How to cross the border from Indonesia to Papua New Guinea

You may also like...

26 Responses

  1. Tom says:

    Hi Max, How are you?

    We crossed the border about a month ago, stayed two weeks in PNG, obtained Indonesian VISA and crossed back. I’d say not much has changed and the border crossing is still not stable (could be closed due to weather or tensions between two countries).tfac

    We are more than happy answer any questions, if someone needs help 🙂
    Most help we got, was from the homestay we stayed night before going to PNG.

    Read more about our experience:

  2. Max Jamilly says:

    Hi Tom – thanks for the great update! I’m very glad to hear that you made it across the border without significant problems. Hopefully the border will get more stable in time.

    Your blog looks brilliant. I can’t wait to read more! Look out for some photos and articles about my time in PNG soon. 🙂

  3. Hi everyone,

    Small update for the border crossing: all easy now.
    You can go there by bemo by Jayapura then hitch-hike from Koya or charter a bemo (public taxi) for around 150,000 rupiahs. Indonesia has just opened a new border office and you can reenter directly (from an used VOA to a visa exemption, for the French guy that I am). Getting a PNG visa in Jayapura was easy too, and I have got it in 24h.

    Just one point more, Vanimo is very expensive for foreigners, as mostly business men and civil servants go there: cheapest hostel (Vanimo Beach Hotel) was about 90 US dollar a night: 1.1m Indonesian rupiahs. And no hanging out by night, because of spirits and drunk people. But water is amazing and there is a small cave with skulls, cross and bones just before Indonesian border, on the seashore. I have had the pleasure of meeting a forester to discover the area.
    In a nutshell, it is expensive, very original with locals and militaries, long and unforgettable.

    I have done it by your post, so thanks a lot. Very cool of you.

    Yours Sincerely,


  4. Max Jamilly says:

    Salut Nicolas! Thanks for your awesome hints. What brilliant news that the crossing is no longer such an ordeal. Did you continue further east into PNG?

  5. Astrid says:

    Thanks everybody for your update which is so important, as it is soo difficult to get any information beforehead! I am planning to cross the border on a saturday, but I did organise a visa for png beforehead.. so i should not need to get one in jayapura.. at least this is what people promised me… so i just wonder if you know if the border is also opened on saturdays? thanks again for your help! cheers astrid

    • Max Jamilly says:

      Hey Astrid – great to hear from you. Unfortunately I don’t know whether the border is open on Saturdays. If you’re already in Jayapura, you could try asking at the police office or calling the PNG consulate. Let us know what you find out! Good luck 🙂

      • Astrid says:

        Hey max! Thanks for your reply! Well everybody told me that the boarder should open on Saturday .. lets see! But they told me also that I ll need an exit stamp even if I already have my visa for png and a normal one ( so no visa on arrival) which I only get in the migration office..and this I do not know wether it is open on Saturday ..I wonder if I can not get the stamp right at the boarder ..well as usual nobody knows..but I ll keep you updated..I ll be there beginning of September..cheers astrid

        • Juergen says:

          Strange, I will be arriving in Jayapura this. wednesday and hoping to get my PNG Visa the same day, so I can cross the border the next day 17.11.2017.
          Hopefully everythink works well, I have reading this helpful blog since 1 year.
          Cheers Jürgen from Austria

          • Juergen says:

            I will let you know, about the PNG Visa application in Jayapura Consulate, and the way to go to PNG.

          • Max Jamilly says:

            Hey Juergen! how did it go? Let us know when you have the chance 🙂

          • antonovitch says:

            Wahoo, I strongly disencourage you to go camping there. It is very unsafe by night, don’t do it. Hostels have told me there you risk robbery and death if you go out by night, and I am not a newbie.
            You have to understand Vanimo is a forestry town for export in Malaysia and China. So there is not really accomodation for tourists: hostels are very expensive (cheapest is Vanimo Beach something, 75€ per night) because it is used, nearly only by business men and civil servants.

