Business travel guide to Papua New Guinea

Practical tips and advice for the business traveller to Papua New Guinea.

Steamships’ Windward 2 apartments under construction in Port Moresby.

Steamships’ Windward 2 apartments under construction in Port Moresby. Credit: Steamships

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Climate

With the exception of the Highlands, PNG has a warm tropical climate. The wet season in Port Moresby is from December to April.

Communications

Internet: Web access in Port Moresby has improved immensely in recent years. Although it remains costly, all the Port Moresby hotels listed below now provide a fast-speed internet service. In other urban centres, you may still be relying on dial-up. For those staying longer, wireless internet, via a USB modem, is now available although download speeds can vary considerably depending on your location.

Phone: International mobile phone roaming is possible in PNG but it is costly. A cheaper option is to buy a local SIM card and pre-paid credit (including data packs for Smartphones). It is much cheaper to make international calls from PNG than vice versa.

Electricity

The current in PNG is 240V AC 50Hz, using Australian-style plugs.

Getting to PNG

National flag carrier Air Niugini has direct flights between Port Moresby and Australia (Brisbane, Cairns, Sydney), the Solomon Islands, Fiji and an increasing number of Asian destinations.

Virgin Australia also operates on the Brisbane route, while Qantas provides its own flights from Cairns via its Qantaslink subsidiary and codeshares with Air Niugini on other Australian routes.

Getting around

As a general rule in PNG, you need to plan your travel carefully.

Taxis:  Recommended firms in Port Moresby are Ark (+675 323 0998/7122 5522), Red Dot (+675 311 3257) and Scarlet Taxis (+675 323 4266), although availability can vary and they do not operate late at night. Ark also operates in Lae.

Car hire: Deal with one of the international names and ask them to provide a driver (around K400/US$187 per day). With the poor state of roads, especially in Lae, 4WDs/SUVs are recommended.

Airport transfers: For arrival/departure in Port Moresby, any of the hotels listed below will provide a complimentary transfer.

Domestic flights: Travelling within PNG often means taking an internal flight (for instance, you cannot drive between Port Moresby and Lae). There are regular services from Port Moresby to Lae. While the price of domestic fares has fallen, they are still on the high side. Air Niugini now offers passengers the chance to book (and check in) online but make sure you print out a copy of your receipt to show at the check-in counter. Airlines PNG also operates domestic flights. Aircraft and helicopter charter services are available for travel to remote locations.

Health

Serious medical conditions typically require treatment outside the country. Travellers should ensure they have adequate health cover (the cost of medical evacuation alone can reach US$30,000), while foreign companies operating in PNG should have a comprehensive health plan in place. Visitors should also note that malaria is prevalent in PNG.

Money

PNG’s currency is the Kina. ANZ and Bank of South Pacific (BSP) have branches at Port Moresby’s international airport. ATMs are located around Port Moresby, Lae and other urban centres.

Safety

While the situation is not as bad as portrayed by some international media, you should always take precautions, especially at night.

Time zone

PNG has a single time zone, 10 hours ahead of UTC/GMT.

Visas

Business travellers require a business visa to enter PNG.

There are two types of business visa: single entry (for one visit of up to 30 days) or multiple entry (visits totalling up to 60 days over a 12-month period).

Single entry business visas can be obtained on arrival and cost K250. However, a multiple entry business visa must be applied for from a PNG diplomatic mission before you travel at a cost of K500.

In both cases, a letter from a ‘business associate in PNG’ outlining the purpose, duration, location and frequency of your visit(s) is required, as is a return ticket.

*At the time of writing the PNG government is considering whether it will continue to issue Australian visitors with visas on arrival.

For more info and to locate your nearest PNG diplomatic mission visit www.immigration.gov.pg.

Eating, drinking, socialising in Port Moresby 

Town: The coffee shop at the Crowne Plaza Hotel remains a convenient daytime option, as are the two cafes on the ground floor of Deloitte Tower.

Duffy Café, Gabaka St: this newcomer has rapidly become very popular among the expat community, with excellent coffee and homemade café-style food.\

Royal Papua Yacht Club: relaxed, spacious and open to non-members. Comfort food, draught beer and an open-plan bar area showing sport on large screens. If it’s too busy, try the Aviat Club in nearby Konedobu.

Vision City: PNG’s first major shopping mall houses an increasing array of eateries. The cavernous Dynasty (Chinese) and Ten (Japanese) are stand-outs.

Hotels

Airways Hotel

PNG’s only top-tier hotel, Airways is located within a large, secure compound next to Jacksons International Airport. An inspiring setting, luxurious rooms and amenities and excellent service make for a memorable stay. Among an attractive selection of bars and restaurants, the deli/pizzeria is always popular.  Tel +675 324 5200,  www.airways.com.pg

Grand Papua

Port Moresby’s newest hotel opened in late 2011. The hotel features 156 suite rooms (short and long stay), an executive floor, gym and conference facilities. The separate restaurant and bar areas are popular venues for business meetings in town. www.grandpapuahotel.com.pg

Crowne Plaza

Upmarket rooms and suites in the heart of the CBD. Decent gym, business centre, undercover parking, thriving café and Mediterranean restaurant. Tel +675 309 3329.

Holiday Inn
Located in the Government district of Waigani. Large grounds with walking track, in a tropical garden setting. Outdoor restaurant dining and bar area, business centre and gym. Tel +675 303 2000.

Lamana Hotel

Also in Waigani, this modern hotel’s facilities include the popular Palazzo restaurant (excellent steaks, pizzas and Indian cuisine), business centre, conference facilities and the PNG’s most trendy nightspot, the Gold Club. Tel +675 323 2333.

Ela Beach Hotel and Whittaker Apartments

On the fringe of the CDB, this hotel/apartment complex has been renovated by Coral Sea Hotels. Its main eatery is popular at lunchtime. Tel +675 321 2100.

Gateway Hotel

Another member of Coral Sea Hotels, this time located next to the airport. Recent renovations added a large conference centre. www.coralseahotels.com

Lae

Lae’s best hotel, the Lae International Hotel, has a secure, central location, pleasant grounds, cable TV and several dining options. Tel +675 472 2000, www.laeinterhotel.com.pg.

The smaller Lae City Hotel has quickly established a good name since opening in 2013, but be sure to make a reservation well in advance.

Finally the Melanesian Hotel is part of the Coral Sea Hotels group that also provides business-standard hotels in several other urban centres. www.coralseahotels.com.