1. The relics of World War II, 2. Explore underwater treasures, 3. Pacific seabirds watching, 4. Undiscovered beauty of islands, 5. Copra factory, 6. I-Kiribati cuisine, 7. Giant's footprints, 8. Visit Maneaba meeting house, 9. Experience Kiribati culture, 10. Visit Kiribati Parliament building. Kiribati, formally known as the Republic of Kiribati, is an island country in the middle Pacific Ocean with a tropical climate. The country consists of 32 atolls and one high atoll, stretched across an area of approximately 3.5 million square kilometers, distributed across the equator. Kiribati has a population of roughly 120,000 people and is one of the world's smallest countries. Gilbertese or taetae, as well as Kiribatese, are the languages of Kiribati. Tarawa, an atoll in the Gilbert Islands, serves as Kiribati's capital. It is a destination for those who enjoy exploring unspoiled locations and tourism sites off the usual path. Enough with the history of Kiribati. Now, let's look at the top 10 reasons why you should visit the country.
- The relics of World War II
- Explore underwater treasures
- Pacific seabirds watching
- Undiscovered beauty of islands
- Copra factory
- I-Kiribati cuisine
- Giant’s footprints
- Visit Maneaba meeting house
- Experience Kiribati culture
- Visit Kiribati Parliament building
The relics of World War II
For many people, the most renowned incident in Tarawa’s history was its seizure by the Japanese during World War II and subsequent capture by US forces in one of the Pacific Theatre’s deadliest battles. There are many reminders of this ancient period on Tarawa today. The massive 8-inch anti-ship cannons on the south side of Betio island, near the causeway leading to Bairiki, are the easiest to spot. The British really developed these weapons and delivered them to the Japanese during their 1904 war against Russia. After seizing Tarawa in 1942, the Japanese stationed them on land to protect the islands against an impending assault.
The Japanese command bunker, a massive edifice currently housed on the grounds of a Mormon church, is another noteworthy relic in Betio. This structure was attacked and rendered unusable during the fight, despite its substantial reinforced concrete walls, and the damage can still be seen today.
A tribute to the Americans who died in the conflict may be found outside Betio’s sports center. More unique is the matching Japanese memorial to their deceased, which is quietly guarded by a barrier and is only accessible by appointment.
Explore underwater treasures
Kiribati is home to the world’s largest coral atoll, and it is a diver’s paradise. The archipelago’s exquisite white sandy beaches and crystal-clear lagoons give way to breathtaking coral gardens, the majority of which are inside the Phoenix Island Protected Area, one of the world’s biggest marine reserves.
Because of its remoteness, the Phoenix Islands Protected Area has a unique place in Pacific bio-geography as a vital stepping stone habitat for migratory and pelagic or plank tonic species, as well as ocean currents in the region. The Phoenix Islands Protected Area encompasses the entire range of marine environments in this area and exhibits high levels of marine abundance as well as a wide range of age and size cohorts, which are becoming increasingly rare in the tropics, particularly for apex predator sharks, fish, sea turtles, sea birds, corals, giant clams, and coconut crabs, many of which have been depleted elsewhere.
When compared to other island systems where human settlement and exploitation have severely impacted the ecosystem, the overall marine tropic dynamics for these island populations across this archipelago are better functioning. The thorough portrayal of ocean and island habitats, as well as their connection, remoteness, and naturalness, are essential characteristics that contribute to the exceptional universal value.
Pacific seabirds watching
Kiritimati Island is a seabird refuge and nesting place in the Pacific. Kiritimati supports 18 distinct bird species, including the rare Christmas Island Warbler, despite having very little land in either direction. The island also serves as a breeding ground for the endangered Phoenix Petrel and White-Throated Storm Petrel.