            I have managed to hitch hike in the Indonesian part, but you are unlikely to succeed in the PNG part, because you have first to go through a road in the forest / seeside, with a check by militaries. So I don’t expect locals to have to deal with your border-crossing needs. But shared taxis are alright!

            It was an unexpected and great time for the poor one-boy traveller that I was six months ago, but please deal with these safety requirements. And remember, be safe before night! And go swimming, water is marvellous and, according to my small insights, less dangerous (less streams) than in the Indonesian part.

            So long,

          • Max Jamilly says:

            I agree! Although Vanimo is pretty different to the rest of PNG. In Vanimo I think I spent $40 at a mission home (I’ll check the name) and then spent a few nights couchsurfing with a great guy from the town hall called Mr Wasa. Hitchhiking in the rest of PNG wasn’t difficult but if you’re on a PMV route then people may ask you to pay. Definitely avoid the streets in urban areas at night.

  6. Merle says:

    Thanks to everybody for all this recommondations!
    I´m planning to travel from Indonesia (Jayapura) to PNG by hitchhiking and staying in my tent in March/April 2018- solo.
    Does anyone know more about woman´s safety there?
    I have hitched and stayed in a tent in Thailand and Malaysia before, there I felt quiet safe…
    Would you consider hitching / camping for a solo woman as quiet safe in PNG and Indonesia?
    Otherwise how much are approximately the cheapest accomodations there?
    Thank you in advance!♥

    • Max Jamilly says:

      Hey Merle! Camping in PNG will be a great adventure. I don’t have any personal experience of women’s safety there but I reckon most people wouldn’t advise camping near urban areas. It’s not especially safe at night and you’ll certainly attract a LOT of attention unless you’re very good at hiding.
      In the jungle and Highlands camping may be OK, but maybe chat to some people locally for advice – again, every time I tried, friendly people came and invited me to their homes. Accommodation is pretty expensive (often 80+ kina per night in missions/hostels in cities, sometimes 150-200 kina if you’re unlucky) but everywhere I went I met people willing to host me. There’s a pretty active couchsurfing scene in some of the cities. Let me know and I can put you in touch with friends there but you’ll probably have more offers of a place to stay than you can handle! Kira Salak’s book “Four Corners” is a bit old but it’s probably still an accurate account of solo female travel in PNG – maybe worth a read. Good luck! Let us know how it goes… 🙂

      • Hi all, what a great thread, thank you so much for this info. I was trying to find a way how to cross the border from Jayapura to PNG and wasn’t sure if we can go further into the country. Now, after reading your info, we probably give it a go 🙂
        We will be there in January, if I don’t remember myself, please remind me to also update on here to share latest info.

    • Juan says:

      Im going PNG same dates, hitchhiking and with tent, let me know if you made it or where are you atm

  7. Hello all,
    first to Merle: please really re-think about camping as a woman solo in PNG! I was there only in Vanimo, in company with my husband. I wouldn’t feel safe by myself. At least camp somewhere next to a church mission or something, not in the wild by yourself. Locals warned us not to go any further than Vanimo, as it is not safe. We are very experienced travellers, maybe we would have tried, but we run out of time and also there is no road to Wewak at the moment. You have to go by boat.
    Border crossing is no problem at all. We had a scooter that we rented from our guesthouse in Jayapura. It took us about 1 hour and 50 minutes to reach the border. We left the bike there over night. The VISA we got in Jayapura in 24 hours, no hassle, and for free.
    In Vanimo we bought quite a few souvenirs (wooden handcrafts) in a shop next to the Beach Hotel, they are very friendly there and willing to go down with the price 🙂
    The military point in Indonesia after the border stopped us and checked our backpack with all the souvenirs, but let us pass.
    One more tipp: Change money at the stands next to the border on the Indonesian side, they have a better rate than the internet.

