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26 Jun 2011
Papua Tourist Attractions and Papua Sightseeing
Papua, the Indonesian region of New Guinea, is divided into a number of areas, each of which come with their very own set of tourist attractions. These attractions include the sandy beaches on the island of Pulau Biak, cruises around the Danau Sentani (Lake Sentani), and scuba diving within the Cenderawasih Bay Marine National Park.
Further Papua tourist attractions include trekking through the Baliem Valley and enjoying the spectacular scenery, and exploring the indigenous flora and fauna at the Wasur National Park, close to Merauke. The Lorentz National Park also makes for a popular day out and this UNESCO World Heritage Site is located on the south-westerly side of Central Papua, where it is now the largest national park in Asia.
Papua Tourist Attractions: Western Papua - Papua, Indonesia
• Cenderawasih Bay Marine National Park - known locally in Papua as the Taman Teluk Cenderawasih, this huge park comprises 18 individual islands and a spectacular coastline, which stretches roughly 500 km / 311 miles. At more than 14,000 square kilometres / 5,400 square miles, the Cenderawasih Bay Marine National Park is the biggest of its kind in Indonesia and offers a superb choice of trekking / hiking trails, scuba diving and bird watching, particularly on the islands of Pulau Auri, Pulau Rumberpon and Pulau Wairondi.
• Fak Fak - a historical Dutch settlement, based around scenic coastal foothills and offering many superb sea views. Those paying a visit to Fak Fak will discover that the majority of facilities tend to line the central street, Jalan Izaak Telussa, in the downtown Kota district. Fak Fak has good boat connections to the Banda islands and to Pulau Ambon, both of which are part of the acclaimed Maluku Islands. Attractions in Fak Fak include day trips to the island of Pulau Tubir Seram and its plentiful hiking trails, and also to Pulau Panjang, where the sandy beach of Pantai Wajob awaits sun seekers. Further excursions to the rock paintings of Ubadari and to the beach at Kokas are available.
• Manokwari - based around the bay of Teluk Doreri and historically the very first missionary settlement in the whole of Papua. Manokwari is a relaxing place to explore, with sightseeing opportunities ranging from wildlife trails within the beautiful Table Mountain Park (Taman Gunung Meja), to local landmarks, such as the Japanese Monument (Tugu Jepang) and the Japanese Cave (Gua Jepang). Nearby, the islands of Pulau Mansinam and Pulau Lemon offer sun, sand and snorkelling. Just 5 km / 3 miles to the east of Fak Fak, the Pantai Pasir Putih is another excellent beach, while to the north, the black sandy beach of Pantai Amban is regularly frequented by keen surfers.
• Ransiki - connected by rather crowded taxis, which regularly arrive from Manokwari (a three-hour journey) and pass some truly wondrous jungle scenery en route, as well as a number of traditional Indonesian villages. Most tourists tend to come to Ransiki to check out the Anggi Lakes.
• Sorong - a very reasonable destination for scuba diving, hiking and also bird watching, with various nature tours being available in this part of Western Papua. The city of Sorong has little else to offer in the way of tourist attractions and is fairly spread out, meaning that local minibuses (angkot) will be necessary to get around. Beach-goers tend to favour Cassowary Beach (Pantai Kasuari), where diving and snorkelling is quite possible.
Papua Tourist Attractions: Central Papua - Papua, Indonesia
• Nabire - a low-key destination often passed over in favour of more obvious tourist resorts and attractions. The town of Nabire is the capital of the Paniai districts and has some pleasant sandy beaches. From Nabire, boats can be chartered, connecting islands such as Pulau Moor, Pulau Nusi and Pulau Papaya.
• Pulau Biak - a popular island and an integral part of the tourism scene in Central Papua, and very much steeped in WWII history. Kota Biak is the main town on Pulau Biak and is well placed to explore the attractions of the island. These include some superb scuba diving opportunities, which comfortably compete with those offered in northern Sulawesi, as well as organised bird-watching tours and the acclaimed Cenderawasih Museum. On the other side of Kota Biak, further highlights include the rock formations around Samber and Urfu, the waterfalls of Wardo, the cave of Gua Binsari, the Orchid and Bird Garden (Taman Burung and Anggrek) near Mokmer, the sandy beach and WWII artefacts at Bosnik, Korem Beach, and the North Biak Reserve. Close by, day trips to the Padaido Islands and Pulau Supiori are worth considering.
• Pulau Numfor - a very undeveloped and uncommercialised island, located part way between Manokwari and Biak, with a seemingly endless selection of snorkelling and swimming opportunities. Pantai Asaibori and Pantai Pakreki are without question the best beaches on Pulau Numfor, while nearby, the island of Pulau Manem features some good sandy beaches, together with WWII wrecks and lots of birds.
