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Papua New Guinea

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Airways Hotel Port Moresby
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Holiday Inn Port Moresby
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Lamana
Lamana - dream vacation

Lamana Road, Waigani, Port Moresby

Papua New Guinea (Tok Pisin: Papua Niugini), officially the Independent State of Papua New Guinea (Tok Pisin: Independen Stet bilong Papua Niugini) comprises the eastern part of the world's largest and highest tropical island, New Guinea, together with many smaller offshore islands. It has a long and un-policed land border with the Papua region of Indonesia to the west.

Regions

The country can be divided into 9 regions:

Cities

  • Port Moresby — the capital city with its interesting Zoological gardens, the Parliament building, the museum, and general Melanesian atmosphere
  • Alotau — laid-back capital of Milne Bay province and gateway to some fascinating but remote islands
  • Goroka — an attractive highland town with pleasant climate and the annual Goroka Show, centre of the country's coffee industry
  • Lae — the country's second city, main commercial centre and gateway to the highlands
  • Madang — a beautiful city with breathtaking flights of bats in the evening (it is illegal to hurt them), and even more breathtaking diving
  • Mount Hagen — the 'wild-west' frontier town in the Highlands, which will introduce you to the cool, crisp Highlands weather and Highlands culture
  • Rabaul — the city at the foot of an active volcano which was evacuated and severely damaged by a major eruption in 1994
  • Vanimo — the border town if you want to make you way to or from the province of Papua in neighbouring Indonesia; popular surfing destination
  • Wewak — the gateway to the Sepik river, where you can experience Sepik culture, the river itself, and the elaborate carvings typical of the region

Other destinations

  • Kokoda Track — an ancient trail across the Owen Stanley Range which became especially famous for its part in World War II
  • Louisiade Archipelago — beautiful island group well off-the-beaten-path; world-class diving and yachting heaven
  • Trobriand Islands — referred to by the anthropologist, Malinowski, as the "Islands of Love"
  • Tufi — the Fjordland of Papua New Guinea with fascinating scenery, great diving, and tapa cloth made from mulberry bark

Understand

History

There is evidence of human settlement as long ago as 35,000 years in what is now Papua New Guinea. This comes from an archaeological site at Matenkupkum, just south of Namatanai in New Ireland province. Other archaeological digs at several locations in New Ireland have discovered tools and food residue dating back 20,000 years.

In more modern times, Papua New Guinea (known popularly as 'PNG'), the eastern half of the island of New Guinea (which is the second largest island in the world), was divided between Germany ('German New Guinea') and Great Britain ('British Papua') in 1884. The Dutch had West Papua, now the Indonesian territory of Papua. The southeast part of the island, also known as Papua, was owned by the UK but administered by Australia, and thus a colony of a colony, until Australian independence in 1901, when it became an Australian colony. In 1914, the Australians did their part in the Allied war effort and took control of German New Guinea, and continued to administer it as a Trust Territory under the League of Nations and (later) the United Nations. However, it was not just disinterested colonialism. Gold had been discovered in several places and was rapidly exploited. Remnants of vast gold dredges can still be seen in the Bulolo and Wau area.

During the Pacific War, New Guinea was the site of fierce fighting on land (at Buin and on the Kokoda Track) and sea (at the Battle of the Coral Sea). It was the first place in the war where the Japanese advance was checked and then reversed. After the war, both New Guinea and Papua were administered from the government center of Port Moresby on the south coast, in Papua. In 1975, the country, now united as 'Papua New Guinea', achieved independence from Australia. Today Papua New Guinea continues to be the foremost country in Melanesia. The country struggles to fulfil the dreams of independence as economic stagnation, corruption, law and order problems, and a nine-year secessionist revolt on the island of Bougainville all conspire to make the country somewhat less than a tropical paradise.

The attempts by Bougainville to break away at the time of Independence led to a decision to offer the regions of the country a certain amount of political autonomy. Decentralization led to the establishment of nineteen provincial governments and the process of dividing up the country into unviable administrative units seems to be continuing, with a decision in 2009 to split both Southern Highlands and Western Highlands provinces into three new provinces.

In 2009, Papua New Guinea received 125,000 visitors, but only around 20% of these declared themselves as tourists. The country offers the traveller a true paradox. With little tourist infrastructure outside the main tourist areas, getting around can be tough. But Papua New Guineans themselves are wonderfully welcoming people who will go to great lengths to accommodate strangers. Tourism is well developed and growing in a handful of locations. Beyond these, the country is 120% adventure travel and not for the inexperienced or faint of heart.

For people who can make it out here, the experience is unforgettable. The incredible natural beauty is simply indescribable. Its unique flora and fauna includes enormous radiations of marsupials and birds, including the Raggiana bird-of-paradise (the national symbol) and several species of tree kangaroos. Untouched coral reefs compete with spectacular World War II wrecks for the attention of divers, and the hiking is out of this world.

With rugged terrain, inter-tribal mistrust, and diverse languages, intermarriage between the peoples has, until recently, been very limited. Physical and facial appearance varies significantly throughout the country; from those who look almost Polynesian in some coastal areas, through the short, stocky Highlanders, to the tall and statuesque people of the area around Rabaul in New Britain and the dark-skinned inhabitants of Bougainville, who could almost come from Africa.

The central highlands of Papua New Guinea were not mapped until the 1930s and not effectively brought under government control until the late 1960s. As a result, the people are as interesting as the geography, flora, and fauna. Papua New Guinea is a place that often markets itself as 'the Last Unknown' or a place where you can still find 'Stone Age People'. Of course, telling a Papua New Guinean that you consider them a stone age savage is incredibly rude. While you can, if you try hard enough, find old men who remember the first time they or anyone in their society saw metal, you'll also have trouble finding anyone who has not seen Titanic. Indeed, what makes Papua New Guinea so interesting today is not the fact that it is some sort of living museum, but its incredible dynamism. In the hundred-year shift from stone to steel to silicon, Papua New Guineans have turned the shortest learning curve in human history into one of the most colourful, and often idiosyncratic, experiments in modernity ever produced by human beings. Featuring ritual garb made of human hair and rolled up Instant Noodle wrappers, rap in Pidgin English, or tribal warriors named 'Rambo' for their valour in combat, Papua New Guinea's collision with global culture has been intense and fascinating. So don't worry about the fate of 'traditional culture': in the bar room brawl between Papua New Guinea and the global culture industry the biggest worry is keeping Papua New Guinea from pummelling global culture to a pulp.

Climate

Papua New Guinea is just to the south of the equator and has a tropical climate. In the highlands, though, temperatures are distinctly cool. The (very) wet season runs from about December to March. The best months for trekking are June to September.

Terrain

The country is situated on the Pacific Ring of Fire, at the point of collision of several tectonic plates. There are a number of active volcanoes, and eruptions are frequent. Earthquakes are relatively common, sometimes accompanied by tsunamis.

The country's geography is diverse and, in places, extremely rugged. A spine of mountains, the New Guinea Highlands, runs the length of the island of New Guinea, forming a populous highlands region mostly covered with tropical rainforest. Dense rainforests can be found in the lowland and coastal areas as well as very large wetland areas surrounding the Sepik and Fly rivers. This terrain has made it difficult for the country to develop transportation infrastructure. In some areas, aircraft are the only mode of transport. The highest peak is Mount Wilhelm at 4,509  m (14,793 ft). Papua New Guinea is surrounded by coral reefs which are under close watch to preserve them.

Read

There are many great books about Papua New Guinea, including great fiction as well as non-fiction. An excellent book for the general reader about Papua New Guinea is Sean Dorney's Papua New Guinea: People, Politics, and History Since 1975. The third edition is the best, but it is pretty hard to find outside of Australia (and is not that easy to find there).

John Laurel Ryan, a former employee of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), also wrote an excellent book, "The Hot Land" which was published about 1970. Among other fascinating historical information it contains accounts of various manifestations of cargo cult, John Teosin's "baby garden" on Buka Island, and eye-witness reports that have been rigidly suppressed in other media about the Indonesian takeover of what was formerly Dutch West Papua. This excellent and at times disturbing book will also be hard to find, and sadly its author even harder!

There is also a lot of anthropological work that has been done in Papua New Guinea (leading some to term the area an "anthropologist's laboratory"), which can contribute greatly to an understanding of the different groups in the region. Some of the more accessible volumes include Malinowski's "Argonauts of the Western Pacific", centred on the Trobriand Islanders, living just north of Papua New Guinea itself; Reading the skin - Michael O'Hanlon; Coaxing the spirits to dance - Welsch, Webb et al.; The Art of Kula - SF Campbell; Inalienable Possessions - AB Weiner.

People

Papua New Guinea has hundreds of ethnic groups and is arguably one of the most heterogeneous countries in the world. Each group has expressive forms in art, weaponry, dancing, music and costumes.

Holidays

  • January 1: New Year's Day
  • Easter (according to the Gregorian calendar)
  • June 8: Queen's Birthday
  • July 23: Remembrance Day
  • August 26: National Day of Repentance
  • September 16: Independence Day
  • December 25: Christmas Day
  • December 26: Boxing Day

Get in

Entry requirements

Everyone needs a visa to enter Papua New Guinea, but a 60-day visa on arrival is available to all EU/EFTA citizens and to citizens of Andorra, Argentina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Fiji, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Kiribati, Macau, Malaysia, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Monaco, Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Peru, Philippines, Samoa, San Marino, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Tonga, Tuvalu, United States, Uruguay, Vanuatu and Vatican City. Citizens of other countries need to obtain advance visas from the nearest PNG diplomatic mission.

