Madang, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Cruise Map

CIA Factbook

Papua New Guinea is located in the Pacific Ocean on the eastern half of New Guinea, which is the second largest island in the world. The mountainous country is slightly larger than California, and much of it is covered with tropical vegetation. The port of Madang is on the northern coast of Papua New Guinea and is sometimes included as a port of call on cruises between Australia and Asia. We stopped over for the day on our wonderful cruise from Sydney to Shanghai on the Regent Seven Seas Voyager.

While in Madang, we did a morning shore excursion to the village of BilBil, where we watched native women create earthenware pots, enjoyed a traditional singsing, and learned much about Madang Province and its peoples from our guide. In the afternoon, we did a boat tour of beautiful Madang harbor, toured nearby Krangket Island, and marveled at the pristine and colorful coral reefs while snorkeling at Pig Island.

I was thrilled to see dozens of the giant fruit-eating bats (also called flying foxes) the island is famous for. I'm usually fairly adventurous, but wasn't tempted to try the betel nuts that the natives love to constantly chew.

Not many North American tourists visit Madang, but the people are warm and open.

Papua New Guinea occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea. Papua New Guinea got its independence from Australia in 1975.

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Madang Papua New Guinea Harbor

Madang Papua New Guinea Harbor
Madang Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison

Madang has a beautiful protected harbor.

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Sailing into Madang, Papua New Guinea

Sailing into Papua New Guinea
Madang Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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Charcoal Factory in Madang, Papua New Guinea

Charcoal Factory in Madang, Papua New Guinea
Madang Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison

Madang has sugar cane and charcoal factories such as this one.

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Coast Watchers Memorial Lighthouse in Madang, Papua New Guinea

Coast Watchers Memorial Lighthouse in Madang, Papua New Guinea
Madang Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison

The Coast Watchers Memorial Lighthouse was dedicated in 1959 to the mostly Australian and British soldiers and civilian volunteers who served as coast watchers during World War II. Many of these brave men radioed the positions of Japanese ships to the Allies from Japanese-held territory such as one of the many islands surrounding New Guinea.

Movie and/or theater fans should remember the Cary Grant comedy, "Father Goose", and the classic musical "South Pacific", which both featured main characters who played the role of World War II coast watchers in the South Pacific.

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Papua New Guinea Ferry in Madang, Papua New Guinea

Papua New Guinea Ferry in Madang, Papua New Guinea
Madang Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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Christian Church in Bilbil Village near Madang, Papua New Guinea (PNG)

Christian Church in Bilbil Village near Madang, Papua New Guinea (PNG)
Madang Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison

We were in BilBil on a Sunday, and this church was filled with worshipers.

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Madang, Papua New Guinea Harbor

Madang, Papua New Guinea Harbor
Madang Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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Madang Airport in Madang, Papua New Guinea

Madang Airport in Madang, Papua New Guinea
Madang Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison

The runway at the Madang Airport ends right at the harbor.

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Sunday School in BilBil Village near Madang, Papua New Guinea

Sunday School in BilBil Village near Madang, Papua New Guinea
Madang Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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Making Pottery in BilBil Village near Madang, Papua New Guinea

Making Pottery in BilBil Village near Madang, Papua New Guinea
Madang Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison

The women of BilBil make this earthenware pottery entirely by hand--no pottery wheel. They use mud from the village and sculpt, decorate, and sell the pots.

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Drummer at Singsing in BilBil Village near Madang, Papua New Guinea

Drummer at Singsing in BilBil Village near Madang, Papua New Guinea
Madang Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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Traditional Native Singsing at BilBil Village near Madang, Papua New Guinea

Traditional Native Singsing at BilBil Village near Madang, Papua New Guinea (PNG)
Madang Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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Women Dancers at Singsing in BilBil Village near Madang, Papua New Guinea

Women Dancers at Singsing in BilBil Village near Madang, Papua New Guinea
Madang Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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Traditional Native Singsing at BilBil Village near Madang, Papua New Guinea

Traditional Native Singsing at BilBil Village near Madang, Papua New Guinea (PNG)
Madang Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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Marvel Paull and Tribesmen from BilBil Village near Madang, Papua New Guinea

Marvel Paull and Tribesmen from BilBil Village near Madang, Papua New Guinea
Madang, Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison

My mom with two of the lead dancers of the BilBil tribe.

