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Papua New Guinea Country Guide

  1. CountryFacts
  2. Health
  3. Media
  1. Intro
  2. Geography
  3. People
  4. Travel
  5. Embassies & Visas
  6. Finance
  7. Cities/Regions

Quick Facts

Region: Asia & Oceania
Full Name: Independent State of Papua New Guinea
Capital City: Port Moresby
Language Spoken: Melanesian Pidgin serves as the lingua franca, English spoken by 1%-2%, Motu spoken in Papua region note: 820 indigenous languages spoken (over one-tenth of the world's total)

Papua New Guinea Travel Insurance

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Geographic data

6 00 S, 147 00 E

Elevation Extremes

lowest point: Pacific Ocean 0 m highest point: Mount Wilhelm 4,509 m

Land boundaries

total: 820 km border countries: Indonesia 820 km

Natural hazards

active volcanism; situated along the Pacific "Ring of Fire"; the country is subject to frequent and sometimes severe earthquakes; mud slides; tsunamis

Natural resources

gold, copper, silver, natural gas, timber, oil, fisheries

Land use

arable land: 0.49% permanent crops: 1.4% other: 98.11% (2005)

Environmental current issues

rain forest subject to deforestation as a result of growing commercial demand for tropical timber; pollution from mining projects; severe drought

Climate

Hot, tropical climate at sea level, cooling towards the highlands which also cause climatic variation from one area to another, affecting the southeast trade winds and the northwest monsoons. The majority of the rain falls between December and March due to the northwest monsoon, although Port Moresby enjoys a dry season at this time. There is frost and there are occasional snow falls on the highest mountain peaks. Required clothing Tropical, lightweights and cottons are recommended. In the highlands, warmer clothing is needed. Rainwear is advised for the monsoon season (December to March).

Time difference

time difference: UTC+10

Population

5,670,544 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 37.8% (male 1,090,879/female 1,054,743) 15-64 years: 58.3% (male 1,703,204/female 1,601,224) 65 years and over: 3.9% (male 103,054/female 117,440) (2006 est.)

Median age

total: 21.2 years male: 21.4 years female: 21.1 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate

2.21% (2006 est.)

Birth rate

29.36 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate

7.25 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate

0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 1.06 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.88 male(s)/female total population: 1.05 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 65.28 years male: 63.08 years female: 67.58 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate

3.88 children born/woman (2006 est.)

Business Practices

Business dress is moderately casual, befitting PNG's tropical climate. Work attire usually consists of shirt and tie or sport shirt for men, and light business suit or dress for women. In most areas, lightweight clothing is appropriate year round, but warmer clothes may be necessary in the Highlands, especially in the evening. The workday is 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday for most people. Banks are open from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. from Monday to Thursday and from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Fridays. Most business and government offices do not open on the weekends. English is the official language of government and commerce and will be spoken by almost all people with whom the business traveler is likely to deal. However, the language understood by the majority of Papua New Guineans is Melanesian Pidgin.

Crime

Serious crime is particularly high in the capital, Port Moresby, and in the cities of Lae and Mt Hagen. In particular, since September 2006, there has been an increase in serious incidents in Lae and on the road between Nadzab airport and Lae, between the one and ten mile settlement areas. Armed carjackings are common in all three cities as are robberies, including those that take place inside shops and restaurants. Firearms and bush knives (machetes) are the criminals? weapons of choice. Rape and gang rape are a serious problem across the country. It is particularly dangerous to walk after dark in most major towns. The situation is generally safer away from large towns. Avoid squatter (?settlement?) areas of towns. Stay away from public protests and disputes, as these may turn violent. Avoid carrying anything you are not willing to lose. The deployment of police reinforcements for the State of Emergency in the Southern Highlands Province has resulted in fewer police officers elsewhere in Papua New Guinea. Opportunistic crime is more likely. Do not use public buses known locally as PMVs, as they are ill-maintained and see high rates of crime. There have been incidents of armed hold-ups of PMVs and of passengers being attacked and robbed of their personal belongings. There are occasional rape attacks on Port Moresby PMVs. Family, friends or hotel courtesy buses should meet you on arrival at international or domestic airports. Taxis are available in some major centers, but these can be badly maintained, and you should check about their reliability with your hotel or guesthouse. If you use a taxi, ensure that you agree a fare before getting into the taxi, irrespective of whether or not there is a meter. If you intend to walk a trail or track, including the Kokoda Trail, travel only with guides from a reputable tour company and pay the relevant fees prior to walking the Trail. There have been serious attacks and robberies at both ends of the Kokoda Trail, most recently in October 2005. Although community leaders have assured tourists of their safety and well being while walking the Kokoda Trail, exercise caution. WWII unexploded ordnance still exists in Papua New Guinea, particularly along the Kokoda Trail and at Milne Bay and Rabual.