By plane

Jackson International Airport in Port Moresby is the nation's international airport.

  • Air Niugini flies to and from Cairns, Sydney, and Brisbane, Australia; Honiara, Solomon Islands; Manila, Philippines; Tokyo (Narita), Japan; Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong.
  • Pacific Blue connects Port Moresby to Brisbane four times a week.
  • QANTASLINK flies to and from Cairns daily

By boat

The ports include MadangLae, and Port Moresby on the mainland, Kieta on Bougainville, and Rabaul and Kimbe on New Britain. However, they are only internal ferries. International ferries are unavailable.

There are also cruises such as the Coral Princess and ones from Aurora Expeditions.

By land

The only land border is with Papua (Irian Jaya), Indonesia, and crossing it involves some preparations but is not that difficult as it might have been. In Jayapura, Indonesia, there is a consulate to apply for a tourist visa. The consulate is located in Mendi, a 10 min green PMV (public motor vehicle) ride away from Jayapura's capital. The price is 2,000 Indonesian rupiah (IDR).

Depending on your Indonesian visa there are different options to cross the border. If you have a visa on arrival, issued to you for example at the Jakarta Airport, you can only cross the border using a boat or by stamping out at customs in Jayapura and then immediately travelling to the border 30 km away. Western travellers attempting the latter should expect to pay some miscellaneous fees and jump moderate bureaucratic hoops before leaving.

Boats can be rented from Hamedi. Any other type of visa you can rent a car, or an ojek and cross the land border. If renting a vehicle for the crossing one should expect to pay approximately IDR300,000 from Jayapura town and travellers should expect to pay upwards of IDR500,000 to return from the border to Jayapura.

Get around

By car

Papua New Guinea is a strange place when it comes to travel. The tropical conditions, fierce geography, and lack of government capacity means there are very few paved roads in the country.

With the exception of a brief span of road connecting it to the immediate hinterland and a road that will enable you to follow the coast southeast for a few hours, there are no major roads linking Port Moresby to anywhere else.

On the north coast, a tenuous highway runs from Madang to Wewak only in theory.

The big exception to this is the Highlands Highway, which begins in Lae (the country's main port) and runs up into the highlands through Goroka to Mt. Hagen with a fork going back to the coast and Madang. Shortly outside Mt. Hagen the road branches, with the southern line going through the Southern Highlands to Tari while the northern line runs through Enga province and ends in Porgera.

By public motor vehicles (PMV)

The most common way to travel is by PMV/bus with the locals.

Lae, MadangGoroka, Tari, and Mount Hagen are all connected by a good highway. As a newcomer it is probably advisable to get help from locals (e.g., hotel-staff). Most towns have several starting points. A trip from Lae to Madang costs around PGK20, to Mt. Hagen PGK30.

By plane

Papua New Guinea has historically been one of the world centres for aviation and still features some of the most spectacular flying in the world. In the 1920s, Lae was the busiest airport in the world - it was there that aviators in the gold mining industry first proved that it was commercially feasible to ship cargo (and not just people) by air. In fact, Lae was where Amelia Earhart set off on her last journey.

Air transport is still the most common way to get around between major urban centres - indeed, pretty much every major settlement is built around an airstrip. In fact, the main drag of Mt. Hagen is the old airstrip! Travel from the coast into the Highlands is particularly spectacular (don't take your eyes off the window for a second!) and pilots from Australia, New Zealand, America and other countries work here just for the great flying experience. If you don't like small planes (or even smaller helicopters) however, flying to more remote locations here may not be the best option for you.

The two major domestic airlines are Air Niugini and Airlines PNG:

  • Air Niugini connects Port Moresby and, to a lesser extent, Lae with most of the provincial capitals, but does not offer much of a service between the smaller towns. A domestic route map is available. The airline flies Fokker F100s as well as smaller propeller planes.
  • Airlines PNG connects a large number of smaller centres. Planes with a seating capacity from 20 to 36. It operates on the mainland and does not serve the main outer islands. A route map is available at [1].

By boat

People living in the archipelagos get around locally with the ubiquitous banana boat, a 30-40 ft fibreglass hull with an outboard motor.

Also, two or three shipping lines also sell tickets for passengers who want to leapfrog from one city to another. These ferries run only two or three times per week and offer upper and lower class. Upper gets you a bunk to sleep on while lower gets you a hard seat.

There is a ferry twice a week between Madang and Wewak.

One small ship leaves the city of Lae once a week, stopping at Finschhafen and Umboi Island. Sleeping on the open deck of a ship as it crawls slowly through the South Pacific night is about as romantic as it sounds, but beware - it gets cold on the open ocean no matter where you are, so take some warm clothes or buy a cabin inside.

Talk

With over 800 languages, it was pretty difficult to get everyone talking to each other. Two pidgins grew up in this area; Tok Pisin (based on English) and Hiri Motu (based on the local Motu language), and when the Anglophones married the Hulis and the babies learned the only language they had in common, Tok Pisin became a creole. Tok Pisin sometimes looks like it is English written phonetically ("Yu dring; yu draiv; yu dai" means "You drink; you drive; you die"), but it is not; it has more personal pronouns than English and its own quite different syntax.

Tok Pisin is spoken in most of the country and short, inexpensive guidebooks on learning Tok Pisin can be acquired in the many book stores.

Hiri Motu is spoken in Port Moresby and other parts of Papua, though since Port Moresby is the capital, you're likely to find Tok Pisin speakers in the airport, banks, or government. When approaching locals, try to speak English first; using Tok Pisin or another language can make it look like you are assuming they don't know English.

You might sometimes have trouble hearing what the locals are saying because they speak very quietly. It is considered rude by some of the local groups to look people in the eyes and to speak loudly.

See

South New Guinea

The Kokoda Trail is a 60-mile trail, beginning in the Port Moresby area and leading up into the Owen Stanley Range. This trail was first used by gold miners in the 1890s and is most known as a historical World War II site as the Japanese tried to reach Port Moresby along it. It takes about five days to hike this track, which includes plenty of ups and downs between mountain ridges and streams.

The Highlands

The Highland region is made of long string of fertile valleys, each separated by mountains, that mean the Highlands are composed of many distinct tribal regions.

In the Eastern Highlands is Mount Wilhelm, Papua New Guinea's highest mountain (14,880 feet). Climbing Wilhelm is relatively easy; but three or four days are recommended to allow for sightseeing. There are views of both the north and south coasts of New Guinea from the peak. The Wahgi River in this area is considered one of the best whitewater rafting destinations in the world.

The Northern Coast

  • Madang is good for scuba diving of all levels,and the coral reefs are home to a variety of rare species of colourful fish. There are also underwater wrecks of Japanese fighter planes, with weapons and cargo intact. There are still-active volcanoes for trekkers to hike up not far from Madang.
  • Further west you come to Wewak. It is the gateway to the Sepik River region with a fascinating culture distinct from that of the Highlands. Take long canoe rides up the river and it's tributaries to visit the impressive Haus Tambaran.

The Islands

  • New Britain. This island offers excellent swimming and snorkelling. Trails in the area are perfect for day hikes and treks through the rainforest. There are also hot thermal springs and bubbling mud holes in this region of the island. The Baining people who inhabit the northeastern area of New Britain are famous for creating ephemeral art-forms, perhaps no better demonstrated than by their fire dance. A dramatic and beautifully made mask is constructed from bark for this ceremony and thrown away as worthless immediately afterwards.
  • Bougainville. Well off-the-beaten-path in the far east of the country, with great untapped tourism potential. World-class diving, dramatic treks and World War II Japanese relics are the key attractions.
  • Trobriand Islands. The so-called Islands of Love are well known for their unique culture.

Do

Scuba Diving

Go scuba diving, using one of more than a dozen local scuba diving operators. The national Scuba Diving industry body [2] is a good starting point. Papua New Guinea has some of the very best tropical reef diving anywhere in the word.

Birdwatching

This a birdwatching Mecca with over 700 species of birds including many birds of paradise. Definitely bring a pair of decent binoculars and ask in the villages for a volunteer to help you find the birds. An amazing experience!

Surfing

Information through the Surfing Association.

Trekking

Another popular attraction here is trekking through the mountains, coastal lowlands and rolling foothills of the Kokoda and other trails. The Kokoda Track attracts many hundreds of walkers a year.

Festivals

The most popular activities for tourists here are festivals such as the The Sing-Sing performances at the annual Goroka and Mt. Hagen shows. During these shows, there are usually more than fifty ensembles that turn up. The festivals are competitive and the winning ensemble is rewarded by being invited to give concerts at many restaurants and hotels during the following year. This beauty and colourfulness of New Guinea’s festivals is both pleasing to watch for tourists and helps the locals financially.

Fishing

Fishing is becoming increasingly popular. Species include Black Marlin, Blue Marlin, Sailfish, Yellow Fin, Skipjack and Dogtooth Tuna and the Giant Trevally. Mahi Mahi (Dolphin Fish), Mackerel and Wahoo. A particularly challenging fish is the black bass, which, pound for pound, is considered to be the toughest fighting fish in the world.

Flightseeing

Flightseeing is a word that should have been coined here. If you can afford it, just flying around some of the remote airstrips is an adventure in itself. There are strips that seem impossibly short, strips that seem to end with a mountain, strips where if you don't take off in time you will plunge into a ravine, and airstrips surrounded on three sides by water. From Port Moresby you don't have to fly far to get the experience. There are flights to villages on the Kokoda trail and others in the Owen Stanley mountain range in Central Province and you can fly a scheduled circuit or "milk run" in one morning, although you will have to be at the airport by 05:00. Check with Airlines PNG for schedules. Fane, Ononge and Tapini strips are particularly scary. Remember your life assurance.

