Indonesia – Papua’s got a brand new trip

Indonesia - Papua’s got a brand new trip

Adventurers can trek through the unexplored territory of Papua, on the island of New Guinea.

The nine-day journey, run by specialist tour operator Epic Tomato, to this undeveloped region of Indonesia begins at the freshwater Lake Sentani, in the mountains not far from the capital, Jayapura. From here, travellers make their way up into the highlands to meet the Dani people, an ethnic group who maintain many of their old ways of life, including their tribal dress, accessorised with penis gourds and animal-bone jewellery. Welcoming guests into their homes, the Dani pass on skills such as how to use a bow and arrow, and how sago- the starch from palms – is used in cooking.

Next it’s on to the Baliem Valley, where travellers will trek along the gorge, crossing rope bridges and the mighty Baliem River. Guests not only witness incredible scenery as they pass from village to village but will also be among a privileged few able to live among the Dani and Lani people, staying in their traditional huts.

The last stop is the village of Jiwika, to join a pig feast prepared by villagers. There’s also an opportunity to see the preserved mummy of the former tribe chief.

For a really rare experience, visit during the Baliem Valley Festival (8-11 August). The festival is the only time the Dani, Yani and Lani peoples come together in celebration with traditional music and dance. A re-enactment of the past inter-tribe fighting commemorates those that died in the fierce battles.

Epic Tomato can also extend and customise trips to Papua, adding destinations such as nearby dive haven Raja Ampat, and Sabah, where orang-utans can be spotted in their natural habitat at Kinabatangan River, and at the Sepilok orang-utan sanctuary.