Hotels

There are hotels of moderate to good quality in Port Moresby and other major towns. Suitable Western-style residential and business premises are available in urban areas. Rental rates are high due to the shortage of land available for lease. There are several good restaurants in Port Moresby and other major towns.

Communications

Telephone IDD service is available. The country code is 675. The outgoing international code is 05. There are no area codes in Papua New Guinea. Fax services are available at all major companies and government departments. Telegram facilities are available in main centers. Post office hours are 0800-1600 Monday to Friday and 0900-1200 Saturday.

Electricity

is 240 volts AC, 50Hz. Australian-style 3-pin plugs are in use. Some hotels provide 110-volt outlets in guestrooms. Electricity 240 volts AC, 50Hz. Australian-style three-pin plugs are in use. Some hotels provide 110-volt outlets in guest-rooms.

Plug Types

I

Food And Dining

Hotel dining rooms cater for most visitors and menus in main centers are fairly extensive. The more remote the area, the more likely it is that the menus will be basic. However, increasing use is made of fresh local meat, fish, vegetables and fruit, including pineapples, pawpaws, mangoes, passion fruit and bananas. Traditional cuisine of Papua New Guinea is based on root crops such as taro, kaukau and yams, sago and pig (cooked in the earth on traditional feasts). Mumu is a traditional dish combining pork, sweet potatoes, rice and greens. The number of European, Chinese and Indonesian restaurants is rising. Waiter service is usual. Alcohol is readily available and includes Australian and Filipino beers.
Tipping:
Not customary and discouraged.
Nightlife
Several hotels in Port Moresby have dancing in the evenings and some organize live entertainment. The Arts Theater stages regular performances. The local newspaper advertises programs. Sing-sings, tribal events on a smaller scale than the biannual festival, are sometimes held.

Entry departure requirements

Note On receipt of a stamped, self-addressed envelope, the High Commission can supply information sheets on how to apply for visas for Papua New Guinea. The information below should be considered as a guide, as visa requirements may be subject to change at short notice.

Visa immigration information

Passports

Passport valid for at least six months after entry required by all.

Visas

Required by all.

Types of visa and cost

Tourist: US$12 Business (multiple-entry): US$301 Costs vary for special categories of visitors (including consultants, yachtsmen and those engaged in medical, research or expedition activities). There will also be charges for extensions and costs incurred in processing documents.

Validity

Up to 60 days for tourists; up to 12 months for business trips with 60 days maximum per stay. Details of renewals or extensions are available from the Embassy or High Commission.

Application to

Consulate (or Consular section at Embassy or High Commission); see Passport/Visa Information. In emergency cases, Tourist visas can be obtained at Jackson International Airport in Port Moresby or at Mount Hagen on arrival, but only for a maximum period of 60 days in any 12-month period, which cannot be extended. However, visitors are strongly advised to obtain visas in advance (which is also the cheaper option).

Application requirements

Tourist: (a) Completed application form (one per passport submitted). (b) Two passport-size photos. (c) Passport with minimum one year remaining validity from date of entry. (d) Return ticket. (e) Postal applications should be accompanied by a self-addressed, stamped, registered envelope. (f) Fee, payable by postal order or bank drafts if applying by post or in cash if applying in person. Business: (a)-(f) and, (g) Confirmed itinerary from travel agent. (h) Detailed letter in support of application covering curriculum vitae and confirmation of ongoing project in Papua New Guinea. (i) For visas issued at the airport, a letter of guarantee from sponsor must have been sent in advance to the Director of Immigration at the airport. Contact the nearest Papua New Guinea representative office for further information.

