Hidden away amidst the Pacific Islands lies one of the world’s smallest countries, Tuvalu, which has a population of approximately 11,000 people. When flying in, it looks at first as though you are going to descend in water, with no visible land below you until seconds before touchdown. Here is where you’ll notice white water hitting the edge of a coral reef and a line of coconut palms surrounding a narrow, unfenced airstrip. By Tara Choudhary

View this post on Instagram

Shoreline in Fongafale, Funafuti atoll, Tuvalu. Sometimes the seaweed washed ashore and covered up the beaches here. I don’t know if it’s good or no. But I’ve read in one website, the scientists said that the over growing of seaweed in our ocean cause by man itself, climate change and ocean pollution. It’s happened in Caribbean Sea last year summer, when the seaweed invade and overtaken some of tourists place there. We need to think about it, and take the real action for our earth. Because there’s no second place, earth is our home. #stoppolluting #anuwphoto #ahmadiyya_creatives #summer #instadaily #travelingram #shotzdelight #sky #skylovers #clearsky #afternoon #sunset #sunsetlovers #ocean #sea #climatechange #beach #vitaminsea #tuvalu #funafuti #fongafale #atoll #southpacific #pacificislands #polynesian #polynesie #people_infinity #bbctravel #natgeotravel #shotoniphone

A post shared by Anugerah Rahadian F. (@anuwphoto) on

On arriving in Funafuti, which is the main atoll of Tuvalu, you will discover that the entire island is set only across the length of the airstrip, hence making it one of the tiniest countries to exist. If you research Tuvalu at all before going there you will also see it is one of the least elevated places, along with its neighbouring low-lying islands Kiribati and Maldives. This makes Tuvalu an easy target for the monster of global warming, with rising sea levels leaving it in danger of being completely wiped out in a few years. Even today, whenever the tides are high, the water floods the island, leaving little scope for its future.

View this post on Instagram

Seen from above, it's easy to see why Tuvalu has been identified as one of the world's most vulnerable nations to climate change. This aerial image gives you a clear view of Fongafale, the main island in the atoll which is home to the capital, Funafuti. The Pacific Ocean is to the right, the lagoon at the center of the atoll is to the left. Located in the Southwest Pacific, the country is made up of a collection of small islands and coral atolls, totalling only 27 square kilometres, scattered over 500,000 square kilometres of ocean. The highest point throughout the country is only a few metres above sea level, resulting in special vulnerability to sea level rise. According to the Tuvaluan government, "since 1993, sea level near Tuvalu has risen about 5mm per year; this is larger than the global average." ••• #pacific #pacificislands #tuvalu #funafuti #climatechange #dji #djimavicpro2 #everydayeverywhere #everydayclimatechange @natgeoimagecollection

A post shared by Sean Gallagher (@sean_gallagher_photo) on

Tuvalu is the destination that tourism forgot. It gets less than 200 tourists every year, which makes it a special and unique experience for visitors, who are treated like royalty by overeager locals that will want to speak to you and learn about your culture, but also show you their houses and around the island to share their own culture with you and make you feel at home! A huge bonus is that the official language of the island is English, making it very easy and convenient to speak to people and get around.

However, the best part of your experience in Tuvalu, and arguably one of the most lively scenes in the world, will begin around 5 pm every evening. At this time, the entire length of the island’s runway turns into a massive playground and the whole population, kids and adults alike, come out to play their favourite sports. This is because the island is so small that there is literally no other place to play besides the airstrip, which is closed every evening. In case of an emergency landing, a flag is waved and the people move aside to allow the aircraft to land. This has become a ritual and is the best part of the day for the locals. As a visitor, you will be encouraged to join the games and play with the locals.

Despite having very few tourists, Tuvalu has some great accommodation options including a government-run hotel (Funafuti Lagoon Hotel) and family-owned guesthouses on the island. To get to the island can however be a bit tedious, but if you are travelling from India, you can find Air Pacific (the only airline that has flights to Tuvalu) connection from most places in the USA, Canada and Fiji.

Tuvalu may be small but the experiences it guarantees are once-in-a-lifetime, especially if you’re bored of being the conventional tourist on a vacation and are ready for an adventure.

Related: Discover Niue Island: A Hidden Gem In The South Pacific Ocean