Spectator sports

Rugby Football is popular in Papua New Guinea.

Buy

Money

The kina, denoted by the symbol "K" (ISO code: PGK) is the currency of Papua New Guinea. It is divided into 100 toea.

Polymer banknotes in denominations of 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 kina circulate.

ATMs are common in the main towns (mainly Bank of the South Pacific, ANZ and Westpac - all should accept foreign cards). Some will charge high fees, some might charge fees if you're in a different bank, and some in hotels might charge no fees (but are intended for guests only). Money changers give poor rates (similar rates to money changers in Australia) due to high business costs. Credit cards are commonly accepted in larger shops, hotels and restaurants, although there are occasional reports of fraud. Market sellers will prefer small change.

Shopping

There is not so much shopping in the regular sense. In the major cities there are a few malls and supermarkets. Otherwise, most of the shopping is done in small markets that are held irregularly. A great place to visit is the craft market which is held once per month in Port Moresby opposite Ela beach in the car park of the IEA TAFE College. There it is possible to buy handicrafts from every part of the country. Although it is slightly more expensive than out in the villages, the prices are very reasonable. Haggling is not really an accepted custom, one can haggle a bit but to do it excessively could annoy the locals.

Don't buy bird feathers.

Eat

The food is largely devoid of spices. A typical way of cooking is a Mumu, an underground oven in which meat and vegetables, such as Kaukau (sweet potatoes), are cooked. In just about every meal, there is rice and another form of starch.

In the lodges that tourists stay, in there is usually a blend between this type of food and a more Westernised menu.

Drink

There are brands of local beer. The local brew, SP (short for South Pacific) Lager, is owned by Heineken. Excessive alcohol consumption, primarily of beer, is a major social problem. Beers and wines are often served fairly warm due to a lack of refrigeration in certain areas. Also, while the water quality varies from place to place (and in some cases from day to day), it is generally best to stick to bottled water, even in the upper-market hotels.

Sleep

Papua New Guinea offers a wide choice of accommodation for tourists with very little of it budget.

Hotels are very expensive (at least USD100/night, and often much more). Guesthouses are the best budget option in the towns but even then still expensive (about USD40/night.) The least expensive option is to stay in village guesthouses (about USD15/night), and that is where the fun is anyhow.

Port Moresby has international hotels including the Crown Plaza and Airways International, mid range hotels such as Lamana and guesthouses. The regional areas offer International and budget hotels depending on the size of the town and some provinces have guest houses.

Learn

Work

There is a workforce of close to two million people in a few different industries. There is high demand for skilled people but it is still difficult for women and men that are considered to be "unskilled" to find work. Many people have informal small businesses to make money.

Stay safe

The country has a reputation as a risky destination in some circles (primarily Australian ones), predominantly because of the activities of criminal gangs (known in Tok Pisin as raskols) in major cities, especially in Port Moresby and Lae.

That is generally a result of unemployment stemming from increased domestic migration from subsistence farming in the hills to the nearest urban area.

There is no history of heavy settlement in the Port Moresby and Lae areas. Hence, they are colonial cities comprised of a mix of tribal people which fosters instability. Madang, Wewak, Goroka, Mt. Hagen, and Tari are much safer with longer periods of settlement and a more stable tribal homogeneity.

The villages are quite safe as the locals will "adopt" you as one of their own.

If you must, the most important thing is to stay up to date on the law and order situation in the locations you are planning to visit.

Most hotels in Port Moresby are secure and situated inside compounds, generally with guards patrolling the perimeter. However, actual gunfire in the capital is mercifully rare. If you plan on taking a tour of any city, make inquiries with your hotel or accommodation provider, as many will be able to either walk with you or drive you to wherever you are planning to go, or just around the local area if that is what you want to do.

Avoid going out after dark, but if you must, stay very alert.

Flying in small planes can be very risky. Hardly a year goes by without at least one fatal accident (the most recent in August 2009 when 12 people were killed). While the planes are usually well-maintained and the pilots technically proficient the problem is the mountainous terrain. Many smaller airfields are situated in steep valleys. When there is cloud cover planes have difficulty in finding them and sometimes crash into a mountain. The national airline, Air Niugini, which flies internationally and to the major cities of the country has, however, an unblemished safety record in 32 years of operation.

Saltwater crocodiles (Crocodylus porosus) are common in Papua New Guinea and are capable of growing to immense lengths of 7 m or more (although individuals over 6 m are rare). They occasionally devour humans. They are equally at home in coastal waters as they are in freshwater lakes and rivers. Avoid swimming except at higher elevations and in hotel swimming pools. Papua New Guinea, along with Australia, has the highest and healthiest population of large saltwater crocodiles in the world.

Papua New Guinea is home to many active volcanoes and several of the most popular treks involve getting close or actually climbing one or more of these. Always heed local advice and a regular check of The Smithsonian Institute's Volcanic Activity Report would be wise.

Stay healthy

Tap water in some regions can be unsafe to drink.

Malaria can be a hazard as well, although many villages, particularly those connected to industry, are regularly treated for mosquitoes. Take the appropriate precautions against mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases.

Malaria medication can be purchased at the pharmacies and, in addition to warding off malaria, will keep your stomach happy as well.

Respect

As in many Melanesian cultures, greeting people with a friendly handshake is very important. Be aware, however, that it is a sign of respect not to make eye contact. The sight of hotel staff calling you by name, shaking your hand and looking at the floor may seem unusual at first.

Cope

Newspapers

Papua New Guinea has two daily newspapers that include up-to-date exchange rates and other important information:

  • The Post Courier ('the Post')
  • The National

Connect

Go next

  • Indonesia
  • Australia
  • Solomon Islands

The Amateur Traveler talks to Beth Whitman of Waderlust and Lipstick about her recent Papua New Guinea. Beth was attracted to this remote country that produced more languages than any other country because of people separated by its rugged terrain. She tells us about the wonder, beauty and yes danger of Papua New Guinea. Beth was preparing to take a tour to the island nation and to the Mount Hagen Show which is a sing sing which allows the different tribes to compete with songs and costumes.

Roadtrippers

This post was produced in partnership with our friends over at Roadtrippers, a simple but powerful road trip planner that helps you discover, plan, & book your adventure.

I’VE BEEN FORTUNATE ENOUGH to have traveled to some amazing places around the world over the last 10 years: Bolivia, Papua New Guinea, South Korea, Mongolia, Jordan, and the list goes on. But I’m not exaggerating in the least when I say that some of my favorite trips have taken place here in the US — typically behind the wheel of my car, on a lonely state highway.

America is just massive. At 3.8 million square miles, it’s three times larger than all the countries listed above combined. So it’s kind of a given that our country would be home to spectacular deserts, mountain ranges, volcanic features, ancient forests, waterfalls, canyons, glaciers, caves, and swamps. But that fact doesn’t diminish the awesomeness of these places.

As spring approaches, my wife and I can’t wait for our next opportunity to hop into our little Mazda with the dog and go find a spot we haven’t been to yet in our thousands of miles of driving around this country that keeps on giving. Hope to see you out there.

1. Death Valley, CA

death valley california

Zabrieskie Point, Death Valley

death valley california

A section of the Mojave Desert, Death Valley is the lowest, driest, hottest place in North America. (1) Trey Ratcliff (2) Pedro Szekely (3) Gleb Tarassenko

2. Kilauea, HI

kilauea hawaii

kilauea hawaii

Kilauea, on the Big Island of Hawaii, sends streams of lava steaming into the Pacific Ocean. (1) Tumanc (2) Esten Hurtle

3. Monument Valley, UT

monument valley utah

monument valley utah

monument valley utah

The sandstone buttes of Monument Valley stand like towers in the Four Corners region of the Western US. (1) Wolfgang Staudt (2) Trey Ratcliff (3) clockwise L to R: Bosure, Wolfgang Staudt, Jason Corneveaux, Kartik Ramanathan

4. Niagara Falls, NY

niagara falls

niagara falls

niagara falls

The tourist vessel “Maid of the Mist IV” does a float-by of the American Falls. (1) Arne Bornheim (2) paul bica (3) Daniel Peckman

5. Redwoods, CA

redwoods california

redwoods california

redwoods california

The tallest trees on the planet hide out in a few remaining tracts of Northern California’s old-growth coastal forests. (1) m24inStudio (2) clockwise L to R: Giant Ginkgo, Mike Baird, jjgardner3 (3) Justin Brown

6. Grand Canyon, AZ

grand canyon

grand canyon

Grand Canyon

A mile down from the canyon’s rim, the Colorado River is still cutting. (1) Ignacio Izquierdo (2) Randy Pertiet (3) Steve Dunleavy

7. Mammoth Cave, KY

Mammoth Cave

mammoth cave collage

Mammoth Cave National Park protects a portion of the longest known cave system in the world. (1) Peter Rivera (2) clockwise L to R: clarkmaxwell, Peter Riviera, Insley Pruitt, Peter Riviera

8. Florida Everglades

Florida Everglades

Everglades cypress

florida everglades

The Everglades are a 60-mile-wide, super-slow-moving subtropical river covering the tip of Florida. (1) Timothy Valentine (2) Brian Koprowski (3) crow 911

