There are plenty of off-the-beaten-track type of getaways you can book, but for this particular post, we have one destination in mind: Papua New Guinea, or simply PNG (at least for this article). One of the most culturally diverse countries in the world, PNG is located just north of Australia, right smack in the mighty Pacific Ocean.

That cultural diversity alone is reason enough to visit PNG, as you will be introduced to cultures galore. Then there’s this fact that PNG is one of the world’s least explored countries, both culturally and geographically. This means that a trip to this Oceanian nation will be illuminating in all sorts of ways, with once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to learn new ways of life and navigate uncharted destinations and attractions.

The thrill of discovering the unknown is what makes a trip to PNG exciting. But as per our “know before you go” mantra, we have compiled a list of things to do and places to visit to get you started on your PNG getaway.

Meet the Tribes

As mentioned, PNG is culturally diverse, and a big reason why is the preponderance of tribes in the country. There are over 7,000 different tribes in PNG, each with a distinct way of life, language, and “sing sings.” A sing sings a gathering in which tribes get together to have an “exchange” (for lack of a better term) of culture, music, and dance. So, do yourself a favor and ask a local about these sing sings. And while you’re at it, make an effort to immerse yourself in one.

A Huli wigman from the Southern Highlands.
Image credit: Wikipedia

Port Moresby National Park

Nestled in the capital city of Port Moresby is the Port Moresby National Park, which offers a breathtaking glimpse of PNG’s natural wonders. Formally the National Capital Botanical Gardens, the park boasts is lined with numerous native plants, including palms, gingers, and heliconias, as well as native timber tree species. Some 11,000 orchids are also found here, and many of them, mind you, are endemic to PNG. The park is also home to over 150 animals and the city’s only rainforest tract. And according to its official site, the Port Moresby National Park is “the only place in the world to showcase all three-species of cassowaries in a world-class boardwalk and display facility.”

 

Check out the ghost casino

Image Credit: Skerah

Gaming was legalized in PNG in 2007, and a Korean gaming company looked to take advantage by building the first casino-hotel in the country. Construction, according to Skerah, began sometime in 2010, only to be halted, purportedly due to lack of funding. The project was ultimately discontinued, as the Korean company’s local partner could not cough up the money to continue construction. Now, eight years later, two unfinished buildings adjacent to each other stand as distinct reminders of what would have been The Port Moresby Casino Hotel. Despite the project’s discontinuation, however, gaming remains a thriving industry in PNG, and you can try it out for yourself through online gaming. It’s worth bearing in mind, though, that gaming has become somewhat of a concern in the country, and the “ghost casino” in Port Moresby doubles as a sobering reminder of it. So, bet online if you will, but tread cautiously.

 

Scuba dive!

Image Credit: Pinterest

Papua New Guinea is surrounded by crystal-clear waters brimming with incredibly diverse marine life. That combination makes this country a perfect scuba diving destination. As an added treat, you can choose from a wide variety of dive sites that range from coral atolls to barrier reefs and coral walls. You may even opt for coral gardens, seagrass beds, and even wreck dive sites. The best part is that there quite a few diving operators in PNG, with nearly all having the necessary scuba diving equipment to ensure a safe, enjoyable descent to the seas (and Pacific Ocean).

 

Partake in history

Image Credit: Pinterest

World War II (WWII) was one of the darkest chapters in PNG history, and remnants of that tormenting time can be found all around the country. You can check out these remnants to get a better understanding of what went down in PNG as the Allied and Axis powers fought for global supremacy. To this end, a visit to the tunnels of Rabaul should be high on your list. Back in 1942, as the war wound down to its final, fateful phase, Japanese forces subjugated the town of Rabaul and established a military complex here. Underneath, the Japanese built an intricate, labyrinthine system of tunnels that connected hospitals, barracks, command centers, and storehouses. These tunnels proved sturdy, so much so that they have survived the years after WWII. Pay them a visit while they’re still here.

Now, we would like to tell you more about PNG, but we’ll stop here. After all, there is much to be explored in this country, and we’ll leave it up to you to just that. Please do so, keeping in mind the responsible travel tips we have already outlined before. Trust us when we say this: You’ enjoy your PNG getaway for sure!