General Considerations

Your Safety

Because you will be trekking in extremely remote and isolated areas and backup medical and rescue/evacuation services are not easily available, we always have a contingency plan for evacuation in the unlikely event of a serious problem occurring. The safety of everyone on our trips is our number one priority. This includes our trekkers and our guides and porters. We travel with a fully equipped medical kit on every trek and we also have an arrangement with a local helicopter company that is fully prepared to assist in the unlikely necessity of an evacuation. We are trained and certified in First Aid and always travel with a satellite telephone and two way radio in case of emergency. Our fully trained guides and porters are all senior guides and have a minimum of a decade of training. Rest assured that we have seen all types of injuries during our many years on The Track. We have experienced breaks, strains, sprains and we are experienced in emergency evacuation from our villages.

First Aid Kit/Medication

We recommend each trekker bring a personal first aid kit. Some items to consider bringing with you are as follows. Antibiotics, lip-balm, moisturizer, sunscreen, headache tablets, antiseptic (e.g. Betadine), antibiotic ointment, anti- diarrhea tablets (for changes in diet and water), laxatives, ‘Band-Aid’ type of dressings/moleskin/dressing strips for blisters, small scissors/tweezers. Note that moleskin is particularly good for blisters and can be obtained from any pharmacy. Our trekkers have also found sprinkling anti-bac foot powder inside your boots prior to hiking every day very helpful in maintaining good foot health.  It is also recommended that you bring a note from your doctor regarding any prescribed medications that you may be bringing with you.

Stomach upsets are not uncommon when travelling through new destinations (usually a 24-48 hour ‘bug’) and this may cause diarrhea, leading to dehydration. Should you develop a stomach upset you should eat only in moderation and drink plenty of fluids. It is a good idea to carry a couple sachets of rehydrates with you (such as Gastrolite). We also suggest that you carry one of the common anti-diarrhea tablets such as Imodium. In the event you do become ill, please let your porter know and we will make the necessary adjustments to your food options for a day or two until you are well again.

Sunstroke/Dehydration

It can be quite easy to get sun burnt when you are not accustomed to the sun in new climates.  Wearing a hat and using a good UV sunscreen should be enough to keep the sun at bay however, please remember that sunscreen will need to be reapplied throughout the day due to humidity and the amount of sweating you will do.  Finally, drinking plenty of fluids – preferably water, will assist and popping a rehydration tab/sachet into your water bottle first thing in the morning and as needed, before heading out has helped some trekkers avoid the ill-effects of sun and fluid depletion.

Water

Along the trail, we recommend that you always ask your porter or tour leader where the most  suitable points are to refill water bottles and bladders for drinking.  Your porters and guides are very familiar with clean water availability however we do suggest that purification tablets be brought with you and used as you feel necessary.  In town, most hotels offer water that is safe to drink otherwise bottled water, when available, is always the safest option to take.

Government Travel Advice

Many governments publish up to date travel advisories for countries around the world and information is available from both local and international sources. Please check your respective government website for any travel advisories that they may have in effect but please keep in mind that most advisories remain on the cautious side.  We monitor these travel advisories closely and may alter itineraries or cancel trips as a result however it is also your responsibility to stay informed. Please note that as a responsible tour operator we maintain constant links with our group’s operators and your safety, at all times, is our primary concern.

Money and Other Considerations

As a guideline we recommend that you budget $AUD50-80 per day (pp) in PNG.  This should allow you to eat and drink reasonably well however if you are used to eating any additional meals throughout the day we suggest an additional appropriate amount be factored in and this does not include alcoholic drinks.  In addition to this, you should carry sufficient funds for optional activities such as additional sightseeing, laundry, shopping and tips (see below).

In addition, we recommend that each traveller carry an additional amount of cash (or credit card) for emergencies purposes in the event of a medical emergency or, if unexpected delays result in an unexpected cost.  We recommend $US500 per person be available for emergency purposes.

Please be aware that there are sometimes unscrupulous shopkeepers and traders who may take advantage of tourists. While our tour leaders will offer some assistance in advising on the more reputable shops to visit we ask that you take the time to consider your purchases and are confident that the decision to purchase is entirely yours.

Gratuities

Although the culture of tipping may not be part of your own culture it has become an accepted part of tourism in most developing parts of the world. It is part of the culture in this area of the world and is often the only way someone makes a living wage. For tipping on our trips your tour leader can advise you on this matter, however as a guideline we would recommend a tip of 10% in restaurants.  With regard to tipping your porters and guides it is advised that as a group everyone contributes to a pool of tips, which can then be evenly distributed to the porters, guides and tour leaders.  A fair amount is PGK100-150 per trekker for the trek. This will be shared among the trekking team.  Should you wish to personally tip your porter, we have found most trekkers happy to do so as a thank you for the care, concern and support he has provided you on the trip.  We suggest an amount of US$100 however this is, again, a personal and optional choice.

Cultural Considerations

Culture and Photo Etiquette

Please ask first if you want to take someone’s photograph. This is a normal courtesy and if you are refused permission, please abide by that person’s wishes. At certain ancient sites, and in most museums, photography (video or still) may not be allowed, or may incur an extra charge. Please do not take photos of buildings, structures and personnel of potential military significance (including airports, bridges, army barracks and police stations).

Please remember that you are travelling in a part of the world where standards and culture values may be different from what you are used to. Please keep this in mind at all times and be sensitive to the way you dress and the way you behave.  What is acceptable and completely normal at home, may be offensive to other cultures. Your tour leader can make suggestions about what is appropriate if you are unsure and require clarification on anything.

Travelling in Papua New Guinea can offer some of the most rewarding travel in the world:  encounters with local people and becoming fast friends, fantastic scenery, wildlife that you have not seen before, colourful markets and exciting adventure activities.  However, it is important to realize that you will encounter lifestyles and attitudes that may be different to those you are used to at home. Please remember that every culture is unique and  we ask that you be respectful of this.

Flexibility & Patience

We recommend packing both.  As a traveller here you will find that many of the places where you are travelling may be in the process of upgrading their infrastructure with regard to communications, quality of roads, vehicles, availability of services, education etc. Many of these facilities are likely to be far less sophisticated than what you may be used to at home.  Please be aware that delays may occur and the itinerary may have to be changed and transportation altered. Incidents such as these are normal in Papua New Guinea and although we have no control over them, keeping a sense of humour and an open mind (please pack these as well) will add to the uniqueness of this experience and can also provide you with a great story to tell once you arrive back at home!

IMPORTANT – Please consider all the above points when booking your holiday. Adventure travel is not for everyone although we suggest that everyone can certainly learn a great deal about themselves and their world on these sorts of adventures.  If you decide you wish to leave the trek after we have started, you will be responsible for your own arrangements and associated costs involved in leaving the trek early.  Indigenous Kokoda Adventures has various grades of tours ranging from `soft’ adventure to `hard’ adventure.  Please ensure that you are travelling on a tour that is right for you and please remember ‘The Golden Rule of Travel’: Do not expect to find things the way they are at home!

Important

About this information

It is important that you should read these notes in conjunction with the detailed trip specific Pre Departure Information that will be provided to our confirmed trekkers. This comprehensive information package is supplied to you at the time of booking and contains extensive information about subjects such as climate, what clothing and gear to bring, medical and visa matters, currencies, and other information about PNG.

The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, circumstances do change and some of the information may quickly become out of date.  This document was correct at time of printing however as situations change we will update this information as necessary. Please keep this in mind when you read this and check with us if you want to be sure about something.  If you have any queries, please contact Indigenous Kokoda Adventures. We are here to help you!