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Recommendation on Trobriand Island

Karmiel, Israel
7 posts
1 review
Recommendation on Trobriand Island

I'm interested to visit the Trobriand Island in PNG.

I'm planning to be there for 2 weeks on this coming October.

I'm 62 years old.

1) Is there any recommendation of a guesthouse?

2) Is there any recommendation of someone that can be a guide for me for the entire time?

3) I'm interested in staying in a village for some days of my trip. Any recommendation?

Looking forward for some response

19 replies to this topic
London, United...
Level Contributor
6,645 posts
2 reviews
9 helpful votes
1. Re: Recommendation on Trobriand Island

1) there are 2 main guest houses on Kiriwinia - Butia lodge in the centre of the island and Loquia lodge (also called Kiriwina lodge) near the Station (the main village) on the shore by a lagoon. Choose either based mainly on location. In 2 weeks you could split your time.

2) Not really. The lodges can arrange guides and you will meet people on the plane, at the airport and everywhere else who will offer to guide etc.

3) Kaibola on the north side is a nice fishing village but there are plenty of other places. Villages are either inland farming villages or coastal fishing villages. The lodges can arrange homestays or again you will be inundated with offers.

Read all the trip reports here and on the lonely planet thorntree forum. 2 weeks is a long time on a small island. I suggest you dont try and organise anything except the first few days of accommodation prior to arrival. Stay flexible and see what opportunities the island brings. Communication by phone and email is very difficult. The weather, cruise ship arrivals and other factors make planning difficult. Whilst there keep a look out for any festivals, marriages, funerals, cricket etc and take the opportunity to get involved. Try and visit some of the other islands.

You will need to take kina cash with you. There is no bank and nobody takes cards so budget accordingly and consider your security (in general the trobriands are safe).

Edited: 7 years ago
Cairns, Australia
Level Contributor
414 posts
22 reviews
38 helpful votes
2. Re: Recommendation on Trobriand Island

There is a smaller, cheaper guest house in Losuia called Cindy's Guest House that has only a few rooms and does not have reliable electricity but meals are included and the owner Janet is also a good tour guide and can arrange village stays. They have a BSP bank account that you can make payments to in advance of your stay and although there is no bank in Losuia there is a small BSP agency where BSP account holders can make limited withdrawals but only when the mobile phone tower is working (for data connection) so it's not reliable but it's a way that the owners can withdraw cash that you deposit in their account . Phone Janet James 675 73155414 or 72240123

I agree with majordom that 2 weeks on Kiriwina is too long unless you have something specific you want to do there. It's a very hot and quite dry island, not a tropical paradise. If you want the laid back tropical paradise homestay experience try Normanby Island (eg Sewa Bay Guest House) or some of the other islands closer in to Alotau, or try Tufi.

A cautionary note to all travellers: solo gentlemen or women staying an extended period on Kiriwina can arouse the suspicions and antagonism of the community that they may be trying to take advantage of the reputation of the "islands of love" (ie be looking for a partner) but it's been made clear that the traditional "flexibility" of romantic relationships in the Trobriands bears out only between locals and does not extend to to "dimdims" (outsiders). In fact Trobriand Islanders frown on their people marrying outside their community.

Karmiel, Israel
7 posts
1 review
3. Re: Recommendation on Trobriand Island

Thank you very much for your answer.

Coolum Beach...
1 post
4. Re: Recommendation on Trobriand Island

Hi - I'm an Australian (53yrs) and I've been going up to the Trobs for the last 35 years (one of my uncles married into one of the families in the village of Kiabola - and so I've enjoyed the opportunity to develop a close relationship with members of the ruling family at Kiabola Village in the north of the main Island).

1. Previous information about the guest houses is correct. But I prefer to stay in the villages - Village stays are no where near as comfortable but guest houses can be a bit isolating and not really near any local scenes. But to stay in a village, you have to negotiate a price first though. This will include your accommodation in the same thatched huts that they live in. In fact they'll probably just arrange to temporarily relocate a family to another hut to give you a good one (bed will be a foam mattress - bring your own mosquito net and sheet, no furniture - just a small place to sleep as all your living is done outside or sitting on your thatched veranda talking to the local adults and kids. Trust me, you'll never be alone! Bring some photos of your home town and family as they are intensely curious about how the outside world live and as the most important thing to them is family, they'll want to know about yours. Negotiate a price for food as well - they'll give you breakfast, lunch and dinner plus as many coconuts as you can eat and drink. It's pretty basic: breakfast - fruit, black tea or instant coffee, fried fritters with banana (my personal favourite), maybe reef fish if the boys have been out spearing on the reef the previous night; lunch - boiled taro, yam, sweet potato, more fish; dinner boiled taro, yam, sweet potato, more fish and sometimes crayfish (boiled, fried, baked) - or chicken if you've organised to buy a local one. If you go with them to one of the local shops in the 'town' of Lousia, you can usually just buy all the basics (flour, sugar, tea, coffee, oil, rice, biscuits, cordial, etc...) you'll need for your stay plus enough for the families you are staying with, and they'll accept that as part of the negotiated price of your accommodation (check this with them first though). Then they'll just supplement these supplies with the fish they catch and the fruit and vegetables and chickens from their village gardens. If you buy a pig for them to butcher (expensive) and cook for a special celebration you'll be treated like royalty! You're from Israel? Is this an option for you?

