show respect to the locals so that you can avoid future conflicts. Provide yourself with the knowledge on how to respond to certain unexpected events to react correctly.
Everyone knows the stress and hassle brought by car breakdowns, but unfortunately, this event is unpredictable and can cause you some trouble at any time. If you are driving in the Solomon Islands now, the best process of preventing car breakdowns from occurring is to have your car regularly checked. Ensure that your car or car rental is in shape to handle the country's unpaved roads.
When your car breaks down on the main road, make sure that you pull over as far as you can from the traffic so that you will not block the other drivers from their route. Notify the drivers from behind and in front by using a reflective warning triangle and hazard lights. Do not forget to do this, especially when driving on the Solomon Islands at night, so that other approaching cars will see you.
Do not be afraid to inquire for some roadside assistance from local authorities so that you can easily handle the car and put it on the safe side. There are also breakdown and towing service companies that can help you get your car out of the way. Call for a car repair service to handle the situation of your car. Do not attempt to fix it on your own, especially if you are not knowledgeable enough.
Getting pulled over in a foreign country can be a nerve-wracking experience because the laws and customs may vary. You must stop and pull over when a uniformed police officer asks you to do so. You have nothing to stress about if you are sure that you did not violate road rules and have all the necessary documents. Always bring your passport, visa, local driver's license, car insurance, and international driving permit.
If you get asked to stop by a local authority, find a place off to the side of the road and stay in your car. Crack open your window when they approach so that you can understand and ask why you get pulled over. The police officer must discuss the offense you committed before asking for payment. If you think something is off or seem like they are not from the police, you can ask to see their badge for credentials.
When you are driving at any address in the Solomon Islands, and you need to ask for driving directions, it is advised to ask local authorities since only 1% to 2% of the population uses English as their mode of communication. If you want to ask for directions, pull over at the side of the road and politely ask the police officer or local how to go to a certain destination. You can also search for the destination on a map when driving in the Solomon Islands.
Remember to approach them politely and friendly so that you will not be misinterpreted. Since the Solomon Islands is a multiracial country, there are different ways to greet them. The most traditional way of greeting in the country is 'Halo' (for one person) and 'Halo Oiketa' if there are more than two people. The people of the Solomon Islands are amicable. They commonly welcome foreigners with a good handshake and big island smile.
Checkpoints are randomly scheduled, so when you are driving on the Solomon Islands roads, you have to be extra careful. Do not panic when a uniformed police officer asks you to pull over for a checkpoint because most of the time, they will just ask for your valid driver's license and other proof of identification. It may also be because you violated a road rule. That is why it is important to follow their instructions.
Make sure to communicate with the local authorities politely and follow the necessary procedure to avoid disputes or additional charges. You can ask for a ticket for your road violation and pay at the police station instead of paying upfront. There are times that there are people posing as police officers, so you have to be careful. When driving in the Solomon Islands, you should always monitor your surroundings and be vigilant for your security.
Besides the normal driving situations you may face when driving in the Solomon Islands today, there are also tourists asking for safety tips and local etiquette in the country to have an enjoyable stay. Although the island is not known to be one of the safest places to visit, knowing what to avoid can certainly help reduce your worries. Read below to learn more about the safety tips when driving on Solomon Islands' roads.
What Is Solomon Islands Dress Code?
Be careful with what you wear when you are in the Solomon Islands because the locals are very conservative, and some western clothing is considered inappropriate. To be safe, pick loose-fitting, light, and cotton clothing. This type of clothing is considered casual, and it is also great for the country's climate. Honiara is more lenient when it comes to dressing code, but it can be more conservative in rural areas and provincial towns.
For men, it is best to pack long pants, knee-length shorts, and short-sleeved shirts. Women are advised to wear dresses, skirts, t-shirts, and sleeveless shirts. Note that you should not expose skin above the knee, especially when attending traditional events. Always leave your shoes outside because being barefoot inside the house is a rule. Comfortable clothes make driving easier, so it’s best to choose comfort above all.
