The Baliem Valley is located in the central part of Papua, the Jayawijaya Regency, and is a very famous destination of Papua. The natural beauty is enhanced by the people's faithful adherence to their ancestral customs and traditions. Their so called "primitive stone civilization" is one of the oldest and best preserved in Indonesia, despite the harsh conditions and rapid modernization in today's life.
The valley can be reached by plane from Wamena, or by foot, which takes about five hours. Waisaput is a traditional village in the valley, where one can observe the marriage customs of the Dani tribe and the mummification of corpses. It is told that one of the mummies is 200 years old aged. See picture!
Things to do in Baliem Valley
Around the main town Wamena many traditional villages can be found within a two hour walking distance.
Following the main road to the East of Baliem valley you pass the village of Aikima with its 270-year-old mummy. A 15-minute walking distance from the road you can visit the villages of Suroba and Dugum, which both are worth visiting.
The village Wosilimo can come up with a 900m long cave, called Gua Wikuda. You need a local guide who brings along the necessary lights to explore the cave with lots of stalagmites. An nice one hour walk from Wosilimo along a small path and over a hanging bridge you find the lake Danau Anegerak.
As far as we can say, there are no maps of Baliem valley available. So it is necessary to hire a local guide for longer hikes. It is recommendable to ask at the local police office for trustworthy guides. An English speaking guide costs about Rp. 200,000 per day.
The Baliem Festival takes place each year around mid of August. This festival is famous for mock tribal fighting's with traditional dressed warriors. But the pig races also make lots of fun.
Travel to Baliem Valley
The only way into the Baliem valley is via Sentani airport in Jayapura. From there Trigana Air Service flies to Wamena several times a day.
Once arrived in Wamena, walking is the best option to get around. For longer distances a becac can be hired for about Rp. 3,000 per kilometer (that's already the foreigner price). But you can also charter a taxi for a day trip to the surrounding villages.
To travel in the interior of Papua a special permission is required, called surat jalan. You can apply for this permission at every police station. Costs are low. Two passport-size photos are necessary. Make plenty of photocopies once having the surat jalan in your hands, as you will have to give it to several local authorities when travelling overland. At each town you stay overnight, go first to the police station for registration.