WHAT TO DO IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA?
Hopefully I’ve got you a bit warmed up about Papua New Guinea (PNG for short) in my previous blog. If you didn’t have a chnace to read it, you will find it right here: Travel to Papua New Guinea. In this post, let’s find out where to go as soon as you’ve landed on this beautiful, one of a kind island.
WHY PNG IS DIFFERENT FROM OTHER PACIFIC COUNTRIES?
PNG difference from other Pacific countries in quite a few things. For me as a foreigner, I mostly see the touristic side of countries. In comparison with countries I’ve been in the Pacific like Fiji and Samoa:
- There is basically NO tourism industry in PNG, although they are working hard on it! The plus side on this is that you can do so many things, for free, while in other countries you would pay an enormous amount of money.
- When looking online for stuff to do, basically the only thing you find is scary stories on safety issues. As I said in my previous blog, don’t let this stop you! If you have a good set of brains and you use them, you will be more then fine in this great country and perfectly safe.
- First and foremost there are the beaches. And no, not the touristic, ‘private hotel’ beaches, but simple, common, ‘not so special’ (to the locals) beaches. These are amazing. You will find yourself in paradise and how I like to call it ‘The Hallmark Postcard Feeling’.
3 MARCH GIRLS BEACH
I specially recommend the area around 3 March Girls Beach (not the actual 3 March Girls Beach where you have to pay, but use the sand around is that is free of charge 😉 ). The 20 min drive out of town through jungle-like settings itself is worth the trip. After passing through a forest of palm trees, you will quite suddenly find yourself on the beach. The clear blue sea, sand and palm trees fuse into one, and are an unbelievable setting.
Ask around if you can rent a boat from someone. As far as I know, you can’t rent them from a certain organization, yet we always find a way to get a little something to cruise the waters of PNG. Make sure you make a stop at Fisherman Island or the islands around it.
On these little islands, you will not find another living soul, except for the animal souls off course.
Stop by one of the many supermarkets in town or the beach-specialized shop in Vision City to get some goggles and other snorkel gear and snorkel away around the islands. You will be mind blown how much there is to find in PNG’s waters. A million different kind of fishes, Star Fishes, and if you’re lucky like me, you will meet a little family of Clown Fishes (remember Finding Nemo? Those!).
Not feeling like renting a boat? If you have a little extra pocket money to spend, make sure you make a stop at Loloata Island (I call it LalaLoeloe Land, which is way more fun, haha).
They will pick you up at your hotel and drop you off later in the day. Remember as a kid, when someone would ask you to draw an island? You probably would draw a small piece of land with one single palm tree in the middle. That’s Loloata Island for me. An island from a kids drawing, with a little more than 1 palm trees, Walibi’s roaming around together with peacocks, and a little hill which, when you hike it, gives you an unbelievable view of one of the countless bays in Papua New Guinea.
Make sure you ask them for a trip to Lion Island, a teeny tiny island close to Loloata, where the snorkeling is spectacular. On Loloata there are snorkeling and scuba diving gears available for you to rent, or you can bring your own. The little cottages at the beach are simply too inviting to skip on staying for an extra day or more on this fairytale island.
NICE DRESSES FOR 1 USD?
While in the city center, make sure to do some shopping. Shopping malls like Vision City have all you need, yet make a stop at one of the plenty second hand shops. These huge halls filled with second hand closes might come off a little impressive at first, but after some roaming, I’m sure you can find some nice bargains for a couple of dollars apiece. Nice summer dresses for 1 USD? Count me in please!!
As for day trips. Make sure you pass by Sogeri. This mountain is about 30 min out of town and an absolute must see. The trip to Sogeri is a bliss.
Make sure you rent a 4-wheel Jeep in order to make sure you can safely hit the roads that have not been modernized yet. You will be surprised however, that up until the Kokoda Track (starts right behind Sogeri) the roads are very well maintained!
You will pass through little villages, where the locals are always happy to see foreigners. Make sure you train your upper arms well, since you will be weaving a lot to the women, men and kids who live here! In these villages you find numerous places to buy drinks, snacks etc. Make sure you get your stuff here and support these women! When seeing kids, as in other countries, try not to give them money, food, candies etc. Before you know it the whole village of kids is in front of you! Rather buy stuff from their mothers and support these children’s education.
Important: Make sure you have a full tank (trust me, you will always want to drive further than you initially planned).Along the road you will find sellers with gasoline and diesel, better not to buy it here, since you never know what they put inside these bottles haha! With a full tank you should be fine for a day out.
When you pass the village next to the river (hard to miss), you find a little spot where you can swim in a bend of the river for a small amount of money. Here it feels like you are in the middle of the jungle, with Palm trees, Mango trees and more surrounding you. The perfect cool down on a hot day.
Drive on and look out for the teeny tiny parking lot, almost on top of the mountain, easy to oversee and there is no sign or something. Again; having a local with you will be a smart decision! Here you will pay about 5 Kina (for my PNG husband it was 1 kina, for ‘the white girl’ 5 kina, so be prepared haha) which is about 1 USD. Here you find 2 little desks on the mountain with little staircases leading towards them, which give an unbelievable view of both the city and into the mountains with a (for PNG standards) little waterfall (I found it pretty impressive).
As you can see. Whether you are looking for a beach vacation, snorkelling or diving or hiking vacation, Papua New Guinea, Port Moresby in this case, provides it ALL! If you look for a standard vacation with many other tourists and a Mc Donalds on every corner of the street, PNG is not for you. Yet a country that’s overflowing with culture, hospitable people, beautiful scenery and more, PNG should be your next destination for sure!
From Papua New Guinea with love,