Papua New Guinea is a land on edge, and in many areas still a land forgotten in time. Ancient rituals, such as strict tribal practices, even cannibalism, still reside in remote areas. This, along with the untouched beauty of their land and natural wildlife, present an unmatched opportunity to experience and photograph these rich cultural practices that will soon become history. With more than 1,000 different tribes and languages that historically have warred among themselves over hundreds of years, this adventure concentrates on the Sing Sing festivals that were originated in the mid-1900’s, to peacefully allow each tribe to share their music, culture and traditions. Today, these Sing Sing festivals provide a rich tapestry of cultures that provide for a truly incredible photographic experience. We will have the honored opportunity to experience up-front and close, more than 70 tribes as they prepare and perform for you during the Mt. Hagen Sing Sing. In addition, we will have an entire day in Paiya Village experiencing the Paiya mini-show, (invitation only). We’ll have the opportunity to be truly personal with many tribes as they prepare and perform up-close dances and demonstrate their way of life.
We also will journey through the Sepik River region to experience the dynamic environment of Papua New Guinea and additional cultural festivals. The tribes of the Sepik River provide stark differences in tribal life from those in the mountain region of Mt. Hagen. We will cruise down the Sepik in native canoes to spend a couple of days living among the tribes that still today practice their beliefs and tend to their lives as they have done for many years. It should be noted that the days spent on the Sepik will be truly primitive, such as staying in the local huts and living among the tribes. Whereas we will share huts and be challenged by the lack of facilities (water, electricity, etc.), these days will offer an adventure that will never be forgotten.
During our journey, we will also have time to stop and explore the diverse bird life of Papua New Guinea that is as unique as the cultures, and view the splendid, rugged landscape that is still difficult to navigate. Considered one of the top bird-watching destinations globally, these birds, and other wildlife, cannot be found any other place in the world, such as the famous Bird of Paradise. Go back in time. Experience cultural diversity, wildlife and beauty available no other place in the world. The Mt. Hagen Sing Sing is considered one of the world’s top cultural events that you will never forget. Join us as we take on one of the truly finest adventures on Earth.
NOTE: On two nights of this trip, accommodations will be much like camping – we’ll be sleeping on the floor and there will be no electricity or running water and any bathing would be with a bucket.
Day 1: (Aug 9) Participants are met at the Port Moresby airport on arrival and transferred to the hotel. Lunch/Dinner will be provided. There will be a group get-together in the evening. Overnight in Port Moresby.
Day 2: (Aug 10) After breakfast, we’ll be off to the airport for our flight to Wewak. We’ll be met on arrival by a local guide and transferred to our hotel. There will be an afternoon tour in Wewak town to see war relics, old church buildings, settlements, and the local market. Overnight in Wewak at In Wewak Boutique Hotel.
Day 3: (Aug 11) After an early breakfast, we’ll and begin our photographic adventure in earnest as we travel to the diverse and fascinating Sepik River region. The Sepik River is the largest in Papua New Guinea and heavily depended on for transportation, water, and food. We’ll transfer to the village of Pagwi, (3-4 hours’ drive), where we’ll connect with a motorized canoe to Kanganamun. We’ll be met on arrival and check into village guesthouse. Afternoon tour of Kanganamun village – making sago, weaving, making carvings and other art displays. This will be the first of two nights we’ll have the opportunity to experience village living. Overnight in Kanganamun Village.
Day 4: (Aug 12) Breakfast, then prepare for the mini-festival organized by the local people. The locals perform traditional dances for the group. There will be time to take photos and mingle with the people to learn about their cultures. Take time also to visit Spirit house and its spiritual displays, gods believed to be living spirits that had been worshiped for many years. Overnight in Kanganamum village.
Day 5: (Aug 13) Continue with village study and cultural activities as you travel upstream, back to Pagwi, and onward to a waiting vehicle back to Wewak. Overnight in Wewak.
Day 6: (Aug 14) Morning Breakfast, then transfer to Mt. Hagen via Port Moresby. Meet on arrival and transfer to the hotel. In the afternoon, if time permits, tour Mt. Hagen market and coffee processing plant, then back to the hotel. Overnight in Mount Hagen.
Day 7: (Aug 15) We’ll have a full day at Paiya village on a private photoshoot with various groups including, Tari Huli Wigmen, Mud Men and Skeleton men. Overnight in Mt. Hagen.
Day 8: (Aug 16) Early breakfast, then transfer to Paiya village for Paiya mini show. Welcome by the chief and his five wives in traditional attire, exposing some of the rich body ornaments. Continue with Paiya mini show involving different dancing groups. Performers in traditional clothing with plumes of Bird of Paradise. You will have the opportunity to see different dancing groups, from preparation to face painting, feathers display and body decoration, to the actual show in the main arena. This will be followed by a courting ceremony; traditional fighting using bows and arrows; traditional marriage exchanging pigs, money, and other valuables; and traditional cuisine prepared underground with hot stones. Local mumu is to celebrate the festivity with the performers and tourists. Tourists have the chance of tasting the local cuisine. Paiya mini show has been highly commended because of the village setting that perfectly blends with the environment, such as the friendly people who love to meet tourists and share their cultures. Overnight in Mt. Hagen.
Day 9: (Aug 17) Early breakfast, then transfer to Mt. Hagen show-ground for the Mt. Hagen culture show. This will be a big festival that involves more than 80 ethnical dancing groups from the Highlands and coastal PNG. We’ll arrive early in order to see the preparations for performance. The show goes on for two days. We will be allowed to enter the main arena. It’s a full day show and we’ll enjoy countless opportunities for photos throughout – seeing the show, mingling with performers and learning about different cultures. Afternoon scenic tour. Overnight in Mt. Hagen.
Day 10: (Aug 18) Breakfast, then continue with the show until midday and retire. For interested participants – afternoon tour to see and photograph this island’s singularly unique birds. Overnight in Mt. Hagen.
Day 11: (Aug 19) Early breakfast and transfer to airport for flight to Rabaul via Port Moresby. Meet on arrival and transfer to Rapopo hotel and overnight stay.
Day 12: (Aug 20) Full day tour of war relics, cemeteries, memorials sites, volcanic mountains – even climb to the top if you’re interested or walk half-way for photographing, hot springs, sceneries and look out points. Covering both Rabaul and Kokopo. Village performance in some of the villages. Overnight Rapopo.
Day 13: (Aug 21) Half-day sea activities – diving, snorkeling, and visiting locals in along the coast and small atolls. In the evening, we’ll have the opportunity to witness the sacred and captivating fire dance of the Baining people of East New Britain.
Day 14: (Aug 22) After breakfast, we’ll board our flight to Port Moresby. On arrival, we’ll be met by our local guide and be transferred to our hotel. After lunch, we’ll have a tour of Port Moresby – Botanical gardens, local craft shops, fish market and National museum if time permits. Overnight in Port Moresby.
Day 15: (Aug 23) Breakfast and transfer to international airport for onward international destination.