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Overview

Indonesia’s half of New Guinea Island, Papua, is a vast wilderness populated primarily by extensive mountain ranges, vast expanses of rainforest and isolated tribes that resemble Australian aboriginals rather than any other Indonesians. “Stone Age” Lani, Dani and Yali tribes live in thatched-roof huts around the breathtakingly beautiful Baliem Valley, where trekking along roaring rivers and through sweet potato fields to villages is the primary attraction. The coastal Asmat people attracted international attention when Michael Rockefeller mysteriously disappeared there on expedition in the 1960s to collect Asmat wood carvings. Its national ...

Indonesia’s half of New Guinea Island, Papua, is a vast wilderness populated primarily by extensive mountain ranges, vast expanses of rainforest and isolated tribes that resemble Australian aboriginals rather than any other Indonesians. “Stone Age” Lani, Dani and Yali tribes live in thatched-roof huts around the breathtakingly beautiful Baliem Valley, where trekking along roaring rivers and through sweet potato fields to villages is the primary attraction. The coastal Asmat people attracted international attention when Michael Rockefeller mysteriously disappeared there on expedition in the 1960s to collect Asmat wood carvings. Its national parks and nature reserves are home to species of Australian origin – marsupials, cassowaries, birds of paradise, eucalyptus forests and vast savannah grasslands. Most recently, however, Papua’s Raja Ampat – believed by some scientists to be the epicenter of the planet’s oceanic biodiversity – has garnered enormous interest for its unparalleled diving. Difficult to reach, but with infrastructure improving at a rapid pace due to tourist demands, Raja Ampat is now at the top of the do-before-I-die lists of many international die-hard divers. Papua is huge, so explore the area of greatest interest on one trip, and save the others for next time

Linda Hoffman
About the Expert

Linda Hoffman is a contributing editor for five Periplus guides, including Bali (two editions), Papua, Java, Nusa Tenggara, and eight editions of Insight Guides Indonesia and the Indonesia section of their Southeast Asia guidebook.

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Linda Hoffman for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Western half of the island of New Guinea
  • Language: Indonesian, indigenous Papuan and Austronesian languages
  • Currency: Indonesian Rupiah
  • Research: Wikipedia | Wikitravel

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Dry season (April – October)