Planet Earth is by no means short of tropical paradises and the island nation of Papua New Guinea is one of them. Stretching upon an area of 462,840 square kilometres, it harbours just above 8 million people. While it may look rather small on the world map, you’ll find that it has quite some remote distances within its bounds. You can go so far inland that you’ll forget about the ocean altogether (even though you are technically in Oceania). So, let us not spoil too much of this article by dragging on this introductory phase and hop right into the facts (wink)!
Let’s make this as simple as possible: Papua New Guinea is one of the most culturally and ethnically diverse nations in the world. With more than 850 recognised languages spoken within its borders, one can only expect a multi-faceted experience. But wait, there’s more: it has beyond 2,000 ethnic groups as well. This translates into what is known as tribal affiliation. This term has become more and more important over the years and, to be frank, it is not all good. Tribes do not always get along and problems often erupt. Which leads us to our next point.
Recommending that you visit Papua New Guinea without knowing what you are walking into would be foolhardy as the country is stricken by poverty and violence. As mentioned above, its diversity often backfires and creates unpleasant sights. Gang violence, rape, harassment, mugging, and many more unspeakable deeds occur almost daily in Papua New Guinea and the capital city of Port Moresby experiences the worst of it all. In fact, the capital has reached such a critical point that we must tell you to steer clear of it by any means. With a population of just over 200,000, you are bound to run into a nasty thug or two. Oh, and there are extortionists everywhere as less than 15% of the local youths find work after they finish school. Unemployment leads to violence and you should avoid it as best as you can. Finally, if you are a woman, you should be very careful as to where you go as over 80% of the local women in Papua New Guinea face abuse on a regular basis. Foreigners will not be exceptions to this unfortunate trend as they are regarded as prized targets. Stay smart and stay safe!
3. Public transportation:
Getting around in Papua New Guinea is more difficult than what you might think. Why? Well, simply because it lacks infrastructure. There are no reliable ways of heading from one end of the country towards the other – the only exception being flying (internal flights). Yes, while the country suffers from extreme poverty, the people who have to go somewhere often must fly because there simply is no other way of doing it. And you know what’s worse? The fact that no matter what you might opt for, it will be expensive!
4. Village hopping:
Though this article has visibly taken a dark route, Papua New Guinea is not all bad. One cannot put an evil badge on a country and generalise in such an ignorant way. The locals, for example are as inviting as people can get and this is more than perceivable when one visits native tribes and their villages. These people will spend hours on end to prepare for your arrival and they will do their very best to entertain foreigners. Showing you their culture is something that they relish in and you should do your best to stay polite to them. Don’t forget that most tribes have what they call a “donation box” – put the equivalent of 10-15 USD in them to pay your respects. After what they often go through to keep you happy, they deserve it!
Papua New Guinea is sitting deep within the bounds of the tropical climate zone and what this means is that it has temperatures ranging from 23 to 28 degrees Celsius (on an average). However, this does not go for the entire country as Mount Hagen, for example will require that you bring an anorak or something with you. It will get a tad colder but not freezing cold. Yes, technically, this is a tropical paradise – it just needs to develop a bit.
Did you enjoy our list? How was your trip to Papua New Guinea and what aftertaste has it left you with? Would you visit this fine island nation again, were you given the chance? Hit the comment section below and share your experiences with the world! See you on our next adventure!