Immense cultural diversity and unique wildlife - most notably the glorious birds of paradise - are the hallmarks of a trip to Papua New Guinea.
In this little-visited but fascinating country, located on the fringes of Asia across the Coral Sea from northern Australia, an incredible 800 different tongues are spoken - more than half the world's indigenous languages.
The Highlands, where ‘Sing Sing' festivities take place, are the starting point for many people's travels, before heading either by boat along the Sepik River or to outlying island groups such as New Britain and New Ireland, where excellent diving and surfing can be enjoyed. Virgin rainforest and volcanic black-sand beaches are another reminder of the country's wild and untamed character.
Papua New Guinea developed largely beyond the eye of the rest of the world, and even today some inland areas remain largely unexplored. This allowed the tribal groups to flourish, although rivalries occurred, involving headhunting and cannibalism until well into the 20th century.
The Highlands are the tribal heartland, with elaborate rituals accompanying deaths, feasts, marriages and initiation rites. Bilas (traditional costumes) are worn at tribal gatherings where the distinctive art, dance, weaponry, costumes, singing and music of the communities are celebrated. The costumes often incorporate the feathers of birds of paradise, Papua New Guinea's most famous bird, known for its elaborate plumage.