Practical tips on travelling to Papua New Guinea for the first time, including languages, currency, dialling codes and useful numbers.
From June to September the climate is cool and dry making these months the most comfortable time of the year to visit PNG (except in the Lae region, where it will be wet at this time). The heaviest rains fall between December and March; that’s also when the bugs come out.
We speak more than 800 languages in Papua New Guinea, but Tok Pisin (New Guinea Pidgin) is spoken throughout the country. Hiri Motu is spoken across the southern regions of Papua, while English is also becoming more prevalent in the larger cities.
We advise you to use a local guide when exploring. They speak the tok ples (local language), and will know the places you can safely visit. Always use your common sense. Try to avoid secluded areas, always stay with your possessions, and don't walk alone at night.
Visit our Safety & Health page for more about our approach to safety and security for tourists.
Kina and toea is the currency used throughout Papua New Guinea. Both names come from the valuable shell money that was used as currency prior to European influence. The kina is broken up into 100 toea. Credit cards are accepted at the larger hotels but we advise you to check prior to travelling. You’ll find currency exchange booths at Port Moresby’s international airport and in many banks around the bigger cities. Check BSP online for up-to-date exchange rates.
Hotels and restaurants do not add service charges to your bill and it is not common to tip waiters here, however tipping is always your choice.
It is not customary to bargain in establishments or farmer’s markets, but you can negotiate prices in the craft markets. It’s common to ask for a “second price” if you want to try your luck at a better deal.
Papua New Guinea’s four largest banks are: BSP (Bank of South Pacific), ANZ (Australia New Zealand Bank), Kina Bank, and Westpac PNG. There are a number of smaller banks too, including MiBank and Women’s Microbank. Banking hours are usually 8.45am-4pm Monday to Thursday and until 5pm on Friday.
Papua New Guinea is 10 hours ahead of Universal Coordinated Time (+10 UTC) on the Australian Eastern Standard Time (AEST).
You may need an adapter in order to plug your appliances into the power sockets here: the adapter required for Papua New Guinea is Type 1 Australia plug. The plugs have two flat metal pins, forming an inverted ‘V’ shape, and occasionally a third vertical pin in the centre. The electrical current is 220 – 240 volts, AC 50Hz.
Travellers over the age of 18 will not incur customs duty when carrying goods within the legislated restrictions. Tourists may have 250 grams of tobacco or 250 cigarettes, 2 litres of alcohol, and goods valued up to and including K1,000 (K500 for child under 18 years).
Port Moresby only: Police 112, fire 110/002, St John Ambulance 111
For 24-hour emergency Ph: +675 7683 5227 or +675 7683 1818.
The international dialling code for Papua New Guinea is 675. Phone numbers in each region begin with their own area code, including NCD 3; Momase 4; Highlands 5, Southern 6; mobile phones (PNG-wide) 7; and Islands 9.
The outgoing IDD (international direct dialling) code from within Papua New Guinea is 00.
Mobile phone network coverage is available across Papua New Guinea, however coverage may be limited in some remote areas.
Internet access and WiFi may be available at your accommodation. We recommend purchasing a local sim on arrival if you need to stay on the grid and take advantage of the various data plans available. Internet is quite dear in Papua New Guinea.
Post offices are usually open 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday, with some city post offices open on Saturday morning. Postal services in PNG are reliable, but sometimes less efficient because infrastructure deficiencies mean post is predominantly sent by boat.
American Embassy, Port Moresby: +675 321 1455
Australian Consulate, Port Moresby: +675 325 9333
Canadian Consulate, Port Moresby: +675 321 3559
British Consulate, Port Moresby: +675 325 1677
Swedish Consulate, Port Moresby: +675 325 5411
Japanese Embassy, Port Moresby: +675 321 1800
Chinese Embassy, Port Moresby: +675 325 9827