Working days required

48 hours minimum for Business and Tourist visas. Temporary residence visas take up to six weeks or more. It is advisable for visa applications to be made one week or more before departure date, depending on type of visa.

Temporary residence

Available for those entering for employment purposes, usually professional persons or those undertaking research, consultancy, etc. Applications should be made to the nearest High Commission or Embassy in the first instance.

HIV entry requirements

Test required for anyone applying for work or residency permit

Departure tax

PGK30 is levied on international flights. Children under two years of age and passengers not leaving the airport are exempt.

Embassies

Papua New Guinea High Commission in the UK

14 Waterloo Place, London SW1Y 4AR, UK
Tel: (020) 7930 0922/7.
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1300 and 1400-1600.
Website: http://www.pnghighcomm.org.uk/

Papua New Guinea Embassy in the USA

1779 Massachusetts Avenue, Suite 805, NW, Washington, DC 20036, USA
Tel: (202) 745 3680.
Website: www.pngembassy.org
Law and order remains poor or very poor in many parts of the country. But most visits to Papua New Guinea are trouble-free.
Outbreaks of tribal fighting may occur without warning in the Highland Provinces and in particular in the Southern Highlands and Enga Provinces.
In the cities of Port Moresby, Lae and Mt Hagen armed carjackings, assaults, robbery, random shootings and serious sexual assaults are common. All visitors are advised to be extra vigilant whilst traveling in these cities, particularly during the hours of darkness.
Travelers should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organizations for the latest travel advice:

British Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Tel: (0845) 850 2829.
Website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/papua-new-guinea

US Department of State

Website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/PapuaNewGuinea.html

Currency

Kina (PGK) = 100 toea. Notes are in denominations of PGK50, 20, 10, 5 and 2. Coins are in denominations of PGK1, and 50, 20, 10, 5, 2 and 1 toea.

Currency restrictions

There are no restrictions on the import of local or foreign currency. The export of local currency is restricted to Kina200 and of foreign currency to Kina 10,000; if more, approval is required from the Bank of Papua New Guinea.

Banking hours

Mon-Thurs 0845-1500, Fri 0845-1600.

Currency exchange

Credit cards

American Express is the most widely accepted credit card. Holders of this and other cards should check with their credit or debit Card Company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available.

Travellers cheques

Accepted by most shops and hotels. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, traveller's are advised to take travelers cheques in US Dollars, Pounds Sterling or Australian Dollars.

City/RegionCity/Area codeFollowed by
Arawa Islands97+ 5 digits
Goroka73+ 5 digits
Lae / Manus47+ 5 digits
Madang/Wewak85+ 5 digits
Mt. Hagen54+ 5 digits
Port Moresby3+ 6 digits
Rabaul/Kavieng Islands98+ 5 digits
Southern Region64+ 5 digits
  1. Health Information
  2. Recent Disease Outbreak
  3. Hospital Database

Dental care

Avoid dental treatment as the standards of care and hygiene cannot be guaranteed.

Medication Availability

Medication in short supply and even when available is often out of date or heat damaged.

Blood supplies

Blood supplies should be considered as unsafe

Medical facilities

Medical facilities in Papua New Guinea vary from hospitals in Port Moresby and the larger towns to aid posts (including some missionary stations) in remote areas. Medical facilities vary in quality, but those in the larger towns are usually adequate for routine problems and some emergencies. Equipment failures and sudden shortages of common medications can mean, however, that even routine treatments and procedures (such as X-rays) may become unavailable. A hyperbaric recompression chamber for diving emergencies is available in Port Moresby. Pharmacies in Papua New Guinea are small and are found only in urban centers and at missionary clinics. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for medical services.

