Bougainville & Siwai Cultural Show

Bougainville & Siwai Cultural Show

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8 Days From



Bougainville & Siwai Cultural Show

8 Days Starting in Arawa, Papua New Guinea and ending in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea

Visiting: Arawa, Panguna Mine, Kangu Beach, Panguna, Siwai LLG, Buka Island, Port Moresby

Tour operator:

Crooked Compass

Tour code:


Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

4 - 12

Physical rating:


Special diets catered:


Tour operated in:


Trip Styles:

Active, Special Events


Hiking, Snorkeling

From: $4247 $4113 Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$134

NB: Prices correct on 18-Jun-2024 but subject to change.

This tour is no longer available, please see similar tours below or send an enquiry

Tour Overview

Visit the decommissioned Panguna MineWitness men wearing traditional Upei HeaddressesEnjoy a traditional Bamboo Band performanceExperience the Siwai Cultural ShowHike to Yamamoto's place wreckSnorkel in pristine beachesDiscover WWII relicsCulture is the main catalyst for unity amongst Bougainvilleans, as the autonomous region strives to be the newest country on the planet. Our South Bougainville - Siwai Cultural Show tour showcases that this is truly a land where history can not only be told, but can also be seen and touched.

From the scenes of turbulent WWII, to more modern-day history with the recent civil war surrounding the Panguna Mine, to the fight for independence to the rebirth and acknowledgement of their rich culture. Throw in a pinch of raw adventure and South Bougainville has it all. Witness experiences that few will see in their life. Play in the playground that was the location for so many clashes between the Japanese and the Allies in WWII. Think tanks, crumbled bunkers, artillery and shipwrecks. Home to pristine beaches, traditional headdresses and sing-sings, isolated micronations and a cultural show born out of cultural pride. This back-to-basics festival is a rare privilege for cultural purists. Forget the grandeur and opulence of the highland cultural shows, step back in time to a more humble, truly local cultural show.  Bougainville has not always been the easiest place to access making it perfect for those seeking bragging rights of visiting a place your friends haven't - let alone going to a cultural show that has never, until now, seen foreigners!


  • Visit the decommissioned Panguna Mine

  • Witness men wearing traditional Upei Headdresses

  • Enjoy a traditional Bamboo Band performance

  • Experience the Siwai Cultural Show

  • Hike to Yamamoto’s place wreck

  • Snorkel in pristine beaches


Expand All

Day 1 : Arrive South Bougainville – Drive By Panguna Mine

Location: Arawa, Panguna Mine

Accommodation: Lodge, Lodge, Lodge

Accommodation Name: Panakei Lodge or similar

Meals Included: Dinner, Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Welcome to South Bougainville! Upon arrival in Arawa, you will be met and transfer deep into the province towards to the decommissioned Panguna Mine. Taking in the natural beauty that surrounds it, you start to learn the background to its tumultuous history and the story of South Bougainville.

The Panguna Mine was the world’s biggest copper and gold mine when it was operational and still contains an estimated 5.3m tons of copper and 19.3m ounces of gold, which would make the reserves worth about $60bn at today’s prices. The mine has sat at the centre of the decade-long civil war between rebels in Bougainville and Papua New Guinea, due to rising community anger at the environmental damage and the inequitable division of the mine’s profits. The locals forced the mine closed, blowing up Panguna’s power lines and sabotaging operations. The civil war claimed the lives of about 20,000 people and amplified calls for Bougainvillean independence which held a referendum in 2019 with an overwhelming 98% of the population calling for independence from Papua New Guinea.

Continue to your accommodation at Panakei Lodge which sits next to the showground of the Siwai Cultural Show. Enjoy a welcome dinner this evening to the sounds of a traditional bamboo band.

Day 2 : Yamamoto’S Plane Wreck & Wwii Relics

Location: Kangu Beach, Panguna

Accommodation: Lodge, LodgeLodge

Accommodation Name: Panakei Lodge or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

An early start this morning to beat the heat as you will venture down another historical path. Drive to the fringe of the jungle before continuing on foot approx. 4km (approx. 1.5hrs) to reach the World War II crash site of a military plane carrying Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, who masterminded the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbour. Yamamoto’s plane was gunned down by allied forces in 1943, sending the Mitsubishi G4M ‘Betty’ crashing down into the thick jungle, after American code-breakers found out he was planning to visit troops stationed off Bougainville.

Yamamoto is the most exalted hero in the imperial Japanese navy’s history. He has been untainted by Japan’s defeat, and he’s been untainted by any hint of war crimes. He is still seen as a hero today in Japan.

The hike, whilst flat, offers little shade and can at times be a heavy bog with the odd river crossing on foot.

