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Vanimo is the capital of West Sepik, or Sandaun, province in the Sepik region of Papua New Guinea. You can travel overland to or from the neighbouring Indonesian province of Papua via Vanimo.

Vanimo from the air.


A Malaysian-owned forestry company dominates the town's economy. The local hardwood, kwila, is exported mainly to China, but is now in danger of extinction. Vanimo attracts lots of shoppers from the other side of the border and often comes close to running out of basic supplies.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

  • Air Nuigini flies here from the nation's capital, Port Moresby, and from Wewak[1]. Travel air is cheaper. You can view flights online but you'll have to book in their office.
  • Airlines PNG also flies from flies here from Port Moresby and from Wewak

There are no scheduled flights from Indonesia, but a charter is possible to arrange.

By road[edit]

The road between Vanimo and Wewak is closed as of September 2017. To get to Wewak from Vanimo one has first to take a banana boat to Aitape (leaving Vanimo beach close to the market early in the morning around sunrise, 3-4 hours, 150 PGK) and then a motor vehicle (PMV, either truck or pickup, leaving at Aitape harbour after the boats arrive, 6-8 hours, 50 PGK) to Wewak.

From Jayapura in Indonesia by road takes around 3 hours. Public transport services are available on both sides of the border. From Jayapura to the Indonesian border there are taxis (RP 500,000 per person / 3 Hours). In PNG, Public Motor Vehicles travel regularly the coast-hugging road between the Wutung border crossing and Vanimo (K15 / 2 hours).

See also the main Papua New Guinea article about this border crossing.

Star Shipping (ex Rabaul shipping) departs Madang once or twice a week to Vanimo (380/280/200 kina regular /student/child), Wewak (205/160/120) and Manus Island (240/180/145) (prices as of 2014). Call 4221322 (Madang office) for schedules and current prices.

In September 2017 locals told that currently no shipping company is calling at Vanimo (or any other town between Madang and the Indonesian border) anymore. A ship seems to have sunken and the company lost its license because of that.

See also the Sepik region article for information on travel to Aitape and Wewak.

There is an Indonesian consulate in town that issues visas fairly quickly and has WiFi (coordinates -2.684722, 141.305325 ).

Do[edit][add listing]

Vanimo is an increasingly popular surfing location.[2] A short drive west of Vanimo finds surfing that is good from September to March, with breakers of up to 3 meters. But this is not an area for the inexperienced.

Eat[edit][add listing]

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Sandaun Motel, PO Box 35, Vanimo 551 Sandaun Province, 457 1000 (fax: 457 1119).  edit
  • Vanimo Beach Resort Hotel, PO Box 42, Vanimo 551 Sandaun Province, 457 1102 (fax: 457 1131). Close to downtown. Attracts a lot of patrons from nearby logging camps who like to play the slot machines.  edit
  • Yako village. Bungalow accommodation is available for surfers.
  • EBC Guest House. Church-run basic, but clean accomodation. Situated a bit uphill, past the church. Coordinates for GoogleMaps are -2.681028, 141.303944 .  edit


Get out[edit]

A side trip to Jayapura in the neighbouring Papua province of Indonesia is highly recommended. Indonesia has a consulate in Vanimo that will issue visas, usually within 24 hours.

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