We had arranged a trip to Ba about one hour drive west from Lautoka, rumour has it that Ba is known by the local Fijians as the place to go if you are looking for gold jewellery much cheaper then Lautoka or Nadi. Unfortunately it was only going to be a quick trip because our local guide Renee was flying to Melbourne Australia that afternoon. We left our accommodation in Nadi and commenced our journey along the Queens Hwy, we headed for Lautoka where we picked up Renee from her comfortable suburban home.
When we arrived instead of Renee joining us for this quick trip alone, we had her father Suren and a young boy who was a friend of the family, this addition of Renee’s father quickly changed the whole dynamics of the day as we were soon to find out. Suren wanted to sit in the front seat and started coughing; Renee scolded him reminding him how he wanted to sit in the front like the Prime Minister!
The views are breathtaking
The trip along the Kings Hwy is very scenic the rolling green hills down to the sea are spectacular, and the Yasawa Islands off shore breathtaking, there were a few spots where we could have pull off the road and taken photos, however time was limited on this trip to Ba. The van was alive with incessant chatter and smiling faces, at this moment I really felt I was in Fiji, we were one of the noisy vans racing down the Kings Highway with heads and arms moving with festive joy.
Nothing like local knowledge…while visiting in Fiji
Renee is a hive of information, knowing every building and seemingly everything about the area and it soon became apparent she knew more than most because she was born in Ba and her family had a farm in the area for decades. Suren constantly continued to amuse us and the wonderful relationship between father and daughter obvious. Whenever she felt he was getting out of control with his high-pitched chatter in Hindi she would pinch his ear lope and he would immediately stop as if she had pulled the key out of a robot. However this chatter was virtually impossible to control once we arrived in Ba, he called out the window at his old friends that he hadn’t seen for a couple of years.
Ba a hive of activity
Saturday morning and the town of Ba is alive with activity, it seems like the whole town is out to shop at the markets, music blasted from the shop fronts and drifted across the street producing that familiar carnival atmosphere which seems to be the custom here and there was Suren calling out from the van to his old friends.
We all bundled out of the van and headed for the jewellers, the variety is amazing and the range and price met our expectations. If you are looking for beautiful gold jewellery I recommend Ba.Shopping where the locals shop for gold jewellery is always good advice, there didn’t seem to be any tourist around and judging by the way they kept staring at my blonde hair, this may indicate that not many make their way here.
The retailers are polite and helpful, not pushy which can be common in the bigger towns.
Unfortunately we were unable to stay too long; we finished our visit at the Ba Markets where Suren insisted on leaving the van despite his daughter’s protest to visit an old girl friend at the local supermarket. After everyone returned to the van we were on our way back to Lautoka, but not before Suren did a little more greeting from the front seat. The trip back was hot, no air-con means windows all open, it’s always a bad hair day in Fiji with the humidity.
Time to stop at one of the roadside stalls and enjoy a drink, Suren was out of the front seat running across the road for a bu. This is the ‘Fijian experience’ a young coconut (Bu in Fijian) cut in front of you with a straw inserted, the taste is refreshing! After drinking the juice you can eat the tender flesh.
We arrived safely back in Nadi, to our cool rooms with the mountains of the sleeping giant watching over us.
Thank you Renee and Suren again, for a wonderful morning in Ba Town one of the best places to visit for gold jewellery in Fiji.