Birds found on Kiritimati Island are: phoenix shearwaters, wedge-tailed shearwaters, christmas shearwaters, audubon’s shearwaters, polynesian storm petrels, red-tailed tropicbirds, masked boobies, brown boobies, great frigate birds, red-footed boobies, lesser frigate birds, great crested terns, grey backed terns, sooty terns, brown noddies black noddies, blue-gray noddies, and white terns. To organize bird viewing trips, contact your lodging, which may customize a tour to your individual interests.
Undiscovered beauty of islands
Kiribati is the only country in the world having an exclusive economic zone in each of the four hemispheres. Kiribati is divided into three traditional geographical regions: Banaba, the Gilbert Islands, and the Line and Phoenix Islands. Some islands are also regarded as actual paradises, and their beauty may captivate visitors.
Tarawa is an atoll thatserves as the capital of the Republic of Kiribati. Your body and spirit will undoubtedly rest to the fullest in this exquisite setting. Tarawa is covered with lakes and ponds that are great for game fishing and are home to some of the most diverse bird populations. Droughts are common, although rainfall is adequate to keep breadfruit, papaya, and banana plants alive in normal years.
Kiritimati, also called Christmas Atoll, coral island in the Northern Line Islands, part of Kiribati, in the west-central Pacific Ocean. It is the largest island of purely coral formation in the world. Today Kiritimati Island is a popular international tourism destination for world class salt water fly fishing. Birdwatching, diving, surfing and lagoon tours are also popular recreational activities for travellers visiting the atoll.
Kuria is the country’s largest island and one of the center islands in the Kiribati Island groups. Kuria Island’s temperature might drop to 22°C when compared to neighboring isles and atolls. The temperature, especially at night, might be so cold that coconut oil hardens. Itintoa Causeway is the greatest swimming spot on the island, and 900 locals can go through the shallow waterway at any time. The surrounding surroundings, beaches, and general beauty is so captivating that it will leave you with an everlasting lovely recollection.
Every island in Kiribati has a coconut tree silhouette in its scenery. Because of the atoll’s ecological qualities, this is one of the few plant species that can thrive on low, nutrient-poor soil. Not only is the coconut popular, but so is the sweet, vitamin-rich coconut sap extracted from the flower stalk, which is used as a drink for youngsters or to produce syrup. When allowed to ferment, it transforms into an alcoholic beverage.
The only significant industry in Kiribati making products for export is copra – that is processing the flesh of coconuts. People across many of the outlying islands of Kiribati make their living by collecting coconuts which grow naturally; the flesh is then sun-dried and sent to the factory in Betio for processing. It’s an interesting place to see because it’s an example of real island ingenuity. The man in charge of the operation studied engineering in New Zealand, and used his knowledge to design the machinery which now provides an important source of hard currency for the country. The coconut flesh is ground up, the coconut oil extracted for use in beauty products, and the remaining powder bagged for nutritious animal feed.
The cuisine of Kiribati is remarkable as an illustration of how people adapt and prosper in any situation they find themselves in. Fish, lobster, skipjack tuna, and any other seafood pulled in from the sea are the major dietary dishes. One of the distinctive features of I-Kiribati food is the scarcity of traditional recipes, which reflects the island’s simplicity. Aside from fish, rice is a vital staple, therefore if there was a national recipe, it would be fish and rice. Sashimi is a thinly sliced raw fish that is popular on the islands. It’s deliciously fresh since it’s direct from the ocean to your plate.
What’s fascinating is that foods considered common by the I-Kiribati, such as lobster with coconut sauce, are considered gourmet elsewhere. Toddy is a vitamin C-rich sap extracted from the flower spathe of the coconut. Toddy is used in the production of syrup, vinegar, and an alcoholic beverage. The customary breakfast is crated coconut (shredded white coconut) or tekabubu, a combination of a sweet powder derived from ripe pandanus fruit and tea. Many recipes contain coconut.
