Papua New Guinea Travel

papua-new-guinea-hulis-hagen-dance

Asaro tribe warriors in mud and pig’s faces at Mt. Hagen Cultural Show, aka Sing-Sing, a gathering of clans in Papua New Guinea.

Why Travel to PNG?

This is a brilliantly colourful, diverse and fascinating country with over 700 languages (including the hilarious lingua franca, Pidgin), totally wacky traditional outfits (especially wigmen in the Highlands), bizarre customs, amazing bird life, great diving and a pretty rainforest/ mountain/ coastal environment.

Downsides

– Rascals, the PNG term for gang members, are unsophisticated but violent and pervasive.
– Papua New Guinea is expensive, usually wet and humid, and has a malaria problem.
-You have to fly just about everywhere.
– It is not easy for individual travellers and especially difficult for single women. Tours are advised for this difficult but absorbing country. This is a fantastically interesting country but NOT a safe destination for individual backpackers, however tough you think you are; real bows, arrows, axes and spears in use daily, against other people!

Papua New Guinea Weather

For the main sights of the Highlands or Sepik River
Best: May-October, but still wet!
Worst: December-April (wetter! )

Length of stay:
Min. worthwhile stay, not incl. flights: 9 days, e. g. Port Moresby- Tari, Mt Hagen and/or Goroka
Recommended : 3 weeks+ for Highlands and Sepik River

Main attractions

***Tari (Highlands) to see primitive, bizarre Huli wigmen, their peculiar customs and living conditions and beautiful countryside.

***Goroka or Mt Hagen(Highlands) for walking, people watching and the fantastic, out-of-this-world annual shows (Goroka – mid Sept, Hagen – late Aug).

***Sepik Rivercruising on this long Amazonish river dotted with interesting stilt villages, crocodile cults and a fair bit of wildlife, see below.

*Madang, a pretty coastal town with superb diving, snorkelling and windsurfing.

**Trobriand Islands, cruising the yam cults, growing money on trees, free love and many more strange but true customs. The annual yam festival in June (ish).

Port Moresby? No thank you! Razor barb and rascals! Fly in, fly out, lookim you behin! (as they would say).

PNG Activities

Hiking: there’s a range of walks, from strolls around the Highlands to 7 tough days on the Kokoda trail.

Diving, snorkelling & windsurfing: Clear water, good coral and lots of WW II wrecks. Madang +.

Bird watching: 38 species of birds of paradise, and loads of parrots, kingfishers, pigeons, cassowarys, cockatoos and hornbills amongst others.

Sepik River cruising, in small motorised canoes from Ambunti, Pagwi and Angoram, or luxury cruises like the excellent Melanesian Discoverer if you can afford them.
Paddle-your-own-canoe is tough but possible in PNG.

PNG Festivals

Late August, 3 days Mt Hagen Sing-Sing
Mid September, 3 days Goroka Sing-Sing.
A Sing-Sing is a gathering of PNG’s clans, touristy but with sensational outfits, many of them for real. Well worth it.

For some precise dates, more suggestions and information see: Exotic Festivals