Young Pioneer Tours

West Papua Tours 2022 – 2023

This is the YPT page dedicated to West Papua tours. Here you will find links to our group packages, independent tours, as well as information on the best travel agency in West Papua!

Table of Contents

Background to West Papua

With a name including ‘Papua’ in their name you would think it belongs to neighboring country Papua New Guinea. However, you would be wrong because it is to some controversially a province in Indonesia. There are 3,500,000 people living in West Papua, of which 1,800,000 are native West Papuans and 1,800,000 are Indonesians.

Guided West Papua Tours

Young Pioneer Tours are now happy to announce our guided tour program for the hidden gem that is the Indonesian province of West Papua. 

Young Pioneer Tours have been running guides tours to West Papua since 2018 and it is without doubt one of our favourite places to travel. Whether you decide on a group tour to West Papua, an independent tour to West Papua, a bespoke trip, or even a combo with our tours to East Timor, then we have you covered.

West Papua Group Tours – 2022 -2023 

Although our 2022 program is now finished, we are still offering some great packages for 2023. All of our tours to West Papua are led by an expert western and local guide. And when we say local we mean Papuan. At YPT we always try to engage the local community as much as possible, particularly in a place such as this.

All of our group tours to West Papua are capped at 16 people, so tours for people who hate group tours as like to put it. 

You can check out our 2023 West Papua Tours here.

West Papua May 2023 Tour

Our next West Papua tour has us seeing all of the main sites, as well as really getting immersed in the local culture. Check out the itinerary for more details. 

West Papua and Timor combo tour

If West Papua is not enough then why not combine a trip with one to Timor-Leste? Timed to coincide and link with our full Timor tour, this offers a truly amazing couple of weeks in some of the least visited parts of Asia. 

We are currently looking to add extra tours later in the year, stay tuned for updates to our West Papua Tour schedule.

Independent West Papua Tours

If our group tour dates do not match your schedule, then why not join one f our independent tours to West Papua? Bespoke West Papua tours can be from just one person, to as many as you want, with you choosing (with our help) exactly where you want to go in the country.

West Papua truly offers some diverse locations, and really anything is possible if you have the time and budget.

West Papua Tours – Our Tour Guides

YPT use the best tour guides in West Papua, who all have strong English, are local and know what they are talking about. We can also arrange guides in West Papua for day trips, or longer journeys if you are taking bespoke trip.

When it comes to West Papua Tours your choice of guide and local travel agency can really make, or break your trip.

Getting to West Papua

Getting There

As we are entering the stage of the post pandemic era, things all over the world has changed including the flight schedule into the region of West Papau. Do not fret though there are still enough options to make your West Papua Tour a reality.

Travelling by Air

Sentani airport in Jayapura will serve as your primary point of entry. Except for recent flights from Mount Hagen in Papua New Guinea, it is not possible to travel into West Papua from another nation. Although there are flights from other Indonesian airports, your main flight hubs will be Jakarta, Makassar, Ambon, and Bali. 

Internal flights – Currently, there are only 2 flights from Jayapura to Wamena, at 09: and 11:00. And Wamena – Jayapura at 10:00 and 12:00. However, our local partners have informed us that this schedule may change next year.

Travelling by Sea

Due to the vast number of islands that make up Indonesia, Pelni ships provide extensive service to the country. Your primary means of water travel into West Papua is via these liners. The principal entry point is the seaside town of Sorong, to which five liners travel every two weeks from Java, Maluku, Sulawesi, and Kalimantan before continuing to Jayapura with several stops in between.

Travelling by Land

West Papua has only one land border, and that is with Papua New Guinea. Although there are numerous methods to travel between the two, only one entry is known to be accessible to visitors from other countries. It is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Indonesian time at the Skouw-Wutung border crossing between Jayapura and Vanimo, Papua New Guinea. There is no prospect of a 30-day entry visa on arrival for travel from Papua New Guinea to Indonesia, even though there is no visa on arrival for travel into Papua New Guinea.

What to see and do on an independent tour in West Papua?

Formerly home to headhunters and cannibals the island of New Guinea is still one of the most misunderstood and least visited parts of the world. West Papua might be part of Indonesia, but its people practices and culture are worlds apart.

To read about if West Papua is a country lick here

This is not an easy place to navigate, so if you do decide to travel to West Papua then it is always worth booking with a West Papua travel agent like ourselves, as well as pre-prepare a guide.

