Papua Highlights

Even a country as full of adventure as Indonesia has its final frontier. And here it is: Papua, half of the world’s second-biggest island, New Guinea. It may be the youngest part of Indonesia, but Papua’s rich tribal traditions span thousands of years. This is a place where some people still hunt their food with bows and arrows. A place where roads are so scarce, that to travel between towns you often have to take to the air or the water. So unlike any other part of Indonesia, the province formerly known as Irian Jaya can feel like a different country – which is what many Papuans, who are Melanesian and ethnically distinct from other Indonesians, would prefer it to be.

The highlands are home to a huge variety of tribes including the Melpa people, an industrious community, first “discovered” in the mid-1930s by gold prospectors. The Melpa are said by anthropologists, to be “predisposed to capitalism,” because of their complex traditional society in which “big men” earn status by accruing wealth and then giving it all away in ceremonial exchanges.

The Sepik River flows for over 1,000 kilometers, from the rugged interior to the Bismarck Sea and is a remote area of jungle fringed waterways, rich in culture and birdlife. The traditional mode of transport is the pole dugout canoe and village life continues largely unchanged. Experience sing sings, customary welcome dances performed by local tribes and witness some of their traditional crafts including wood carved totems and drums. This region is also famous for the crocodile initiation ceremonies during which young tribal men are scarified to resemble crocodiles.

The coast of Tufi’s peninsula, or Cape Nelson as it was named by the British, is a place where sea and mountains meet. A paradise accessed only by boat or air. Gnarled green fingers stretch out into the sea creating fjords or technically rias, created from unglaciated river valleys. These inlets give the region a very particular fingerprint of turquoise coral bays, surrounded by steep ridges covered in rainforest and kunai grasslands.

When to visit Papua


July is the driest and most popular month to visit. Accommodation may cost a little more than usual, with festivals happening. It is the best time to hike in the highlands.

Rainy Season



Hot Dry Season



Related Videos

Luxury Footage

Open chat
Hello Travelers, Can we help you?