Transportation

Driving in PNG is done on the left side of the road, but more accurately on the side where there aren’t potholes.  Typical warnings tell anyone traveling in PNG to take caution*, crime is prevalent and can be random.  When driving, avoid getting ‘stuck’ where you have no exit around surrounding vehicles, always lock your doors, and whenever possible don’t drive alone (ha, I never did this…).  Road conditions change daily between the current constant road construction and rainy weather creating new potholes…

If you are an Ex-pat moving to Lae you may be given use of a company car to drive as part of your contract.  (Some companies may provide access to a car with a driver).  If you are bringing family and need a second car their are several ways to do this… 1)purchase from a local company like Boroka Motors or Ela Motors 2)purchase a local used car – ads are often posted at the Yacht Club 3) purchase online from Japan (or similar).

Taxis – in the last few years several taxi ‘companies’ have popped up.

Security vehicles – you can hire security transportation, (usually around k100+ per person/per trip to the airport…).  Some of the available security companies: Guard Dog, G4S (i.e. G-force), Arm Sec, Kuima are just a few of the companies (first two listed usually considered the most reliable).

PMVs (Public Motor Vehicles) – typically cost about a 1 kina per trip.  These vehicles hold between 12 to 30 passengers and while typically considered ‘un-safe’ for tourists, can be an interesting experience.  I never felt threatened on a PMV but can’t say I road in them more than half a dozen times and for the most part with someone from the area.  I’ve met a number of travelers who have taken PMV transport around PNG and have never had an issue as well.  Common sense says to not travel with a large number of valuables (at least not the valuables you are not willing to part with).

Via water – there are Ferries nearly daily to Finchhaffen and further, again, this is public transportation, it is a developing country so they do not necessarily comply with typical safety regulations.  (see 2012 Ferry accident)  I’ve taken ferries and for that matter local ‘Banana Boats’ without any incident, but their are at least several reports a year in the papers of boat trips going awry.

Via Air – there are two main airlines in PNG with a third gaining grounds…Airlines PNG and Air Nuigini.  For trips to more remote places charter flights are available.

*While it’s important to careful but I’d also like to stress that the majority of people I came across are really amazing people, like anywhere in the world, there will be a small number of people with bad intentions or just looking for an opportunity to ‘help themselves.’

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