Lae, on the Bismarck Sea, is larger and more commercial than the better-known Madang. It merits a one-night stay to see the spectacular botanical gardens—allow several hours to see indigenous Papua New Guinea plants and the adjoining War Memorial Cemetery, final resting place of nearly 3,000 Allied soldiers. Lush tropical vines and trees invade every unweeded space in Lae. Skip the lookout on Mt. Lunaman—it's controlled by "rascals," (youth gangs) and the views aren't worth the risks involved. Day trips can be taken to the mountain towns of Bulolo and Wau. Other trips include a boat ride to Bosama or a visit to the beautiful Markham Valley. Adventurous travelers may want to take the (often rough) bus ride to Goroka, which passes through some splendid mountain scenery (it takes a full day). Another interesting bus ride goes to Madang. 200 mi/320 km north of Port Moresby.

Note: Crime is a serious problem in Lae. Heed the advice of local residents, travel in a group and make sure not to wander around at night.

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