9. Hubbard Glacier, AK

hubbard glacier alaska

hubbard glacier alaska

hubbard glacier alaska

Where Hubbard Glacier meets the sea, its 6-mile-wide face calves huge blocks of ice. (1) Alan Vernon (2) Mike McElroy (3) Rich Englebrecht

10. Black Hills, SD

black hills south dakota

black hills south dakota

black hills south dakota

Harney Peak (pictured at top), within the Black Hills National Forest, is the highest east of the Rockies. (1) blucolt (2) Ryan O’Hara (3) Dave Morris

11. The Mississippi

mississippi river

mississippi river

This monster river system drains 31 US states and is the fourth longest in the world. (1) Jon Haynes Photography (2) Adventures of KM&G

12. Bryce Canyon, UT

bryce canyon utah

bryce canyon utah

bryce canyon utah

Bryce can be more accurately described as an immense eroded amphitheater, populated with hoodoos (pictured at middle). (1) Todd Petrie (2) Wolfgang Staudt (3) Sam Gao

13. Mt. Desert Island, ME

mt desert island

mt desert island

mt desert island

The island is protected by Acadia National Park and is all rocky shoreline and crumbly mountain woodland. (1) Scott Kublin (2) clockwise L to R: Andrew Mace, Scott Smitson, Jim Liestman, Howard Ignatius, Frederico Robertazzi (3) A.D. Wheeler

14. Crater Lake, OR

Crater Lake, Oregon

crater lake oregon

crater lake oregon

Collapsed volcano, now a deep blue lake in southern Oregon. (1) Ninad (2) Howard Ignatius (3) Andy Spearing

15. Arches, UT

arches utah

arches utah

arches utah

The national park preserves land that’s home to over 2,000 of these weathered sandstone arches. (1) Keith Cuddeback (2) Katsrcool (3) Kartik Ramanathan

16. Yosemite Valley, CA

yosemite valley

yosemite valley

yosemite valley

Looking down the Yosemite Valley, you can see Bridalveil Falls and the granite cliff of Half Dome in the distance. (1) John Colby (2) Nietnagel (3) clockwise L to R: Craig Goodwin, Scott, Nietnagel

17. Carlsbad Caverns, NM

Carlsbad Caverns

Carlsbad Caverns

Hall of Giants

The caverns’ “Big Room” is the third largest cave chamber in North America. (1) FMJ Shooter~Off to the last frontier (2) G (3) J.J.

18. Old Faithful, WY

old faithful

old faithful

old faithful

This geyser in Yellowstone National Park erupts a 140-foot spout of water at regular 45- to 120-minute intervals. (1) David Kingham (2) Scott Kublin (3) frazgo

Roadtrippers The open road. That’s what it’s all about. Driving down long stretches of asphalt, pulling over at a local diner for some grub, and discovering the most incredible roadside wonders. Roadtrippers is a simple but powerful road trip planner that helps you discover, plan, & book your adventure.

A minibus in El Alto, Bolivia. Image credit: Gwen Kash // CC BY-NC 2.0

Ask any group of women if they’ve ever felt unsafe on public transportation, and the stories will flow. In Mexico City, 64 percent of women reported having been groped or physically harassed while using public transit. As for New York’s subway system, 63 percent of women surveyed mentioned personal experiences of sexual harassment, while 10 percent reported sexual assault. There are disheartening statistics about women’s transportation safety around the world — it’s a borderless problem.

Unsafe transport not only causes women to change their modes of movement, it also reduces how many trips they make. This insecurity reduces household income, as inadequate transportation limits women from accessing their full educational and employment opportunities. Transit insecurity is damaging to the environment, too, as more privileged women who are afraid to walk, cycle, or take public transportation turn to polluting, private cars and taxis instead.

Of course, women can’t be treated as an undifferentiated group. Disability, class, race, age, sexuality, gender presentation, and other factors mean that not all women are equally vulnerable to crime or violence on public transportation. Men and boys can also be victimized, and it shouldn’t be assumed that every woman is a victim-in-waiting. But women around the world do share certain vulnerabilities as passengers that make it useful to analyze their needs as a group. As UCLA urban planning professor Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris has written, gender is the single most significant factor explaining transit-based fear and anxiety.

There are solutions, but many are controversial. A key concern when planning transportation safety improvements is making sure not to shift the burden onto vulnerable passengers. “Why should we put the onus on women?” Loukaitou-Sideris asks. Yet many well-intended safety measures do just that.

In the app world, there are private Uber-like services that allow women to choose female drivers. Safr, which is currently invite-only and Boston-based, pledges to pay its female drivers more than the industry standard. However, it faces legal challenges around the potentially discriminatory nature of only hiring women; such challenges have sunk similar apps.

There are also apps in India, Yemen, Lebanon, and other countries that crowdsource data on safe areas, including transport stations. These include Safecity, which collects and maps women’s reports of harassment and violence (its tagline is “Pin the Creeps”).

This problem isn’t just limited to apps. Notoriously, Mexico City has distributed rape whistles to female metro passengers. Overall, systems for reporting assault are time-consuming and onerous, particularly for low-income women who can’t afford to lose time and money visiting police stations.

Another commonly proposed but contentious solution is gender-segregated public transportation. Over a century ago, the Hudson and Manhattan Railroad experimented with women-only cars. Today, Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, and Dubai are among the cities with women-only train compartments, buses, or taxis.

Port Moresby is another. The capital of Papua New Guinea has a high level of reported gender-based harassment and violence on its transportation services, ranging from verbal harassment to indecent exposure and robbery. “For women, getting on a bus in Port Moresby means an almost guaranteed experience of sexual harassment,” says Lizzette Soria, who manages the UN Women’s Safe Public Transport Programme for women and girls.

Soria adds of the three women-only buses in Port Moresby: “We know that this is just a short-term strategy, because of course our long-term [goal] is to make safer public transport for everyone. Some have suggested that women-only buses address the symptoms and not the problem, however, our first task is to make women and girls safe.” One advantage of Port Moresby’s gender-segregated buses has been their use as safe spaces to share information about women’s rights.

A women-only bus in Port Moresby. Image credit: UN Women/Marc Dozier

Measures that lead women to alter where and when they travel may be a means to an end, but they’re not nearly enough. It would be dangerous to reinforce the idea, spread by a culture of harassment, that public space isn’t fully women’s to occupy. Gwen Kash, a researcher based at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who specializes in public transit reform in Bolivian and Colombian cities, points out that women-only transportation doesn’t address the needs of transgender or queer passengers who might be especially targeted but not welcomed onto gender-segregated vehicles.

The transportation safety measures that are most effective tend to be the ones favored by women themselves. You’d think this should be obvious, but in Kash’s work with transit planners she’s encountered skepticism that sexual assault on public transport is a problem, and the implication that women even enjoy the attention. Moving from acknowledging women’s experiences to actively soliciting their opinions is another big step.

Men and women often have different preferences for safety measures. One study from the U.K. Department of Transport showed that women preferred more staff on buses, while men favored CCTV. These findings have been replicated in other countries. In general, men tend toward technological solutions, while women feel more reassured by a human presence, in real time. One concern many women express about CCTV is that video-operated surveillance doesn’t help victims of crime at the time the incident is happening.

Along with more staff, women almost universally support one simple solution: lighting. The combination of better lighting and transit personnel, including officers riding on trains, is why leaders of women’s groups in Loukaitou-Sideris’ research gave the metro system in Washington, D.C., high marks for safety. Loukaitou-Sideris also praises Toronto and London for developing their transit policies with both men and women in mind.

Lighting around the Toronto coach terminal. Image credit: SimonP // CC BY-SA 3.0

In Canada in 1989, the Metropolitan Toronto Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC) pioneered women’s safety audits, where women walked with transportation planners to pinpoint areas where they felt unsafe. METRAC then pushed for legislative changes based on the findings. These kinds of safety audits have spread all over the world, strengthening relationships among communities, police, and urban planners. Safer Cities Dar es Salaam reported reduced crime levels following the auditing process, while the Safer Nairobi Initiative pointed to women’s increased use of public space.

These examples show, as Loukaitou-Sideris says, that “there needs to be the political will” to drive real change in transport safety. Yes, nonprofits and community movements like METRAC in Toronto, Jagori in Delhi, and Hollaback in London have helped to make women’s transportation needs a matter of public concern. But policymakers and planners must be onboard to make large-scale improvements to transit networks. Worldwide, the legislative, planning, and transport professions remain dominated by men, which can create an invisibility around gendered needs.

A tram conductor during World War II, Leeds, England. Image credit: Ministry of Information Photo Division

Adding to the issue, amassing broad-based political will is tough in cities whose transit systems are stratified. Take Los Angeles, a famously car-centric city. Loukaitou-Sideris notes of gendered harassment on L.A.’s buses: “You don’t see much pressure from the well-to-do areas of the city. This is affecting a subgroup of the city. Often they’re immigrant women … They don’t report it to the police,” she says. Without pressure from politically mobilized and powerful city residents, officials are less likely to take action.

Urban planning scholars like Loukaitou-Sideris promote measures with a firm foundation of environmental design, which looks at how infrastructure and physical factors affect behavior. Lighting that extends from bus stops to the surrounding streets, so people feel safe walking home once they’re off the bus, is an example of that. In Port Moresby, the Safe Public Transport Programme targeted gender-sensitive infrastructure in its campaigning, alongside regulation, planning, and behavior change.

