10 reasons to travel to Papua
You have heard, read, watched videos about Papua and you are considering a trip there? You are hesitating between a relaxing trip to the Maldives or an unforgettable experience in Papua? Here is a list of 10 reasons why you will choose to visit Papua.
1/ You won't be eaten by a cannibal
"In search of the last cannibals", "How did I survive among the Papuan cannibals?". We often see videos with catchy and scary titles that disguise the reality of a trip to Papua.
Yes, traveling in Papua is challenging in many ways: you don't always sleep in a comfortable bed, the weather is hot and humid, mosquito repellent is your best travel accessory, the food has local flavors, and you should better like rice.
But traveling in Papua is safe, its inhabitants are warm-hearted people and there is no more talk of cannibalism among the Korowai tribes, nor among the Asmat since the 1970s.
Walk in the footsteps of the greatest explorers
2/ Walk in the footsteps of the greatest explorers
With its 102,946 km², Papua remained unexplored until the 19th century. It is a difficult land to tame, with only a few roads leading to the nearest highlands. Covered by jungle, forest and high mountains, some areas are only accessible by foot. It is often necessary to walk for days in a muddy and humid tropical environment to meet the most isolated tribes of the world. But what an unforgettable experience to enter this hidden land and meet some of its tribal members who live there as if technology, money and time do not exist! Travel to Papua and you will walk in the path of the greatest explorers like Heinrich Harrer, Richard Archbold or Michael Rockefeller.
3/ Sleep in a - real - tree house
The Korowai tribes of Papua install their houses in the trees, sometimes up to 30 meters high! This tradition is to protect them from ghosts. The houses are usually built by a group of men from the village and have to be rebuilt every 5 years on average because the wood rots quickly due to the humid weather conditions. Choose to trek to Korowai and sleep in a tree house for an unusual and memorable homestay!
4/ Participate in a pig festival among the Dani tribes
While visiting the Baliem Valley and the Dani tribes, you will probably have the chance to attend a pig festival and discover the secret recipe of the Bakar Batu. This traditional pig dish is cooked slowly in a stone pit and is accompanied by sweet potatoes and cassava for the occasion. A delicious dish!
5/ Admire the primitive art of the Asmat tribes
The art of woodcarving by the Asmat tribes is world famous and highly regarded. You can admire many exhibitions of Asmat primitive art in major Western museums, but there is no comparison with truly entering the Asmat world to understand the significance of their sacred art. This art has remained intact to this day. Visiting the Asmat villages, you will be able to admire it as their inhabitants proudly display their pieces to their guests. The lucky ones can even leave with sculptures, statues, necklaces, bags and other beautiful pieces of Asmat art.
If you are passionate about primitive art, and more particularly about Asmat art, we highly recommend that you take advantage of your trip to Papua to visit the Asmat museum in the village of Agats. No fancy exhibits and light shows, but a very beautiful and ancient collection of primitive art of Papuan tribes. For European readers, a closer option is to visit the Papua Museum in Gelnhausen, Germany. http://www.papua-museum.de
6/ Stay at Baliem Valley Resort
Stay at The Baliem Valley Resort during your journey in the Baliem Valley. Located in the heights of Wamena, this eco-resort was built in the Dani lands, in friendship with their inhabitants. The Baliem Valley Resort respects the surrounding nature and is inspired by the traditional hut constructions of the neighboring tribes. Staying at The Baliem Valley Resort means sleeping in a circular wooden bungalow with a spectacular view over an ocean of green shades drawn by the forest below. The Baliem Valley Resort is also a good starting point to visit the Dani and Lani tribal lands.
7/ Climbing one of the 7 summits of the world
The Puncak Jaya Mountain, often referred to as the Carstensz Pyramid, is one of the 7 Summits of the World, the 7 highest peaks on the 7 continents. At 4,884 meters high, it is the highest island mountain in the world. Located in the highlands of Western New Guinea, it is often said that it is more difficult to climb than Everest. Indeed, it is necessary to walk in the muddy jungle for 5 to 6 days before arriving at the base camp. It is an adventure before the adventure. So if you like challenges, the ascent of the Carstensz pyramid could be the most difficult of your life!
Watch the video here to get a glimpse of what to expect on the hike to the Carstensz Glacier.
8/ Discover new tastes and recipes
If you are a food lover and don't mind trying new things, this is another reason to come to Papua. Beware, don't expect to enjoy a starry dinner! Instead, you'll enjoy modest but delicious recipes, and very tasty fruits and vegetables growing on Papua's lands. The Baliem Valley is rich in avocados, passion fruit, pineapples, sweet potatoes and other good vegetables that grow right in the very fertile soil of the region.
You can enjoy this during your stay at The Baliem Valley Resort, as the menu is mainly made up of local products.
If you are in the mood for new recipes, head to the streets of the capital city of Jayapura where you can try the slimy and unappetizing food called papeda.
During your excursions to Papuan tribes, the most courageous will respond positively to the invitation to share a meal of sago or larvae with the inhabitants.
9/ Admire the fabulous birds of paradise
There is so much to say about the birds of paradise. Birds of Paradise number about 40 magnificent species living mainly in New Guinea. They often live in the highlands where they can easily find fruit and insects to eat without having to share with monkeys. They are world famous and photographed by the greatest photographers because of their theatrical behavior. Indeed, they parade, dance and sing in a ceremonial way, to attract partners and lovers. If you have the chance to see such a parade, you will be amazed.
Did it arouse your curiosity? Here is a video of the show so sought after by ornithologists.
10/ Diving in the marine paradise of the Raja Ampat archipelago
No wonder the Raja Ampat archipelago in northern Papua is called the last paradise on earth. With its colorful untouched corals and thousands of underwater species, you will dive into an unforgettable experience. Whether diving or snorkeling, you are surrounded by numerous fish in clear blue water and sometimes even small, harmless black tip sharks. Raja Ampat is easy to combine with a trip to Inner Papua and is a very nice way to relax after a trek. There are several accommodation options: if you like diving, you can choose to stay at a dive center to take advantage of the services offered on site. You can also relax in a simple bungalow on stilts over the water or choose to stay in a high standard resort. The last option can be to take a cruise around the Raja Ampat archipelago.