A large fleet or privately owned buses operates a most efficient and inexpensive mode of public transport from the airport to the main centres on South Tarawa. Just flag one down anywhere on the main road and get off anywhere you wish. If they sound their horn it means they are full. Do not worry another one will be along in a couple of minutes. Buses operate daily from Betio to Buota starting from 6.00am to 9.00pm. Ships operate from Betio, Tarawa to all the outer islands transporting cargoes, vehicles as well as passengers. The Kiribati Visitors Bureau may assist in obtaining schedules of other inter-island boats operating from outer islands to South Tarawa.
Overseas driving licenses and international driving permits are recognized in Kiribati for a maximum period of two weeks after arrival. Persons hiring a rental car should be at least 17 years old. Driving is on the left side of the road and the speed limit is 45 kilometers per hour in towns/villages but not exceeding 65 kilometers on the open highway. Small and medium sizes Toyota cars of Japanese make are available for rental hire. Make reservation at least 2 weeks in advance for your car through the Kiribati Visitors Bureau. On Christmas Island: Pickup trucks with rear or without canopies are available for rent.
Power is supplied at 240 VAC, 50 hertz. Appliances with the standard Australian type three-pin plug will operate within South Tarawa.
Two types of water supplies are available: Well water from fresh water lens and rainwater tanks. Piped water supplies are well chlorinated. However, it is advisable to boil all water before drinking.
Some hotels provide laundry services.
Tipping is not customary in Kiribati.
Goods and Services Tax
A 10% service tax is added to all hotel bills.
Telecom Services Kiribati Limited (TSKL) provides modern telecommunication facilities such as International Direct Dialing, Facsimile and Telex. A limited number of islands have access to the public network. The rest of the islands are served by HF radio service.
The General Post Office is located at Bairiki. There are branches at Betio, Bikenibeu and the outer islands including Christmas Island. Opening hours is from 9.00am to 3.00pm from Monday to Friday.
Kiribati has a unique collection of stamps that are available from Philatelic Bureau, Betio and all Postal Offices.
Bank and Foreign Exchange
The Australian dollar is the legal currency of Kiribati. Travellers cheques and all major currencies are accepted by the bank and may also be exchanged for currency at some local hotels. There is no restriction on the importation of currency into Kiribati via Travellers cheques, foreign bank notes and/or other instruments of payment. Travellers cheques expressed in Australian currency, and Australian currency in notes may also be imported without restriction. Credit Cards such as Master Card and Visa Card are also accepted. Branches of the Bank of Kiribati are located at Bairiki, Betio and Bikenibeu and Kiritimati (Christmas Island). Trading hours are 9.30am to 3.00pm for all branches except Bikenibeu which opens from 9.00am to 2.00pm.
There is a departure tax of $10.00 in Australian currency for passengers two years and over leaving Kiribati. Airport taxes on the outer islands apply but are varied.
Customary office hours are from 0800 to 1615 Monday to Friday, with an hour for lunch, between 12.30pm to 1.00pm.
Term 1 April-May, Term 2 August-September, and Term 3 December-January.
Press, Radio and Television Radio
Radio Kiribati Broadcasting on MW 846, 9.825 MHz and FM98, relays World News from Radio Australia, Radio New Zealand and the BBC at 7.00am, 8.00am, 9.00am and 1.00pm respectively everyday followed by the Local News Bulletin. Radio Kiribati does not broadcast continuously. It is advisable to bring portable radio, as local hotels do not provide radios in their rooms. Radio Kiribati, a division of Broadcasting and Publications Authority, broadcasts daily for three and half hours in the morning and at lunch and three and half hours in the evening in the local languages with segments in English at 7.00am, 8.00am, 9.00am, 1.00pm and from 6.00pm to 7.00pm.
There is no newsagent, but limited copies of overseas papers and magazines are available. Marshall Island Journal, Pacific Islands Monthly and Islands Business are sold in some shops. The Uekera, the weekly national newspaper that is 99% in the vernacular, is sold on the street and in local stores.
There is no television station at present in Kiribati.
This service is available on South Tarawa at the Otintaai Hotel, TSKL and selected businesses.
There are three religions in Kiribati namely Christianity, the Bahai Faith, and the Muslim. The Kiribati Protestant Church and the Roman Catholic Church are the two major denominations of Christianity. Other churches include the Church of God of North Caroline and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the Seventh Day Adventist.
There is a well-equipped 120 bed hospital with a number of private room in the capital, Tarawa. An ambulance service operates from the hospital. Emergency Dial 999 for emergency, fire, police or ambulance.
Shopping on Tarawa is very limited. There are several supermarket type stores and cooperative stores with a limited range of goods. There are numerous small local stores, mainly for local buyers. There is no pharmacy and newsagent.
Food and Restaurant
The local restaurants feature a set menu, with emphasis on fish and tropical foods and European/Chinese cuisine.