Useful information for visitors to Bougainville
Bougainville’s climate is tropical with temperatures ranging from 26-30 degrees Celsius. Rainfall in Bougainville varies with topography and latitude. Southern Bougainville tends to receive almost double the annual rainfall of parts of Northern Bougainville, 4500mm and 2500mm respectively.
The Autonomous Region of Bougainville is 11 hours ahead of Universal Coordinated Time (UCT+11), in the same time zone as the Solomon Islands. There is no daylight saving.
Currency and Banking
The unit of currency in Bougainville is the Papua New Guinea Kina (PGK). Most businesses in Buka Town accept EFTPOS, although if travelling to rural areas cash tends to be the most reliable way to operate.
The Bank of South Pacific (BSP) is the only commercial bank in Bougainville and has branches in Buka and Arawa (www.bsp.com.pg).
Bougainville is classified as a malaria-prone zone. Travellers should consult a doctor to arrange protection against malaria. For protection against biting insects, use a tropical strength insect repellent and wear long-sleeved shirts, trousers and shoes in the evenings.
Treated drinking water is not provided in Bougainville. It is advisable for visitors to drink bottled water, boiled water, and rainwater in towns and rural areas. Water purification tablets are useful in rural areas.
There aren’t any privately owned medical clinics, but there are government run hospitals in Buka Town and Arawa as well as a medical clinic in Buin. A well supplied pharmacy operates in Buka Town.
As with all developing countries and post-conflict regions, there are times when safety might be a concern. Although you are unlikely to experience any difficulties, common sense should always prevail. Always ask for directions and information if in doubt. It is advisable to use local guides when exploring as they know the local languages and will know the places you can safely visit.
Bougainvilleans have a custom of making sure that their guests are safe and will go out of their way to make sure that you are okay. It is important that you also respect them by not putting them in an awkward position by being dishonest about your intentions in Bougainville.
Bougainvilleans have many sacred sites so please pay attention to your guides if they point out such sites and ask them what the local customs are regarding them.