Many visitors plan their PNG adventure to coincide with one or two of its astonishing cultural festivals. Home to hundreds of distinct languages and ethnic groups, the nation hosts a diverse array of tribal cultures unlike anywhere else in the world.
Unsurprisingly, this melting pot has spawned some of the most visceral gatherings on the planet. Exchanges between tribes — known as sing-sings — are a must for anyone who wants to drink deep from the country’s heady cultural elixir.
Arguably its best-known festival, the Mount Hagen Cultural Show in the country's Western Highlands Province, brings together tribes from around the nation. Donning luminous body paint and traditional masks, they celebrate their distinctive culture through the mediums of dance and song.
Also unforgettable is the annual Goroka Show, held in mid-September during the national independence celebrations. Goroka is widely known for its Asaro Mudmen tribal people. These warriors — who earned their name by going into battle covered in chalk to look like ghosts — are prominent at the festival, which also features energetic dancing, tribal rituals, and traditional music.