With a flexible attitude you can truly enjoy the cultural richness and ecological heritage of the Papuan people
Discover beautiful Papua
The West Papua (Papua Barat) Bird’s Head Peninsula is located in the Western part of the island of New Guinea.
The West Papua (Papua Barat) Bird’s Head Peninsula is located in the Western part of the island of New Guinea. West Papua is part of the Republic of Indonesia. The mountainous peninsula is shaped in the form of a bird’s head and is covered in jungle and crossed by raging rivers and breathtaking highlands.
New Guinea is one of the world’s few remaining unspoiled places. Its impenetrable and rough terrain facilitates the conservation of over two hundred separate languages and cultures. Apart from the urban coastal areas, the peninsula has hardly been disclosed. The majority of the Papuans still stay true to their traditions and live in the rural highlands or in mountain villages.
Photography by Laurence Crossman-Emms
What to expect?
With a flexible attitude you can truly enjoy the cultural richness and ecological heritage of the Papuan people.
West Papua is the least developed province of Indonesia. This means that during a visit to the Bird’s Head peninsula accommodation, meals and transport will not always meet your expectations with regards to (travel) comfort. There’s also no such thing as fixed prices for tours or trips; often prices may vary depending on e.g. the availibility of gasoline or weather circumstances. Due to the infamous “rubber time” (jam karet) you may experience delays or even cancellations of flights.
West Papua’s tourist infrastructure is still very much under construction and actually that is the great charm of traveling through the Bird’s Head Peninsula; provided with a flexible attitude you can truly enjoy the cultural richness and ecological heritage of the Papuan people.
Photography by Laurence Crossman-Emms
How and when to go?
Start your unique adventure well prepared by contacting our eco-tourism network partners.
Papua Barat sits within the tropics and is therefore characterized by a hot and humid climate that varies little throughout the year. The rainy season starts around November and ends around May.
From May until November is the dry season and this will be the best time for travelling, especially if you would like to watch the unique Birds of Paradise display.
The easiest way to get to Manokwari is by air. There are flights to Manokwari from Jakarta, Denpasar, Surabaya and Ujung Pandang (Makassar). It’s easy to arrange domestic flights when in Indonesia, but you can also check out the website of ticketindonesia while preparing your trip. If you like to travel by sea, check PELNI for their route information. Please note that if you like to stay longer than 30 days in Indonesia you will have to apply for a visa in advance!
As a tourist you will encounter a mix of ancient habits and rituals. You will travel through virtually untouched nature, where you are dependent on local guides who know the surroundings. To make it easier to find your way around, we highly recommend to start your unique adventure well prepared by contacting our eco-tourism network partners.
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Birds of Paradise
Over 600 species of birds are found in Papua, including 27 bird-of-paradise species, many of which live nowhere else on earth. Global interest in Papua’s birdlife is leading to increased opportunity for wildlife tourism and bringing newfound economic benefits to local communities.
The Cornell Lab’s Birds-of-Paradise Project is working with the Governments of Papua and West Papua and other international partners to further science, engagement and conservation of the region’s biodiversity with a focus on the birds-of-paradise.
If you like nature and love to see the famous Birds of Paradise, Bowerbird and/or butterflies, the Arfak mountain reserve is the place to be.
The Arfak Mountains are part of the Vogelkop Montane Rain Forests Eco region. It undoubtedly holds the greatest source of rare and endemic species in the area and more species are yet to be discovered.
The Raja Ampat archipelago is the part of Coral Triangle that contains the richest marine biodiversity on earth. It is located off the northwest tip of the Bird’s Head Peninsula covers over 1,500 small islands, cays, and shoals surrounding the four main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo, and the smaller island of Kofiau.(source: Wikipedia). The Raja Ampat area should definitely be part of your trip to West Papua…
Check out this amazing video with footage of 5 months of amazing diving in the World’s most biodiverse reefs. Hundreds of hours spent underwater capturing the essence of another remarkable season in Raja Ampat, Indonesia.
West Papua has a very rich cultural heritage. The ‘Noken’ for instance is part of UNESCO’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. It is a knotted net or woven bag handmade from wood fibre or leaves by communities in Papua and West Papua. It is used for carrying produce, catch, firewood, babies or small animals as well as for shopping and for storing things in the home. Noken may also be worn or given as peace offerings.