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BilBil Village near Madang, Papua New Guinea (PNG)

BilBil Village near Madang, Papua New Guinea (PNG)
Madang Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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BilBil Village near Madang, Papua New Guinea (PNG)

BilBil Village near Madang, Papua New Guinea
Madang Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison

Cooking outdoors is a way of life in tropical Papua New Guinea.

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BilBil Village near Madang, Papua New Guinea (PNG)

BilBil Village near Madang, Papua New Guinea (PNG)
Madang Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison

Grass huts are made from sago and toddy palms.

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Young Girl of the BilBil Village with Betel Nut Stained Teeth near Madang

Young girl of the BilBil village with Betel nut stained teeth near Madang, Papua New Guinea
Madang Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison

Many citizens of Papua New Guinea chew the betel nut, which stains their mouth, tongue, and teeth a brilliant red. It is actually a seed of the betel palm.

Betel nuts contain a mild stimulant, similar to drinking a cup of coffee or smoking a cigarette. Almost everyone we saw in BilBil (of all ages) seemed to be chewing on these nuts. This young girl was the village chief's granddaughter and was quite happy to smile for my camera.

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Papua New Guinea Children at BilBil Village near Madang

Papua New Guinea Children at BilBil Village near Madang
Madang Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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Flying Foxes (Fruit-Eating Bats) in Papua New Guinea

Flying Foxes (Fruit-Eating Bats) in Papua New Guinea
Madang Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison

Flying foxes are seen all over the area surrounding Madang. Like other bats, they roost in groups during the day. These chose a large tree near a roadway.

These flying foxes or fruit-eating bats are gigantic compared to the bats seen at home in North America. Their size causes the branches on even a large tree to bend significantly.

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Giant Fruit Eating Bats or Flying Foxes in Papua New Guinea

Giant Fruit Eating Bats or Flying Foxes in Papua New Guinea
Madang Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison

These giant fruit eating bats (flying foxes) were a little scary, but their size is amazing. Some even left the roost and soared overhead during broad daylight.

These bats are called flying foxes because of their dog-like face.

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Singsing Dancers on Krangket Island, Papua New Guinea

Singsing Dancers on Krangket Island, Papua New Guinea
Madang Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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Traditional Native Grass Hut Home Made from Sago Palms on Papua New Guinea

Traditional Native Home Made from Sago Palms on Papua New Guinea
Madang Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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Dancers at a Singsing on Krangket Island near Madang, Papua New Guinea

Dancers at a Singsing on Krangket Island near Madang, Papua New Guinea
Madang Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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Vacation Cottage on Papua New Guinea

Vacation Home on Papua New Guinea
Madang Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison

This cottage is at the Kranget Island Lodge near Madang, Papua New Guinea.

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Snorkeling Tour Boat at Papua New Guinea

Snorkeling Tour Boat at Papua New Guinea
Madang Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison

We enjoyed touring the Madang Harbor and visiting Krangket Island on this comfortable tour boat.

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Outrigger Canoe on Papua New Guinea

Outrigger Canoe on Papua New Guinea
Madang Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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Tour Boat at Madang, Papua New Guinea

Tour Boat at Madang, Papua New Guinea
Madang Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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Papua New Guinea Volcano

Papua New Guinea Volcano
Madang Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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Children Selling Their Wares in Madang, Papua New Guinea (PNG)

Children Selling Their Wares in Madang, Papua New Guinea (PNG)
Madang Papua New Guinea Photo (c) Linda Garrison
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