Other campaigns aim at potential harassers, assaulters, and bystanders to avoid perpetuating the idea that women’s travel is the problem. A campaign called “Don’t Touch My Girlfriend” is one (somewhat poorly titled) case from Brussels. Soria says that physical measures are one thing, but “if we don’t change attitudes and beliefs, we will continue to have harassment.”

Then there are relationship-based initiatives, which involve local community groups and perhaps transport personnel. In Port Moresby, young people played key roles in developing and delivering messages around gender equality; also, bus drivers were trained in how to identify sexual harassment and how to address it onboard.

These kinds of driver-focused initiatives aren’t always helpful, especially when transportation is informal and poorly regulated. Kash says that in Bolivian cities, where informal minibuses are common and generally a low-paid livelihood, “it’s to the driver’s advantage not to intervene” in situations of harassment and assault. If they do, they risk lost income and often unwanted confrontation.

Rural women using public transport in Mozambique. Image credit: Ton Rulkens //CC BY-SA 2.0

In general, however, expanding the ranks of female transportation operators, security officers, and transport planners — and making it more convenient for passengers to report harassment and assault to them — helps to increase the gender sensitivity of transportation.

A key lesson from the Safe Public Transport Programme in Port Moresby has been the role of political leadership. “One of the success factors has been the critical relationship between UN Women and the government,” Soria says. She credits Port Moresby’s governor, who she says has been a strong advocate for combatting gender-based violence. His administration dedicated 2016 to making the city safer for women and girls, and the transport safety program built on that work, as well as an earlier UN Women’s program on safe markets.

Public transport suffers from limited funding. That’s one reason local officials give for embracing technological solutions like CCTV over expensive, more popular steps like increased staffing. Yet not all solutions that women favor need to be costly. Panic buttons on buses, trialed in New Delhi, are one example. Another is personal request stops, offered in Toronto and Montreal, where people are allowed to exit buses at places other than designated stops.

There are also ways to optimize the use of available funds. Loukaitou-Sideris’s research in L.A. has shown that a small proportion of bus stops are hotspots for gender-based crime. Focusing attention on these areas, she says, would be a cost-effective way of targeting resources.

Plus, the limited-funding argument has its weaknesses. The growth in security measures following high-profile cases of transportation-based terrorism shows that where the political will exists to prioritize safety, funds can be accessed. Yes, major terror incidents are dramatic and traumatic. But they’re also rare. Incidents of harassment and assault on transport are not.

“Safe transit for women is good for everybody,” Kash says. More frequent services reduce the overcrowding that facilitates groping; and less crowding, would be very popular among female and male users of the frequently packed buses in Bogotá, she adds. More information about bus and train times allows passengers to more efficiently plan their trips — and women report that reduced waiting times and greater certainty about transport options make them feel safer.

TransMilenio Bus Rapid Transit stations in Bogotá and Soacha, Colombia. Image credit: Gwen Kash // CC BY-NC 2.0

There’s no magic checklist for reducing gendered transit fear, but there are commonalities in the best solutions. Have a variety of women identify their own transportation safety needs and preferred solutions. Make sure groups such as disabled or older women aren’t inadvertently excluded. Get leaders onboard. Make transport professions more gender-balanced. Don’t default to cheaper solutions like CCTV. Respect the power of human presence. Avoid placing financial burdens on low-income women who may need to prioritize other basic needs over their own safety. Remember that buses remain crucial to poorer women, all around the world. Use technology thoughtfully in conjunction with other measures.

Ultimately, though, the most important thing a transport planner can do to improve safety for women is to listen to women and girls. Asking them about their transportation needs and preferences is surprisingly rare—Loukaitou-Sideris refers to this as the “gender gap in mobility.” This neglect can lead to implementing solutions that officials think women want, like attention to safety on buses, when conversations with female passengers might reveal more concern about safety while waiting for buses.

So, first, last, and always: Just talk to women. This isn’t earth-shattering advice. But for women to feel more self-sufficient, and freer to move around their own cities, it’s the only option.

This piece was originally published at How We Get To Next and is reposted here with permission.

Some rights reserved Licence Creative Commons

Every month, I tell you what I’m reading; every year, I rank my favorite books of the year. Reading is a huge part of my life and I make an effort to read the best books I can find. (See the best of 2016 and best of 2015 here.)

That being said, anyone who reads this much knows that there’s no attraction in, “This is good, this is good, this is also good.” The bad stuff — the drama, the conflict — is what gets readers really interested.

And so I think it’s time to talk about the WORST books I’ve ever read.

I haven’t read Fifty Shades of Grey and don’t plan to, so you won’t find that here. Nor anything by Ann Coulter — in fact, I’ll exclude political books altogether. Nothing by L. Ron Hubbard. The Da Vinci Code won’t be on this list, either (Dan Brown gets a lot of hate, but dude knows how to write suspense and I can’t hate on him for that). And while some people can’t stomach it, I happen to love Lolita.

Here are the worst books I’ve ever read, in my opinion. Some are great works of literature that happened to rub me the wrong way. Some are more embarrassing than that.

And the worst book of all, a book that made me physically angry for having read it and forever changed my opinion of the author, is listed last.

The Worst Book from High School: Walden by Henry David Thoreau

Sophomore year was tough for me, capped by my experiences in Honors American Lit. My teacher and I butted heads from the start and I disliked much of the literature we read. I struggled to keep up, even deciding to drop Honors British Lit the following year in favor of English electives. (This is why I didn’t read Hamlet until 2015.)

And then came Walden near the end of the year. A book lauded by so many people — often including the travel blogging community. A book that took place and was written just a few miles from where I grew up.

Henry David Thoreau moved into a cabin in the woods. He read, he wrote, he observed nature and grew his own food and tried to create art from it.

“Every morning was a cheerful invitation to make my life of equal simplicity, and I may say innocence, with Nature herself.” –Henry David Thoreau, Walden

Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity.

Revisiting Walden after years of reading about privilege in America, it becomes more striking that Thoreau was only concerned with what a wealthy independent man could do with his time, ignoring everyone else in society.

Another problem was that much of what Thoreau actually wrote was cloaked in hypocrisy. In between talking about the beauty and fragility and nature, he described how much he loved burning down half the forest. He would go on and on about how the only books people should read are classic Greek literature — as he writes a new book for them to read. Also, his mother would do his laundry.

I wrote a scathing paper decrying Thoreau’s hypocrisy.

My teacher gave me an A-.

I consider that one of my greatest academic victories.

What To Read Instead: The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli. It’s pretty much as much an opposite of Walden as you can get, and I found it far more entertaining.

The Worst Conclusion to a Series: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

I get it — it’s hard to write a good ending to a book, much less wrap up a three-book series. But I haven’t seen anything crash and burn as badly as Allegiant, the conclusion of Veronica Roth’s Divergent series.

The series as a whole intrigued me a bit but ultimately made my eyes roll. In a futuristic society, teenagers take a test and are sorted into one of five groups based on their personality: Abnegation (the selfless), Erudite (the intelligent), Candor (the honest), Amity (dirty hippies), and Dauntless (the brave). But when Tris displays the traits of multiple groups in her test, she finds out she’s Divergent and she could be killed for it.

Now: the first two books were told from Tris’s point of view. In Allegiant, the story is suddenly told from two points of view, Tris and her lover Four — but both voices are exactly the same. They witness the same events. They have the same feelings. Their vocabularies and cadences are identical. I could never tell who was speaking.

Beyond that, the “big revelation” at the end of the book landed with a thump, and so many people died throughout that the deaths became meaningless.

“When her body first hit the net, all I registered was a gray blur. I pulled her across it and her hand was small, but warm, and then she stood before me, short and thin and plain and in all ways unremarkable- except that she had jumped first. The stiff had jumped first. Even I didn’t jump first. Her eyes were so stern, so insistent. Beautiful.” –Vernoica Roth, Allegiant

Another theme throughout the first two books is that characters would occasionally get injected with serums that would create simulations — and sometimes led them to do evil things. The final book was a series of, “Okay, it’s time for another serum!” “Wait, here’s a serum to override that serum!” “No, that’s a bad serum, we’re the good guys, this one’s a GOOD serum!” Again and again, another serum. You’d think Roth owned stock in skincare products.

What to Read Instead: The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. Not only is it a fantastic novel, the story is told through several different narrators and each of the voices are unique and different.

The Worst Book Receiving Bewildering Levels of Praise: The Girls by Emma Cline

One of the buzziest books of 2016, The Girls is a fictionalized retelling of the Manson murders of the 1970s, focusing on the relationships between the women in Not Charles Manson’s cult.

One of the things I can’t stand the most is wasted potential. This book could have been so good in the hands of another author!

Emma Cline focused more on creating elaborate prose than telling a story. And when I say elaborate, that’s not a compliment — she stuffed her paragraphs with enough bewildering metaphors and similes as if they were banana peppers on a Subway sandwich (yes, I know what I did there). It goes to show that no matter how you write, if you don’t know how to tell a story, you’ve got nothing.

“Poor Sasha. Poor girls. The world fattens them on the promise of life. How badly they need it, and how little most of them will ever get. The treacled pop songs, the dresses described in the catalogs with words like ‘sunset’ and ‘Paris.’ Then the dreams are taken away with such violent force; the hand wrenching the buttons of the jeans, nobody looking at the man shouting at his girlfriend on the bus.” –Emma Cline, The Girls

At the same time, the book moved at a glacial pace. By the time the action started, I was psyched to finally have some excitement — only it withered and died instantly. The big showdown I had been expecting didn’t even come to fruition.

