Making a getaway in Indonesia sounds imperfect without dropping in West Papua, a far-flung region in the most eastern part of the world’s largest archipelago. Not only is the western half of New Guinea Island famous for its extraordinary creatures and tribal villages but also it doubtlessly hides countless off the beaten tracks you can’t imagine before.
From sublime wild jungle to exotic pristine beaches, the attractions in West Papua never fail to make the global sightseers drop their jaw. Read on to learn more about these 10 awesome destinations in Indonesia’s shining pearl.
Raja Ampat Islands
Nestled off the Bird’s Head Peninsula, Raja Ampat Islands is such a real tropical paradise unfortunate to be skipped out. The cluster of small islands covers breathtaking underwater regarded as one of the best diving destinations. It comprises the most complete marine life on earth filled with flashy coral reefs, a dashing array of endemic fishes, and multifarious marine mammals like Dugongs and orcas. Other appeal includes the unique mushroom-shaped islets and spectral caves dotted with ancient handprints.
The majestic Baliem Valley gives you more opportunity to enjoy the genuine culture that West Papua has to offer. The hidden gem at the foot of Jayawijaya Mountain is inhabited by several primitive tribes such as Lani and Dani. The friendly people still retains their local traditions from animal hunting to war dance. Getting along with the villagers is such a brilliant idea to delve into the Papua’s charm.
For beach aficionados, Harlem beach should be on your top must-see list. Located in a beautiful village named Tablanusu accessible from the city of Jayapura, the off beaten path is where you could soak up the sun on the golden sand beach as well as delighting in the crystal clear water and soothing wave. Do you favor a snorkeling activity? Go get your snorkeling gear and be wonder-stricken with the beauteous groups of corals.
Masamus, the Towering Anthill
The natural attraction you can’t miss out on whilst making a stop in Merauke must be the Masamus, popularly known as the castle of termites. The 5-meter tall reddish mound stands up elegantly in the heart of Wasure National Park. Surprisingly, it resists from the natural disaster threats such as earthquake and extreme weather. The tiny insects fascinatingly construct the structure with their saliva.
Lorentz National Park
Occupying the land with an area of 25,056 km2, Lorentz National Park is the most extensive national park around South-East Asia. It astoundingly encompasses diverse landscapes such as alpine tundra, freshwater swamp forest, mountainous wilderness, and tropical glaciers. Apart from its mind-blowing scenery, Lorentz National Park is populated by a wide variety of bird species such as cassowary and Salvadori’s teal and Australian mammals like tree kangaroo and wallaby.
Upon stepping off the plane at Sentani International Airport, don’t miss out on stopping by the shapely Lake Sentani. Sitting at the foot of Cyclops Mountains, the giant lake houses plentiful unique fish species can’t be found in the rest of the world such as rainbowfish, sawfish, and Sentani goby. Another attraction you need to engage in is the annual Sentani festival to see the traditional dance and Ondoafi ceremony.
Are you hiking lovers? Try out the extreme trails and reach the tallest peak of Mount Jayawijaya – the magnificent Puncak Jaya. It is discovered by a Dutch explorer named Jan Carstenszoon in 1623. Although the high summit is under the equator line, Puncak Jaya is outstandingly capped by lasting snow. Meanwhile, its slopes are traversed by a couple of peachy glaciers such as Carstensz Glacier and East Northwall Firn.
Binsari Cave, better known as Japanese Cave, doubles as both historical and natural magnetism. The lovely cavern was in truth, the hideout of Japanese troops during the World War II in 1945 – that’s why it’s dubbed so. To reach this site, you need to take a 15-minute drive from the center of Biak city.
Another charm of West Papua you might have a go is the Ahe Island. The secluded destination situated off the city of Nabire offers a dazzling array of untouched sandy beaches, turquoise water, and colorful underwater. There are a handful of fun activities you can do while exploring this paradise; be it snorkeling or sunbathing.
Parai Blue River
Biak Island always stands out – it’s also home to the mesmerizing Parai Blue River, an expansive cave with a fresh aquamarine river running elegantly. The dramatic side of this must-visit spot is its natural decoration adorned by elongated stalactite and stalagmite. It can be easily accessed from the city of Biak within 15 minutes by car.
Paying a visit to West Papua brings you a higher level when it comes to hunting the Indonesia’s heaven. There is no exact word to describe this region except fantastic.