Tips for business travellers
Free visas valid for 90 days are issued on arrival for most nationalities, including Commonwealth, US and European visitors. To ensure the visa is issued, visitors should have return or onward tickets.
International/ domestic flights
International flights land at Honiara’s Henderson Airport. Air Niugini flies from Port Moresby to Honiara four times weekly. See airniugini.com.pg. Solomon Airlines flies throughout the country. The domestic terminal is two kilometres from Henderson. A shuttle bus connects the airports and costs $SBD35 each way. See sightseesolomons.com.
One Solomon Islands dollar (SBD) is worth around 0.41 kina and 0.13 USD. There are ATMs in the international airport and in Honiara’s small CBD.
Getting around Honiara
Central Honiara is 12 kilometres from the international airport. A taxi from the airport to the CBD costs around $SBD200. Major hotels can organise transfers. The country’s official tourism site is a good place for travel information. See visitsolomons.com.sb.
Avis and Economy Car Rentals have a good variety of vehicles in Honiara. See avis.com.sb and economycarrentals.com.sb. Car hire and drivers can also be booked via travel agencies such as Guadalcanal Travel Services. See solomontravel.info.
Meetings can seem informal – jackets and ties aren’t necessary, though a degree of flexibility is. ‘Island time’ can mean some people don’t show for appointments or, conversely, meetings can be arranged at short notice.
Banking hours are 8.30am or 9am to 3pm, Monday to Friday. Commercial hours tend to be from 7.30am to midday and 1pm to 4pm, Monday to Friday, and also Saturday mornings. Government offices open from 8am to midday and from 1pm to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday.
The Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) has brought stability to the country following 2003’s social unrest. RAMSI is to withdraw in the middle of 2017. Throughout the Solomons it is safe to walk around during the day; however, as for anywhere in the world, caution should be a priority at night.
It is advisable to take anti-malarial tablets, even if just visiting Honiara. Consult your doctor before departure about malaria but also tetanus and vaccination for hepatitis A and B. A typhoid booster is also recommended.
The Heritage Park Hotel (see our review on page 120) is popular with business travellers and has a swimming pool and conference rooms. See heritageparkhotel.com.sb. The five-star Coral Sea Resort & Casino opened this year. See coral-sea-resort.com. The Solomon Kitano Mendana Hotel, next door to the Solomon Island Visitor Bureau office, has a business centre and conference rooms.
The Heritage Park Hotel and the Coral Sea Resort have upmarket restaurants. At the Heritage, guests dine in part of the governor general’s former residence. Haydn’s Steakhouse at the Coral Sea Resort has modern Australian and European cuisine. There is also a restaurant, The Boardwalk, featuring South-East Asian street food at Coral Sea. There are also several options away from the hotels. Sea King is the best-known of the crop of Chinese restaurants. Taj Mahal (Sri Lankan and Indian), just across the road from the Heritage Park Hotel, has a very good reputation. If you are after great coffee and comfort food, the Breakwater Cafe and Lime Lounge are popular expat hang-outs in the centre of town. The Bamboo Cafe, run by and directly next door to the King Solomon Hotel, is another good option.
Warm and humid, with coastal day temperatures averaging 28°C. May to November tends to be drier.
11 hours ahead of GMT.
240V AC 50Hz, using Australianstyle plugs.
Away from the larger hotels, many call into the Point Cruz Yacht Club for a beer after work. Visitors can sign in. The Honiara Golf Club, just out of town, is also popular.
The Solomon Star (solomonstarnews.com) and the Island Sun are the local daily newspapers. The Solomon
Times Online (solomontimes.com) is the other local main news source.