What To Read Instead: American Heiress by Jeffrey Toobin, a much better book about 1970s Bay Area counterculture. This one focuses on the kidnapping of Patty Hearst by the Symbionese Liberation Army, and it was so exciting I couldn’t put it down.

The Biggest Disappointment From An Author I Love: A Cook’s Tour by Anthony Bourdain

I love Uncle Tony. I worship the man. But A Cook’s Tour was not his best work.

You think combining Anthony Bourdain and world travel would be amazing, especially after his wild and raw Kitchen Confidential (one of my all-time favorite memoirs). This book is a collection of essays about his first major international trip as a food writer and personality. And he loved every minute of it.

But that was the problem — Kitchen Confidential was full of conflict. Pirate-looking chefs fucking brides in their wedding dresses in the walk-in. Crawling along the bar after work, snorting six-foot lines of cocaine. Going from cooking in world-class restaurants to flipping burgers in a crappy diner, the metallic taste of methadone in your mouth. It was gritty and ugly and utterly compelling.

A Cook’s Tour was just Uncle Tony eating food and having a good time traveling. There was no story, no narrative arc. It was just a lot of, “Hey, this is great.”

“What is love? Love is eating twenty-four ounces of raw fish at four o’clock in the morning.” –Anthony Bourdain, A Cook’s Tour

And while I enjoyed his stories from Russia and San Sebastian, Spain, they weren’t enough to sustain a full book.

Luckily, his writing changed direction in his subsequent collections, and I suspect he had a better editorial team behind him. Uncle Tony is at his best when he’s ripping on people he can’t stand.

What To Read Instead: Kitchen Confidential is great, but Bourdain’s best post-fame work is The Nasty Bits. It still has a lot of food and travel, but with a sharper, more ardent point of view.

The Worst Impulse Kindle Buy: On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves

On the Island was an Amazon bestseller and I liked the concept: a teenage boy and his thirty-year-old tutor survive a plane crash in the Maldives, end up living on a desert island for years, start a romantic relationship after he turns 18, and are rescued following a tsunami and have to deal with the aftermath at home.

And absolutely nothing that happened was believable. This sixteen-year-old boy acted like a 40-year-old man the whole time. Neither character changed or transformed in any way. And even after being rescued after living on a desert island for THREE YEARS, the only thing they worried about was how people would judge their relationship that they started after the kid turned 18.

“You weren’t supposed to fall in love,” she whispered. “Well, I did,” I said, looking into her eyes. “I’ve been in love with you for months. I’m telling you now because I think you love me too, Anna. You just don’t think you’re supposed to. You’ll tell me when you’re ready. I can wait.” I pulled her mouth down to mine and kissed her and when it ended, I smiled and said, “Happy birthday.” –Tracey Garvis Graves, On the Island

Yes, that’s an actual quote from a bestselling book.

It’s been translated into 27 languages.

I hate people.

What To Read Instead: Euphoria by Lily King. Now, THAT’S a great controversial love story set in a remote location — in this instance, Papua New Guinea in the 1930s.

The Worst Smash Hit: The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer

I’ll be honest — I was hooked on the Twilight books during their height of popularity. I didn’t like them, but I couldn’t stop reading them. And my friend Beth and I made a tradition of seeing the movies on opening night amongst the superfans, only somewhat ironically.

Nothing I say here is anything you haven’t heard before. These books are poorly written. The character development is scant at best. The plot holes are the size of football fields.

But the worst part is that these books glorify intimate partner abuse to an impressionable audience of young women. The behavior that Edward exhibits — stalking, controlling, threatening, saying “no one will ever love you like I do,” leaving you with bruises and suggesting you tell people you fell down the stairs, and ultimately leading you to give up your future for him — should be recognized as alarming, not held up as a model for romance.

“The waves of pain that had only lapped at me before now reared high up and washed over my head, pulling me under. I did not resurface.” –Stephenie Meyer, New Moon

Also, a werewolf falls in love with a baby.

What To Read Instead: The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. It’s a much better, more intellectual book for teens that focuses on issues of justice, bravery, brutality, media culture, and utopianism, just to start.

The Best Book I Happen to Hate: The Road by Cormac McCarthy

The Road is a fantastic, gorgeous book worthy of its Pulitzer Prize and every other honor it’s received.

And I fucking hated every word of it.

It’s an incredibly frightening tale of a post-apocalyptic world after a series of unspecified disasters — a barren planet where survivors hide in the shadows and the world is pillaged by tribes of cannibals and rapists. Through the book, a dying father takes his young son on a journey to the sea, not knowing what lies there but hoping they’ll find something better than what they’ve left behind.

“Then they set out along the blacktop in the gunmetal light, shuffling through the ash, each the other’s world entire.” –Cormac McCarthy, The Road

This book is terrifying. And realistic. And that’s why I hated it with everything I had.

Maybe it shouldn’t be on this list. I appreciated every beautiful word. But it still makes me upset, years after reading it.

What To Read Instead: The Color Purple by Alice Walker. Also a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, it starts with an incredibly bleak beginning but blossoms into joy and forgiveness.

The Worst Book of All Time: Cleaving by Julie Powell

Julie and Julia was a commercial success, and deservedly so — a sweet if not overly literary memoir about how a directionless woman finds joy and meaning in cooking all of Julia Child’s recipes.

A feel-good tale about an everywoman with a sweet husband who supports her, encourages her, and makes her a better person. It got some hate, but it was overall a fun and engaging memoir, and it was commercial as hell, working even better as a film.

Cleaving, the sequel, destroyed all the goodwill Powell earned with her first book.

Following the success of Julie and Julia, Powell began an affair with a former boyfriend. Her husband found out. They decided to open their marriage, though it seemed like they didn’t want to actually work on their marriage, either. And she decided to go apprentice at a butcher upstate because…food is continuity? And this memoir is about, um, all of that. It’s unfocused at best; I suspect her publisher rushed it.

But it mainly focuses on Powell’s affair with the former boyfriend, her enjoyment of the affair and obsession with her lover, and her complete lack of remorse while her husband waits in the background.

The worst part is when Powell is out with her lover and gets recognized by a blog reader. Her lover introduces himself as her husband to save face and they both get off on the scenario. This sums up the book: Powell runs wild with her id, doesn’t care about who she hurts in the process, and learns absolutely nothing.

How did her publisher agree to release this?!

“Like the muscles knew from the beginning that it would end with this, this inevitable falling apart… It’s sad, but a relief as well to know that two things so closely bound together can separate with so little violence, leaving smooth surfaces instead of bloody shreds.” –Julie Powell, Cleaving

I’ve read raw memoirs that overshare the intimate details of a marriage — Glennon Doyle Melton’s Love Warrior comes to mind. But Cleaving is far worse. I find it to be a cruel book. Cruel in its lack of accountability.

The other part I hated was that Powell clearly discovered she was into rough sex — only she never explicitly says so. She implies things and hints at others, conveniently evading details. Dude, you’re not the first person to suddenly realize you’re into a new kind of sex. Stop patronizing your readers and actually say it.

The book ends with what I’m sure she imagined was a heartfelt revelation: her lover, who had been called D up until the final page, was actually named Damian.

Hey Julie — nobody cares. Literally everyone hates that guy.

Many reviewers focused primarily on Powell’s infidelity; I don’t thick that’s fair, and much of that criticism is rooted in sexism. Infidelity itself is not the issue here. What matters is that she went about her infidelity, as well as her apprenticeship and travels, with a complete lack of self-awareness. Powell wrote a sloppy memoir about her darkest, most selfish moments without a shred of insight or transformation by the end of it. The Julie at the end of the book is the same Julie at the beginning of the book.

This book is the reason why I eat grass-fed beef today, and that just makes me hate it more. I hate that something good came out of it.

What To Read Instead: Wild by Cheryl Strayed. She flew into a tailspin after her mother’s death, cheating on her husband and using drugs, but she acknowledged her failures, strenuously worked through her shit, and transformed as a result.

What’s the worst book you’ve ever read?

DESPITE being terrifying natural phenomena, volcanoes are also fascinating — we never know when the fiery power contained deep within the Earth will manifest itself, but we know the spectacle will be formidable. We selected some beautiful photographs of volcanoes from around the world that we hope will inspire you to go see them in person.

Ethiopia

Erta Ale Volcano

Erta Ale is a continuously active shield volcano. It last erupted in January 2017.

Volcanoes

Photo: Indrik myneur

Guatemala

Volcán de Fuego

Volcán de Fuego is a highly active volcano. If you’re lucky, you can see its full fury.

Photo: Arthur Wei

Indonesia

Mount Sinabung

Mount Sinabung’s last eruption was in May 2016.

Volcanoes

Photo: Yosh Ginsu

volcanoes

Photo: Yosh Ginsu

Democratic Republic of Congo

Nyiragongo Volcano

Nyiragongo Volcano contains the world’s most active and largest lava lake.

Volcanoes

Photo: Cai Tjeenk Willink

Hawai’i

Kīlauea, The Big Island of Hawai’i

You can take boat tours to check out Kīlauea’s lava pouring into the Pacific Ocean up close.

volcanoes

Photo by Buzz Andersen

Volcanoes

Photo by Mandy Beerley

Haleakalā, Māui

Haleakalā volcano is currently dormant, but the Haleakalā National Park on the Hawaiian island of Māui is still a great place to check out craters. Note: Once a volcano has been dormant for more than 10 000 years, it is termed extinct.

volcanoes

Photo by Jeff King

Ecuador

Tungurahua Volcano

Photo: Diariocritico de Venezuela

Iceland

Holuhraun Lava Field

volcanoes

Photo: Sparkle Motion

Eyjafjallajökull

Eyjafjallajökull’s eruption in the spring of 2010 threw volcanic ash several kilometers up in the atmosphere, which led to air travel disruption in Europe for several days.

