Irian Jaya is a land of exceptional natural grandeur. Its jungles are among the wildest, most impenetrable in the world. Eternal snow capped mountain ridges more than 5,000 meters high, with walls plunge hundreds of meters down onto floors filled with small glacier lakes. It has scenic beaches in abundance as well as immense stretches of marshlands. Cool grassy meadows lie at the foot of the towering mountains. Rivers cut through dark forests until their sluggish, crocodile infested mouths disgorge the water into the sea.
The highest peak of the central mountain range is Puncak Jayawijaya (5,500 meters). Second and third are Gunung Trikora (5,160 meters) and Gunung Yamin (5,100 meters), respectively. The biggest lake is Paniai, followed in order of declining size by the lakes Ronbenbai and Sentani, both in the vicinity of Jayapura, and Anggigita near Manokwari. On the basis of physical features and differences in language, customs, artistic expression and other aspects of culture, the indigenous people of Irian Jaya are distinguished into about 250 sub-groups, although they all belong to the Melanesian race, and are related to the people inhabiting the islands along the southern rim of the Pacific. The Negritos are believed to have settled on the island first, probably some 30,000 years ago, followed by the Melanesians. The people of the central highlands still maintain their ancestral customs and traditions, and are virtually untouched by alien influences. Most of the changes have so far taken place among the coastal people, who are being subjected to ever increasing contacts with the world outside. This process of change is being accelerated by the work of missionaries, who have been working for many decades among the local populations. The people of the north and west are mostly Protestants, while those of the south and of the hinterland around Enarotali are Roman Catholics. Those around Fakfak and the Raja Ampat Islands are mostly Moslem. Animism is still practiced by isolated tribes in various parts of the province. Although Irian Jaya is famed for its Bird of Paradise, the province's fauna is not particularly rich. Almost all the animals here are of the Australian fauna type. Copper, oil, timber and sea products like fish and shrimps are among the province's main products.
Jayapura , founded on 7 March 1910 as Hollandia, had developed into a city with modern civil, educational, and medical services in 1962. Since Indonesian administration services have been replaced by Indonesian equivalents such as TNI (the army) replacing into Papua Battalion. The name of the city has been changed to Kotabaru, then to Sukarnopura and finally to its current official name. Among ethnic Papuans, it is also known as Port Numbai, the former name before the arrival of immigrants. Jayapura is the largest city, boasting a small but active tourism industry; it is built on a slope overlooking the bay. Cenderawasih University (UNCEN) campus stays at Abepura that is the houses of University Museum. Both Tanjung Ria beach, near the market at Hamadi (site of the 22 April 1944 Allied invasion during World War II) and the site of General Doughlas MacArthur's World War II headquarters at Mount Ifar have monuments commemorating the events.
Sentani Lake There is a settlement on the shore of this lake not far from Jayapura where one can observe local traditions as they are practiced in people daily lives. The short trip from Jayapura, pleasant as it is, offers a little foretaste of the province's magnificent sceneries.
The Skyline Hills Tanjung Ria Beach, known as base G by the Allies during World War II, is a popular holiday resort with water sports facilities. From Skyline in the hills behind the city, one gets a beautiful view of Jayapura, Jotefa and Humboldt bays and Sentani lake area. Places in the vicinity of Jayapura such as Skyline and Sentani Lake can be reached by taking a minibus. Biak has air and sea links with Jayapura. Sorong, is also served by air from Jayapura. Other destinations are reached by car or boat, or by light aircraft
The Valley remains one of the last places on the face of the Earth where people continue living in semi-Neolithic circumstances. Upon the spectacular approach by air, the tourists will notice the total isolation of the area. Sealed of the rest of the world by mighty mountain walls and without any roads leading from the coast to the inner region, the Valley keeps its own secrets. Villages of no more than a few families are dispersed throughout this rough and mountainous region. Dani is a generic name of a series of tribes, until recently adhering to a Neolithic lifestyle. Only by the sixties of last century, they adopted the use of iron. Their dark complexions underline a Negroid origin, something that differentiates from the other Indonesian people. There are numerous tribes residing in the valley, having quite different languages and customs. The Yali, Kimial, Ok and Eipomek claim the eastern periphery of the magnificent valley. It is relatively easy to find their villages under the shelter of rainforest and highland.
