Getting to Wamena, the main city of Baliem Valley, is only possible by flying from Jaypaura (approximately 40 minute flight). From Wamena you can start your trip to Dani and Yali tribes, and you can visit Asmat Lands as well. The hiking can vary from half day to one month long expeditions (for example, the trip to Yali lands is 100km long). Be careful while studying the roads on the maps- often they are discontinuated because of floods and unexisting bridges.In Wamena you can get around in taxis and bicycle rickshaws, which are not expensive at all, or rent a private SUV or 4x4 pickup including a private driver.
Current weather nearby
- Clear sky
- Temperature: 22 °C
- Wind: East-Southeast, 7.4 km/h
- Pressure: 1017 hPa
- Rel. Humidity: 65 %
- Visibility: 10 km
55.7 km South-Southwest
Wed, 11/07/2012 - 19:00
The hills are blanketed with flowers, and the terraced fields are deep purple with dense sweet-potato leaves. It is a place where penis gourds are still very much trendy, women go about their daily activities topless, and pigs can buy you a wife. With marvelous views, mighty rivers, and curious tribal villages, Baliem Valley lets you experience the warm and sweet spirit of the Dani people contained within the walls of steep, green mountains.
Hiking from Tribe to Tribe
Baliem Valley is situated in the mountains of Papua, about 1,600 meters above sea level in the most eastern part of Indonesia. The 72-km long valley is home to the Dani tribe. It was discovered by Richard Archbold on June 23, 1938. Its history is relatively young, having emerged only from the Stone Age. Baliem’s fertile soil makes it the most populous area in Papua.
Baliem’s valleys are perfect hiking spots. However, the real charm of Baliem lies on the primitive Dani people, their customs, and fashion as well. The best place to start off your adventure is Wamena, Baliem’s main town and market place. Exploring Baliem and neighboring valleys would take about two to three days. Visitors stay in male villagers’ thatch-roofed hut called ‘honai’. Here, you can learn and immerse yourself in the village’s archaic traditions. You can also visit other villages like Aikima, renowned for its 250-year old mummy. Suroba and Jiwika are the other villages popular to visit.
Festivals with Pig Races
If you want the perfect opportunity to observe Baliem’s rich culture, you have to be there during the Baliem festival. Held in August or September of each year, the festival showcases the different tribes’ attributes, arts, and crafts. You can also witness traditional dances, pig races, staged tribal wars and races. The Baliem festival is something visitors definitely would want to experience.
Peculiar Birds and Strange Souvenirs
Aside from its interesting customs, Baliem is also a bird watcher’s delight. It nestles the different kinds of birds of paradise, parrots, pigeons and flightless Cassowary. You can also buy souvenir items such as stone blades, rattan bracelets, necklaces, grass skirts, and head decorations.
Baliem Valley can be reached by plane from Jayapura to Wamena. From Wamena, you can either rent a car or take the public bus to Baliem. So, next time you’re in Indonesia, consider giving yourself more than a tanned skin. Take home a colorful and photogenic Baliem experience as well.