Driving Conditions in the Solomon Islands
Besides learning the important driving rules and etiquette of the Solomon Islands, it will also help you a lot if you know its driving conditions and situations. You can watch videos of people driving in the Solomon Islands to take a peek at what it is like. Knowing all of this vital information may help you better understand the problems you can face on the road and how to evade them. Learn about the Solomon Islands' driving conditions below.
Drunk-driving and overspeeding are the major contributing factors to road accidents in the Solomon Islands. According to Road Traffic Accident Deaths data published by the World Health Organization in 2018, the Solomon Islands recorded 100 deaths. Road casualties are the 10th leading cause of death in the country, with a 3.96% death rate. It ranks 78th globally with the highest death rate of road accidents because of the 20.14 death rate per 100,000.
The traffic officers of Kukum Traffic Centre, Honiara Police Station, and Henderson Police Station conducted a four-week operation to address the traffic congestion because drivers disregarded traffic rules and regulations in 2019. The country's local authorities continue to be vigilant in imposing stricter road laws and advise drivers to change the mindset and follow road rules because adults should be responsible role models that children look up to.
If you are driving in the Solomon Islands cities, you can commonly spot Toyota Hilux, Isuzu D-Max, and SUVs. Locals choose these cars because it provides modern comfort and is ideal for the country's rugged landscapes. These cars can handle daily commutes when you are driving in the Solomon Islands on schedule. Outside the urban cities of this country, there are mostly unpaved roads most locals get by through motorcycles.
Although Honiara is the capital city, public transportation is still limited to several taxis, water taxis, and buses. You can effortlessly hail a taxi on the streets, but it is advised to hire one from your hotel's taxi services because it is cheaper. Since the Solomon Islands is an archipelago, you can also ride inter-island ferries to your destination. You can only find mini-buses in Honiara. When you are outside the city, you can ride trucks or trailers for hire.
You can observe mostly paved roads in Honiara, Guadalcanal, Malaita, and the Western Province. Approximately only 15% of the roads in the country are in fair or good condition. The country is still developing unpaved roads, road networks, and road bridges, so maybe in the next few years, they will also work on the toll road construction on the island.
There are several ways to get to the country. You can either take a trip by air or by sea. The main port in the country is Honiara International Airport on the island of Guadalcanal. If you plan to take an excursion by air, there are five airlines with regularly scheduled flights to Honiara. You can choose from Solomon Airlines, Virgin Australia, Fiji Airways, Air Niugini, and Air Vanuatu.
The Solomon Islands is a famous destination for yachties. Travelers wanting to enter the country by sea must request clearance at an official Port of Entry to not encounter enforcement boats and pay an expensive fine. You can clear customs and immigration to these entry ports: Honiara, Korovou, Gizo, Ringgit, Yandina, Tulagi, and Graciosa Bay.
The Solomon Islands' road stretched around 1500 kilometers. Its main roads are about 625 kilometers. Five hundred twenty-three kilometers are considered feeder roads, while 346 kilometers are the local access roads. Only 15% of the country's whole roads are paved, while the remaining roads are constructed from coral, gravel, or dirt. Even though paved roads are found in Honiara, most of them are poorly marked, not well-lit, and have many potholes.
About three-quarters of paved roads, bridges and roads are also in Guadalcanal, Malaita, and the Western Province. You can get by fairly on the paved roads of Kukum Highway, which links to the port and airport in the east and west parts of the cities. It is not advised to drive at night because of the roads' lack of road signs and lights. Tourists must also prevent driving away from main roads because they can be fined for trespassing on communal land.
Unfortunately, the standards of driving and vehicle maintenance of many locals are low. Islanders are known for their habit of chewing betel nuts while driving. They may open their vehicle doors or driver's door to spit out on the road. This act is very dangerous, especially if you are caught by surprise when overtaking. You can commonly spot overloaded vehicles in the city, which is dangerous for both the passengers in the auto and others on the road.
It is a good thing that the police, Honiara City Council, and Internal Revenue Division are working together to regularly conduct targeted traffic operations on the Solomon Islands roads to educate the public, drivers, and passengers. They are doing their best to inform them of the possible dangers that may befall them when they did not follow the law. The strict implementations of legal requirements help maintain law and order on the road.
