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Living in Papua New Guinea

Can you say that you’ve lived in Papua New Guinea?  


PNG is renowned for its extraordinary festivals called singsings.  Different cultural groups gather wearing traditional clothing and perform songs and dances specific to their tribe.  It is a spectacle that is hard to match anywhere else in the world.

Sarah Wiles in PNG


“I never expected to be as moved by PNG culture as when I saw my first singsing.  The incredibly intricate, brightly coloured head dresses, the smell of hot grass flattened by the dancing and the sound of the rhythmic singing and drumming, created electricity in the air."

Sarah Wiles


James Skinner, PNG volunteer

The potential for exciting and unique adventures during your placement is abundant. Volunteers find many ways to explore this fascinating and diverse country, through day trips, weekends away and longer holidays. 

There are opportunities to be active, including trekking, kayaking, surfing, cycling and diving, as well as learning about local cultures and taking time to relax too. 

Volunteers often travel in pairs or as a group but in some places there are opportunities for independent travel. 

VSO volunteer Kate on the Sepik river

As in many countries, traveling freely is easier for male volunteers, but exciting adventures are definitely possible for everyone (see Sarah's blog for some inspiration). 

By following VSO's guidance and the advice of local guides, all volunteers are able to stay safe, meet wonderful people and enjoy everything that PNG has to offer.

"I've really enjoyed all the adventures I have had so far during my placement.  Highlights include exploring the mighty Sepik river by canoe, trying my hand at spearfishing on Yuo island and trekking in the mountains with villagers from the Kalam tribe."

James Skinner

Daily life

A quick tour around the beautiful coastal town of Madang, taking in the highlights and showing you what a small place the town full of flying foxes is; pot holes, bumps and all!

PNG really does run on the Pacific pace.  Routines are laid back and time keeping is flexible!  But the most prominent characteristic about this diverse country is the welcoming nature of your colleagues and the local community. 

Life may have some limitations and be a little more costly than what you are used to but going to the market or supermarket and having an active social life are all possible.

Paul Kaibi

Paul Kaibi, Kenyan voluteer

“I find PNG unique because of the loving character of the people, they are very hospitable and make you feel at home.  I will always remember the good friends I've made here."

Paul Kaibi, Kenyan volunteer

Things to consider

Any research you do is bound to mention some common concerns, like security or remoteness. We've some answers to these concerns, but do get in touch if we can help.

Get in contact

By volunteering with VSO in PNG you get to put your skills, energy and personal qualities to work, helping people break out of poverty.

Interested in volunteering in one of the most unexplored, unique countries in the world?  A role in PNG might be just what you are looking for.

Get in touch with VSO Papua New Guinea:

Telephone: (+675) 4221924/4221925
You can also keep in touch with us via Twitter, Facebook and Youtube.