"Papua New Guinea" Top 5 Page for this destination Papua New Guinea by jadedmuse

Papua New Guinea Travel Guide: 592 reviews and 1,318 photos


NOTE: I have duplicate tips on my Rabaul, Timbunke, Tari, Yentchan, and Kimbe pages.

The Big Bee

"It sounded like a big bee. We looked up into the sky and there it was...

We were afraid! So we hid behind some bushes and watched as it got closer and closer.

When it landed we saw that it was not a bee at all...and from inside of it came two white men - were they ghosts?!?"


This was our guide's first experience with human contact outside his remote tribal village in the Highlands, back some time in the late 50s.

It was his first encounter with white man.

Today I realize with a mix of poignancy and wonder, that our guide surely represented the last generation of Papua New Guineans who can still recall a time when they had no knowledge of the white man's existence...or of anyone's existence really, outside of their nearest feuding tribe.

Most people will never get to Papua New Guinea, and if they do, it couldn't possibly be the same as it was when I visited it back in 1990. It seems a lifetime ago, in fact.

I've often wondered if there are internet cafes up there in the mountains where we came across feuding tribes with bows and arrows drawn....or down in the Sepik region where the men still carve their backs to scar the skin like crocodiles....surely in Rabaul, repository of WWII ship wrecks and ex-military outpost, there's high speed dial-up....

What we can be sure of is that even Papua New Guinea, considered to be the last frontier, cannot have escaped the fallout of today's progress: drugs, crime, and all the other sociopathic elements that go hand in hand with things like improved infrastructure, organized religion, better medicine, and yes - the internet.

Welcome to our 21st century's definition of progress.

Papua New Guinea Factoids

> Papua New Guinea (PNG) is the second largest island in the world and takes up the eastern half of the island (Indonesia Irian Jaya forms the Western half).

> Over 800 languages (and around 3000 dialects) are spoken in PNG, and there are over 600 off- shore islands and atolls. PNG became an independent nation in 1975.

> In 1961, Michael Rockefeller, son of billionaire (and then governor of New York) Nelson Rockefeller, was reported missing. He'd gone on an exploratory mission to Papua New Guinea/Irian Jaya, a place known and documented for its headhunting practice - and was never seen or heard of again.

Today, the natives of PNG are friendly, colorful, delightful people with whom I feel fortunate to have interacted during my brief visit there.

I wonder what it is they're hunting now...

Who Dares to go to Papua New Guinea?!

The person who decides to go to Papua New Guinea is someone who is fascinated by anthropology, and/or an obsessive scuba diver looking for that next great dive destination. Maybe I was a little of both.

Either way, Papua New Guinea goes down in my travel logs as one of the strangest, wildest, and maybe the most exciting place I've ever been. The people were warm and wonderful, the coffee was SUPERB, the diving spectacular, the cultural elements were surprising, and the scenery....well, it was pretty out of this world.

My photos don't do justice to the trip, and my memory is fading more every day.

I knew if I didn't get this down into words now, I will just wake up one morning and think that maybe it had all been a strange and beautiful dream.....

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Curious, sincere people and a wild, untamed frontier feel
  • Cons:Encroaching "civilization"
  • In a nutshell:If you never make it to the moon, then at least shoot for Papua New Guinea
  • Intro Updated Aug 13, 2007
  • Add to Trip Planner (?)
  • Report Abuse

Reviews (62)

Comments (28)

  • ettiewyn's Profile Photo
    Jul 23, 2010 at 7:23 AM

    What a wonderful page about this unknown country. Definately a place I need to see in the future... Thank you for this insight!

  • angiebabe's Profile Photo
    Apr 26, 2009 at 4:42 PM

    I have to come back and read through yr page here properly - what a wow youve been to PNG! Its been so volatile whenever Id thought of going and it still is not recommended for tourists just yet? but great we can see a lot in yr pg here thanks!

  • DennyP's Profile Photo
    Dec 2, 2008 at 2:41 PM

    hey michele...another great page mate..once again great photos with very interesting and informative tips..thanks for sharing..

  • RoyJava's Profile Photo
    Jul 21, 2008 at 2:58 AM

    TNX Michele, 4 drop & words, and wow, you were in Papua... have to return to explore all of your VT pages, until soon, greets RoyJava

  • JohnniOmani's Profile Photo
    May 10, 2008 at 1:55 PM

    I feel the same way about the Arctic or NW Pakistan incredibly remote. Great Page :) Jz

  • sourbugger's Profile Photo
    Mar 29, 2008 at 4:01 PM

    almost a masterclass in anthropology. great page. i'm sure i will be back for more.

  • crewrower's Profile Photo
    Oct 8, 2007 at 8:42 AM

    What are they hunting now? Sadly it seems each other.

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Oct 1, 2007 at 9:49 PM

    What an amazing page on your experiences in Papua New Guinea! You really conveyed the essence of the diverse areas and people of this country. Many thanks for bringing back fond memories of this special place!

  • jadedmuse's Profile Photo
    Aug 13, 2007 at 8:21 PM

    Great point - correction noted. Thanks!!!

  • Aug 10, 2007 at 3:17 AM

    Nice page. About the language I think PNG has over 800 hundred different languages and not dialects.


“To see the world in a grain of sand & heaven in a flower, hold infinity in the palm of your hand & eternity in an hour”

Online Now


Top 1,000 Travel Writer
Member Rank:
0 0 2 7 2
Forum Rank:
0 1 2 7 4

Badges & Stats in Papua New Guinea

  • 133 Reviews
  • 165 Photos
  • 0 Forum posts
  • 52,651PageViews
  • 5 Cities

Have you been to Papua New Guinea?

  Share Your Travels  

Latest Activity in Papua New Guinea