For those looking for an off-beat way to bring in the New Year, one that hasn't been done before, here's your chance. In one of those rare, once-in-a-lifetime events, Samoa will shift a position it has held for the past 120 years, that of the last place to see the sun rise every day, to become one of the first places to welcome 2012.
This decision was taken for economic reasons, as was the same decision taken 120 years ago when the country first aligned itself to the east of the International Date Line, closer to the time zone of the US. To reflect the changing world economy, as well as that of the country itself, as it strengthens its economic ties with Australia, New Zealand and many countries in Asia, Samoa will shift to the west of the IDL. Erstwhile Western Samoa will go to bed on 29 December 2011, and wake up on the morning of 31 December 2011, just a day away from 2012.
This beautiful island takes some effort to get to, but the benefits are many. Samoa's two main islands of Savai'i and Upolu offer many different and novel experiences for those who've done their fair share of travelling.
North-west of New Zealand, the Independent State of Samoa is home to a thriving culture and some of the most breathtaking environs that include exotic beaches and lush, green rainforests.
A number of great hotels are available on Savai'i and Upolu. Aggie Grey's Hotel & Bungalows and Le Vasa Resort in Upolu and Le Lagoto Resort in Savai'i are just some of the great places offering air conditioned rooms, spas, swimming pools, and much more, to ensure your vacation is nothing short of luxurious.
There are two airports on Upolu. Fagalii Airport services flights from American Samoa; Faleolo Airport is the main international airport, with flights to and from Australia and New Zealand.
See the sights on offer in Samoa.
Photos courtesy Samoa Tourism Authority
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