Papua the Untamed Beauty
Papua is the western half of New Guinea and is Indonesia's largest and most eastern
island. It is a land of beautiful scenic beaches, vast stretches of marshlands, cool grassy meadows and rivers cutting
gorges, dense forests. Snow-covered peaks tower over glacier lakes and deep highland valleys. For years, Papua's rugged
landscape has isolated tribes from outside influences and it was only in the early 20th century that the world discovered
its hidden treasures.
Adventure and Outdoor Activities
The cool highlands and mountains of Papua are invite trekkers to explore largely untouched territories.
Visit Dani honays or huts that are built close together in a traditional village compound in the Baliem valley. The
two highest peaks in the Jayawijaya mountain range are Puncak Jaya (5050 m) and Puncak Mandala (4700 m). Jayawijaya is one
of the world's few snow-capped mountains that are located on the equator. The Asmat region is the swamps of the south coast.
Take a boat ride in Lake Sentani in Jayapura. Situated 73 m above sea-level, the lake is dotted with hilly islands. Fishing
and weaving villages on stilts exist around its shores.
Papua is an exotic experience offering a rich variety of dives and amazing fish and marine species. See WW II fighter ships and
planes in their watery graves in the shallow waters of Cendrawasih Bay and in the islands off New Guinea's western tip. In
Sorong, the Wai Island Base Camp is surrounded by reefs that are the natural environment for the sharks, rays, whales, dolphins,
turtles and giant clams to schools of snapper, parrot fish, surgeon fish, and many more. Raja Ampat has a variety of diving
sites; shallow bays, lagoon channels bordered by rainforest, rock islands and offshore reefs that contain some of the
richest species of marine animals and corals in the world.
The bird park on Bosnik on Biak Island offers the rare chance to see birds of paradise and other rare species.
There is also an orchid park that grows as many as 72 types of orchids. Manokwari and the Arfak mountains are famous as the
habitat of rare butterflies and insects.
East of Sentani, in the Waena suburb, the Museum Negeri displays Asmat bisj poles and
decorated skulls, fine Baliem axe heads and interesting items such as mammoth sharks' teeth. Doyo Lama Village around 45
km from Jayapura has megalithic monuments that are engraved and believed to have supernatural powers. West of Biak, see
fire-walking dances at the Adoki Village. Taking months to prepare, the Sago Grub Feast is an important event that
brings together different clans. The attending clans dance and feast on sago grubs. The annual Baliem Festival held
every August showcases traditional Dani dances and music. Mock tribal wars are also staged during the event.
Sago is the staple of Papuans made from sago flour. The traditional way of making sago flour involves
cutting down sago palm trees. After cutting the trunk in half, the insides are scraped and the shavings pounded while
water is passed through. The water and pulp mixture is then left to stand. The deposit is later dried and processed as
Asmat woodcarvings are hot collectors' items. The Sentani area is famous for bark canvas paintings and
sculpture. From Wamena, stone axes, cowry-shell necklaces, string bags (noken), penis sheaths (koteka) and
woven baskets make interesting and unique souvenirs.