Asmat dance masks, Asmat tribe of Papua, Indonesia
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ADVENTURE AMONG THE ASMAT HEADHUNTERS

GROUP TOUR

This group tour in Papua brings us to a very exclusive and unforgettable experience. We encounter the Asmat tribes during a small group tour in their vast territory. We enter a unique, wild and mystic world. The culture and traditions of the former headhunters of the Asmat have changed little for centuries. Famous for their former custom of cannibalism, the Asmat tribes became known worldwide especially after the disappearance of Michael Rockefeller in 1961. During this group tour in Papua, we also visit the infamous Ocanep, whose villagers are said to have be involved in the murder of the young man. Each village visited welcomes us with ritual boat ceremonies, dancing and drums festivals. We also have the opportunity to accompany the Asmat men as they hunt for crocodiles and carve a precious ancestor pole.

Day 1: Timika airport - Timika

Arrival in Papua

Upon arrival at the airport in Timika, Papua, you are met by Marc, your guide for this tour. Marc was born in Germany and he has been travelling to Papua since his childhood. He is one of the most experienced guides for trekking tours in Papua. You are driven to the Komoro Tame Hotel, where you can rest before the big adventure begins tomorrow! In the evening, the whole group gathers for a first dinner and discusses the program of the days to come.

 

Airport transfer: 15 minutes. Accommodation : Hotel Komoro Tame. Meals : full board

Flying over Papua jungle landscapes, Indonesia

Papua jungle from the plane

Asmat warrior portrait, Papua, Indonesia

Portrait of a Asmat warrior

Asmat dance masks during an Asmat ceremony in Papua, Indonesia

12 days - 11 nights

Small group tour

Next departure date:

30 October - 10 November 2022

Price per guest based on a shared double room: 

4 990€

Day 2: Timika - Agats, Papua

On your way to the Asmat in Papua

After breakfast we go directly to the small terminal of Timika airport for our flight to Agats, port of entrance of the Asmat territory. The small plane flies over the coast for 45 minutes. After arrival, the trip to Asmat must go on with a 30 minutes motorized pirogue drive to reach the village of Agats, totally built on stilts. We check-in at the hotel and enjoy lunch in one of the very few local restaurants of the village. In the afternoon, we visit the outstanding Asmat museum of Agats and then we go for a little walk over the town where there is not even a single car. Local dinner in a local restaurant.

 

45 minutes flight  from Timika to Agats. 30 minutes by boat. With guide. Accommodation: Hotel Asmal Permai. Meals: full board.

Day 3: Agats - Uwus

First encounter with the Asmat tribes

This morning we leave Agats to start our adventure in Asmat! The boat journey depends on the ocean tide. Either we follow a very nice mangrove channel if high tide, or we need to travel through the sea if low tide. Our first stop today is the village of Uwus. Arriving there, we immediately enter the men’s house, a huge wooden bungalow built on stilts where men discuss their concerns, talk, rest and spend most of their time. There, we introduce ourselves and thank our hosts to welcome us overnight. Later, we experience our first welcoming Asmat ceremonies where traditionally dressed and painted Asmat women and kids dance, while mens are playing drums. We set up our tents in the men’s house and enjoy a nice rice and vegetables dinner from our cook.

 

3 to 4 h boat. With guide and cook. Accommodation: in tent. Meals: full board.

Asmat boat ceremony in Asmat Papua Indonesia

Asmat boat ceremony

Asmat men with leaf decoration before a ceremony, Papua, Indonesia

Asmat ceremony

Day 4: Uwus - Atjalutsmi

Visit of a second Asmat village

Today we leave Uwus to get deeper into the Asmat region. Our motorized longboat drives us through small water channels surrounded by the mangrove vegetation. We finally arrive to Atjalutsmi, a very remote and wild village. Villagers there are not used to receiving many visitors, but it doesn’t prevent them from giving us a warm welcome with another stunning Asmat ceremonies. Men of Atjalutsmi are experienced crocodile hunters, and with a bit of luck we are invited to join them while they silently chase them at night on the river with their spares. Tents are installed in the men’s house for the night. 

 

3 to 4 h boat. With guide and cook. Accommodation: in tent. Meals: full board.

Day 5: Atjalutsmi - Omandesep

Omandesep and its famous wood carving artworks

After breakfast, we get back on the boat. We keep following the river channel and its amazing tropical flora. Once in Omandesep village, we enjoy the welcoming ceremony and following the protocol, we are invited to the men’s house. Omandesep is one of the most famous Asmat villages because of its artworks. Villagers quickly show us their statues, paddles, jewelry, bags, plates and other treasures that no one can find in any special primitive art shop. Lovers of primitive art don’t know where to start! Later, once night has come, men start playing drums around the fire. They play old songs and others start dancing. Ground trembles at the rhythm of drums and dances. An unbelievable moment that gives goose bumps. We sleep in tents in the men’s house for 2 nights.

 

3 to 4 h boat. With guide and cook. Accommodation: in tent. Meals: full board.

