Safety and security
Avoid protests and other large public gatherings in Port Moresby and other major towns as they can turn violent. Always keep yourself informed of what’s going on around you by monitoring local media for information about potential conflicts or the security or political situation of specific areas and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser.
Inter-tribal disturbances can happen without warning in the Highland Provinces, in particular the Southern Highlands and Enga Provinces. Be extremely careful, as law enforcement in these areas is weak.
Bougainville Province (including Bougainville Island) has recently emerged from a period of separatist conflict. You must give notice of your intention to visit the island to the Bougainville Provincial Administration (Tel: +675 973 9798), and you must contact the Administration again when you arrive. Don’t enter the mountainous area in central Bougainville around the old Panguna mine as it is a ‘No Go Zone’. Foreigners who have entered the Zone without authorisation from the Papua New Guinean government have been questioned by the authorities and had their passports confiscated on departure from the Zone.
There is still unexploded ordnance in Papua New Guinea, particularly along the Kokoda Trail and at Milne Bay and Rabual. Always check with your local contact or tour operator before travelling to these regions and don’t stray off main routes.
Crime is common in Papua New Guinea, especially personal crime. It tends to be opportunistic and can happen anywhere and at any time. However, it’s especially prevalent in areas such as Lae, Mt Hagen and other parts of the Highland provinces and the capital city Port Moresby is particularly dangerous. We advise you to be extremely careful and take sensible precautions:
- Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place
- Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home
- Avoid walking after dark in Port Moresby and other urban areas. If you have to travel at night, do so by car
- Violence and use of 'bush knives' (machetes) and guns often accompany assault and robberies. Car-jacking, assaults, bag-snatching and other robberies, including in shops and restaurants, are common
HIV and AIDS
HIV and AIDs are increasingly common in Papua New Guinea, so we strongly encourage victims of violence, particularly victims of sexual assault, to seek immediate medical assistance.
Lost or stolen passports
Always keep your travel documents secure at all times. If your passport is lost or stolen, getting a replacement can take some time, given the distance between Papua New Guinea and the nearest Irish Embassy in Canberra. Getting a replacement passport will be easier if you can provide a copy of the lost or stolen one, so keep photocopies of your passport. You’ll also need a birth certificate for all applications to replace a lost or stolen passport so we recommend you bring a Garda-certified copy of your birth certificate as well.
Reporting a crime
If you’re a victim of a crime while in Papua New Guinea, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Canberra, in Australia if you need help.
If you’re planning to drive in Papua New Guinea, you should be extremely careful. Roads are generally poor, particularly outside towns and cities and standards of driving are erratic. If you want to drive, bring your full Irish driver’s licence and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
Car jacking is a risk of travelling in Papua New Guinea. Always keep your car doors locked and windows closed, particularly if you’re travelling at night or through urban areas.
Hiring a vehicle
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
Public buses (PMVs)
We recommend that you avoid using public buses known locally as PMVs. There have been incidents of armed hold-ups of PMVs and of passengers being attacked and robbed of their personal belongings. Many PMVs are considered to be un-roadworthy.
Taxis are available in some major centres, but they can be badly maintained, and you should check about their reliability with your hotel or guesthouse. If you use a taxi, make sure that you agree a fare before getting into the vehicle, even if there’s a meter.
If you intend to walk a trail or track in Papua New Guinea, particularly on the Kokoda Track, we strongly advise you to travel with guides from a reputable tour company and pay the relevant fees before you set out. You can get details through the Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority or the Kokoda Track Authority. Although community leaders have assured tourists of their safety and well-being while walking the Kokoda Track, there have been serious attacks and robberies at both ends of the Track and you should be cautious.
Flying in Papua New Guinea carries an increased level of risk due to the poor condition of airfields, remote locations, difficult terrain, extreme weather and poor maintenance of aircraft.
Mon, 13 Feb 2017 12:40:14 GMT