And as for what to do in West Papua? There are so many things to see and do we cannot list everything here, but we can make a couple of suggestions.

Jayapura

The largest city in West Papua, where you will explore the native cuisine, beaches, hilltop vistas, and traditional villages where bark painting is still practiced locally. In this difficult-to-reach yet incredibly rewarding region of the world, don’t expect to run across any other travelers

Bailem Valley

You will get the chance to visit “Teletubbies Hill” where you’ll get great views of Lake Sentani. Sadly the ‘General MacArthur memorial Monument’, cannot be visited again (Closed completely) internal military reasons.

  • Central Baliem Valley

You can drive up to Jiwika in the centre of the valley, then begin to trek for about one hour up the mountain side through stunning rainforest before you reach the traditional salt spring of a Dani village. This is where you can see the traditional techniques of salt production

Head back down towards a Kurulu hamlet where you can see a mummy of the Dugum clan. You will see more traditional life in the village including arts and crafts as well as locally produced weapons

  • Southern Baliem Valley

In this part of the valley, you can go for a walk along the Baliem River crossing a suspension bridge passing through more Dani settlements with terraced fields and sugar cane plantations. It really doesn’t get more picturesque than this. Additionally, there is a Seima Church where it is recommended to have a picnic lunch.

Watch West Papuan cultural sites and events

West Papua is home to thousands of different tribes and cultures, some more out of the way than others. We can arrange trips where you can take part in and, or witness the locals doing their thing.

Eat the crazy food of West Papua

YPT have a thing for weird food and you will not be disappointed when you go to West Papua! One particular favourite of ours though would be caterpillar soup!

Visit the tropical islands of West Papua

West Papua is home to some amazing tropical island, such as the Raja Ampat Islands, Pianemo Islands and Cape Cri. These  offer the perfect balance between culture and pure tropical paradise. 

This list could have been MUCH bigger and we will make a longer blog at some point, but wherever you want to visit in West Papua, we can arrange it for you. 

Example Independent Tour to West Papua

Day 1 – Bali-Jayapura Morning

  • Catch the 1:25am flight to Jayapura, arriving at 8:35am to start your West Papua Tour!
  • Jayapura is the main city of West Papua, located on the north of Western New Guinea in Papua Province of Indonesia. It used to be called Hollandia and its Dutch colonial history is still prominent in the city.
  • Head straight to hotel to check in, catch up on rest, freshen up and gather again at 1:00pm for lunch

Afternoon

  • We head straight out for our favourite fare – street food, where we can choose between noodle soups, seafood and chicken satay
  • In the afternoon we’ll head to the governor’s residence area which is the best example of Dutch colonial villas and gardens
  • Head out for dinner before we chill out with a beer at the beach
  • Overnight in Jayapura

Day 2 – Jayapura-Wamena and Northern Baliem Valley Morning

  • After breakfast in the hotel we will drive out by car to “Teletubbies Hill” where we’ll get great views of Lake Sentani
  • Head to the General MacArthur memorial, where we’ll see more Dutch colonial houses on the winding road up and get great views from the top

Afternoon

  • We’ll have a quick lunch before we head to the airport to catch the 2:10pm flight to Wamena, arriving at 3:10pm. Wamena is the heart of West Papua, the main town in the Indonesian Papua Highlands and the gateway to the Baliem Valley
  • After arriving in Wamena we will check in to our hotel before heading straight out to tour Aikima in the northern part of the Baliem Valley.
  • We’ll go for a 1-2 hour hike where we can see the traditional houses of the Dani people in stunning mountain setting. We’ll walk through fields and pine forests, crossing the Aike river before we head back to our hotel
  • Dinner and overnight in Wamena

Day 3 – Central Baliem Valley Morning

  • After breakfast we drive up to Jiwika in the centre of the valley. We’ll trek for about one hour up the mountain side through stunning rainforest before we reach the traditional salt spring of a Dani village
  • Here we can see the traditional techniques of salt production

Afternoon

  • Picnic lunch on the mountainside
  • Head back down towards a Kurulu hamlet where we can see a mummy of the Dugum clan. We will see more traditional life in the village including arts and crafts as well as locally produced weapons
  • Drive back to the hotel
  • Dinner and overnight in Wamena

Day 4 – Southern Baliem Valley Morning

  • After breakfast we drive down to the southern side of the Baliem Valley to the village of Sogokmo where we are going to do a 3-4 hour trek
  • Here’ll go for a walk along the Baliem River crossing a suspension bridge
  • We’ll pass through more Dani settlements with terraced fields and sugar cane plantations. It really doesn’t get more picturesque than this.