Kiribati’s traditional diet is defined by innovation, and everyday life involves various activities centered on surviving off the island’s resources. They include toddy cutting, breadfruit and coconut harvesting, and fishing. The government encourages spending some time in the outlying islands, where life has not altered much throughout the centuries, to properly appreciate the lifestyle.
Tarawa is a tropical atoll that is part of the Gilbert Islands chain in the central South Pacific. South Tarawa was the home of dangerous wandering giants. Although some scholars regard local islanders’ legends of giants as fantasy, they are unable to explain the huge footprints seen on the atoll. Some can also be found on nearby islands. The locals talk of ruthless giants that trampled through the country like moving mountains. The villagers had to fight the giants for food and to keep their women and children from being carried away and eaten alive.
Wandering around the closely packed traditionally-built dwellings on Tarawa’s Banraeba island is a fascinating opportunity to explore how people live in this long. Although having practically no structures taller than a single storey, it has a similar population density to Hong Kong. A series of depressions in the rocks on the rocky ocean beach are said to be the footprints of giants, according to local tradition. With a little imagination, you can almost make out where the heel and toe markings are. Even more intriguing is conversing with the local kids who are playing in the rock pools!
Visit Maneaba meeting house
The heart of every Kiribati community is a traditionally-built meeting hall called a Maneaba. The maneaba is not just the biggest building in any village, it is the centre of village life and the basis of island and national governance. A traditional maneaba is an imposing structure, with slabs of coral supporting a huge roof formed from coconut wood, held together with coconut string and thatched with pandanus leaves. The whole community is involved in its construction, and every aspect of the maneaba has a symbolic as well as a practical function.
A Maneaba serves a similar cultural role to a Polynesian marae. In the neighbouring islands of Tuvalu, the meeting house is called the Maneapa. The sharing of the name is the result of Kiribati and Tuvalu being previously the British crown colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands. These high-roofed, open-sided buildings are easily recognised, and serve as places for weddings, funerals, birthdays, neighbourhood meetings, and even as improvised resting places for visitors from other islands needing a place to sleep for the night.
Experience Kiribati culture
Kiribati’s culture is varied and diverse, with each island having its own own way of life. Despite the fact that it is a living organism, many individuals adhere to the century-old traditions and rituals that define what it means to be I-Kiribati. Maneaba cultural customs include community meetings. Respect for the elderly, friendliness to visitors, and the value of family remain essential aspects of Kiribati culture.
The frigate bird represents several essential elements in the I-traditional Kiribati’s life context. It aids fishermen who are stranded at sea, offers meteorological information to the public, and serves as a symbol of peace and harmony. Visitors can encounter I-Kiribati culture in a variety of ways.
Although it is part of a larger Pacific island community, it has a distinct, sophisticated, and beautiful culture and language, much of which has been preserved due to its seclusion. Learning some local language and following cultural norms and rituals as a visitor shows respect for the local community and can help maintain its attractiveness. English is widely spoken in Kiribati, so you will have no trouble talking with the locals as a guest. Nonetheless, utilizing some local terms is undoubtedly welcomed by the local population and can help you make new acquaintances.
Visit Kiribati Parliament building
The House of Assembly is the Legislature of Kiribati. Since 2016, it has 45 members, 44 elected for a four-year term in 23 single-seat and multi-seat constituencies and 1 non-elected delegate from the Banaban community on Rabi Island in Fiji.
The primary government administration hub for Kiribati is located in South Tarawa. Ambo is home to the House of Parliament. Kiribati’s parliamentary system is unique in that it combines elements of both the British and American systems. Kiribati, being a sovereign and democratic state, has 42 members of Parliament who are elected every four years. The President is chosen from among three to four candidates recommended by the House of Commons. The country is a Commonwealth member and follows the Westminster model of administration. Local governments control North Tarawa and the Island Councils.
This is another venue you should visit when in Kiribati, particularly during the parliament session. From the front and above, it was designed to resemble a native canoe. Kiribati’s government covered the entire cost.