SAFETY AND SECURITY
There is no recent history of terrorism in Papua New Guinea. You should, however, be aware of the risk of indiscriminate attacks, in all countries of the world, against civilian targets in public places, including tourist sites. We believe there is an increased threat from terrorism in Papua New Guinea, as there is in other countries in this region. Against this background, you should be vigilant in public places and areas frequented by tourists (see: Security & General Tips
and Risk of Terrorism
Violent incidents may occur without warning. You should exercise a high level of personal security and vigilance at all times, particularly after dark. The situation is generally better away from the larger cities and in the provinces. However, sporadic outbreaks of tribal fighting are a normal occurrence, especially in the Highlands Provinces. Travel in areas where there is tribal fighting should be avoided. The rugged terrain and poor infrastructure limit the assistance that can be given. You should not carry large amounts of cash with you or openly wear expensive items of jewellery.
We currently advise against all non-essential travel to the Southern Highlands and Enga Provinces, which have been subject to recent disturbances. Visitors to other parts of the Highlands should exercise extreme caution. Please contact the British High Commission in Port Moresby for security updates.
We recommend that you do not use public transport, known locally as PMVs. There have been incidents of armed hold-ups of PMVs on the Highlands Highway and passengers attacked and robbed of their personal belongings. 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 taxi, irrespective of whether or not there is a meter. We recommend that family, friends or hotel courtesy buses should collect visitors arriving at international or domestic airports.
If you are intending to walk a trail or track, including the Kokoda Trail, you must ensure that you engage 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). There have been serious security attacks or robberies at both ends of the Trail in the past. Although community leaders have assured tourists of their safety and well-being when walking the Kokoda Trail, you are advised to take precautions regarding your personal safety and belongings at all times. Please contact the British High Commission for the latest advice.
Visitors to Bougainville Island are advised to seek the latest advice from the British High Commission before departure. The island has a history of separatist conflict, but is currently peaceful. However, there have been recent criminal incidents, including thefts of weapons. Public services and supplies are limited.
Road conditions and vehicle maintenance are generally bad and hazardous throughout Papua New Guinea, lacking general maintenance, potholes, inadequate lighting, abandoned vehicles etc. Although the roads are sealed in major centres, dirt roads are common in outskirts and remote areas. Conditions can deteriorate further during the wet season, November to March. Footpaths and pedestrian crossings are not common and drivers should be aware of people walking along roadsides or suddenly crossing busy freeways and roads. The standard of driving is commonly erratic and all drivers should exercise extreme caution at all times, especially in the hours of darkness. Drivers involved in or witnesses to road accidents may find themselves at personal risk and should seek police assistance as soon as possible. Traffic drives on the left.
LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS
When driving you must keep your driving licence with you at all times. You may use your United Kingdom or International driving licence for a period not exceeding one month.
You should contact the Papua New Guinea High Commission, 3rd Floor, 14 Waterloo Place, London, SW1R 4AR; (Tel: 020 7930 0922 to 7) for current advice. Website: Papua New Guinean representation in the UK
British nationals require visas to enter Papua New Guinea but tourists may obtain these on arrival for 100 Kina, payable in local Kina currency.
Medical facilities are very basic, especially outside Port Moresby. Hospitals sometimes run out of basic drugs/supplies and suffer from power shortages. Evacuation to Australia is available in more serious cases. You should ensure you make provision for such medical evacuation in your insurance cover. Malaria and tuberculosis are endemic, dengue fever occurs frequently and there are outbreaks of Hepatitis A and typhoid from time to time. AIDS/ H I V is a growing problem.
Foot and Mouth Disease
You are required to complete a Customs and quarantine declaration on arrival. All animal products from the United Kingdom and Europe have been banned and will be confiscated by officials. Severe fines may apply.
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome
There are no confirmed cases of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome in Papua New Guinea. All incoming international passengers are required to complete a medical questionnaire.
Papua New Guinea is prone to seismic and volcanic activity, especially near the town of Rabaul in East New Britain Province and on Manam Island in Madang Province.
You are advised to avoid the immediate area surrounding Mount Pago Volcano at Hoskins in West New Britain. The Rabaul Volcano Observatory has advised that there is no longer an immediate danger to life or property, although the volcano continues to throw out lava. The exclusion zone has been reduced to 10 Kilometres. Walindi Dive Resort is not affected by the volcano. Please contact the British High Commission in Port Moresby for updates.
It is strongly recommended that all visitors should register with and seek the latest local advice from the British High Commission in Port Moresby on arrival. Travel plans should be left with friends, relatives or reliable local contacts.
The British High Commission in Port Moresby does not issue passports. Applications for a new passport should be submitted to the High Commission for processing. Where possible, you are advised to apply at least two months before your passport is due to expire. You will be allowed to retain your old passport whilst waiting for the replacement to be processed and returned.
Urgent applications will be forwarded by commercial courier to the British High Commission in Canberra, and the courier cost will be added to the passport fee. You should be aware that our High Commissions will process your application as quickly as possible but, due to the distances involved, it is likely that there will be a delay in issuing you with a full replacement British Passport. Less urgent applications will be forwarded to Canberra via the Diplomatic bag free of charge.
Where necessary the High Commission will issue an Emergency Passport. Emergency Passports are valid for a single journey back to the UK using agreed transit points as necessary, or to Commonwealth countries provided a prior arrangement exists with the authorities of the Commonwealth country concerned.
The High Commission will be able to advise you which of these options best suits your circumstances.