We are intrepid travelers who love to get off the beaten track to explore. Remote Lands did a great job of arranging our trip to some of the less trodden parts of Indonesia.
Inhabited for over 60,000 years, Papua is a land of strange and startling contrasts; here, snowfields and glaciers exist alongside swamps and jungles. Following Indonesia's independence from the Dutch, the inhabitants of West Papua, then known as Irian Jaya, were subjected to a vote: either they would stay with Indonesia, or become their own, independent nation.
As the western half of New Guinea, the world's second largest island, the inhabitants of Papua are ethnically and culturally distinct than the rest of Indonesia; in Papua itself, almost 250 languages are spoken by a variety of peoples, including Yali pygmies, Dani tribesmen, and nomadic peoples who live on Lake Sentani.
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Fly to Jayapura on the far eastern border; human habitation in the area dates back 60,000 years. Within the area are indigenous tribes whose way of life is little changed from that of their ancestors, including mysterious and intriguing rituals seen by few outsiders. As it is one of the least developed areas in Asia, few visitors have journeyed to Jayapura.
Visit nearby Lake Sentani and travel across its waters by motorized canoe to a fishing village where the locals live in stilted houses over the water. Stop by the home of a village family and learn about their lives and traditions, including the woodcarvings and other handicrafts for which the area is famed.
Drive one hour to Jiwika to meet the Dani people, famously fierce headhunters who wear boar tusks in their noses. They are known for their decorative headdresses, their ancient mummies and their elaborate funerary rites.
Tribal Pig Roast
Participate in a festive pig roast with the colorful Dani tribesmen.
Fly by chartered plane to Angguruk to meet the Yali tribesmen who are pygmies and former cannibals, and are even more remote than the Dani. They had no contact with the modern world until 1976, and even today few outsiders venture here as the only access is by foot or chartered plane.
Spend a day in the life of the Yali, whose daily activities include hunting, gathering, cooking, and tending pigs. If you stay overnight, the only accommodations are a local missionary house, which has only very basic facilities.
To reach the dense, swampy tropical lowlands of Dayo, travelers must charter a plane south, cross the river by canoe, and trek to the village by foot. Spend the night in tents and shelters in the local village and share a meal with the villagers.
Meet the Korowai people, who live in scattered tree houses high above the ground, and who, until the 1970s, had no contact with the outside world. Spend the night in a tree house, or, if you prefer, in a tent on the ground.
Fly south to the Casuarina Coast, home of the Asmats, former headhunters known for their ferocity in battle. The Asmats have long been renowned for their woodcarvings – boats, statues, drums, and shields, all of which are central to the tribe’s mythology and rituals.
Travel by boat to Wus village, where you spend the day with the tribesmen whose usual activities include fishing, collecting crab and making sago starch.
Explore Papua, Indonesia’s largest province that is far off the tourist trail, on this epic 11-day luxury journey. You’ll get bird’s-eye and close-up views of Papua’s expansive river system from plane and boat, stay in local villages and interact with local tribespeople, and camp under the stars of remote jungles.
Indulge in a timeless, unique and exotic experience when you stay at the Baliem Valley Resort in Wamena. The resort is a series of 15 traditional tree houses built to resemble those inhabited by the Korowai tribe. The entire resort reflects the local culture while providing guests with an authentic and comfortable stay. Enjoy a refreshing beverage at the charmingly coined “Stone Age Bar.” Peruse through the onsite New Guinea gallery for a peek into New Guinea's cultural works. Savor a fresh breakfast or dinner at the restaurant serving both international and Indonesian cuisine with a side of local entertainment. Rent a rubber boat and explore the river below. The resort is accessible from the Baliem Valley, Wamena and the airport. Transfer can be arranged through the hotel.
There is limited choice of accommodation available in the remote region of Papua. Camping is often the best option when visiting this naturally and culturally rich island. Remote Lands can provide simple yet comfortable tents, bedding and equipment to make your stay as unique and pleasurable as possible.