Shopping in Papua New Guinea is definitely an exciting experience. Most urban areas are flooded with shopping plazas and small stores that are impressive places to visit for travelers on Papua New Guinea tours.
Markets in all provincial capitals remain a focal point of local life as they remain the meeting place for traders from all over the province. Aside from a wide selection of exotic fruits and vegetables, an interesting collection of handicrafts, shell jewelry, bamboo combs, carvings, woven articles, wicker baskets, paintings and pottery can often be found in markets. Other than that, birds and animals are a common sight as well. Most markets are open daily from 7 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon except during Sundays.
A great time to visit the capital, Port Moresby, is when the shopping season for the capital commences. Every month, shopping bazaars and fairs are organized by government officials as small vending units, traders and even huge stores lined up in stalls to display their best items for sale. The most popular shopping market is found on the pristine sandy shores of Ela Beach at the Port Moresby harbor.
This is the time where shop owners would most likely bring out their finest wares and handicraft items that will surely make tourists marvel at such works. With each item, painstaking effort was done evident in its quality and intricate designs. Despite being made of tough fabrics, the amazing embroideries found in traditional items make for incredible items that reflect the culture of the land.
Exotic and traditional apparel is one thing that travelers are mostly hoping to buy. Tribal jewelry and precious stones that are a unique wear of the locals are the usual buys of tourist ladies. Bangles, bracelets, earrings, necklaces are all crafted into great detail as stones are set into jewelry so perfectly made it is simply exquisite. Most precious stones are made for ideal costume jewelry that make great fashion statements to wear back home.
Another common buy would be the ghastly and hilarious masks found along the Ela Beach as well. Locals wear such masks during tribal functions, rituals and festivals, which can be seen as either funny or just plain scary. Take home some of these Sepik masks for that upcoming masquerade ball or display these creative masks to seal your exciting Papua New Guinean adventure.
The Ela Beach Market is found near the Ela Beach School and is held on the last Saturday of every month. Make sure to get there early as not only is the market a thriving tourist destination, locals often visit the market to acquire their share of handicraft items as well. The market opens at 8 in the morning.
Aside from Port Moresby, other larger cities have a reasonable variety of shops and services that include supermarkets and markets. It’s important to know that Saturday is considered a half-day for most shops while generally all shops are closed during Sundays. Shopping in Papua New Guinea means that bargaining is a must so make sure to haggle to the lowest possible but reasonable price.