• Pulau Yapen - a mountainous island with charming local villages and impressive snorkelling, especially around the northerly shores. Pulau Yapen is conveniently close to Pulau Arumbai, where you may well see some dolphins swimming close to the coast. Popular beaches here include the Pantai Ketaupi and the Pantai Mariadei.
• Timika - known for its strong relationship with nearby Tembagapura and its gold and copper mining industries. Although there is really little to see in this part of Papua, Timika is a handy entry point and its airport offers connections to Jakarta and Denpasar (Bali).
Papua Tourist Attractions: Eastern Papua - Papua, Indonesia, ID
• Asmat Region - encompassing an enormous expanse of mangroves, rivers and lush tropical jungles. The Asmat region remains quite untouched by the hand of man and does take a long time to explore properly, as well as a fair amount of money. Agats is the main town within Asmat and is very rural in its appearance, with the Museum Kebudayaan and Kemajuan (Museum of Culture and Progress) being a particular highlight here.
• Jayapura - the capital of Papua and largest city, with a population of just over 200,000 people. Jayapura is typically Indonesian in character and enjoys a scenic setting, growing up around Teluk Yos Sudarso, and surrounded by a series of hills. Most tourists find Sentani a more appealing place to stay, although Jayapura does offer a few nearby attractions, namely the Base G Beach (Pantain Base G), several Buddhist temples and the bustling market at Hamadi, which is near to Hamadi Beach (Pantai Hamadi).
• Merauke - a prosperous and friendly town, and the most easterly location in Indonesia. Merauke is well placed for tourists wishing to explore the Asmat region and has a number of coastal-related attractions, including regular Sunday motorcycle races along the Lampu Satu Beach (Pantai Lampu Satu). There are also some rather inviting hot springs, which are just a few metres from the Hotel Asmat.
• Sentani - a very tourist friendly, small town, located slightly more than 35 km / 22 miles to the west of Jayapura. Sentani stands close to the lake shores of the vast Danau Sentani, with the top attraction here being the Papua Freedom and Human Rights Abuse Memorial Park, which is a cross between a cemetery and memorial.
• Wasur National Park - within easy reach of Merauke, the Wasur National Park offers a host of recreational activities and outdoor attractions. Various hiking trails are spread around the Wasur National Park, particularly close to Yanggandur, while you can also ride horses round Rawabiru, or observe the rich Indonesian wildlife from Ukra's observation tower. Travel permits are required the enter the park and are available at the information centre in Merauke.
Papua Tourist Attractions: Baliem Valley - Papua, Indonesia, ID
• East Baliem Valley - public transport is quite good in this area, since the main road (heading north) is well paved and very accessible, continuing right up to Agime. Short hikes are popular around Pikhe, while the village of Aikima is famous for its 300-year-old Werapak Elosak mummy. Also worth visiting in the East Baliem Valley are the villages of Dugum, Jiwika, Manda, Suroba and Wolo Valley. If you enjoy checking out caves, then both Gua Kotilola and Wosilimo (Gua Wikuda) are strongly recommended.
• Lani Country - offers accessible villages and attractions, such as Ilaga and Magi, both of which are within reach of Kimbim, Kuyawage and Pyramid.
• South Baliem Valley - this area is situated directly to the south of Wamena and lies alongside the winding Sungai Baliem (Baliem River). Attractions in this part of the valley include Hitigima, Sogokmo and Yetni, the latter of which is where the Baliem Festival is held each year in the middle of August, drawing huge crowds. Nearby, the village of Kurima is a charming spot and is popular with hikers.
• Wamena - the most significant town in the Baliem Valley, with little to see and do, other than organised treks and visits to outlying villages. Wamena is the capital of the Jayawijaya district and features its own small and very busy airport, since flying is really the only way to access the valley as such.
• West Baliem Valley - not especially scenic or interesting for tourists, although the administrative centre of Kimbim is quite a pleasant place to stop off. Close to Kimbim is the missionary village of Pyramid and also Araboda, where the Alongga Huby mummy is to be found.
• Yali Country - located on the east and south side of the Baliem Valley, where it is the home of the Yali people. The men of this tribe have become known for wearing penis gourds, while the women often wear dresses made of rattan hula hoops.
Papua Tourist Attractions: Lorentz National Park - Papua, Indonesia, ID
Very much dominated by the famous mountains known as the Carstensz Pyramid (Puncak Jaya), which measures in at around 4,900 metres / 16,075 feet, the Lorentz National Park provides the best way to experience New Guinea's rich biodiversity, with exceptional bird watching on hand and covers more than 9,675 square miles / 25,055 square kilometres. Trekking, mountain climbing and even seasonal skiing are just some of the outdoor attractions available at the park.