2. If you stay in a village, make sure it's one very near to a beach as I find the inland villages very hot, muddy and prone to lots of mosquitoes. This is also where you're more likely to get sick/infections but they are definitely worth a visit. Good sanitation is not always an easy thing to manage in these communities. There is a small beach settlement (a couple of extended families of around 20 or 30 people) on Kiabola beach (about a 10-15 minute stroll from the big village of Kiabola). Very pretty, shady, cool afternoon/evening breezes, swimming, great sunsets, dugout canoes and a spring of fresh water coming out of the cliff caves just up the beach. Ask for one of the Tomdowa brothers (Manu, Borax, or William), and they'll look after you provided you're happy to pay them a reasonable price for accommodation and food. They'll act as local guides for you as well. Very trustworthy fellows - with whom I have entrusted the welfare and safety of my own young children on several occasions.

Villages do not have: electricity, running water, or medical care. There might be someone with a generator for you to recharge your devises (phone, camera, etc...) - headmaster's house or perhaps local pastor might be able to help out. Roads are unsealed and not many cars or trucks on the island.

It's very safe provided you are respectful and polite. They are a very happy, generous people but they understand the value of a dollar and you won't easily be able to take advantage of them. People have tried but they generally come off second best. Don't touch their women! They are the 'Islands of Love', but that's only if you are a local. Westerners are almost universally regarded as obese (even the ones we think are pretty 'normal' looking, ugly and uncivilised. Outsiders are tolerated provided they pay their way and conform to their customs and culture - which remains strong. You'll be a 'dim dim' whilst you're there and the children will make fun (unmercilessly) of your status as an outsider . You'll love the kids but they are very cheeky and quite spoilt! Don't even think about spending time in a village if you can't laugh at yourself. Take the trouble to learn a few phrases of their language, and you'll make some friends for life! Be prepared to give away (almost) everything that you take to the island plus as many gifts of fishing hooks, fishing line, sinkers, swivels, clothes, sunglasses, basic medicines, etc... and they'll share everything that they have with you and make you a temporary member of their own family. A very humbling experience I must say.

I try and go there for a month when I visit but two weeks for you will probably be more than enough. If you go, tell them Grant 'Yamena' from Brisbane, Queensland says hello and I'll be back up in a couple of years.

Hope you enjoy your stay however you manage the details. You'll remember it for the rest of your life.

Barcelona, Spain
4 posts
5. Re: Recommendation on Trobriand Island

I 'd be very interested in your answer

Karmiel, Israel
7 posts
1 review
6. Re: Recommendation on Trobriand Island

Great detailed answer.

Unfortunately, because of planning going there by myself I decided to postpone my visit there until someone from the western countries who knows the area will join me to this visit/adventure as a partner and mainly as a guide.

Thanks again

Barcelona, Spain
4 posts
7. Re: Recommendation on Trobriand Island

Hi Yamena

How are you?

As I told you yesterday I want to go to Troviand islands and stay with my wife for one month around Milamala dates.

Could you send me one phone number or a mail to book it in advance.

I've already been in Kirivina three years ago but we'd like to change the way to relate with the local people.

Barcelona, Spain
4 posts
8. Re: Recommendation on Trobriand Island

Good morning Yamena.

Unfortunately I couldn't getting in touch with you by e-mail.

Would you mind to send me another e-mail?

Thank you

Barcelona, Spain
4 posts
9. Re: Recommendation on Trobriand Island

Hi Yamena my mail is fgaspar1@yahoo.es

thank you

Christchurch, New...
Level Contributor
122 posts
21 reviews
20 helpful votes
10. Re: Recommendation on Trobriand Island

Yamena, I very much enjoyed your explanation of the culture of Kiriwina. We went there on a cruise and can you imagine 3 middle aged “obese” ladies trying to get changed into swimming togs with no changing rooms and all the locals fascinated to watch. Tried hiding behind towels but a lovely local lady wanted to help lol. Ended up giving up and swimming in our clothes! Interesting to hear a westerner who is familiar with that lovely place

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