Volcanoes

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Bolivia

Volcán Licancabur

Volcán Licancabur stands 19,400ft in southwestern Bolivia, fronted by the minerally colored Laguna Verde. It can be reached and climbed in conjunction with tours to the nearby Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat. Volcán Licancabur is dormant.

Volcan Licancabur, Bolivia

Photo: szeke

Italy

Mount Etna

Mount Etna is Europe’s largest active volcano.

Mount Etna erupting

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Russia

Volcano Gorely

Volcano Gorely consists of five overlapping stratovolcanoes and is one of the most active in southern Kamchatka. It last erupted in June 2010.

Volcanoes

Photo: Kuhnmi

Volcano Vilyuchinsky

Volcano Vilychinsky seen from volcano Gorely on a misty morning.

Volcanoes

Photo: Kuhnmi

Papua New Guinea

Tavurvur Volcano

Tavurvur Volcano last erupted in 2010.

volcanoes

Photo: Taro Taylor

I COME FROM a part of France that likes to think of itself as separate from the rest of the country: Brittany. So much so that if I had been born 50 years earlier I would probably have been speaking Breton rather than French with my immediate relatives. But with time and “unifying” language policies, Breton has faded in the background and French has taken over.

Each pin on Ethnologue‘s map represents one of the 7,099 languages spoken today in the world and, although the majority of them (two-thirds) are from Asia and Africa, I am able to find Breton among the multitude of yellow pins and find its profile. Because of an incredible revival, Breton’s status says “shifting”, but 25 years ago, it probably said, “endangered“, like a third of all languages today.

Looking at this map, it is clear that languages are spread unequally around the world; Papua New Guinea has 840 languages, more than twice as much as the number of languages spoken across Europe, and Asia is swarming with purple pins.

To see specific language names and obtain details, you just need to hover over the pins and click to check out the language’s profile.

What language do YOU speak? Did you find it on the map? What is its status? Leave a comment below. More like this: This map of second languages shows how multicultural most countries really are

Papua New Guinea

Bill Sumits

Photographic Journey through the various tribal cultures of Papua New Guinea, from the Sepik River basin to the Huli warriors of the Highlands.

Lonely Planet Papua New Guinea & Solomon Islands (Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher

Lonely Planet Papua New Guinea & Solomon Islands is your passport to the most relevant, up-to-date advice on what to see and skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Dive among luminous coral reefs; watch a traditional singsing festival group; or sleep in a stilt house on the mighty Sepik river, all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet Papua New Guinea & Solomon Islands:

Colour maps and images throughout Highlights and itineraries help you tailor your trip to your personal needs and interests Insider tips to save time and money and get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots Essential info at your fingertips - hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, prices Honest reviews for all budgets - eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, hidden gems that most guidebooks miss Cultural insights give you a richer, more rewarding travel experience - the Kokoda Trail, history, environment, culture, politics Over 45 maps Covers Port Moresby, Central Province, Oro Province, Milne Bay Province, Morobe Province, Madang Province, the Highlands, the Sepik, Island Provinces, the Solomon Islands and more

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Papua New Guinea & Solomon Islands , our most comprehensive guide to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, is perfect for both exploring top sights and taking roads less travelled.

About Lonely Planet: Started in 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel guide publisher with guidebooks to every destination on the planet, gift and lifestyle books and stationery, as well as an award-winning website, magazines, a suite of mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet's mission is to enable curious travellers to experience the world and to truly get to the heart of the places they find themselves in. TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 winner in Favorite Travel Guide category 'Lonely Planet guides are, quite simply, like no other.' - New York Times 'Lonely Planet. It's on everyone's bookshelves; it's in every traveller's hands. It's on mobile phones. It's on the Internet. It's everywhere, and it's telling entire generations of people how to travel the world.' - Fairfax Media (Australia)

Lonely Planet Papua New Guinea & Solomon Islands (Travel Guide)

Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet: The world's leading travel guide publisher

Lonely Planet Papua New Guinea & Solomon Islands is your passport to all the most relevant and up-to-date advice on what to see, what to skip, and what hidden discoveries await you. Explore underwater treasures including World War II wrecks, challenge yourself with the Kokoda Track, or experience the magnificent pageantry of a Highland festival; all with your trusted travel companion. Get to the heart of Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands and begin your journey now!

Inside Lonely Planet Papua New Guinea & Solomon Islands Travel Guide:

Colour maps and images throughout Highlights and itineraries show you the simplest way to tailor your trip to your own personal needs and interests Insider tips save you time and money and help you get around like a local, avoiding crowds and trouble spots Essential info at your fingertips - including hours of operation, phone numbers, websites, transit tips, and prices Honest reviews for all budgets - including eating, sleeping, sight-seeing, going out, shopping, and hidden gems that most guidebooks miss Cultural insights give you a richer and more rewarding travel experience - including lifestyle, belief systems, the Kokoda story, history, arts, politics, and landscapes Over 47 local maps Useful features - including Top Experiences, Month-by-Month (annual festival calendar), and Diving in PNG & Solomon Islands Coverage of Port Moresby, the Highlands, the Morobe province,  MadangLae, Mt Hagen, GorokaAlotau, the Trobriand Islands, Rabaul, Honiara, Kokoda, Wewak, Vanimo, the Sepik, New Britain, and more

The Perfect Choice: Lonely Planet Papua New Guinea & Solomon Islands, our most comprehensive guide to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands, is perfect for those planning to both explore the top sights and take the road less travelled.

Looking for more coverage? Check out Lonely Planet's South Pacific guide for a comprehensive look at what the whole region has to offer.

Authors: Written and researched by Lonely Planet, Regis St Louis, Jean-Bernard Carillet, and Dean Starnes.

About Lonely Planet: Started in 1973, Lonely Planet has become the world's leading travel guide publisher with guidebooks to every destination on the planet, as well as an award-winning website, a suite of mobile and digital travel products, and a dedicated traveller community. Lonely Planet's mission is to enable curious travellers to experience the world and to truly get to the heart of the places they find themselves in.

TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice Awards 2012 and 2013 winner in Favorite Travel Guide category

'Lonely Planet guides are, quite simply, like no other.' - New York Times

'Lonely Planet. It's on everyone's bookshelves; it's in every traveller's hands. It's on mobile phones. It's on the Internet. It's everywhere, and it's telling entire generations of people how to travel the world.' - Fairfax Media (Australia)

A Faraway, Familiar Place: An Anthropologist Returns to Papua New Guinea

Michael French Smith

A Faraway Familiar Place: An Anthropologist Returns to Papua New Guinea is for readers seeking an excursion deep into little-known terrain but allergic to the wide-eyed superficiality of ordinary travel literature. Author Michael French Smith savors the sometimes gritty romance of his travels to an island village far from roads, electricity, telephone service, and the Internet, but puts to rest the cliché of “Stone Age” Papua New Guinea. He also gives the lie to stereotypes of anthropologists as either machete-wielding swashbucklers or detached observers turning real people into abstractions. Smith uses his anthropological expertise subtly, to illuminate Papua New Guinean lives, to nudge readers to look more closely at ideas they take for granted, and to take a wry look at his own experiences as an anthropologist.

Although Smith first went to Papua New Guinea in 1973, in 2008 it had been ten years since he had been back to Kragur Village, Kairiru Island, where he was an honorary “citizen.” He went back not only to see people he had known for decades, but also to find out if his desire to return was more than an urge to flee the bureaucracy and recycled indoor air of his job in a large American city. Smith finds in Kragur many things he remembered fondly, including a life immersed in nature and freedom from 9-5 tyranny. And he again encounters the stifling midday heat, the wet tropical sores, and the sometimes excruciating intensity of village social life that he had somehow managed to forget.

Through practicing Taoist “not doing” Smith continues to learn about villagers’ difficult transition from an older world based on giving to one in which money rules and the potent mix of devotion and innovation that animates Kragur’s pervasive religious life. Becoming entangled in local political events, he gets a closer look at how ancestral loyalties and fear of sorcery influence hotly disputed contemporary elections. In turn, Kragur people practice their own form of anthropology on Smith, questioning him about American work, family, religion, and politics, including Barack Obama’s campaign for president. They ask for help with their financial problems―accounting lessons and advice on attracting tourists―but, poor as they are, they also offer sympathy for the Americans they hear are beset by economic crisis. By the end of the book Smith returns to Kragur again―in 2011―to complete projects begun in 2008, see Kragur’s chief for the last time (he died later that year), and bring Kragur’s story up to date.

A Faraway Familiar Place provides practical wisdom for anyone leaving well-traveled roads for muddy forest tracks and landings on obscure beaches, as well as asking important questions about wealth and poverty, democracy, and being “modern.”

PAPUA NEW GUINEA Country Studies: A brief, comprehensive study of Papua New Guinea

CIA

A brief yet detailed report on the country of Papua New Guinea with updated information on the map, flag, history, people, economics, political conditions in government, foreign affairs, and U.S. relations.

Four Corners: A Journey into the Heart of Papua New Guinea

Kira Salak

Chronicles the author's journey across the arduous physical and cultural terrain of Papua New Guinea, describing her stay in a village where cannibalism was still practiced, as well as a hazardous trek through the jungle. Reprint.