Besides learning vital information about the Solomon Islands' driving conditions, tourists must also know the budget they need and how safe is the Solomon Islands when they travel to the country. It would also help to know the zip codes when driving in the Solomon Islands. Here are pieces of advice that will be helpful to you when driving in the Solomon Islands.
Is the Solomon Islands dangerous?
The Solomon Islands are composed of various ethnicities, and not all of them get along well. There can be protests that turn into riots, so as a tourist, it is best to avoid mingling with large public gatherings so that you will not be harmed. Do not wear any expensive jewelry and flash your wallets when visiting Honiara because you will attract pickpockets. It is advised to always walk with a group or a guide, especially at night.
Beware of trespassing on private properties because land ownership is a sensitive issue in the Solomon Islands. If you cannot settle the argument with the owner, you may be asked to pay a "kastom" fee even if you unintentionally visited the area. That is why it is best to research the place before going there. Moreover, swearing is considered a crime in the country. If caught, the person may face compensation claims or spend days in prison.
Is visiting the Solomon Islands expensive?
When you are wandering to a foreign state, you need to estimate the possible expenses you will need depending on your stay's duration. This process is important for you to plan on your finances so you will not run short in money when an unexpected event happens. You can enjoy your vacation to the fullest, even with a strict budget. The official currency of the country is Solomon Islands Dollar (SI$). SI$1 is equivalent to $0.12.
Based on www.budgetyourtrip.com, one tourist can spend around an average of $142 (SI$1,131) per day in the Solomon Islands. This amount covers the average prices for meals, local transportation, and hotel. If you plan to stay for one week, it can cost around $896 (SI$7,918), and for one month, it is $4157 (SI$33,395). The best advice for those who want to spend less is to travel by group so you can share hotel expenses and there can be discounts.
Things to Do in the Solomon Islands
Besides visiting countless tourist destinations in the Solomon Islands, there are great opportunities to try in the country even if you are a foreign visitor. If you have all the documents they require, you can find job opportunities and long-term employment in the country. Learning the employment and residence requirements will help you so that you can enjoy your stay for a longer time. Read on below to see the things that you can try out in the country.
Drive as a Tourist
For as long as you are within the legal age requirement and possess a local driver's license, passport, and international driving permit, you will be allowed to drive in the Solomon Islands. If you already have a domestic driver's license from your country, you can have Solomon Islands' driving license without undergoing any tests. It will also help if you are knowledgeable about the country's zip codes when driving in the Solomon Islands.
All you have to provide is your complete License Application form, two passport size photos, your domestic driver's license, and your international driving permit to them. Note that the vehicle category of the local driver's license that will be issued to you is the same as the one in your domestic driver's license. You can also use a navigation map when driving in the Solomon Islands because the roads can be difficult to remember for tourists.
Work as a Driver
If you plan to find employment in the Solomon Islands, you can give it a shot, even if you are a tourist. You must possess an employment visa and visitor's permit before you can apply for the job opportunities. In 30 days, if you have a visitor's permit, you can engage in business or employment. However, if you plan to work longer, you must seek the approval of the Commissioner of Labour, Minister of Immigration, and Director of Immigration.
There are several job vacancies for personal and freight drivers in the country. Your responsibility will include transporting people or goods. The average monthly salary of drivers in the country is about $592 to $1350 (SI$ 4758 to SI$ 10842). There are also similar jobs with average monthly salaries such as:
- Bus driver: $560 to $1327 (SI$ 4437 to SI$ 10661)
- Car driver: $560 - $1350 (SI$ 4466 to SI$ 10775)
- Train conductor: $503 to $1164 (SI$ 4041 to SI$ 9345).
Work as a Travel Guide
The Solomon Islands government prioritizes the employment of the locals, so working as a travel guide can be challenging. There are other job vacancies you can try out, but if you plan to work for more than 30 days, you can prolong it up to three to twelve months. To do so, you must get a work permit from the Commissioner of Labour, and it must be submitted to the Director of Immigration.
