Papua New Guinea (abbreviated as PNG) is one of the most extreme countries in the whole world to visit and there a somethings that everyone needs to know before going. PNG is only for the most intrepid of explorers. That being said, the things you will see in PNG and the experiences you can have can be found nowhere else and is truly unique. The cultures on this island are like none other in the world.

Papua New Guinea is a country occupying the western half of the island of New Guinea (the other half is part of Indonesia). The island is dominated by jungles and getting around here is extremely difficult.

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Papua New Guinea: The Facts

  • Population: 9 Million
  • Capital And Largest City: Port Moresby
  • Official Languages: English, Tok Pisin, Hiri Motu
  • Independence: 1975 (From Australia)

Understanding PNG

Tok Pisin is one of the official languages in PNG and is based on an English creole (literally Tok Pisin is "Talk Pidgin"). An example of Tok Pisin is the word "foreign" which is "bilong longwe ples" - "belong long way place".

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PNG may only be half an island but it is one of the most diverse countries in the world. It is home to more languages than any other country in the world. By some accounts, there are 840 languages here, plus dialects. This is more than Indonesia with 742 (who has the western side of the island) and much more than famously diverse India with its 427 languages.

Visa: For Most Western Countries Visa On Arrival For 60 Days

PNG Spoken Languages: Approx. 840

This island is very difficult to get around and very undeveloped. In fact, there are still an estimated 40 uncontacted tribes living on this island (mostly on the Indonesian half). To get around the easiest way is to fly because the roads are frequently nigh nonexistent.

Is PNG A Safe Country? With The Proper Precautions, Following The Guidelines And A Hiring A Guide, It Can Be Safe

Understand this is only a destination for experienced travelers. It is very recommended you hire a guide. From them, you can learn where it is and is not safe to go on the island. They will also help you in understanding some things that a foreigner would not have thought of (like just how important pigs are to the people here). Remember these tribes are very different from each other and there is often conflict and friction between them.

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Speaking of pigs, in PNG there are an estimated 1.8 million pigs. These are mostly in the villages and not in commercial farms. They are mostly kept for important ceremonial occasions and are used in exchange and for political purposes. In PNG the dowry or bride price is normally paid in pigs. It is also common to see women here carrying piglets around in "bilums" or string bags.

  • Don't Walk Or Travel At Night
  • Take A Security Guide With You To The ATM

PNG has a very varied climate and you should bring a sweater. Despite being a tropical island, places like the central highlands can be chilly. While you can just arrive in most countries and just make your trip up as you go spontaneously, with PNG it's recommended to plan your trip in advance with travel agencies. Also, remember that internet and mobile coverage outside of the capital will be patchy at best. This is also not a cheap destination.

PNG will test you in many ways. Expect things to be delayed or even canceled. Don't be in a rush or else you will just be frustrated. And PNG will test how open you are to other cultures and traditions. Some customs may be unthinkable in our Western world. But in PNG you are in another world.

  • Bring A Sweater
  • Roads Are Generally Very Very Bad In Rural Areas

But all that being said, if you think you can accept all of those cautions and caveats, then you will have the time of your life in this colorful country. The beauty here is beyond compare. For example, it is full of birds of paradise.

You can visit unspoiled tropical rainforests, go bird watching, see active volcanoes, go scuba diving, attend festivals, and see tribes, cultures, and traditions unlike anything else in this world.

Port Morseby

Here you can enjoy most of the conveniences of a modern city and is the main port of entry. However, be ready to leave these urban conveniences behind once you leave the city.

Lagaip Sangai Festival

One of the festivals you can see is the Lagaip Sangai Festival, this is a festival that few foreigners ever get to see and is the traditional initiation ritual for young men. This initiation involves sacred acts, songs, and dances.

Rabaul

This island paradise is a place where you can enjoy the beaches and lush island tropical forests. It was also the site of some of the major battles of WW2 between the Americans and the Japanese.

See: Volcaones On Rabaul

Do: Scuba Diving And Snorkeling

Observe: The Cultural Life Of The Tolai people

In short, PNG is a destination for those who truly enjoy leaving their comfort zones. The rewards of this forgotten paradise are beyond description in an article like this - as is the sheer diversity of this island nation.

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