Afternoon

  • In the early afternoon we will reach Seima Church where we will have a picnic lunch
  • Continue on our walk along the river and crossing another suspension bridge
  • Reach Kurima where we will meet our driver and head back to the hotel
  • Dinner and overnight in Wamena

Day 5 – Baliem Valley Mock Battle Morning

  • Today after breakfast we will head out to a local village and see a mock battle put on by the locals!
  • On arrival we will be given a special welcome and the tribal members will assemble in their local outfits. The chief will carry out his traditional observation and give the order to all the people for celebrations!
  • The locals enact a mock battle, to say this is a unique opportunity for photos and videos is still an understatement!

Afternoon

  • Picnic lunch in the village with the locals
  • On our way back we first visit Kontilola cave before shopping at a local market
  • Dinner and overnight in Wamena

Day 6 – Wamena-Jayapura, Sentani Lake Morning

  • We get up early for a quick breakfast and then catch the 6:15am flight back to Jayapura arriving at 7:00am
  • Check in at the hotel where we’ll relax for a few hours

Afternoon

  • Head out for lunch in Jayapura before we drive to “Love Lake” and Yoka village
  • Pass through beautiful scenery on the drive before we get to the lake which the locals say was shaped through the natural power of love…
  • From the jetty we’ll take a boat and go for a sail on Sentani Lake, to call it by its proper name
  • Arrive in Assei Village where we’ll see the locals demonstrating the tradition of bark painting for us
  • Get back on the boat to cross the lake before we drive back to Jayapura
  • For our last night in West Papua we’ll head out for dinner before going for drinks at the relatively swanky Swiss-Bel Hotel
  • Overnight in Jayapura

Day 7 – Jayapura-Bali Morning

  • Catch a flight back to Bali at 9:25am arriving at 1:45pm
  • End of tour, YPT can help with onward travel

This tour has been taken directly from our main group tour intermarry and can be amended, or completely changed. We do not share all itineraries online. Contact us directly for a bespoke West Papua tour. 

West Papua and Timor-Leste

Timor-Leste and West Papua share a lot in common, both are culturally different to Indonesia, and indeed both have fought for this cause. Of course things have worked out differently, but they still make perfect places to see in one trip.

Both places can be reached by both Jakarta and Bali, meaning YPT can arrange the perfect combo tour for you. 

FAQ About travel to West Papua

Do I need a visa for West Papua?

If you don’t have the proper documentation, the border will promptly send you away. Since West Papua is a part of Indonesia, getting permission to travel there is your first step! That necessitates examining the visa regulations.

You can enter Indonesia without a visa for 30 days through 29 airports, 88 seaports, and 7 land border crossings if your passport is valid for six months and you are a citizen of one of the mentioned nations, which includes all of Europe, America, Canada, and many more. The only drawback to this arrangement is that you cannot change your visa type or extend your stay. Obtaining a visa on arrival, which is applicable to many more nations, enables you to extend your stay for an additional 30 days for a price of US$35.

Is it is safe to travel to West Papua?

Yes, it is extremely safe to travel to West Papua, particularly when compared to Papua New Guinea. There its some petit crime and nationalist issues though. It shold also be remembered that there is a lot of jungle, which is why we suggest joining an organised tour.

You can check the FCDO advisory here.

Is it ethical to travel to West Papua?

Rightly, or wrongly West Papua is part of Indonesia. We feel that visiting here enriches the community and helps spread their culture, but in the end the choice is yours to make. 

How do you get to West Papua?

Usually by flight from Bali to Jayapura, but we can help if you choose to enter via another area.

Is West Papua vegan, or vegetarian friendly?

Yes and no, there are lots of fruit and vegetables, but when you visit tribes that used to cannibals the concept of vegetarian is a bit abstract to say the least! We will cover vegetarianism in West Papua in a later article.

But I have some many more questions about West Papua!!!!

Of course you do champ, so why not get in touch with the experts and let us plan your next West Papuan adventure!

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