Information for International Participants
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The two main local transport options to reach the venue and get around Honiara are either taxis or buses as detailed further below.
Taxis can be readily hailed in town and a trip through the city should cost around SBD $10. Fares are usually calculated on roughly a SBD $10 per km rule, but as most taxis don’t have meters it is advisable to agree on a price at the beginning of the journey. A trip from Henderson Airport to town costs about SBD $100, so if going from town to the venue this will likely be in the approximate range of SBD $ 50 -70. Taxi fares can only be paid in SBD cash.
Buses operate in the form of minivans around town. These run daily but it is not advised to use one after dark, especially if unfamiliar with Honiara. The buses stop in designated Bus Zones along the main road, the front of the vehicle will display its route. The fare shouldn’t cost more than SBD $3 each way. Bus fares can only be paid in SBD cash.
Buses to the Forum venue (labelled on the windscreen as ‘KGVI’) can be caught from any stop in town and travel down the Kukum Highway to Maranatha Hall.
International flights to Honiara
The Solomon Islands international Airport is named Henderson International Airport. It is located about 8 km east from Honiara and about 3 km east of the Forum venue.
Port of Departure / Destination
Nadi (Fiji), Port Vila (Vanuatu)
Port Vila (Vanuatu)
Brisbane (Australia), Nadi (Fiji), Port Vila (Vanuatu), Port Moresby (PNG).
Brisbane (Australia), Auckland (New Zealand)
International visitors need to ensure that they check their visa requirements for travelling to the Solomon Islands. Details about visa and entry requirements can be found on the Solomon Islands Government Immigration webpage http://www.commerce.gov.sb/Divisions/Immigration/Immigration_Requirements.htm.
A sample list of available hotels is listed below as a guide due to their location and/or value for money. Their inclusion in this list should not be seen as recommendations. Participants are advised to do their own individual research to verify any aspects of cost or other requirements directly with the accommodation provider.
It is advisable to book early to secure your place. All prices quoted were correct at the time of writing (March 2012).
When booking your room please note that email and fax can be unreliable in the Solomon Islands. If you do not hear back from the hotel you are booking within 24 hours, it may be advisable to call to confirm your booking and note down your booking number.
King Solomon Hotel
|Location:||Located in the centre of Honiara, opposite the Australian Embassy|
|Phone:||+ (677) 21205|
|Fax:||+ (677) 21771|
||http://www.kingsolomonhotel.info/ (this website is not very reliable)|
||Rooms from approximately $750 SBD per night|
|Location:||Located in Chinatown, about half a kilometre from the main town.|
||+ (677) 21737|
||+ (677) 20376|
|Email:||firstname.lastname@example.org (Note that there is an error on the email address given on the website below, this is the correct email address)|
||http://www.visitsolomons.com.sb/ (Select Honiara Hotel option)|
|Cost guide:||Rooms from approximately $475 SBD per night|
||Located halfway between town and the airport (5 km from airport and 4 km from town) on Kukum highway.|
||+ (677) 25009|
||+ (677) 22880|
|Cost guide:||Rooms from approximately $750 SBD per night|
A list of other hotel options in Honiara, including backpacker and guest houses is available here: http://www.visitsolomons.com.sb/honiara
The Solomon Islands has a warm and tropical climate. As a guide, the average daytime temperature ranges between 25 to 30 degrees Celsius with high humidity year round. During the evenings it can be as cool as 19 degrees Celsius.
The dry season in the Solomon Islands is from April to November.
Further details about Solomon Islands climate can be found on the Solomon Islands Government Meteorological Service website: http://www.met.gov.sb/
Currency, banking and shopping
The currency of the Solomon Islands is the Solomon Islands Dollar (SBD). At the time of writing, $1 AUD was approximately $ SBD 7.60. Click here to view current exchange rates http://www.xe.com/ucc/
While credit cards (Visa, Master cards and Cirrus) are widely accepted in hotels, they can incur additional exchange rate or other fees.
ATMs are located around Honiara.
Taxis, buses and small shops generally accept only $ SBD, so be sure to have enough $ SBD on hand. Most major currencies can be exchanged for $ SBD at Brisbane Airport, Australia or on arrival at Henderson Airport, Honiara, Solomon Islands. It is not uncommon for these exchange outlets to be running low in currency and imposing limits on the amount customers can exchange, so it is advisable to exchange your cash as early as possible. It is suggested that you confirm local exchange options directly based on your own travel route.
