Papua New Guinea is one of the most diverse, least explored countries in the world…and most of us know next to nothing about it. Want to know a little bit more? Here are some interesting facts for you.
- PNG occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea (one of the largest islands in the world) – the other half belongs to Indonesia
- With a population of roughly seven million, the country has 850+ languages – the most of any country in the world
- Although the country lies close to the equator, its higher altitudes do receive snow
- Until the 1930s, when the kina was introduced, seashells were used as currency and are still used today as a bride price in some areas
- The world’s only known poisonous bird, the Hooded Pitohui is found here
- Indigenous people settled there almost 50,000 years ago and there is evidence of gardening, dating back nine thousand years
- While Papua New Guineans are steeped in the traditions and practices of their ancestors, many also practice Christianity, introduced by the missionaries in the 1940s. Their traditional religious practices of their village may include spirit or ancestor worship. We visit at least one haus tambaran (spirit house) on our tour
- New Guinea is home to the third largest rainforest in the world, after the Amazon and the Congo
- While the entire island only covers 1% of the world’s land area, it harbors at least 5% of its plant and animal species – 2/3 of which are only found in New Guinea. Want to see kangaroos that climb trees, carnivorous mice or more orchid species than anywhere else on earth? This is the place for you!
- In communities along the Sepik River, it is still common practice to initiate boys into manhood. The ritual involves carving the flesh of the boys’ backs, creating artwork, often depicting crocodiles (regular inhabitants of the nearby river).
- The Mt. Hagen Cultural show is one of the largest tourist attractions in the country. 75+ tribes gather to sing and dance. Along with these performances, you’ll see displays of traditional fighting as well as courting and wedding ceremonies.
Contact us if you’re interested in joining this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Call (206-317-1860) or contact us via email.
To stay up-to-date on all things WanderTours, follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our blog via email or RSS.