Papua is a land of contrasts, with some of the most impenetrable jungles in the world and snowcapped mountain peaks towering over glacial lakes. Papua is Indonesia’s largest and eastern most province and covers the western half of the world’s second largest island.
It is a land of exceptional natural grandeur; with beautiful scenic beaches, immense stretches of marshlands, cool grassy meadows and powerful rivers carving gorges through dense forests. The most heavily populated and cultivated parts of the island are the Paniai Lakes district and the Baliem Valley to the east.
The provincial capital of Jayapura is situated on hills which overlook the sea, and is accessible by boat and plane.
Land Transportation: Private cars and motorcycles which are available to hire on charter to the particular destination. From Jakarta, Surabaya, Makassar, Denpasar and Manado.
Small airstrips are used to travel the inland area (Twin Otter and Cessna).
Sea transportation: Every regency capital situated at the coastal area owns a port, which can be visited by cruises: Ms. Dorolonda, sails from Surabaya, Makassar, Kupang, Ambon Fak Fak, Sorong, Monokwari, Nabire, Serui, Biak and Jayapura. Ms. Labobar sails from Batam, Jakarta Semarang, Surabaya, Makassar, Sorong, Manokwari, Biak, Serui and Jayapura.
People and Culture
The people of the island can be divided into more than 250 sub-groups, including the Marindanim, Yah’ray, Asmat, Mandobo, Dani and Afyat. Those in the central highlands still maintain their customs and traditions, virtually untouched by outside influences.
The different tribes have lived, for the most part, in isolation from even one another, resulting in an incredibly diverse mixture of cultures. The coastal regions of Papua, however, were visited as early as the 7th century by traders from Sriwijaya kingdom.
Seafood being one of the specialties here makes it a heaven for visitors who love fish and seafood dishes. Freshly baked or grilled fish taste wonderful especially when consumed while watching the sunset. People allergic to seafood need not worry because you can also consume traditional food like papeda or ayam lalapan (fried chicken with chili).
The province of West Papua, also known as West Irian Jaya, covers the bird’s head of Papua, a large peninsula on Indonesian New Guinea’s far northwest corner, and the small islands that surround it.
The entry point into this province is via Rendani Airport situated in the provincial capital city, Manokwari, to travel throughout West Papua.
Batavia Air and Merpati Air serve daily flights to and from Manokwari via Makassar. Cab services are available in the airport.
People and Culture
The traditional houses of Papua are unique. In Papua, the traditional house, or Honai, is rounded with a coarse grass roof and wooden walls without windows. Traditional musical instruments of Papua are the atowo, tifa and fu.
Another interesting aspect of Papua’s tribal and cultural history is mummies, usually just the tribal leaders or war commanders preserved with traditional ingredients in order to glorify their historical or religious importance. There are 3 mummies that can be seen in Papua; Aikima Mummy at Aikama, Jiwika Mummy at Jiwika, and Purno Mummy at Asologaima. The three mummies are located in Wamena.
There are 24 tribes with different languages spoken daily in Papua. Papua is frequently connected with the Asmat and Dani ethnic groups. A popular product of the Asmat group is wooden sculpture, internationally known for its beauty.
Papeda is the most famous dish in Papua. It is glue-like in appearance, like a porridge, and best consumed when hot. Instead of chewing it, you should just swallow. Prepare cold water around you to cool down if it feels too hot.
Made from sago pam tree, it takes quite some time to prepare the raw material. One needs to chop down the tree first, then divide it in two. Collect the inside material of the tree and then process it for papeda.