Travel into the depths of Papua New Guinea. The island – the second largest island in the world after Greenland – is home to hidden valleys and rugged, often inaccessible terrain and is still unchartered territory for travel enthusiasts. The country is divided into two halves – belonging to Indonesia and Papua New Guinea itself and is fascinating melting pot of language (the island speaks 250 different languages, plus an at least number of dialects), wildlife and natural beauty.
The Asmat region is also home to the Asmat tribe. Due to the remoteness and inaccessibility of the region, the Asmat were still practising headhunting and cannibalism as late as the 1970s. This way of life began to change when Catholic missionaries established a post in Agats, the capital of the region. Over time, the missionaries were able to convince the Asmat to give up their stone age culture.
The homes, longhouses, shops, schools and religious centres of Agats are all located along elevated wooden and concrete boardwalks in the heart of a dense mangrove jungle. The Asmat Museum is a must-see. Here it is possible to pour over exceptional examples of the Asmat’s renowned and vibrant woodcarving traditions. The woodcarvings embody the Asmat’s ancestors in the afterlife and are thus treated as powerful, sacred objects. Expect to see elaborate displays of ancestor poles, drums, body masks, shields, daggers, and skulls, for perhaps the most mind expanding and authentic travel experience you are ever likely to see.