"Madang - Papua New Guinea's "Resort"" Madang by Bwana_Brown

Madang Travel Guide: 18 reviews and 50 photos

Of all the many places in Papua New Guinea that I managed to visit during my 3-years in the country, Madang struck me as the closest thing to a traditional Western type of resort location. Along with its beautiful location along the north coast of the country (see my 'General Tips' for a map) the city also has quite a long history, by PNG standards.

Although there is evidence of early contact with Chinese and Korean traders, the first European sighting of the north coast of New Guinea was by a Spaniard in 1528. In fact, the island was named New Guinea in 1545 by another Spaniard, Inigo Ortiz de Retes, who followed along the coastline and thought that the inhabitants he saw resembled those from the Guinea coast of Africa. The 'modern' history of Madang began in 1871 when Nikolai Miklouho-Maclay, a Russian explorer, naturalist and ethnographer, landed there. He remained for 3-years, studying the physical characteristics and culture of the local tribes. In 1884, the German New Guinea Company arrived and began to plant extensive plantations of tobacco, cotton and coffee near Madang. Architectural remnants from the German period of occupation (1884-1915) are still evident in the town today.

The popularity of Madang with tourists remains even to this day, long after I was last there. With plenty of local culture to experience, abundant off-shore reefs and volcanic islands, combined with its proximity to the mighty Sepik River flowing out of the mysterious heartland of Papua New Guinea, there is no shortage of things to enjoy.

My wife made a visit here with one of her lady friends from Port Moresby while I had to 'rough it' with 3-4 business trips! If you plan to head to mainland PNG in the near future, this could be a good bet!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Diverse attractions
  • Cons:Humid, Remote & the usual security issues
  • In a nutshell:Not bad if you are staying in a resort!
  • Last visit to Madang: Nov 1981
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (11)

Comments (10)

  • lynnehamman's Profile Photo
    May 18, 2009 at 11:00 PM

    It is obvious from your fond memories that you enjoyed your stint here, Glenn. An what a beautiful place it is. So close to Australia too! Scuba opportunites sound good- we all dive. Lovely page, tips and pictures.

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    May 8, 2009 at 11:47 AM

    Lovely area! The Stilt Houses look wonderful. Looks like that hornbill was having their share of fun too:)

  • traveldave's Profile Photo
    Mar 24, 2008 at 12:40 PM

    I haven't been to the South Pacific, so I can't say if Madang is the prettiest town in the South Pacific or not, but it sure looks wonderful by your pictures. A great place to get away from it all and do nothing.

  • scottishvisitor's Profile Photo
    Sep 6, 2007 at 11:00 AM

    Nice to see where your work once took you and the strange creatures you encountered here too

  • evaanna's Profile Photo
    May 11, 2007 at 11:49 AM

    Interesting area to visit, loved the houses on stilts, the palm trees on the coast as if taken straight from 'Robinson Crusoe' and the wonderful hornbills, I wouldn't mind playing with one myself.

  • tiabunna's Profile Photo
    Jul 6, 2006 at 5:01 PM

    Really enjoyed dipping again into your PNG pages, Glenn. From the depths of our winter at present, Madang looks like a pretty good place to be!

  • easyoar's Profile Photo
    May 14, 2006 at 2:06 PM

    'prettiest town in the South Pacific'? It begs the question if anyone has actually visited all the towns to be able to make a statement like that!

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo
    Mar 20, 2006 at 3:27 AM

    Wow! That Papuan Hornbill is one "Big Bird". It must have been fascinating to see all those flying fox hanging from the trees. And yes I can imagine Madang now being a modern day resort.

  • globetrott's Profile Photo
    Sep 20, 2005 at 11:51 PM

    It is funny to read about this Papuan Hornbill - it reminds me of a pelikan, that is walking in the port of Mykonos, posing for pics togeather with the tourists and it totally gave up fishing, because it was fed by the tourists all day...

  • JLBG's Profile Photo
    Sep 16, 2005 at 6:08 AM

    The spectacled Flying Fox must be very impressive with a wingspan of 6 feet ! That is almost like a good size drone !


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