• No gat pawa long viles.
    The village has no electricity.


One of the great experiences of travelling in PNG is taking the opportunity to stay in a village. Village accommodation comes in all manner of guises. It might be a basic hut in a highland village; a tiny thatched stilt house in the Trobriand Islands; or one of the simple village guesthouses on the Huon Gulf coast, or around Tufi, Milne Bay, the Sepik or New Ireland. It might not be a village house at all, but a spare room in a school, space in a police station, in a church house or just about any building you see. Just ask.

Village accommodation can be pretty rough but it’s the cheapest way to see the country, and in most villages you’ll find a local who’ll put you up. You must pay; K30 to K50 is a fair amount to offer a family providing you a roof and kai (food). But ask locals before you head out of town what might be appropriate compensation – a live kakaruk (chicken) could be the go. But a live kakaruk can be a hassle to lug around, so maybe a sack of rice, or some bully beef, salt, tea or sugar might be better. In some instances a carton of beer is good currency, but alcohol can be a very sensitive issue in some communities, so proceed with caution.

In some villages couples might be asked to sleep in separate buildings to observe local custom. Most rural villages have a men’s house and these spaces often function as domiciles for elderly or widowed men and young male initiates, as resthouses for male guests and as places where men practise ‘the arts’. Men’s houses are tambu (forbidden) to women – female travellers will be enthusiastically ‘adopted’ by the village women and quickly engaged with the womanly affairs of the community. In some villages there’s a haus kiap – a village house set aside for travellers to stay in. These were originally erected for accommodating visiting kiaps (government patrol officers) and some remain today. You might be asked to stay in one of these, but it’s more enjoyable to stay with a family in a traditional house than sleeping by yourself.


1. rail

  • Ol i putim rel long sait long step i go antap long haus bilong em.
    They installed a rail alongside the steps that go up to his house.

2. airstrip matting (Marsden matting)

  • Maria i yusim rel bilong ples balus long wokim banis bilong pik.
    Maria is using Marsden matting to build a pig pen.

3. the deck of a ship

  • Ol i sanap long rel bilong sip.
    They are standing on deck.