7 Quick & Easy Things to do in Nadi, Fiji
For many people visiting Fiji, Nadi is just seen as a transit destination. Arrivals at Nadi’s International Airport may spend a night or two in town before escaping to more tropical surroundings, but probably not much longer.
With the Coral Coast to the south, the Yasawa Islands to the west, and Vanua Levu to the north, it’s easy to understand why the time spent in Nadi is short-lived.
Honestly, Nadi isn’t one of the most attractive cities I’ve ever visited.
However, it’s all too easy to assume there is nothing interesting around based on first impressions.
So, with what little time was available, I researched and explored and figured out the following 6 things to do in Nadi. The best part is, they’re all quick and easy, and therefore suit even a stopover well!
At the end of this article, I will also show you some awesome destinations where you can continue your trip around Fiji.
Oh, and before we go too far you should know one thing. Nadi is pronounced “Nandi,” but I have no idea where the extra N comes from. Let me know if you figure this one out.
Things to do in Nadi
Explore the Fresh Market
Open 7am-5pm | Entry is free
One of the best places to see how locals live as locals is a fresh market. And, Nadi has a lively fresh market located bang in the middle of town.
Unless you own a kitchen in Nadi, then you’re unlikely to buy anything here. The market is filled with locally grown vegetables like taro, cassava, avocados, and chilli. However, it does give you an understanding of Fijian food, and a great chance to chat with some friendly locals.
Nadi Market is open from 7am to 5pm. The market is open to public access along the street, there is no entry fee.
Nadi Handicraft Market
Open from 8am-6pm | Entry is free
Walk around the streets of Nadi for 5 minutes and you will be approached by someone trying to sell hand carved Fijian goods from a local village up in the mountains.
You will likely be pressured to visit the shop where prices are over inflated. The owner will tell a story that you’re the first customer of the day which means good luck… Even if another customer just walked out of the store with a purchase.
A better place to buy Fijian crafts is the Nadi Handicraft Market. With lots of small stalls located in one market area, it is much easier to bargain a better price for these goods.
Don’t be scared to bargain hard here. A small wooden carving priced at 50 FJD off the self could easily be bargained down to 20 FJD, or less.
The Nadi Handicraft Market is located midway between the Nadi Fresh Market and Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple. It is on your left-hand side as you walk towards the temple.
The market is open from 8am to 6pm Monday to Saturday. It is mostly closed on Sunday, with the exception of a couple of random stalls.
Visit Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple
Opening hours: 6am-7pm | Entry is 5 FJD
Did you know that Sri Siva Subramaniya Temple is the largest Hindu temple in the southern hemisphere? This is one attraction that must be on your list of things to do in Nadi.
This vibrant Hindu temple is decorated with colourful paintings of Hindu gods all over the ceiling. Each painting tells a different story of a different Hindu god.
Entry to the temple is 5 FJD. This gets you a sarong to cover your knees and a guide who will take you around explaining the stories of the different Hindu gods.
Remember, you can take photos from the outside of the temple, but not inside.
Eat the Best Fijian Indian Food (Roti Corner)
Open 8am-10pm | Typical meal is 25 FJD
Almost 30% of Nadi is Hindu, which is surprising for most visitors. The large Indian-Fijian population is quite evident when you walk around town for a short while.
This means there are also plenty of great Indian restaurants around the city. But… which one is the best?
I put this question to the test and asked a few locals “what is your number one favourite restaurant in Nadi?” The common answer was that Roti Corner is the best restaurant in Nadi.
Roti Corner is a small open-air restaurant about a 15-minute walk from the centre of Nadi. It is located down a small alley that has no apparent name. You are best off checking the location on my map of Fiji (see bottom of this post for more info).
Food reviews? Awesome taste, great value. A decent sized meal of curry and Roti bread for about 25 FJD (USD 10). Roti Corner is definitely worth the walk.
