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

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

A dream come true

Papua New Guinea has been on my travel wish-list for a number of years. I cannot explain what the principal attraction is; it merely has a draw to its primitiveness and remote setting. I regard it as the last bastion of tourism and I am intrigued by the various tribes and cultures.

Arrival in Tari

The gravel airstrip and surrounding area at Tari is precisely how I expected PNG to be. Just how it is in old films of the first missionaries arriving, the entire town have turned out to greet us. They must be a thousand strong; curious faces thronging against the perimeter fence. It is positively intimidating, all the more so as we are surrounded by 30+ police in combat gear, supposedly looking after us and the luggage. We are met by Harold and Paul and the mini bus is inside the locked airfield compound. The policemen must have been drafted in from all around the area, as we give a lift to half a dozen of them. Or is it that they are still required to ‘look after’ us while we are driving through town? The crowds open up to let us through as we leave the landing field, and they are beginning to disperse now that the show is over. All through town we are surprised to find so may people still wearing the traditional garb with colourful wigs, painted faces and straws skirts. Many women have tattooed faces, and it is not just the older people who are dressed this way. Tradition is obviously still very much part of daily life here in rural PNG. I wonder for how long, once western influences have made their mark.

The journey to the lodge

The track can be charitably described as bumpy, it is in fact more akin to a dried-our river bed than a road. Large boulders with a little gravel between them make the two hour journey an endurance test. We barely travel 25km during that time, and en route we only see five other vehicles: one Jeep, one bus and three lorries. Only the sturdiest of vehicles will survive these conditions: our mini bus is basic, but robust, a proper little work-horse. As we move out of town, the people appear friendlier, especially the children; or is it that we have gained some confidence after the daunting start? I am delighted to see so many primitive outfits; the people are a photographer’s delight. I don’t feel confident enough to ask the driver to stop when we see two men walking along the road with their faces painted bright yellow. How I wish I had! This is just so amazing. The bridges are an experience in themselves: a simple metal structure, covered with a few logs. There are more gaps than there are logs, and in some places a metal plate is covering the surface. Once or twice Harold gets out and moves the wood around a bit, making it less treacherous to cross. The bridges are vital to the survival of the local people, and are the first to be attacked during tribal disputes.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:The people and cultures
  • Cons:The road conditions
  • In a nutshell:A photographer's delight
  • Intro Updated Apr 2, 2008
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Reviews (36)

Comments (13)

  • sirenna's Profile Photo
    May 18, 2007 at 5:52 AM

    What a great page you have put together about this fascinating place. Loved the photos too, and laughed out loud at you 'night-time serenades' story! :)

  • raviv_ta's Profile Photo
    Oct 21, 2006 at 7:53 AM

    i I also regard PNG as the last bastion of tourism that opened my eyes to meny insights in life that i took everywhere else

  • Jul 25, 2006 at 9:52 AM

    your reference to "primitve black faces" is racist and deeply offensive. I would be evry grateful if you woudl respectfully remove it.

  • hindu1936's Profile Photo
    Apr 21, 2006 at 7:08 AM

    how very sad that there are that many young men killed in clan warfare. kind of like gang wars in portland.

  • jadedmuse's Profile Photo
    Nov 16, 2005 at 7:16 PM

    Looks like of all the VT peeps who went to PNG, you and I are the only ones who went for pleasure. Many similar experiences. I divided my pages by destination w/in PNG. Nice job, like your texts.

  • iris2002's Profile Photo
    Jun 13, 2005 at 9:48 AM

    Clan disturbances ....MAN, what an adventure... sounds sooo David Attenborough I am GREEEEN with envy hihi!!!x

  • Helga67's Profile Photo
    Jun 13, 2005 at 3:35 AM

    What an off the beaten destination. It must have been a rememberable journey.

  • roamer61's Profile Photo
    Apr 8, 2005 at 8:32 AM

    Wow~ Grete, your the only person I know who has been to Papua New Guinea. One of my dreams is to go there and see the Bird of Paradise in the wild.

  • RoseAmano's Profile Photo
    Dec 2, 2004 at 5:31 AM

    Great page about an extraordinarily unique nation in this world. PS I think yours is the "bluest" world map I've ever seen amongst the VT members!!

  • shivan's Profile Photo
    Sep 14, 2004 at 12:22 AM

    you're gonna be a future top5 member, that's sure.


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