Staying Safe in Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea is an island country in Oceania, with Indonesian Papua occupying half of the island. It is steeped in history and culture and the native people are very proud of their traditions and heritage. The country has some beautiful landscapes and offers lots of outdoor activities, from trekking and hiking on dry land to scuba diving and snorkelling in the ocean deep. If you do take to the waters you can admire a terrific array of colourful marine life, and there are also several lovely islands that are within easy reach and well worth a trip. There are loads of places to stay all around the country, and there is also a good selection of places to eat and drink.

Seeing relatively few visitors, Papua New Guinea is a great destination if you are looking for somewhere a little bit different and away from the mainstay travel destinations. It is a good place to consider if you are well travelled and can’t think of where to try next. There are often several safety concerns, however, about visiting Papua New Guinea. Typically, the villages are thought to be a lot safer in general than the larger towns and cities.

Read on to find out how to maximize your chances of staying safe in Papua New Guinea to enjoy a fun, interesting, and trouble free trip.

Avoid the Border Area

The stretch of land along the border with Indonesian territory is best avoided. There is the potential for violent flare ups at any time, and you really don’t want to be caught in the middle of any trouble. If you are looking to actually cross the border you should try and do it as quickly and as efficiently as possible without lingering for too long. You should also be aware that the border is subject to closures with very little, or no, notice.

Don’t Travel in the Dark

As with many places in the world, walking around in the dark is a big no no. Poor communities, inefficient or non-existent law enforcement, and criminal gangs make walking around after the sun has gone down really risky. If you must walk around in poorly lit and isolated areas try and go in a group and make sure that you have very little of value on your person. Avoid showing displays of what could be perceived as wealth at all times, day and night.

Travelling in the dark also applies to when you are in a rented car; car jackings are a very serious threat. You should avoid having items on show, for example of the seats, and you should lock all the doors when you are travelling. Avoid pulling over to consult maps, take a rest, or similar in poorly lit and lonely areas.

Be Careful When Swimming

A non-human threat arises from the large population of potentially aggressive salt water crocodiles in the country. Be vigilant at all times round water and pay heed to local warnings. This applies to both salt water and fresh water, as the dangerous beasts can live in both. The best places for swimming are in hotel pools.

Steer Clear of Large Gatherings

Papua New Guinea is home to a large variety of ethnic groups. Whilst this helps to add to the country’s interesting side, it also means that there is a risk of clashes between the different groups. Problems are especially likely when there is a large group of people in a particular place – if you see this, leave.
Most visits to Papua New Guinea are trouble free, but you should remain cautious and on guard at all times.

As long as you are careful and check all travel advisory warnings you should be able to enjoy a great trip in this fascinating land.

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