  8. Max Jamilly says:

    Thanks for the awesome update! Glad you had a good trip to Vanimo 🙂

    The Vanimo-Wewak road is really bad – hopefully they will fix it soon.

  9. Hi Max! I found your blog post incredibly helpful. I’m trying to get from Jayapura to Port Moresby without taking crazy flights all the way back through Jakarta. I do not have time to get a PNG VISA ahead of time here in the United States, and a few posts made it sound like it would take a few days to get one in Jayapura. I will be visiting the Baliem Valley through Jayapura from August 1 to 10th. Are you confident that I can get a VISA in one day there, taxi to Vanimo, then take the flight from there through Wewak to Port Moresby? Thanks so much for your insights!

    • Max Jamilly says:

      Hi Michael! Great to hear that you found the blog useful. It’s definitely not convenient to fly from Jayapura to POM but I’m not convinced that planning on a same-day PNG visa in Jayapura is a safer option. It has been a while since I applied for a PNG visa in Jayapura but it sounds risky to depend on it being processed so quickly. Someone last year reported getting the visa in 24 hours – so it could work out if you can spare a night in Jayapura and then travel to Vanimo the next day.

      Perhaps you could fly via Denpasar or Darwin or Cairns to save going all the way back to Jakarta? Sadly that could be quite expensive.

      Can anyone who has recently applied for a PNG visa in Jayapura offer some advice? Good luck – and let us know how it works out!

      PS: awesome Mongolia photos on your Insta 🙂

  10. Hey Max,
    Cheers for all the info.
    Hopefully it will still be relevant as I plan to cross it end of January 2019 on my honeymoon.
    Nice pics too.

    • Max Jamilly says:

      Thanks, Joao! Awesome videos on your blog. Great to hear you’re making the crossing on your honeymoon. Good luck – I’m sure you’ll have a great time. Send us an update once you’re done. We’d love to hear how it goes!

  11. Lambros says:

    hey everyone!!!
    max, your blog is just amazing, so many useful things about this not so explored country!!!
    keep it up brother!!
    i am in indonesia at the moment and i wanna do PNG sooo bad!!!
    at first, i contacted a couple tour operators cayse i read that PNG is not so safe and its better to do it with them etc…
    prices: around 1000$ / day… holly crap!!! lol
    so, my question:
    i do NOT wanna just cross the border for visa, i’d like to stay in PNG for a week…
    is it possible to do it solo, without the help of tour operator??
    how is the transportation there?? cause i’d like to see a couple of places…
    if you or anyone has any info, besides the border crossing would be extra helpful!!!
    safe travels to everyone!!


    • Max Jamilly says:

      Hey Lambros! Glad you found the post helpful. Check out some of my other posts for more info about PNG.

      It’s not the safest country in the world and you do need to be careful sometimes – but it is perfectly safe to travel there solo. I spent a month alone and had no problems at all. If you enjoyed solo travel in Indo, you’ll definitely have more fun (and save a lot of money) without a tour in PNG! Transportation is slow and frustrating but that’s part of the adventure. If you only have a week, maybe just head to the Sepik for a few days via Wewak, Have an amazing time! Send us an update when you’re back 🙂

      • Lambros says:

        hey max
        well my ideal plan was to stay a couple days in port moresby and then do sepik.
        but, can i do sepik withut a tour?? i saw that everything is sooo expensive.
        how did u do it?? u just went there and find something??
        plz bro, any help would be grateful!!!


        • Max Jamilly says:

          Hey man! Sorry for the slow reply. YES, you can totally see the Sepik without a tour. PNG is not really a budget travel destination – things like fuel, transport and food in shops can be surprisingly expensive – but with a bit of local knowledge and a lot of patience, it can be very cheap. If you talk to the locals they will always help you out. There’s not so much to do in POM. I’d definitely spend more time in the Sepik if you can. Just visiting Wewak and maybe Ambunti by PMV would be an awesome trip.
          When are you planning on going?

Leave a Reply