Preparing For A Holiday In Papua New Guinea

If all the standard holiday getaways in Southeast Asia and the South Pacific are putting you off due to the full fledged invasion of party people in recent decades, you may be considering an alternative somewhere off the beaten track. While you might have some overlooked tiny atoll in mind, it might surprise you that one of the better options in this part of the world is hiding in plain sight from your map-scanning eyes.

This nation is none other than Papua New Guinea, which is one of the few remaining final frontiers in travel in the 21st century. Authentic cultures, wild jungles filled with species of plants and animals that have yet to be discovered by science, and unspoiled beaches can all be found here. While this all sounds marvelous, there are some things you need to know before touching down in a country that saw less than 25,000 tourist visits in the past year.

Below, we will go over everything you need to know about this mysterious place before you book your ticket for your holiday in Papua New Guinea … so let’s get started!

1) Don’t be offended by a lack of eye contact

When you go to shake the hand of native Papuans or even hospitality industry workers in Papua New Guinea, you may notice that they will often look away or down at the ground as they do so. Don’t be offended, or think that they are shy. In this country, not making direct eye contact when exchanging pleasantries is an act of respect towards you … so feel like the enlightened foreigner they think you are, do not feel like you are being slighted.

2) In major cities or towns, stay inside at night

Papua New Guinea is not your typical tourist destination, so don’t stroll down the main drag of Port Moresby, Lae, or any town/city of significant size after dark. Settlements of this population are composed of members of various tribes, many of whom don’t get along with each other. Gangs affiliated with different tribes will often battle each other for dominance, so you definitely don’t want to get caught in the crossfire.

3) Do plan on taking malaria pills, but buy them in-country

Much of the interior of Papua New Guinea is thick, nearly impenetrable jungle, and this nation is not a wealthy one, two factors which make PNG a place where malaria is a problem. Don’t buy malaria pills back home before making the trip here though, as local pharmacies will supply you will the medication you need for a fraction of the cost you’ll pay back in the first world … capitalism is a fun system, isn’t it?

4) Prepare to enjoy some of the best diving and surfing in the world…

… as well as the fact that you’ll likely be the only group there enjoying it. SCUBA diving and snorkeling is still an industry in its infancy here, but with largely unmolested coral, a highly biodiverse ocean at these latitudes, and plentiful ship and plane wrecks dating back from the Second World War, you’ll be in heaven here. Similarly, there are many excellent surf breaks to be found across the country (Bougainville Island and the coast near Port Moresby stand out in particular) with no established pecking order to kowtow to, so all you have to do is paddle out, wait for your dream wave, drop in, and rip it up all day long!

5) If possible, make plans to take in the Goroka Show

If there’s one thing that Papua New Guinea is well known for worldwide, it would be the tribal dances of its multiple ethnic groups. The Goroka Show, a multi-tribe gathering where over 100 tribes gather in the town of Goroka to showcase their people’s music, dances, and culture. It is typically held in September near the countries’ Independence Day (September 16), so if you wish to catch this festival, book your trip here during this time.

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