Travel Tips for Papua New Guinea

Festivals in Papua New Guinea

MOUNT HAGEN SHOW

Perhaps the most famous cultural show in Papua New Guinea is the Mount Hagen Show. It brings together singsing groups from all over the country in an amazing conglomeration of color, beauty and culture. The Hagen show is held in August every year.

TUMBUNA SHOW

The 'Tumbuna' Show (Tok Pisin for ancestors) is held annually in the beautiful Paiyagona Valley, a 45 minute drive from Mount Hagen. It is a private sing-sing, and is attended by over 300 tribesmen and women from more than 15 different tribes in the highlands and coastal areas of the mainland. The show is “small” in comparison to the more famous provincial shows, but its relaxed intimacy and friendliness, combined with its stunning village location make it one of the most memorable shows in PNG.

GOROKA SHOW

Held every September in the peaceful highlands town of the same name, the “Goroka Show” is one of the most famous and exciting of the highlands cultural shows. Attracting over 2000 tribesmen and women, representing over 70 different tribes from all over the country, this two-day sing-sing is a dazzling array of color and energy that showcases the diversity of this fabulous island. The town comes alive for the event and the enthusiasm of the performers and spectators is truly electric.

Climate

The climate in Papua New Guinea is tropical and pleasant. You will experience two distinct types of climate in PNG. The first is in the lowland and coastal areas being hot and having a temperature range of 75-95F with high humidity. The second is the highlands regions being cooler, having a temperature range of 54-82F and with less humidity. In both areas, the days are generally fine, but often there are clouds in the afternoon resulting in rain late afternoon and evening.

Currency & Exchange, Credit Cards, and Banking

The unit of currency in PNG is the Kina, pronounced "kee-nah", and sub-units of 100 are called Toea, pronounced "toy-ya". Note denominations are available in K2, K5, K10, K20 and K50. American Express, Mastercard and Visa credit cards are accepted at most major hotels. It should be noted that many lodges and hotels add a 5% administration fee for credit card transactions.

Kina cash can be acquired at the Foreign Exchange counters most international ports of departure to PNG. It is strongly recommended you acquire your Kina cash prior to departing for PNG. As it has been known for Foreign Exchange counters at airports to run out of Kina, so it is recommended that you order Kina from your local Foreign Exchange or from your local bank well in advance of departure. When ordering Kina, it is highly recommended that you get mainly small denominations, such as K2, K5 and K10. Small denominations are preferred by villagers should you choose to make purchases in a village.

Electricity

Elecricity in Papua New Guinea is 230V and the frequency is 50Hz. The socket/plug type is Type I, which looks like this:

Entry Requirements

Ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months, and an onward/return airline ticket. Tourists are required to have a visa to enter PNG. Currently a 60-day tourist visa is available upon arrival for USA and most western European countries at Port Moresby airport. This visa is non-extendable and the fee is currently K100. As only Kina cash is accepted it is suggested you purchase some Kina prior to your arrival in PNG.

Health

Visitors are advised to take malaria precautions. As a precaution keep your tetanus, typhoid, hepatitis, and polio inoculations current. It is possible you may get some kind of diarrhea. Don’t forget to bring basic medicines such as antacids, painkillers, anti-histamines, cold remedies and anti-diarrheal medication such as Imodium.

What to Pack

The most important thing to pack is to pack lightly! This will most certainly add to the enjoyment of your trip. The climate varies in Papua New Guinea can be hot and humid, so lightweight long sleeved (preferably cotton) casual and modest clothing is appropriate for all occasions. Mosquitoes are drawn to dark colors so khaki, camel, bone or similar are preferable colors to wear. A sweater is needed for cool highland evenings and good walking shoes are essential.

  • Sun hat

  • Insect repellent

  • Sunscreen lotion

  • Rain jacket

  • Comfortable walking shoes

  • Binoculars

  • Camera

  • Malaria medication prescribed by your physician

Photography

Except in the case of planned performances, always remember to ask before taking a photograph of a particular individual.

Things to Buy

Art and handicrafts are world renowned and one of the most vital industries. The art is extremely varied and reflects the great diversity of cultures in PNG. The Sepik River is well known for its unique art, which comes in many forms including pottery, wooden carved masks and cult hooks. In other areas of the country you will find carved bowls, bilum or string bags, baskets, ceremonial axes, clay and bamboo ornaments, charms and musical instruments, just to name a few of the items you will probably have the opportunity to buy. Please be advised that it is illegal to export the feathers of the Bird of Paradise.

Interesting Facts

Papua New Guinea is one of the most culturally diverse countries on Earth, with over 850 indigenous languages and at least as many traditional societies.

The country is one of the world's least explored, and many undiscovered species of plants and animals are thought to exist in the interior of Papua New Guinea.

Papua New Guinea is one of the few regions close to the equator that experience snowfall, which occurs in the most elevated parts of the mainland