A nursery school teacher assistant's average monthly salary is from (SI$ 2838 to SI$6137). You can also try to be a machine operator $643 to $1285 (SI$ 5163 to SI$ 10324) and chief executive officer $1740 to $8210 (SI$ 13978 to SI$ 65941). The Solomon Islands government also has a vacancy for a chief parliamentary librarian, committee secretary, principal administration, assistant accountant, clerical officer, and others.
Apply for Residency
The Ministry of Home Affairs of the Solomon Islands is responsible for handling the citizenship of interested foreigners. You can acquire citizenship through adoption and dual citizenship by way of renunciation. Check out the criteria for approving Solomon Islands Citizenship applications by the Citizen Commission at this website. You can also find a checklist of required documents on the website.
For as long as you passed the given criteria and all the required documents, it will be submitted to and processed by the Citizenship Commission. If your documents are not written in English, they must be translated and then certified by the Commissioner of Oath before they can be deemed acceptable. The citizenship fees range from $1000 to $20000, depending on the type of application.
Other Things to Do
With its untouched and uncrowded 992 tropical islands, many tourists are lured to stay in this pristine paradise. Although most of its roads and establishments are yet to be developed, the country's unspoiled playground will definitely fulfill any adventurer's quota of dream getaways. Listed below are some of the other exciting things to discover if you plan to stay longer in the Solomon Islands.
What Are the Solomon Islands Famous For?
The remarkable diversity of thousands of different plant and animal species in the country is one of the motivations why travelers keep coming back for more. The rich biodiversity shows how the locals are preserving and conserve its bountiful resources. Besides that, this archipelago is an oasis for outdoor adventurers. There are many hiking trails to wander in, plus diving and surfing sites to try out. In the Solomon Islands, there's never a shortage of things to enjoy.
What Do They Eat in the Solomon Islands?
The Solomon Islands have vast natural resources where they get their food, but their main staple is fish. The country is well-known for the fish cuisines that they cooked through grilling, boiling, or frying with the entire ocean surrounding them. It is usually paired with coconut, sweet potatoes, rice, taro roots, and breadfruit called 'ulu.' The country's national dish is 'Poi,' a dish made from fermented taro roots.
The Top Destinations in the Solomon Islands
If you find solace in staying in places that are still not touched by urbanization, you will surely have fun in the Solomon Islands. Over the years, the country has been left unexposed to many visitors, but today, the Solomon Islands is gearing up to boost its tourism. Although you can't find a luxurious hotel on the island, they pride themselves in offering visitors an authentic and laid-back tropical island lifestyle. Read on below to see spectacular destinations in the country.
This multi-award service and business in the Solomon Islands promotes sustainable ecotourism. Their philosophy is mainly concerned with the protection and preservation of the marine ecosystem. Tourists can easily visit their spot because they are located on the premises of Agnes Getaway Hotel. The whole area surrounding the site is filled with stunning and serene sceneries.
- From Munda Airport, head southwest on New Munda – Kokegolo Rd toward Main St.
- Turn left onto Main St.
- Turn left, and you can reach Dive Munda in about one minute.
Things to Do
You can't let the diving opportunity pass when you visit this place. There are several activities to try and enjoy. Here are the must-try things to do in Dive Munda.
- Appreciate the stunning coastline
Since the Solomon Islands is one of the last frontiers that showcase the unspoiled beauty of nature, you can simply relax and watch the amazing sunset while admiring the stunning beauty of the coastline.
- Have a thrilling dive trip
The Solomon Islands holds one of the most must-try diving sites in the world. At Drive Munda, they offer double dive trips together with professional driving instructors in the morning and afternoon. Many tourists recommend night dives and bio fluorescent dive. All their diving gears are maintained and annually serviced by ScubaPro, Sherwood, and Mares. You can also choose diving sites that will suit your experience and preferences.
- Try cave diving
If you want to try the thrill of cave diving, Dive Munda also has a site where you will start your dive trip in a short tunnel situated in the jungle, and you will emerge in the ocean. Do not be afraid to try it because their staff are very experienced and will guide you throughout the trip. You can also explore the majestic coral reefs and see the amazing marine biodiversity as you dive.
