Samoa Tala - WST
The country of Samoa uses the tala as its official currency. It is the only country in the world to use this currency.
What coins and notes are available for this currency?
Each tala is divided into 100 sene, and although inflation is not at its lowest level in the country you will still be able to use coins denominated in the sene. These are the 10, 20 and 50 sene coins. There are also two other coins, and these are the one and two tala coins.
You will also come across several different banknotes on your travels in Samoa. These are the 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 tala notes.
From past to present – the history of the Samoan tala
Samoa used to be politically affiliated with New Zealand but this situation came to an end in 1962. Before this point there was a real mix of coins and notes being used in Samoa. They were using the New Zealand pound but only had the New Zealand coins in circulation. Alongside these they were using their own version of the banknotes.
When Samoa became its own independent country in that year, it decided to create its own currency, as so often happens in these situations. This led to the tala being created and it has been in use ever since.
How to get hold of the Samoan tala
This is one of those currencies you are better off getting once you are in the country. Actually this may well be the only way to do it. However once you are there things do get easier. As soon as you get to the airport you should come across a cash machine you can use to get cash out. Make sure in advance that the card or cards you have are likely to be accepted there. It is also worthwhile telling your bank or card provider that you’ll be in Samoa so they won’t question the use of the card there.
One thing worth remembering is that cash machines there don’t operate around the clock as they do at home. You could arrive at one only to find it isn’t dispensing money. Friday nights and Saturday mornings can be particularly problematic as it seems everyone wants to get hold of some money before they enjoy their weekend!
You might also want to take some traveller’s cheques with you as these are accepted in Samoa too. Make sure you keep records of the cheque numbers separately just in case anything happens to them. The one thing to be aware of here is to watch out for the charges that can be applied when cashing them. It might be worth shopping around to see which option is best when cashing them in.
How to find out the latest exchange rate between your home currency and the Samoan tala
Now you know the ISO code for this currency – WST – you can easily find it on any good currency converter. This tool will enable you to get the latest exchange rate between the tala and your own home currency. You’ll be able to see how many tala you can get for each unit of your own currency before you go. Of course this won’t take into account the charges for exchanging the currency abroad.
Samoa is a great place to visit with many reasons why you would want to go there. However it can be nice to be tempted with some more information on Samoa long before you arrive there. To this end you can visit the official website for the Samoa Tourism Authority at http://www.samoa.travel/. This will make you want to visit even more!
Travelling safely with the Samoan tala
The country is a relatively safe one to visit so you shouldn’t be overly concerned about anything that may go wrong. One thing you should be aware of though is that Samoa is subject to cyclones from time to time, particularly between early November and the end of April. This is basically a six-month period of the year when a cyclone could hit the country.
As far as safety with regard to your possessions is concerned, Samoa is a pretty safe country in terms of many types of crime. However as is typically the case with many worldwide locations that see a lot of tourists visiting, petty thievery is commonplace. You can take measures to ensure the odds of being targeted are much lower though, since many criminals will look for an easy target instead of a difficult one.
As such you should keep a close eye on your possessions and keep them with you at all times. Furthermore keep anything you don’t need to have with you in your hotel safe. This includes your passport, as you wouldn’t want that to go missing. If you carry cash on you, you can divide it into a few different amounts and keep each amount in a different place. These are really the best steps you can take to keep everything safe.
Where to spend your tala in Samoa – and what to spend them on
Samoa is situated in the South Pacific Ocean. It is located far out to the east of Australia and to the north-east of New Zealand. There are two main islands that comprise the country, with a handful of other very small land masses included as well.
The capital of Samoa is a city called Apia. This is also the only city you will find there, although it is very small compared to other cities in the world. One of the main sights in the city is the clock tower, which is worth seeing. This is also where you will find the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum, which explores his life. His grave is also nearby.
The best attractions in Samoa are located elsewhere, and many people come here in search of a rewarding beach holiday. Lalomanu Beach is a great example of a must-see beach, since it offers the whitest of sand and palm trees here and there offering a little shade. For those looking for the laziest of holidays this could be worth looking into in more detail.
One of the most common features you might come across more than once here are waterfalls. There are opportunities to swim underneath them in some cases, although do be careful since some of the bigger ones are too strong to go that close to. The other great thing about seeing some of the falls is that they provide you with some excellent places to explore if you take some lunch with you. Of particular note is the Piula Cave Pool, which is on Upolu Island. This is a nice pool to swim in if you are on the island.
If you’d like to see a rather more powerful show of nature, why not visit the Alofaaga Blowholes? These can be found on Savai’i Island. You’ll have to pay a few tala to go and see them but it is well worth doing so. You should be very careful not to get too close to the blowholes though, but instead to view them from a distance. The water that shoots up through the tubes (formed by volcanic activity) makes the whole area exceedingly slippery.
If the idea of exploring Samoa appeals more than going to the beach, you might like to have a go at hiking up Mount Vaea. It has an elevation of just over 1,500 feet so it is not for the faint-hearted, but it is a great experience. It also offers superb views over the surrounding countryside if you do manage to reach the top. Do go prepared though and take plenty of water and some food with you. The mountain is less than two miles inland so once you do arrive at the peak you should get some superb views of the coast.
Finally why not go into the rainforest to explore too? No doubt you have seen those narrow and rather wobbly-looking bridges hanging from the trees; well now you can try walking across one to see what you think! You just never know what you will see or find in the rainforest, but the best way to see one is to go on a guided tour. You will learn a lot more about your surroundings if you do. Try exploring the O Le Pupu-Pue National Park, since this is an excellent and very diverse habitat to step into.
Samoa is very appealing for so many different reasons. Yes, it is lovely for a beach-based holiday but really it has so much more to offer than that. A two-week stay would give you enough beach time as well as offering you the chance to see waterfalls, explore rainforests and much else besides. Whatever you love to do on holiday, and whether you want an active break or a lazy one, it seems as if Samoa can tick all the boxes for you. What better country could you hope to visit than one that offers all that?