Advice, where to eat, hotels
A quick guide to Papua New Guinea, from catching a taxi to making a phone call.
With the exception of the Highlands, PNG has a warm tropical climate. The wet season in Port Moresby is from December to April.
Internet: Web access in Port Moresby has improved immensely in recent years. Although it remains costly, all the Port Moresby hotels listed in this guide provide a fastspeed 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 available, although download speeds can vary.
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. Complimentary Wi-Fi is becoming more common at hotels, and is also available at Jacksons International Airport.
The current in PNG is 240V AC 50Hz, using Australian-style plugs.
GETT ING AROUND
As a general rule in PNG, you need to plan your travel carefully.
Taxis: Recommended firms are Comfort (325 3046) and Scarlet (7220 7000). Car hire: Deal with one of the international names and ask them to provide a driver (around PGK400 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 in this guide 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). Air Niugini 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 checkin counter. Aircraft and helicopter charter services are available for travel to remote locations.
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 $US30,000). Visitors should also note that malaria is prevalent in PNG and there have been cases of measles and tuberculosis in some parts of the country.
PNG’s currency is the kina (PGK). 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.
While the situation is not as bad as portrayed by some international media, you should always take precautions, especially at night.
PNG has a single time zone, 10 hours ahead of UTC/GMT.
EAT ING, DRINKING, SOCIAL ISING IN PORT MORESBY
Airways Hotel: Port Moresby’s ritziest hotel has several places to eat. If you’re after fine dining, Bacchus is the place to go. For something more casual, go poolside, where Deli KC’s serves antipasto, salads, sandwiches, milkshakes, espresso and a limited Italian menu for dinner. The Poolside Bar should not be missed for its garlic prawns. The Vue Restaurant, which has a buffet each morning and evening, as well as an a la carte menu, has stunning views. This is also the place for traditional rectangular, wood-fired Italian pizza. See airways.com.pg.
Aviat Club: The club is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Home-style meals include stirfries, toasted sandwiches and salt-and-pepper prawns. This is a great spot to sit at lunchtime under the shady mango trees, or in the air-conditioned bar. See facebook.com/pages/AviatClub/141553252563094.
Cafe on the Edge: There are good hamburgers here and breakfast options such as eggs benedict, avocado and crispy bacon. The servings are generous. Located under the residential buildings at Harbour City, behind the ANZ and BSP banks. See facebook.com/ edgebythesea/.
Crowne Plaza Hotel: There are multiple eating options at Crowne. The in-house restaurant includes a buffet for breakfast (eggs cooked to order), as well as lunch and dinner. It’s one of the few restaurants in Port Moresby with gluten-free choices. The hotel also has fine dining at the
Rapala restaurant, where the steaks and garlic prawns are impressive. Old-fashioned crepes suzette makes an appearance here, too, and is cooked at your table.
Daikoku: The extensive Japanese menu has teppanyaki, donburi bowls and a large range of sushi. Tucked away above the SVS shopping centre in Harbour City, chefs will whip up your meal at your table. The teppanyaki menu includes several courses, so come with an empty stomach. See daikokupng.com. Duffy Cafe, Gabaka Street: This has rapidly become popular among the expat community, with excellent coffee and homemade cafe-style food. See facebook. com/duffypng.
Dynasty at Vision City: This may be the biggest restaurant in Port Moresby. Its size, its chandeliers and its gold decor make it a favourite for balls, dinners and parties. The menu is huge, too, with pages of Asian dishes. Don’t miss yum cha on Sundays. See facebook.com/ pages/ Dynasty-Restaurant-VisionCity/148278471918956.
Fusion: This is one of the newer restaurants in the city and always seems to be doing great business. It’s Asian with a fusion of flavours from China, Thailand and Vietnam. Takeaway available. Grand Papuan Brasserie: The funky Grand Papua Hotel bar serves up cocktails and has a decent wine list, along with some tasty tapas-style bar food. Grab a seat in one of the huge, black leather chairs or head to the Brasserie, which has a nightly buffet. The a la carte menu is good and the steaks are delicious. See grandpapuahotel.com.pg.
Lamana Hotel: You’re spoilt for choice here with three restaurants (Spices, The Italian, and Rio’s at the Temple), Cafe Palazzo, Lanes Ten Pin Bowling, and PNG’s biggest nightclub, The Gold Club. See lamanahotelpng.com. Royal Papua Yacht Club: Relaxed, spacious and open to nonmembers. 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. See rpyc.com.pg.
Seoul House: This restaurant specialises in Korean and Thai food, cooked on the hot plate right in front of you. Seoul House is tucked away in a garden oasis compound in Five Mile. Tel. +675 325 2231. Stanley Hotel and Suites: This new hotel in Waigani has several restaurant choices, including the fine-dining Silver Leaf on the 17th floor, and the chic tapasstyle Monsoon Lounge, which is great for after-work drinks on the leather-lounge seating. The casual Green Haus restaurant has all-day dining, including buffet dinners with live cooking stations. See thestanleypng.com.
Tasty Bites: An Indian restaurant tucked away in the town centre in Hunter Street near Crowne Plaza. You won’t get a table unless you book. Tel. +675 321 2222.
Vision City: PNG’s first major shopping mall houses an increasing array of eateries. The cavernous Dynasty (Chinese) and the Ten (Japanese) are standouts. See visioncity.com.pg.
PORT MORESBY HOT ELS
Airways Hotel: Airways is located within a large, secure compound next to Jacksons International Airport. An inspiring setting, luxurious rooms, excellent service and very good food options. See airways.com.pg. Tel. +675 324 5200.
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.
Ela Beach Hotel and Apartments: On the fringe of the CDB, this constantly expanding hotel/apartment complex is part of the Coral Sea Hotels group. Its main eatery is popular at lunchtime. See coralseahotels.com.pg.
Gateway Hotel: Another member of Coral Sea Hotels, this time located next to the airport. A range of amenities include Port Moresby’s largest dedicated meeting space. See coralseahotels.com.pg.
Grand Papua: This premium hotel opened in late 2011 and 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. Centrally located. See grandpapuahotel. com.pg. Tel. +675 304 0000.
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. Included the three-star Holiday Inn Express hotel. See ihg.com. Tel. +675 303 2000.
Laguna Hotel: The 60-room property is a five-minute drive from the heart of Port Moresby