Within the small town of Wamena, most Dani people clad in westerns style clothes. If we venture out however, chances are high we'll have an encounter with a fascinating Dani in full regalia Indeed, the Dani people much prefer to walk around naked save for a koteka or a tube-like yellow gourd, worn over the penis. The bodies of the male Dani gleam with pork fat, applied to fight of the cold. At an altitude of 1.600 m, temperature can be quite low, especially at night.
Jayawijaya Peak, a roaring mountain is permanently covered with snow, despite its location on the equator. We'll quite never forget meeting an awful-looking Dani, bearing the tusk of a wild pig at the tip of his nose. Despite their groovy looks, these are quite gentle people, shaking your hand politely and always having time for a small chat.
Likewise, women don't wear terribly much clothes. Just a skirt, entirely made of natural materials will do. It is the women's duty to carry out the heavy work on the fields. Observe the nuke, typical cloak-like bark string bags, carried half over the head. Heavily loaded with cabbage, sweet potatoes and sago, they resemble a blanket. A woman covered in river mud, is in grief. A less innocent way to show mourning, is finger amputation, a fate that only women will befall. Despite serious efforts of the government to halt this practice, they continue being reported occasionally
The Baliem Valley remains one of the most fascinating places on the planet, where man may confront it its prehistoric past. But even in the remotest of area. Civilization is seeping through and will not be kept at bay. Maybe the time is right to visit the wild beauty of the Baliem Valley and its remarkable people.
Asmat people who live along the remote southeast coast around Agats are famed for their artistic "primitive" woodcarving. Modern civilization did not reach this area until recently. Agats has an interesting museum filled with woodcarvings and other objects. The area however is still largely untamed wilderness. Asmat crash received a boost in late 1960s under a United Nations supported project to encourage local craftsmen to keep alive their art.
The Asmat homeland comprises the rugged and isolated southern coast of Irian Jaya. It is an area of approximately 10,000 square miles and comprises mainly swamps and mangroves. Ancestor figures were traditionally made only for the festival honoring Fumer-ipits. They wear a unique costume. Tourists demand, however, is as resulted to change to this custom. Previously, after the festival, the figure is discarded into the forests near a sago tree because it was believed that as the wood of the carving is deteriorated, the power of the ancestor was transferred to the sago palm. Other ancestor carvings are designed as elements in larger carvings, such as canoe prows, paddles or ancestor poles
The Asmat believe that all things have a spirit whether humans, animals, plants and even special locations such as a whirlpool or the bottom of a river. They also believe that the world is divided between that which can be seen and that which is unseen which is the realm of the spirits. It is considered important to maintain a proper balance between the seen and the unseen. In this respect, birth and death balanced the population between the seen and unseen realms and one cannot take place without the other. This would manifest itself in disease, hunger, death and misfortune that will be caused by the unsettled spirit.
Merauke is called Deer Town, lies in the east part of Indonesia, bordered on Papua New Guinea. This regency is well known with its Asmat woodcarvings and Wasur National Park. The population in Merauke Regency nearly 276,122 people, spread in the 18 districts. A large number of the people are living in the interior. To reach the interior, is only by plane such as twin otter or Cessna.
Wasur National Park It is located 13 km out of Merauke town on an area of 412,387 ha. This park has various kinds of flora and fauna which part of them never found elsewhere in the world. To reach it, all kinds of vehicles can be taken. No hills or mountains range are seen but variety of habitats, such as savannah, mangroves forest and the most interesting sight of stretching marsh ebb. Wasur National Park is suitable for various kinds of activities like bird watching, wild life and nature, adventure, culture and traditional hunting. One other thing strange but interesting is the sporadic designed house which is called termite mounds. It arises to the universe fascinatingly as if the earth flowered huge sponges. There are 74 kinds of bird from 390 species are never found elsewhere in the world. It is so comfortable whenever we watch them hopping and flying among trees and branches, looking for food with their gentle voices like 'aeolin harp', as if we were asked to stop and questioned: "where is the melody from". These are the voices of birds in their own characteristics, which are rare but very attractive. There are 3 ethnic groups inhabit this area. They are Marind, Ranum and Murori, each with their own language and culture. A great number of them live in 13 villages and earning their live by gardening and hunting.
