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Your Story and Experiences If you have ever visited Papua New Guinea as a traveller, please tell us about your experience.

 
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Old 13-09-2010, 06:29 PM
mpq_domanski mpq_domanski is offline
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Sepik experience - been there - survived

Here are some observations from our journey (a Polish couple, 50 years old). We were there for a very short time (unfortunately) and travelled only in the Middle Sepik region and islands near to Wewak. Observations are of very subjective nature – maybe different weather, different mood, different guide from the same agency may change your view. We have some travelling experience, were scouts in our youth and are very optimistic people – all this helps in PNG.
Getting there – when selecting your itinerary take into account customs regulations in transit countries as vast majority of what is worth bringing home as a souvenir from PNG is forbidden in e.g. Australia (things made of non-fumigated wood, of sea shells). We came through Singapore which appeared to be a good solution.
In Sepik it is inevitable to use local guides - we used PNG Frontier Adventures to arrange our trip (recommendations from Lonely Planet and own internet research). Was a good choice we were very well looked after by our guide Luke - compared with opinions of other tourists (very few) met there who used other agencies. When contacting by e-mail allow for some delay in answering and don’t get too attached to the plans set before your travel as everything may change on site. I think that they can arrange also Mt Hagen as they are not only local however you should ask.
As to accommodation in Sepik expect much more heart and hospitality than comfort. We stayed in one guesthouse (Kanganaman), two family houses (Ambunti, Wagu). Guesthouses are like family houses in that region – you sleep in a basket woven rooms in mosquito net cubicle (mattress and pillows clean sheets) all your staff on the floor. WC is a small house outside, shower is a bucket with rain water or Sepik water with a coconut half to pour water on you. We visited (but not stayed at) Ambunti Guesthouse where there is AC and each small room has own normal shower and WC. Before and after Sepik adventure we stayed in Wewak in Wewak Boutique Hotel – and this was very comfortable (AC, very clean, swimming pool, excellent food) alas also quite pricey.
Our menu on Sepik included rice, noodles with canned meat or tuna but also local fish, pancakes, lots of fruit (pineapples, pawpaw), eggs, jam, peanut butter. You often eat sitting on the floor. All reminded scouting times – but you need not do anything yourself – food was prepared and served for us.
We traveled on the river in dug out canoes, visited spirit houses in Kanganaman, Palambei, Malingai, Korogo, Kaminambit. The highlight was Ambunti Crocodile Festival – much less known than Mount Hagen or Goroka – but very interesting, local (over thousand visitors maybe 40 tourists) excellent contact – you are not a spectator but a participant. As to nature we visited Wagu Lagoon – wonderful landscapes, birdwatching including bird of paradise. Unfortunately have not seen crocodiles in natural setting (seen them on a farm) – recommended is Chambri Lake. We were fortunate about the weather as it was dry season it did not rain too much (mainly at nights), there were very few mosquitoes (less than in Poland at that time) but also some itineraries were not passable (thus changes of plans).
Second part of the stay was Yuo Island – close to Wewak in a small guesthouse (there is only one there) – the choice of travel agency. Wonderful four days if you like the idea of making friends with all 100 inhabitatnts, playing and snorkeling with local kids, visiting local school, taking part in a sing-sing (singing and dancing in local costumes) organized just for you and for fun, eating fresh fish and sago and visiting nearby islands.
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