Port Moresby is the capital of Papua New Guinea, and the first pit stop when entering the country, before continuing to your final destination. With the lack of infrastructure and flights only leaving on certain days of the week, it’s advisable to spend your first and last night here, as cancellations and delays are quite common.
We stayed with Holiday Inn express, a short 15 minute drive from the airport, we arranged airport pickup with our hotel before coming here, which is free might I also add. Our driver were kind enough to point out different landmarks as we drove by. I wasn’t sure what to expect when we arrived, but Port Moresby was more developed than I had imagined. As we drove on further away from the airport, we were struck with the sights of little sheds in the hills, where poverty is so clearly prominent.
I can understand why you should refrain from flashing your western luxuries.
In the city itself there isn’t much to do. The city tours offered by the hotel were the national park and the Parliament House, costing 80 USD. The city is dirty, chaotic and besides a mall it’s quite boring.
It’s not safe to walk around after sunset, even during the day it’s advised to pay for a escort for safe passage. We were approached by a man who offered to escort us around, but since we were only walking 100 meters to check out the mall, we should be fine. The worst day to walk on the streets, is on Friday, which happens to be payday. Large groups of men will gather after sunset. Take precautions and stay inside to avoid being a victim of opportunistic crime.
We were both excited to arrive at the hotel to start making arrangements for our next destination. Little did we know how much stress we were in for. I made the mistake of not booking nor planning anything before arriving, beside our first night of accommodation. It’s not an easy task to plan a itinerary in a country where independent travel is near impossible. We read before coming here that it was possible to arrange tours through your hotel. Wrong. Hotels can only help with arranging tours in the city itself, nothing outside of Port Moresby.
Locals sit outside the mall selling beetlenut.
With terrible WiFi and nearly none existing 3G, we scoured the internet for whatever we could find. There had to be something. Finally we found a great dive resort I had read about a couple of months ago. After checking availability online, we tried calling ahead to make arrangements, but had to respond via email, taking forever to receive a reply. This is when we learned the hard lesson of how painfully slow everything is here, and the lack of airplanes leaving only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. By the time we knew the price tag, the last tickets were gone. We only had one week, and there wasn’t enough time to fly out on another day. Later we learned that Tufi dive resort is one of the only resorts left in Papua New Guinea, still arranging overnight stays with villagers, who dress in traditional clothing. Also one of the more affordable options in PNG.
Finally we found a great resort in Madang, who offered different tours and activities such as diving, village tours and bird watching. Bingo! We ended up staying with Kalibobo Village. Now that we had it all sorted out, we could finally relax and shake off all the stress of the day, before yet another day of traveling.
Stunning sunset in Port Moresby. Isn’t it beautiful?