Papua New Guinea History and Culture: Travel and Tourism

Stanley Owen

Papua New Guinea History and Culture. Travel and Tourism. People, Tradition and Lifestyle. A Book on Papa New Guinea. Despite the penetration of the contemporary economy and media and the effects thereof on traditional cultural life, Papua New Guinea retains a rich variety of village cultures. These are expressed in the ways the country’s landscapes have been shaped over generations and in its people’s wood carving, storytelling, song, dance, and body decoration. Carvings from the Sepik, Gulf, Massim, and Huon Peninsula regions are world famous. The best-known wood carvings come from the Sepik region, notably masks and crocodile figures that have religious connotations. Many sacred carvings from the giant men’s houses known as tambaran on the Sepik River have been sold and not replaced amid the decline of tourist traffic in the 21st century. In most areas only the older generations possess the skills for making traditional clay cooking pots, which are being replaced by metal pots and pans. Across the country, wooden hourglass-shaped drums known as kundu remain essential for song and dance, especially during major national celebrations such as the anniversary of independence. Self-decoration, particularly for dance and rituals, remains important everywhere

Birds of New Guinea: Second Edition (Princeton Field Guides)

Thane K. Pratt

This is the completely revised edition of the essential field guide to the birds of New Guinea. The world's largest tropical island, New Guinea boasts a spectacular avifauna characterized by cassowaries, megapodes, pigeons, parrots, cuckoos, kingfishers, and owlet-nightjars, as well as an exceptionally diverse assemblage of songbirds such as the iconic birds of paradise and bowerbirds. Birds of New Guinea is the only guide to cover all 780 bird species reported in the area, including 366 endemics. Expanding its coverage with 111 vibrant color plates--twice as many as the first edition--and the addition of 635 range maps, the book also contains updated species accounts with new information about identification, voice, habits, and range. A must-have for everyone from ecotourists to field researchers, Birds of New Guinea remains an indispensable guide to the diverse birds of this remarkable region.

780 bird species, including 366 found nowhere else111 stunning color plates, twice the number of the first editionExpanded and updated species accounts provide details on identification, voice, habits, and range635 range mapsRevised classification of birds reflects the latest research

Exercise a high degree of caution

The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.

Bougainville Island

Be extremely cautious if you travel to the central mountainous area around the old Panguna mine on Bougainville Island. The general security situation in Bougainville has improved, however, the old Panguna mine remains a “no go zone.” You may be detained by local officials if you attempt to enter this zone. Your passports may be confiscated by the Papua New Guinea government if you are found without proper authorization. There are no tourist facilities in the area, and transportation facilities are limited. Seek advice from the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby prior to travel.

Crime

Law and order remain very poor in the Highlands provinces and in the cities of Lae and Port Moresby. Violent crime is a serious problem, and occurs often in urban areas such as Port MoresbyLae and Mount Hagen. Exercise a high degree of caution, particularly in commercial and public establishments (hotels, clubs, restaurants, bars, schools, places of worship, outdoor recreation events) and tourist areas.

Carjacking and armed robbery occur in Port Moresby and along the highway between Lae and the Nadzab Airport, especially in the Two-Mile and Nine-Mile settlement areas. There has been a recent increase in violent attacks on vehicles travelling on the Highlands Highway, particularly between Goroka and Kainantu. Remain vigilant while travelling these roads. Robberies are often accompanied by assault. Violence, including the use of firearms or machetes, is a serious risk. Avoid travel after dark if possible.

Travelling alone increases the possibility of being a victim of a crime such as robbery or sexual assault. Tolls may be demanded at illegal roadblocks and assaults can occur if payment is not made. Arrange to be met at the airport, particularly when arriving in the evening.

Women’s safety

Sexual assault, including gang rape, occurs and foreigners have been targeted. Victims of any assault are encouraged to seek immediate medical treatment. Women should not travel alone and should dress conservatively in public. Consult our publication entitled Her Own Way: A Woman’s Safe-Travel Guide for travel safety information specifically aimed at Canadian women.

Inter-ethnic violence

Inter-ethnic tensions often lead to communal violence, particularly in the Enga and Highlands provinces and in Lae and Port Moresby. Criminals and tribal fighters are increasingly using lethal weapons.

Trekking

Be vigilant if hiking the Black Cat Track, in the province of Morobe, as an attack on a group of trekkers in September 2013 left two dead and several injured.

If you are intending to walk the Kokoda track, travel with a guide from a reputable tour company and pay the required fee before setting out. Security incidents involving tourists have occurred. Facilities along the track are limited. Register with the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby prior to travel.

Demonstrations

Demonstrations occur and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.

Transportation

Traffic drives on the left. Road conditions are poor and driving can be hazardous, especially outside major towns. Avoid leaving personal belongings unattended in vehicles, and drive with windows up and doors locked at all times.

If you are involved in a traffic accident, proceed directly to the nearest police station rather than remaining at the scene. Crowds tend to form quickly after an incident, and accident victims or on-lookers may attack those they perceive to be responsible.

Travel on public buses, known as PMVs (public motor vehicles), is not recommended. The vehicles are poorly maintained and are a common target for criminals. Travel by taxi is preferable; however, determine your fare prior to departure. Hotel transport is a safer alternative.

Flight delays or cancellations occur on a regular basis. Verify your flight schedule before departure. Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.

General safety information

Tourist facilities are available in Port MoresbyLae and Madang. Exercise caution when visiting isolated public areas such as parks, hiking trails, golf courses and beaches.

You are encouraged to register with the High Commission of Australia in Port Moresby in order to receive the latest information on situations and events that could affect your safety.

Health

Related Travel Health Notices
Consult a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic preferably six weeks before you travel.
Vaccines

Routine Vaccines

Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.

Vaccines to Consider

You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread by contaminated food or water. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.

Influenza

Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or through personal contact with unwashed hands. Get the flu shot.

Japanese encephalitis

Japanese encephalitis is a viral infection that can cause swelling of the brain. It is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Risk is low for most travellers. Vaccination should be considered for those who may be exposed to mosquito bites (e.g., spending time outdoors in rural areas) while travelling in regions with risk of Japanese encephalitis.

Measles

Measles occurs worldwide but is a common disease in developing countries, particularly in parts of Africa and Asia. Measles is a highly contagious disease. Be sure your vaccination against measles is up-to-date regardless of the travel destination.
 

Yellow Fever Vaccination

Yellow fever is a disease caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.
Risk
  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
  • Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required if you are coming from a country where yellow fever occurs.
Recommendation
  • Vaccination is not recommended.
  • Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care provider.
Food/Water

Food and Water-borne Diseases

Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.

In some areas in the Oceanic Pacific Islands, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera and hepatitis A. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in the Oceanic Pacific Islands. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!

Cholera

There have been cases of cholera reported in this country in the last year. Cholera is a bacterial disease that typically causes diarrhea. In severe cases it can lead to dehydration and even death.

Most travellers are generally at low risk. Humanitarian workers and those visiting areas with limited access to safe food and water are at higher risk. Practise safe food and water precautions. Travellers at high risk should get vaccinated.

Travellers' diarrhea
  • Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
  • Risk of developing travellers’ diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
  • The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Insects

Insects and Illness

In some areas in the Oceanic Pacific Islands, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, lymphatic filariasis and malaria.

Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.

Dengue fever
  • Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.  
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue bite during the daytime. They breed in standing water and are often found in urban areas.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine available for dengue fever.

Malaria

Malaria

  • There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this country.
  • Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened, air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
  • Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss your options.

Animals

Animals and Illness

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in the Oceanic Pacific Islands, like rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.


Person-to-Person

Person-to-Person Infections

Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.

Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis is an infection caused by bacteria and usually affects the lungs.

For most travellers the risk of tuberculosis is low.

Travellers who may be at high risk while travelling in regions with risk of tuberculosis should discuss pre- and post-travel options with a health care provider.

High-risk travellers include those visiting or working in prisons, refugee camps, homeless shelters, or hospitals, or travellers visiting friends and relatives.


Medical services and facilities

Medical services and facilities

Medical care is limited, especially outside Port Moresby. Shortages of basic medical supplies are common. Specialist services are extremely limited, and there are long delays for emergency treatment. In the event of a major accident or illness, medical evacuation to Australia is often necessary. Medical transport is very expensive and payment up front is often required.

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and detention page for more information.

Laws

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict.

The possession and sale of pornographic material is strictly prohibited.

Homosexual activity is illegal.

An International Driving Permit is required.

Money

The currency is the kina (PGK). Credit cards are accepted at major hotels and restaurants. American Express is most commonly used. Automated banking machines (ABMs) are available in many areas. Traveller's cheques are accepted by most shops and hotels. U.S. dollar traveller's cheques are recommended.

Climate

Papua New Guinea is located in an active seismic zone and is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. There are several active volcanoes throughout the territory, and eruptions occur regularly. Pay careful attention to all warnings issued, avoid restricted areas and follow the advice of local authorities in the event of an eruption.

Heavy smoke and ash from volcanoes periodically lead to flight disruptions, particularly in the Rabaul region. Verify your travel schedules with local authorities or travel service providers.

The rainy (or monsoon) season extends from December to March in the northwest and May to October in the southeast. Severe rainstorms can cause flooding and landslides, especially on the Highlands Highway between Lae and Mount Hagen, resulting in significant loss of life and extensive damage to infrastructure, and hampering the provision of essential services. Water-borne diseases could also become a threat. Keep informed of regional weather forecasts, avoid disaster areas and follow the advice of local authorities.