Asmat playing the traditional tifa drum, Asmat ceremony, Papua Indonesia

Traditional Asmat drum ceremony

Expedition group Asmat encounter, Papua, Indonesia

Omandesep villagers welcoming us

Day 6: Omandesep

The Asmat ancestors pole ceremony

Today we have the chance to join a full ancestors pole ceremony. We follow a group of Asmat men in the forest. Once the suitable tree to build the ancestors pole is found, they start the ceremony with songs and screams while cutting down the chosen tree and decorating it. Bringing it back to the village, they keep singing. The ritual wants them to be welcomed back by angry women, performing a show where they try to chase them out of the village. They beat the floor with wooden sticks until they calm down. The trunk is finally brought in front of the men’s house to let the best carvers of the village finally do their work. The ancestors pole is carved while drums are played. The carving work takes several months to be finished. Night in the tents in the men’s house.

 

1 h boat. 1 h walk. With guide and cook. Accommodation: in tent. Meals: full board.

Day 7: Omandesep - Ocanep

Ocanep and the disappearance of Michael Rockefeller

We leave Omandesep to continue our boat trip in Papua when the sea is high tide. Our next stop is Ocanep, the most famous Asmat village due to Michael Rockefeller's disappearance in 1961. The truth regarding the fate of the New York governor’s son remains very mysterious nowadays, but it seems very likely that villagers of Ocanep were involved. It is said that they killed and ate Michael. They would also have hidden his bones and kept his skull in a trunk deep down in the forest. The village receives very few guests as it is very remote and wild. We most likely sleep in tents in an empty house.

 

2 to 3 h boat. With guide and cook. Accommodation: in tent. Meals: full board.

Asmat ancestor poles in an Asmat village, Papua Indonesia

Asmat ancestor pole in front of the men's house

An Ancestor pole ceremony in an Asmat village in Papua, Indonesia

Asmat men erecting an ancestor pole for a ceremony

Day 8: Ocanep - Yaptambor

The very last Asmat villages

Today we leave Ocanep to keep exploring the Asmat treasures. Our boat leaves the river channel to go further through a little canal. We finally reach the villages of Yaptambor and Santambor settled next to each other. Bounding the Asmat region, we can notice small culture differences with the previous Asmat villages we visited. We visit both villages, we attend a very last drum festival and sleep either in Yaptambor or Santambor. Night in tents in the men's house.

 

3 to 4 h boat. With guide and cook. Accommodation: in tent. Meals: full board.

Day 9: Yaptambor - Beriten

A long day of boat

We start heading back to Agats. It is a long journey that requires 2 days of boat. We go through beautiful channels, pass by Asmat villages and finally reach the Siret river. We go up the river until we reach the village of Beriten, our stop over for the night. We spend a last night in tents.

 

Full day by boat. With guide and cook. Accommodation: in tent. Meals: full board.

Traditional Asmat mask dance, Papua, Indonesia

Asmat Mask dance

Asmat crowd during an Asmat ceremony in Papua, Indonesia

Things can get quite hectic during a ceremony

Day 10: Beriten- Agats

Back to the town of Agats

After breakfast, we jump into the second part of our journey back to Agats. Depending on the water tide, we either navigate on the sea or we follow some channels in a mangrove decor. We arrive in Agats late in the morning. We check-in to our hotel for 1 night only. We enjoy lunch and the rest of the day is free until dinner. 

 

 3 to 4 h by boat. With guide and cook. Accommodation: Hotel Asmat Permai. Meals: full board.

Day 11: Agats - Timika

Back to Timika

This morning, we are transferred by boat to the airport of Agats. We thank our boat crew for those days spent with them, and we take our charter plane to fly to the city of Timika. If no charter plane is available for a last minute reason, then we reach Timika by speedboat. The journey takes either 45 minutes by plane or 6 hours by speedboat. Once in Timika, we enjoy the afternoon by the pool of our hotel. Dinner at the hotel.

 

30 min boat. 45 min flight. 20 min drive. With guide. Accommodation: Hotel Komoro Tame. Meals: full board.

Visiting the Asmat tribe through the little river channels, Asmat in Papua, Indonesia

One of the many river channels

Asmat warrior portrait, Papua, Indonesia

Asmat warrior

 

Day 12: Timika - Timika Airport

Last moments in Papua

After breakfast, we are driven to Timika airport for our onward flight. End of the tour.

 

30 min drive. Meals: breakfast only.

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In small group with a maximum of 10 travelers

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PRICE & CONDITIONS

Next departure dates

30 Octobre - 10 Novembre 2022

Price per person based on a shared double room:

4 290€

Single supplement:

+ 350€

PRICE INCLUDES

  • Flight tickets Timika – Agats and return

  • Exclusive guiding by Marc (English and German speaking)

  • 2 nights in Hotel Anggrek, Agats

  • 7 nights in tent in Asmat territory

  • 2 nights in Hotel Komoro Tame, Timika

  • Tours as per itinerary

  • Motor boats including crew

  • Tour cook

  • Tents and cooking equipment during the Asmat expedition

  • All transfers

  • All entrance fees

  • Meals: full board

  • Special travel permit (surat jalan)
     

  • International flights

  • Additional drinks and personal expenses

  • Costs for excess luggage

  • Sleeping bags and sleeping mattresses for the expedition

  • Tips

PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE

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