Papua New Guinea
The Department of Foreign Affairs recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before travelling to Papua New Guinea. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.
Travellers should note that the Irish Government does not provide funds for emergency medical repatriation or for repatriation of remains.
It is strongly advised that you consult with a doctor or travel clinic prior to your travel to Papua New Guinea to discuss immunisations and the health risks of travelling in the region.
Cholera is endemic in Papua New Guinea and care should be taken to only drink ‘safe’ chlorinated or boiled water and to avoid ice-cubes or uncooked food. Ensure that high personal hygiene standards are maintained such as frequent washing of hands.
Mosquito-borne diseases are present in Papua New Guinea and relevent immunisations and prophylaxis should be discussed with a doctor or health-care professional before departure.
Food and water-borne diseases are also common, as is tuberculosis. Travellers with compromised immune systems should be aware that they may be at greater risk of falling ill or contracting disease while travelling in Papua New Guinea. It is strongly encouraged that all travellers consult with a doctor or travel-clinic before departure from Ireland.
Swimming in Papua New Guinea may expose travellers to water-borne parasites, particularly when swimming in rivers. Stings from marine animals are also a risk and can be fatal.
If you intend to walk a trail or track, including the Kokoda Trail, you are advised to travel with guides from a reputable tour company and pay the relevant fees prior to walking the Trail. Details can be obtained through the Papua New Guinea Tourism Promotion Authority (Tel: +675 3200211) or the Kokoda Track Authority (KTA) (Tel: +675 3255540). There have been serious attacks and robberies at both ends of the Kokoda Trail. Although community leaders have assured tourists of their safety and well-being while walking the Kokoda Trail, you are advised to exercise caution. Unexplored ordnance still exists in Papua New Guinea, particularly along the Kokoda Trail and at Milne Bay and Rabual.
Visitors to Bougainville Island should be aware that the Province has recently emerged from a period of separatist conflict. You must provide notice of your intention to visit the island to the Bougainville Provincial Administration (Tel: +675 973 9798), and must contact the Administration again upon arrival. The mountainous area in central Bougainville around the old Panguna mine is a ‘No Go Zone’. Visitors should not enter the ‘No Go Zone’. Foreigners who have entered the Zone without authorisation from the PNG Government have been questioned by PNG authorities and had their passports confiscated on departure from the Zone.
Safety and Security
Crime is common in Papua New Guinea, especially personal crime. Crime rates are particularly high in the capital Port Moresby.
We advise you to exercise a high degree of caution.
Crime is opportunistic and can occur anywhere and at anytime but is especially prevalent in urban areas. Settlement areas of towns and cities, including those in Port Moresby, are particularly dangerous.
Violence and use of 'bush knives' (machetes) and firearms often accompany assault and robberies. Car-jacking, assaults, bag-snatching and other robberies, including in shops and restaurants, are common. Exercise extreme caution when visiting banks and automatic teller machines. Crime levels in other areas of Papua New Guinea, especially in Lae, Mt Hagen and other parts of the Highland provinces are high.
Walking after dark is very dangerous in Port Moresby and other urban centres. All travel at night should be made by car.
Due to the increasing prevalence of HIV/AIDs in Papua New Guinea, victims of violence, particularly victims of sexual assault, are strongly encouraged to seek immediate medical assistance.
Highland Provinces, in particular the Southern Highlands and Enga Provinces, are subject to inter-tribal disturbances without warning and you should exercise extreme caution, as law enforcement in these areas is weak.
You should avoid protests and other large public gatherings in Port Moresby and other major towns as they may turn violent. Monitor local media for information about potential conflicts or the security or political situation of specific areas.
Marijuana and other narcotics are illegal in Papua New Guinea, and offences can carry substantial prison sentences.
Homosexual acts are unlawful and punishment if convicted can include imprisonment. Adultery is an offence for which those convicted may be liable for compensation payments. The sale and possession of pornographic material is also a criminal offence.
We recommend that you do not use 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 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 vehicle, irrespective of whether or not there is a meter.
Road conditions are generally hazardous throughout Papua New Guinea and driving is commonly erratic. Road quality is generally poor particularly outside of urban areas. Drivers should take extra care, especially in the hours of darkness.
Car-jacking is a risk of travelling in Papua New Guinea. Car doors should remain locked and windows closed, particularly when travelling at night or through urban areas.
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.
Local Laws and Customs
For entry requirements for Papua New Guinea, please contact the Papua New Guinea High Commission:
14 Waterloo Place
London SW1Y 4AR
Tel: + 44 20 7930 0922/7
Fax: + 44 20 7930 0828
It is advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you. During your stay you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times.
Standards of dress and behaviour in Papua New Guinea are quite conservative. While the climate may be hot, care should be taken that appropriate clothing is worn in public. Public displays of affection may also cause offence.
Permission should always be obtained before taking photographs of individuals or important cultural or spiritual sites.
It should be noted that the government of Papua New Guinea does not recognise dual-national citizenship once an individual is over 18 year of age. If you are travelling there as a Papua New Guinea citizen your Irish citizenship will not be recognised and as such the Department may be hindered in providing you with consular assistance should you need it.
Natural Disasters and Climate
Papua New Guinea is in an active seismic zone and regular earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur, particularly around Rabaul, Bougainville, West New Britain and the Manam Islands. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.
Tsunami is also a risk when travelling on the coast.
The wet season in Papua New Guinea runs from November to May and weather during this time can damage infrastructure (roads, airstrips), cause flooding and landslides and contribute to the spread of infectious disease. Care should be taken when travelling during this time and travellers should consult with tour guides or local media to see whether their travel may be affected.
Additional Country Info
If your Irish passport is lost or stolen during your visit you should contact the Embassy of Ireland in Canberra, Australia for instructions about getting a replacement. Be aware that even the issue of an emergency passport may be delayed due to the distance between Canberra and Papua New Guinea.
A birth certificate is required for all applications to replace a lost or stolen passport so it is recommended that you travel with a Garda certified copy of your birth certificate in addition to copies of your passport.