Lampu Satu Beach It is well known with its solid soft sand that stretches lenghthwise directly across the Pacific Ocean. This beach is very beautiful especially during the sunset. It is very suitable for bird watching, horse racing and motor cycle racing. The distance from Merauke town is 5 km and reachable by vehicles.
The Raja Ampat Island in Irian is group spreads out over a huge area and consists of over 610 islands. The four largest islands are Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati and Misool. The area's reefs are covered in a diverse selection of both hard and soft corals. Most of the areas reefs are pristine, with mile after mile of perfect hard corals, drift after drift of soft corals of many species and colors ranging from brilliant red, to shocking yellow pretty pink and exotic purple. Most reef dives are very colorful. The tourist would be able to experience the best dives sites within those islands, which include Cape Kri, Mellisa's Garden, Sardines Reef, The Passage, Nudibranch Rock, Wai Island Night Dive.
Raja Ampat is the western island of Papua Island. The name of Raja Ampat based on the legend. This area had begun with 6 eggs that found by King Waikew in Waigeo Island. But from the 6 eggs, just 5 eggs had crack. The last was become an egg stone till now on. From the fifth eggs that had cracked, the 4 eggs was become men who become King of four big islands that is Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati and Misool. While the one egg became a woman, had wash away and stranded in Biak Island. That woman was born a child named Gura Besi that known as the historical man of Raja Ampat, because of his heroic story.
The regency that formed based on the constitution number 26 in 2002, is the development of Sorong regency on 12 April 2003. This area has 46.000 km2. But, 85% of this area is archipelago area. There are 610 islands in this area. But most of them have no social life. This regency has 10 districts and 85 villages with about 48.707 men.
For the fauna sector, Raja Ampat has rarely fauna, such as; red birds of paradise (Paradise Rubra), Wilson birds of paradise (Cicinnurs Republica), Maleo Waigeo (Spilocuscus Papuensis), and rainbow fishes. Hence, for the flora, Raja Ampat has many kinds of Orchids, Waigeo palm, ironwoods or black woods, 'keruing', 'ulin' woods, etc.
Biak, a town built on the rocky soil of an island of the same name on the rim of Cenderawasih Bay, is Irian Jaya's gateway. A big Indonesian naval base, it has an infrastructure that is better than in most other places in the province. Japanese caves are found near Ambroben. There are some good beaches on Biak island, the most popular of which are Bosnik on the east coast, good for swimming and skin-diving, and Korem on the north coast, where one can watch young men dive for pearls. Supiori Island, just north of Biak, has a recreation forest and villages where visitors are welcome. The temperature is generally hot. Light rains fall 189-399 mm per month between 22-29 days, which occurs a lot during the months of Januari to June whereas the dry season in between July to October. Flora There are numerous types of flora in this tropical area with its mystical tropical rain forest. The forest also has a variety trees and other commercials important species plus the lush vegetation of mangrove swamps. People grant their life by taking sago from the sago palm forest. Fauna The fauna is almost similar to Australian fauna such as the group of fowl like pigeon, cockatoo, nuri (a kind of parrot) and the reptile group such : crocodile, snake, turtle and monitor lizard. Japanese Cave The native of Biak called this cave 'Abiyau Binzar'. Abiyau means cave and Binzar means grandmother. It is said that in the old times there was a grandmother living in this cave. During the second world war the Japanese army hid in this cave which simultaneously functioned as logistic centre. It is located in Sumberker Village, Biak Kota District; 15 minutes ride to get there from Biak town. Parai Blue River A cave with a river running inside contains fresh aquamarine water. Beautiful stalactite and stalagmite decorate the inside walls. It is in Parai Village Biak Kota District and takes about 15 minutes to reach it from Biak town.