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Interesting Places in Papua


Baliem Valley

The Valley remains one of the last places on the face of the Earth where people continue living in semi-Neolithic circumstances. Upon the spectacular approach by air, the tourists will notice the total isolation of the area. Sealed off from the rest of the world by mighty mountain walls and without any roads leading from the coast to the inner region, the Valley keeps its own secrets.
Villages of no more than a few families are dispersed throughout this rough and mountainous region. Dani is a generic name of a series of tribes, until recently adhering to a Neolithic lifestyle. Only by the sixties of last century, they adopted the use of iron. Their dark complexions underline a Negroid origin, something that differentiates them from the other Indonesian people. There are numerous tribes residing in the valley, having quite different languages and customs. The Yali, Kimial, Ok and Eipomek claim the eastern periphery of the magnificent valley. It is relatively easy to find their villages under the shelter of rainforest and highland.

Likewise, women don't wear much clothing. Just a skirt, entirely made of natural materials will do. It is the women's duty to carry out the heavy work on the fields. Observe the nuke, typical cloak-like bark string bags, carried half over the head. Heavily loaded with cabbage, sweet potatoes and sago, they resemble a blanket. A woman covered in river mud, is in grief. A less innocent way to show mourning, is finger amputation, a fate that only women will befall. Despite serious efforts of the government to halt this practice, they continue being reported occasionally.

The Baliem Valley remains one of the most fascinating places on the planet, where man may confront his prehistoric past. But even in the remotest of areas. Civilization is seeping through and will not be kept at bay. Maybe the time is right to visit the wild beauty of the Baliem Valley and its remarkable people.

Lorentz National Park
The Park lies within Irian Jaya Province, and the administrative Jayawijaya, Paniai, Merauke (Southern Division), Fak-fak, Mimika and Enarotali districts. It stretches for over 150km, from the central cordillera mountains in the north to the Arafura Sea in the south. Access is by air from Jayapura to Wamena and Timika 04º00'-5º15'S, 137º14'-138º20'E. The Dutch Colonial Government gave the first protection status in 1919 with the establishment of Lorentz Nature Monument. In 1956, the protected status was abolished due to conflicts with local people over unresolved land ownership. In 1978, it has established as a Strict Nature Reserve (Cagar Alam) by the Indonesian Government with an area of 2,150,000ha wdth. In March 1997 it was declared National park by the Ministry of Forestry, which includes the eastern extension (Mt. Trikora, Mt. Rumphius, Habbema Lake area), coastal and marine areas. With a total area of 2,505,600ha, about 0.6% of Irian Jaya's total size, the Park can be divided into two very distinct zones: the swampy lowlands and the high mountain area of the central cordillera. The central cordillera itself can be subdivided in the eastern part and the western part on the basis of geology and vegetation types, the north/south line at approximately Kwiyawagi village being the dividing line.

Sentani Lake
There is a settlement on the shore of this lake not far from Jayapura where one can observe local traditions as they are practiced in the daily life of the people. The short trip from Jayapura, pleasant as it is, offers little foretaste of the province's magnificent sceneries.

The Skyline Hills
Tanjung Ria Beach, known as base G by the Allies during World War II, is a popular holiday resort with water sports facilities. From Skyline in the hills behind the city, one gets a beautiful view of Jayapura, Jotefa and Humboldt bays and Sentani lake area. Places in the vicinity of Jayapura such as Skyline and Sentani Lake can be reached by taking a minibus. Biak has air and sea links with Jayapura. Sorong, is also served by air from Jayapura. Other destinations are reached by car or boat, or by light aircraft.

Japanese Cave
The native of Biak called this cave 'Abiyau Binzar'. Abiyau means cave and Binzar means grandmother. It is said that in the old times there was a grandmother living in this cave. During the second world war the Japanese army hid in this cave which simultaneously functioned as logistic centre. It is located in Sumberker Village, Biak Kota District; 15 minutes ride to get there from Biak town.

Parai Blue River
A cave with a river running inside contains fresh aquamarine water. Beautiful stalactite and stalagmite decorate the inside walls. It is in Parai Village Biak Kota District and takes about 15 minutes to reach it from Biak town.


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