Following your hike, transfer to Buin town for lunch. After lunch, this afternoon, you will pass a Japanese bunker from WWII, as well as some of the relics left behind. Visit Kangu Beach, where you will have an impressive view looking out towards the Solomon Islands. If time permits, spend the afternoon at the local beach. Go for a wander along the beach which is dotted with Japanese bunkers submerged in the rising sands and simply soak in the serenity. The local village kids are quite curious and may come to frolic in the water with you. Returning to your accommodation, you will notice that the small village of Siwai is a buzz after day one of the cultural show. We attend on day 2 and the majority of day 1, is official opening speeches which takes up the majority of the day with only a small allotted time on this day for the sing-sing. Day 2 is the day all about the performances!

Day 3 : Siwai Cultural Show

Location: Panguna Mine

Accommodation: Lodge, Lodge

Accommodation Name: Panakei Lodge or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Today is an exciting day! We set off to experience the Siwai Cultural Show. The Siwai Cultural Show began in 2021, as an initiative of the Siwai people. It is a celebration of the unique cultural, historical, and natural wonders of the Siwai District. It began as a post crisis relief to help people break through the calamity of the pandemic, and as change is pushed as Bougainville emerges from civil war, this show is an indicator of such change and people uniting, as they display their culture and tradition as this autonomous region pushes for independence and learns to stand on its own. The focus of culture is recognised as one of the most important assets in the country. Embrace the colours, the singing and dancing. The swishing of grass skirts, the power of the local patriotism. Such a young cultural show has so much energy and passion to fuel it – the privilege to be one of the first travellers to ever witness such a spectacle, will not go unnoticed. The chanting of voices, the stomping and thumping of bare feet on the dirt will hypnotise. 

Embrace the rich culture and traditions on show. Chat to the locals from various tribes about their practices, their beliefs and their mythology. Each tribe has a different story. The atmosphere and the energy of the locals swaying and thumping to the local beat will intoxicate you. (B,L,D)

Day 4 : Siwai To Arawa

Location: Siwai LLG, Arawa

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: Gold Dust Inn or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Departing early this morning, it is time to start venturing north towards Arawa. Lunch will be in a local restaurant. Arawa town was once a thriving hub thanks to the positive economic impact from the Panguna Mine. Once the mine shut down, so did the town with many buildings being burned during the civil war and businesses ceasing to trade due to the lack of people now coming to this town. Fringed by beautiful beach, spend your afternoon exploring WWII shipwrecks by boat.

Day 5 : Arawa To Buka – Upei Tribe

Location: Arawa, Buka Island

Accommodation: Homestay

Accommodation Name: Destiny Guesthouse or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

This morning you are in for an adventure as you head off road and into the mountains taking a packed lunch with you. You will bump your way along to reach a local village where you will witness the men wearing traditional Upei Headdresses – a domed shaped hat worn by young men at their initiation and marriage ceremonies which is unique to this area, so much so, that this tall hat features on the provincial flag! You will have an insight into village life here too, where it seems time has forgotten those here. Life is basic but happy. Hunter-gatherer practices are still the main way of obtaining food for the locals. Witness a traditional sing-sing or cultural performance. Continue onto Buka and transfer by banana boat to Buka Island Town.

Day 6 : Snorkelling And Island Exploration

Location: Buka Island

Accommodation: Homestay

Accommodation Name: Destiny Guesthouse or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Today you will head down to the port and head out on a private boat for the day. The boat is basic – just like the boats the locals use to zip around the harbour and the islands, but it will take you to some of the most pristine and untouched islands not far from the mainland. Be sure to bring your snorkel (no rental options in Buka), as you spend the day exploring the spectacular underwater marine life, WWII wrecks or simply relaxing and strolling or lazing on the untouched islands. Lunch today will be a barbeque lunch on stunning White Island.

Day 7 : Fly Buka To Port Moresby

Location: Buka Island, Port Moresby

Accommodation: Hotel

Accommodation Name: The Sanctuary Hotel or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast

This morning following breakfast, you will transfer to the airport for your flight back to Port Moresby (flight not included). On arrival, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Day 8 : Departure

Location: Port Moresby

Meals Included: Breakfast

This morning you will transfer from your hotel to Port Moresby for your onward flight.

What's Included

  • Return airport transfers

  • 7 nights accommodation

  • Private transportation

  • Services of an English-speaking local guide

  • Crooked Compass Escort

  • Meals as per the itinerary

  • Entrance fees and permits

What's Not Included

  • International and domestic flights

  • Visas

  • Items of a personal nature

  • Tipping

  • Travel Insurance

Check out our Q&As

  • Are all entrance fees included in the price?

    Entrance fees and permits are included.