All banks in town also exchange foreign currency.
During the Forum, morning and afternoon tea and lunch will be provided. The food will be local Solomon Island style. Additionally, participants can elect to attend a Forum dinner on the last night of the Forum, Friday 25th May, 2011. Please note that the cost of the dinner is not included in the Forum registration fee so will need to be paid separately.
The hotels listed above in accommodation have restaurants, as do a number of other hotels in town. Many of Honiara’s hotels offer buffet dinners and cultural shows.
Cafes, including the Lime Lounge, the Bamboo Café and Fusion Restaurant (underneath the Sea King Restaurant) are centrally located in the middle of town and are popular with Honiara’s expatriate community.
Check the Solomon Island tourism website (above) and also ask your hotel front desk for more dining options.
Telephone and Internet
Telephone and Internet communications can be unreliable in the Solomon Islands. The Solomon Islands Telekom Company (Our Telekom) is the sole communications network for landline telephone services in the Solomon Islands their website is http://www.solomon.com.sb/. For international access from a landline, dial 00 first, followed by the country code and phone number. Check with your hotel for call rates.
Some foreign mobile phones on a ‘Global roaming’ setting may work in the Solomon Islands but this will depend on your make of phone and provider, information about this can be difficult to access. Be prepared that your mobile may not work.
Both Our Telekom and Be Mobile provide mobile phone services to the Solomon Islands. Local SIM cards can be purchased but they may or may not work with international phones. If you do intend to attempt this option, ensure your phone is unlocked from your mobile phone company at home. It is advisable to seek advice from your mobile provider in your country of origin before travelling to the Solomon Islands.
Wireless Internet is available in many hotels, cafes around town and at the airport. To access this you will need to purchase a bumblebee wireless card from Our Telekom store, selected stores or your hotel’s front desk. The cost at time of writing was SBD $250 / 250MB for 7 day card and SBD $50 for 2 hours / 50MB (continuous). Follow the card directions to get online.
In general, Internet coverage is variable and often weather dependent - sometimes it works easily and other times not well.
240 Volts is standard throughout the country. The Solomon Islands use Australian-style power plugs (Australian 3-Pin Electrical Mains Plug).
International participants in the conference are advised that the Solomon Islands is a conservative Christian nation. People tend to dress in light, loose clothing. Men are advised to wear sleeved shirts and shorts to the knee or long trousers. Women are advised to wear sleeved shirts and skirts to or below the knee. Women should wear long dresses or skirts if they go to Church.
Flip flops and sandals are usually fine except in formal settings. Tight fitting and revealing clothing is inappropriate. Visitors should only wear bikinis or revealing Western attire at select resorts.
You are advised to bring long sleeved shirts and pants/skirts for mornings and evenings to help protect you from mosquitoes. (See also Health & Medical section below).
It is advisable to always carry bottled water, as you can quickly dehydrate in the tropics and tap water is not safe to drink. Bottled water can be purchased from stores in town and also from your hotel. Clean drinking water will be provided during the Forum.
Health and medical care
In Honiara pharmacies are well stocked but hospitals tend to be under resourced.
It is advisable to consult your GP or travel doctor a couple of months before you travel, as some of the recommended vaccinations may take some time to be effective. Further information regarding health for travellers to the Solomon Islands can be found under the ‘health’ tab on the Australian government traveller information website: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/Advice/Solomon_Islands.
Mosquitoes are rife in Honiara, so bring plenty of mosquito repellent and long sleeved clothing to avoid the risk of contracting mosquito born diseases. Malaria is present in the Solomon Islands, so it is advisable to discuss malaria treatment/prevention options with your GP.
It is recommended to bring sunscreen and a hat to avoid sunburn as the weather is very warm.
Websites with further travel information for Solomon Islands are listed below:
- Solomon Islands tourism website: http://www.visitsolomons.com.sb/
- Travel Information page http://www.visitsolomons.com.sb/travel-infor
- Welkam Solomons: http://www.welkamsolomons.com/index.html
- Lonely Planet: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/solomon-islands/guadalcanal/honiara
- Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade information: http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/Advice/Solomon_Islands
For further enquiries regarding the 2012 Pacific Psychosocial Forum please email email@example.com