- Learn courses from Try Scuba
Is it your first time trying out diving? Don't worry because you can take a crash course with Try Scuba with the SSI accreditation agency. The experienced instructor will have a customized approach to match your diving needs. After learning the important lessons and safety precautions, you can now try the exciting experience of breathing underwater for the first time.
- Relax on the grounds of Agnes Gateway Hotel
Since Dive Munda is found on Agnes Gateway Hotel's premises, you will no longer drive far to find a pleasant place where you can rest after a day full of adventure. They offer different room types that will suit individual travelers, couples, groups of friends, and even large families.
Solomon Islands National Museum
This national museum was declared as a cultural institution in 1969. Its developments started in the early 1950s, and it is one of the oldest government institutions in the Solomon Islands. You can find the country's rich tangible and intangible cultural heritage in this museum because its mission is to preserve, safeguard, and develop it for future generations.
- From Solomon Airlines, head southwest
- Continue straight
- Turn left onto Kukum Highway. You can reach Solomon Islands National Museum in approximately 24 minutes.
Things to Do
The Solomon Islands National Museum is a must-visit tourist destination in the country because you can learn more about its rich history. As a tourist, you have to know more about the country you are visiting, and this place will give you just that. Make sure to make the most out of your visit to Solomon Islands National Museum by exploring the things there.
- Appreciate various artifacts
A group of friendly and accommodating staff will guide you as you explore the modest museum. Entrance is free, but you can also give donations if you want. Inside you will find various displays and artifacts. Most of the displays are old photographs, body ornaments, weaponry, and archaeology of the locals' ancestors. It is also explained how these artifacts are used as well as their background. You can also find several totems and statues inside.
- Buy souvenirs at the gift shop.
Although the museum is small compared to museums in western countries, it has a separate place for gift shops where you can find many local handicrafts. Buy your friends and family some souvenirs so that you can share your experiences with them in the country, even when it is just a small token. These little tokens can also help the locals' and the Solomon Islands' tourism.
- Learn about the countries chronicles
Aside from the artifacts from their ancestors, you can also find a section dedicated to the country's history during World War II. You can learn about some locals' important roles during the war and their stories contributing to the island's rich history. Along with it, there are also recent inter-island issues that are exhibited in the museum. The chronicles state how it occurred, resolved, and other important events in their history.
Honiara Botanical Gardens
Situated in Rove, Honiara is this botanical garden that you should visit if you want to be surrounded by the beauty of nature. The Solomon Islands is not just known for its diving sites and beautiful coastlines. It is also home to an ecological treasure trove like Honiara Botanical Garden.
- From the Honiara International Airport, head southwest toward Kukum Highway.
- Turn left onto Kukum Highway.
- Turn left.
- Turn left. After approximately 22 minutes, you will reach Honiara Botanical Gardens.
Things to Do
You can take a break from swimming and diving in the islands of Solomon. Why not go on a road trip and have some quiet time in this garden. In every turn, you can see colorful foliage and flowers. As you visit Honiara Botanical Gardens, you can try out these activities below.
- Hike on a series of woodland trails
Honiara Botanical Gardens is perfect for those looking for trails to explore and visit. This ecological treasure trove is filled with a series of woodland trails that you can discover. As you hike, you can see remnants of what used to be sites for World War II bases for Japanese and American troops.
- Visit the orchid house.
This botanical garden will surely be a delight for the eyes because of its beautiful orchid house. The orchid house contains various species of orchids. Several of these species can only be found in the Solomon Islands. You can take as many pictures of the beautiful flowers as you want but make sure that you don't pick one without the permission of the guide.
- Book a guided tour
It is safer and enjoyable to visit the botanical garden with a guide, so you can also opt to ask for a local travel guide to come with you. You can also visit the scary hanging site where many capital punishments happened during the British Colonial rule. Besides that, you can also chill and enjoy your lunch at the site because there is a newly installed picnic area that you can lounge at
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