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes, The local guides on the tour is English speaking

  • What is the fitness level required to do this tour?

    This category of tours involve trekking, kayaking and cycling for period of 6 to 8 hours a day at a fairly consistent pace. Ideal for people looking to slightly increase the heart rate. For our moderately rated tours, you must have a good level of fitness and also be in good health. It is also important to be prepared for variable weather conditions. Altitude may also come into play. This category of tours may involve visiting remote areas where facilities can be quite basic. Accommodation may also involve camping, homestays or basic accommodation where facilities may not be considered of western standards. To enjoy this style of travel, it is suggested for travellers to have a reasonable level of fitness and health, a positive attitude, as well as a fairly active lifestyle. An open mind is also required.

  • Is there any free time to explore places during the tour?

    As detailed in itinerary.

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    Yes, Arrival and return airport transfers is included.

  • Are flights included in this tour?

    International and domestic flights are not included.

  • What is the minimum group size?

    The min group size is 4 people.

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Yes. Focusing on providing authentic experiences where ever you are in the world, Crooked Compass has access to a vast array of accommodation styles. From boutique properties in larger cities to local guest houses and home stays within small villages. Crooked Compass ensures that local authenticity flows through your accommodation throughout your tour without compromising standard.

  • What sort of transportation is used for your tours?

    Transportation utilised on a Crooked Compass escorted small group tour is a combination of a private air conditioned vehicle and local transport where appropriate. This may include a local bus ride, use of the cities metro system, a domestic flight to another city or overnight train ride.

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Crooked Compass strives to be a leader in sustainable tourism. Crooked Compass is firmly committed to the principles of ethical travel. Our comprehensive Sustainable Tourism Practices policy summarises our commitments and actions. Although the very basis of our ground operations lends itself to the ethos of sustainable tourism, this policy re-iterates our commitment to: Use locally owned hotels Use locally owned ground agents Use local guides and drivers Promote community tourism projects from homestays to craft shops Support charities that work within the destinations that we travel to Carbon offset our travels

  • Who runs your tours and are they experts in their fields?

    Crooked Compass works with the worlds best operators who are specialists in their country, region and cities providing you with in depth local knowledge. We use local guides who live and breathe the areas they work in, making sure you experience their region, their way. We believe it is far better to have a local guide who knows a lot about a little than a text book trained Western tour guide who knows a little about a lot. Using local guides also ensures that money stays within local communities and supports the regions we visit.

  • What can I expect from a Crooked Compass tour that I wouldn't get from travelling with an alternative company?

    Crooked Compass provides a sensory way to understand the world – we help you live like a local, eat like a local, do what the locals do and seek the faces behind the places whilst discovering untouched lands and natural beauty. Crooked Compass tours delve deep into the heart and soul of a destination ensuring you get out of your journey all you intended and much, much more. Our intriguing itineraries have been created by travellers for travellers. Steering travellers to follow a different path, Crooked Compass’ itineraries allow you to experience the world’s most fascinating destinations in ways you never dreamed possible. It brings to life those ‘bucket list’ experiences you have yearned to do and separates the travellers from the tourists. Crooked Compass tours are culturally rich, reward travellers with unexpected encounters and uncommon rendezvous, creating truly unique, authentic travel experiences.

  • Who do your tours cater for?

    Crooked Compass escorted small group tours cater for those who are well travelled seeking the what’s next and what’s new. Our travellers are curious minded soft adventurers who want to uncover something more than the mainstream tourist trail. Crooked Compass tours draw travellers with an interest in sustainable tourism and conservation for the areas they visit. A Crooked Compass traveller is someone who is seeking something fresh and unique, who has a yearning for authenticity and discovery, with an appreciation for cultures, tradition and the natural world. We call them Cultural Purists.

  • I am concerned about my impact on travelling through untouched regions. Can I offset?

    Yes. All travellers on Crooked Compass tours have the option to offset their part of their tour’s carbon footprint by donating $4AUD (tax-deductible) at time of booking. 100% of these funds are donated to Greenfleet, an environmental non-profit organisation dedicated to protecting our climate by restoring our forests. By partnering with Greenfleet, we are confident that our carbon offset program provides genuine and lasting environmental benefits. Your offset donation funds plant trees and restore permanent native forests in Australia and New Zealand. As they grow, these forests provide many community and environmental benefits by absorbing carbon emissions, protecting our unique biodiversity, restoring habitat for native wildlife, preventing soil salinity and erosion, improving water quality and much more. If you’d like to find out more and offset the rest of your carbon emissions, visit

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Aug 12, 2025 - Aug 19, 2025
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Mid-Year Mayhem Discount: -$134

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    Up to 61 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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