Things to do in Port Moresby – contrary to what its reputation may suggest there are actually quite a few good things to do in the nation’s capital if you are staying there in transit to your final destination or sampling the local diving.
Parliament Haus (National Parliament), the Botanic Gardens and the National Museum are all well worth a visit and offer a pleasant way to spend a few hours.
Both the parliament and the museum are in the Waigani area of Port Morseby, while the Botanic Gardens are in nearby Gerehu which is also the location of the National University of Papua New Guinea and near to the airport.
Most of the hotels will run escorted tours to them and it is best to use a tour so that somebody is accompanying you – just in case…
But my experience is that all three locations are safe to visit and I have never experienced any problems at any of them.
Personally I really like the National Parliament, which is modeled in the style of a Sepik spirit house – “haus tambaran” – and is set in some beautiful and very carefully landscaped gardens.
On the way back stop at one of the local markets such as the one at Four Mile, which is quite safe if you have a guide. You will be able to wander around and check out some of the local crafts such as the hand-made string bags called bilum’s that are one of the most common features of Papua New Guinea.
Bilum’s are used by both men and women for carrying everything from personal belongings and food, through to young babies…
Traditionally made using woven plant reeds, a practice still widely utilized in the rural areas across PNG, many villagers now use wool-based yarns to make their bilums so they are much more colorful and you will see many of these displayed at Four Mile.
You will also see what has become the traditional dress of choice (particularly so in rural areas) for the majority of PNG women – the “Meri Blouse”…
Introduced in the early days of the intense missionary activity in Papua New Guinea, the Meri Blouse was the missionaries way of dealing with an over-abundance of female flesh on display with the traditional way of dressing – bare breasts and all.
Styles vary slightly and there appears to be a long and short version, with the shorter one being more of a blouse and worn with a long sarong-type wrap around skirt, and the longer one the more all-encompassing version.
Not exactly the most flattering of attire, but that was presumably the missionaries underlying motivation and their overall objective has been achieved.
The term Meri Blouse comes from the pidgin (tok pisin) word for a woman, which is Meri as in Mary…
There are also a number of other “must-see” places around Port Moresby, starting with PNG Arts which is something of an institution and a really interesting place to visit.
All together, there is more than enough to fill at least one day and possibly two – much better than barricading yourself in your hotel room!
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