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I spent 16 years in one of the most beautiful countries of the world and although I loved living there I wouldnt recommend it as a tourist destination.
Papua New Guinea is an island located north of Australia. Half of the island belongs to Indonesia and is called Irian Jaya. The other half is Papua New Guinea.
Within PNG there are 2 distinct areas - the coast and the highlands. The coast is your typical island paradise. The highlands are a little more primative and saw their first white man less than 100 years ago.
Having grown up in PNG I was well aware of the crime and how to deal with things. Only too often I saw tourists (or terrorists as we called them :) ) being ripped off, having passports, cameras and anything else of value stolen. Crime in PNG is rampant! As a resident, there are places that you wouldnt go and things that you wouldnt do that tourists were unaware of. This led to a lot of tourists becoming victims.
As a tourist spot, PNG offers some of the most breathtaking scenery and wildlife you will ever see. This is usually in more rural areas, difficult to get to and generally risky.
The towns are much more civilised than when I first went there. Back in the 70's it was not uncommon to see men wearing "ass-grass" (bark around the waist with material in the front and leaves covering the backside) or women with pull-pulls (a skirt made of string) walking around the towns. Now you will rarely see this unless you go to a sing-sing (traditional dance).
Most towns are now full of unemployed people who are looking for jobs. Labour is cheap and plentiful. Unemployment there has the same effect that it has in any European country - higher crime rates! - Always be aware of your wallet. - Never carry anything that can be snatched. - Dont go out alone. - Dont travel on PMV's (Public Motor Vehicles) as these are often targeted by the criminal element (rascals). - Dont take valuables with you. - Carry as little cash as you can get away with. - If you are unsure if an area is safe, ask a resident or ask at the police station.
I worked as a civilian in a police station in PNG and the number of times I saw tourists come back after being robbed from areas that even the police wouldnt visit amazed me!
Costs in PNG range from very cheap (£10-£20 a day - and likely to become a crime statistic) to expensive (£150+ a day)
Airfares are generally via Australia (£500) and then up to PNG (£250). Air Nuigini used to fly direct from Hong Kong to Port Moresby but I'm unsure if they still do.
If you choose to go to PNG: Stay in descent Accomodation (£80-£100) a night. Hire a car. Dont rely on public transport. Be aware of your surroundings Talk to the locals in you hotel - ask if places are safe and when is the best time to go.
If you can survive without being a victim of crime it will be a country you will never forget!!
I rate your review Very Helpful because you say it as it really is, which isn't always an island paradise that it could be. Even four years after you wrote it, things haven't changed - I have been going there on and off throught 2007 on business. But it is a pretty place and lovely friendly people nearly all of whom speak English in varying degrees of "pidjin"
patriciat 06.12.2003 00:07
£100 a night to be scared witless! Not for me I'm afraid. Pat.t
Louise90 05.12.2003 23:51
It's always handy to know these things before going - especially from someone like yourself who has lived there for so long. Louise. x