Visit the Garden of the Sleeping Giant
Open from 9am-5pm* | Entry is 18 FJD
The Garden of the Sleeping Giant sounds like a mystical place hidden somewhere up in the mountains far from Nadi. The good news it, it is actually close by.
What started as a personal collection of flowers has now become a stunning botanical garden featuring over 2,000 types of orchids. You can explore the beautiful rainforest area via a series of small trails and boardwalks.
I recommend allowing a minimum of 30 minutes to explore the Garden of the Sleeping Giant. However, you could easily spend an hour or two relaxing in the tranquil surroundings. It is definitely a more beautiful scene than downtown Nadi.
The best way to get here is by taxi which is only a 20-30 minute drive. The taxi fare is about 15 FJD from town.
*Note: The Garden of the Sleeping Giant is only open from 9am to midday on Sundays.
Soak in the Tifajek Hot Spring and Mud Bath
Open from 9am to 5pm | Entry is 20 FJD
The Tifajek Mud Baths are conveniently located just a few minutes from the Garden of the Sleeping Giant. It is best to combine a visit to both attractions if you want to quickly work your way through this list of things to do in Nadi.
The water here is naturally heated underground which makes for its distinctive smell of sulphur.
First, cover yourself in a thick layer of mud, then let it dry up on your skin. Finally, jump into the hot spring where the mud will melt off leaving you feeling apparently refreshed.
The water at these hot springs varies in temperature and reaches right up to 60 degrees Celsius which is super hot!
You will notice there are actually two hot springs located next door to one another. The Tifajek Hot Spring and the Sabeto Hot Spring. These are run by a brother and sister of the same family, and both essentially offer the same experience at the same price.
Escape to the Mamanuca Islands
Boats Depart Nadi at 10am | Trips vary in price
With the Mamanuca Islands located just off the west coast of Nadi, there are plenty of amazing island destinations to choose from. South Sea Island, Robinson Crusoe Island, and Malamala Beach Club can each be visited easily as a day trip from Nadi.
If you have already been out to the Yasawa Island, you will probably find the Mamanuca Islands are a fair bit busier. However, if you are short on time this is the perfect island escape.
I did not personally visit the Mamanuca Islands, as I had just spent over one week island hopping in Fiji through the Yasawa Islands. However, my pick would be Malamala Beach Club.
Boats to Malamala Beach Club depart from Port Denarau, about 15 minutes from Nadi’s town centre. A half-day pass with transfers costs around 150 FJD, while a full-day pass is 169 FJD.
Getting Around Nadi
Nadi is a small city, so it’s easy to get around. The busy centre area only stretches about 1.5 kilometres across from east to west.
The best way to get around the city itself is on foot. You can walk pretty much anywhere including, restaurants, markets, temple, handicrafts, and some hotels.
The majority of backpackers and budget travellers stay at Wailoloa Beach, while most luxury hotels are located on Denarau Island. Both areas are located about 6.5 kilometres from Nadi town centre but in different directions.
The easiest way to get from Wailoloa Beach to town is by taxi which costs 12 FJD, there are plenty of taxis lined up at the front of the hostel. The cheapest way to get to town is by local bus which costs 1 FJD but departs only every half hour.
For trips to the Garden of Sleeping Giant or nearby beaches, the best way of getting around is by taxi. Fares are pretty cheap. However, if you prefer to go with a group, Bamboo Travellers organises a day trip for about 100 FJD.
Where to Stay in Nadi
The main area for budget travellers is Wailoloa beach, about 15 minutes north west of the town centre. Bamboo Travellers has great food, a social backpacker scene, and a lively beachfront bar with swimming pool. There are loads of dorms and private rooms available here located throughout a collection of buildings.
There are a few mid-range hotels located along Queens Road, about 10 minutes north of the town centre. Check out prices for Mercure Nadi here.
There is a whole collection of 5-star resorts located at Denarau, about 15 minutes west of the town centre. You will find Radisson Blu, Wyndham Resort, Sheraton, Sofitel, and The Westin to name a few.