General caution

Recent medical and dental exams should ensure that the traveler is in good health. Carry appropriate health and accident insurance documents and copies of any important medical records. Bring an adequate supply of all prescription and other medications as well as any necessary personal hygiene items, including a spare pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses if necessary. Drink only bottled beverages (including water) or beverages made with boiled water. Do not use ice cubes or eat raw seafood, rare meat or dairy products. Eat well-cooked foods while they are still hot and fruits that can be peeled without contamination. Avoid roadside stands and street vendors. Swim only in well-maintained, chlorinated pools or ocean water known to be free from pollution. Wear clothing which reduces exposed skin and apply repellents containing DEET to remaining areas. Sleep in well-screened accommodations. Carry anti-diarrheal medication. Reduce problems related to sun exposure by using sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, sunscreen lotions and lip protection.

Specific concerns

AIDS occurs. Blood supply may not be adequately screened and/or single-use, disposable needles and syringes may be unavailable. When possible, travelers should defer medical treatment until reaching a facility where safety can be assured. (Health officials consider the spread of AIDS in Papua New Guinea to be following the pattern of spread found in Africa - transmission is primarily via heterosexual contact.) Hazards to bathers include corals and jellyfish, poisonous fish, and sea snakes. Sunburn, prickly heat and various fungal infections are contracted easily. All cuts and scratches require immediate attention and a good antiseptic solution to prevent infection. Snakes and large spiders are seen occasionally, but are seldom dangerous. Dust in the dry season and high humidity in the wet season may exacerbate problems from those with allergies, sinus problems or asthma.

Immunization

Hepatitis A: Consider active immunization with hepatitis A vaccine or passive immunization with immune globulin (IG) for all susceptible travelers. Especially consider choosing active immunization for persons planning to reside for a long period or for persons who take frequent short-term trips to risk areas. The importance of protection against hepatitis A increases as length of stay increases. It is particularly important for persons who will be living in or visiting rural areas, eating or drinking in settings of poor or uncertain sanitation, or who will have close contact with local persons (especially young children) in settings with poor sanitary conditions. Hepatitis B: Vaccination is advised for health care workers, persons anticipating direct contact with blood from or sexual contact with inhabitants, and persons planning extended stays of 6 months or greater (especially those who anticipate using local health care facilities, staying in rural areas, or having intimate contact with the local population). Polio: A one-time booster dose is recommended for travelers who have previously completed a standard course of polio immunization. Refer to CDC guidelines for vaccinating unimmunized or incompletely immunized persons. Pregnancy is a relative contraindication to vaccination; however, if protection is needed, either IPV or OPV may be used, depending on preference and time available. Typhoid: Vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 3 weeks, adventurous eaters, and those who will venture off the usual tourist routes into small cities, villages and rural areas. Importance of vaccination increases as access to reasonable medical care becomes limited. Contraindications depend on vaccine type. Note: All routine vaccines (such as DTP or Td, Hib, MMR, polio, varicella, influenza and pneumococcal) should be kept up-to-date as a matter of good health practice unrelated to travel.

Disease risk summary

Insect-borne illness: Dengue fever - occurs Dengue hemorrhagic fever - occurs Encephalitis (Japanese type) - occurs Filariasis - prevalent Malaria - prevalent Typhus (mite-borne) - occurs Food-borne and water-borne illness: diseases such as the diarrheal diseases, the typhoid fevers and helminthic infections are common. Hepatitis occurs. Biointoxication may occur from raw or cooked fish and shellfish. Other hazards: Diseases such as measles and diphtheria are commonly reported. Polio is still considered a possible risk, although no cases have been reported in recent years. Influenza risk extends throughout the year.

Entry requirements

AIDS: According to the Department of State, testing is required for persons other than diplomats and aid workers planning to work or seeking residency. Contact Papua New Guinea's embassy for details. Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers over 1 year of age coming from infected areas.

Recent disease outbreaks

No recent disease outbreaks

NameAddress
Pacific International HospitalStpores Road Four Mile Port Moresby
Port Moresby General HospitalTaurama Rd Boroko Port Moresby
The Private HospitalP.O. Box 1421 Taurama Road Boroko

Media

Press: Two daily newspapers are published in English: The National and Papua New Guinea Post-Courier. The most popular daily is Niugini Nius.
Radio: BBC World Service (website: www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice) and Voice of America (website: www.voa.gov) can be received. From time to time the frequencies change and the most up-to-date can be found online.

 

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