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  • Papua New Guinea

    Papua New Guinea travel guide


    The remote country of Papua New Guinea, popularly known as PNG, will provide the quintessential paradise island holiday. The country stretches across half of the mountainous island of New Guinea, which it shares with Indonesia, incorporating jungle lowlands and dozens of smaller islands. Papua New Guinea is a challenging travel destination due to its lack of transport infrastructure. However, the difficulty of exploring the territory has meant that the country has remained one of the most mysterious and culturally authentic in the world, making it irresistible to adventurous travellers.

    Hundreds of different cultures are evident in this small amount of land. Due to the drastic isolation some mountain communities have only recently discovered neighbouring tribes, despite living in close proximity for thousands of years. Even Port Moresby, PNG's capital and largest city, has no major roads connecting it to other towns. Inaccessibility has allowed tribal culture to thrive undisturbed by the modern world. Papua New Guinea is home to more than 800 languages and a multitude of diverse customs and cultures. The best region to experience tribal culture in Papua New Guinea is in the Highlands, but these mountainous areas can only be explored on foot, remaining inaccessible to all but the most intrepid of visitors.

    With almost no connecting paved roads, air travel is mandatory for getting around the country, even though there are also only a handful of paved runways. Planes flying over the jungle were once worshiped by 'cargo cults' in Papua New Guinea, especially during World War II, when locals would watch mesmerised at new airport runways as 'spirits' descended from the heavens. The safety record of airlines in PNG is patchy and travellers wanting to avoid prematurely turning into spirits themselves should review recent airline safety information.

    It makes sense that the main attraction of the country for tourists is a hiking trail, the famous Kokoda Track, a 60-mile (96km) trek especially popular with Australian tourists. The region it covers saw intense fighting between Japanese and Australian forces during World War II, giving the trail historic relevance. It also traverses through beautiful, pristine jungle and allows travellers to experience some of the country's famous biodiversity.

    For those up for the challenge, July through August is the best time to visit Papua New Guinea for hiking. Surfers wanting to experience the uncrowded breaks of Papua New Guinea should visit the northern beaches between November and April, and the southern beaches between June and September.

    Phrase Book

    English Pronounciation

    More than 800 languages are recognised in PNG. The official languages are Tok Pisin (the most widely spoken), English, Hiri Motu and Papua New Guinean Sign Language.


    Electrical current is 220 - 240 volts, 50Hz. Plug points are the same as in Australia, with three rectangular pins.

    Entry Requirements:

    US nationals: US nationals require a passport valid for six months beyond arrival date. A visa is required.

    UK nationals: UK nationals require a passport valid for six months beyond arrival date. A visa is required.

    CA nationals: Canadians require a passport valid for six months beyond arrival date. A visa is required.

    AU nationals: Australians require a passport valid for six months beyond arrival date, and a visa. Those carrying APEC Business Travel Cards endorsed for travel to Papua New Guinea do not require a visa for a maximum stay of 60 days.

    ZA nationals: A passport valid for six months beyond arrival date is required. Visa required.

    IR nationals: Nationals of Ireland require a passport valid for six months beyond arrival date. A visa is required.

    NZ nationals: New Zealanders require a passport valid for six months beyond arrival date. A visa is required. Those carrying APEC Business Travel Cards endorsed for travel to Papua New Guinea do not require visas for stays of up to 60 days.

    Passport/Visa Note:Visa:

    All visitors require a passport and/or passport replacing document valid for six months past date of arrival. Visitors must hold sufficient funds to cover their stay, and return or onward tickets.

    Travel Health:

    Protection from insect bites is essential, with malaria prophylaxis recommended in all areas of Papua New Guinea below 5,906 feet (1,800m). A yellow fever vaccination is required for travellers arriving from infected areas. Vaccinations are recommended for all travellers for hepatitis A, hepatitis B and typhoid. Travellers spending time in rural areas should also consider a vaccination for Japanese encephalitis.

    Medical facilities in Papua New Guinea are limited. Travellers should ensure they have comprehensive travel and health insurance and bring along all required medication.

    Local Customs:

    Both male and female visitors to Papua New Guinea should avoid revealing clothing, and make sure to save their bathing costumes for the beach. Women should try to make sure that their thighs are covered at all times, and couples should bear in mind that public displays of affection are frowned upon. Papua New Guineans are friendly and usually keen to engage with foreigners; in fact, it is considered rude not to stop and chat to people that greet you on the street. Don't step over food, if it is being prepared or served on the ground. Note that homosexual acts are illegal in Papua New Guinea.

    Duty Free:

    Visitors to Papua New Guinea age 18 and older may import 250 cigarettes/250g cigars or tobacco, two litre of alcohol, and a reasonable quantity of perfume for personal use. Uncanned foodstuffs and animal products from countries other than Australia and New Zealand, and pig meat from New Zealand are prohibited.

    Useful Contacts:

    Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority, Port Moresby: +675 320 0211

    Papua New Guinea Embassies:

    Embassy of Papua New Guinea, Washington, D.C: +202 745 3680 or info@pngembassy.org

    High Commission of Papua New Guinea, London: + 44 (0)207 930 0922 or info@pnghighcomm.org.uk

    Embassy of Papua New Guinea, Washington, D.C (representing Canada): +202 745 3680 or info@pngembassy.org

    Consulate General of Papua New Guinea, Brisbane: (07) 3221 7915 or pngcg@kundubne.org

    High Commission of Papua New Guinea, Wellington: +64 4 385 2474

    Foreign Embassies in Papua New Guinea :

    U.S Embassy in Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby: +675 321 1455 or consularportmoresby@state.gov

    British High Commission in Port Moresby: +675 303 7600 or uk.inpng@fco.gov.uk

    U.S Embassy in Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby (also representing Cananda): +675 321 1455 or consularportmoresby@state.gov

    Papua New Guinea Emergency Numbers : 000 (police), 3255188 (fire), 3256822 (ambulance).
    Papua New Guinea