Health and Safety in Papua New Guinea

Countries  »  Papua New Guinea  »  Health Advice

Papua New Guinea tempts many adventurous backpackers with its incredible wildlife and rainforest, but unfortunately it has become an extremely violent country with low levels of law enforcement, so it’s very important to travel with caution.

Travel advice from advises travellers to avoid Lae, Mt Hagen, Oro Province, Central and Southern Bougainville, areas of the Highlands, Porgera Township and parts of Ports Moresby, where there are frequent gang wars. There are also tensions at the Indonesia/PNG Wutung border crossing and is prone to sudden closure so it’s best to travel in by plane. Car hijacking is also very common so if you do have a hire car then make sure to park it in an area which looks safe and make sure no windows are left open and that it is locked.

It’s also very important to use your instinct and common sense.  Try to avoid travelling at night, especially if you’re alone, avoid anywhere that looks unsafe – don’t worry about seeming paranoid, just like your Mother says, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Minor confrontations have known to spark into brutal fights, so be polite and keep to yourself if you feel uncomfortable. There are also high levels of sexual assault so it’s best to avoid revealing clothing or having one too many drinks. Basically, if you have a bad feeling about something, try your best to remove yourself from the situation.

Sadly, Papua New Guinea is not a very friendly place for gay travellers. Homosexuality is illegal is Papua New Guinea, and even though there appears to be a lack of law here, it’s best to avoid any public displays of affection and try not to draw too much attention to yourself and your partner.

Health wise, it is important to take extra precautions. There are high levels of Cholera, HIV and Malaria so make sure that you have had the correct vaccinations and the medicine as well as avoiding situations where these could be contracted.