West Papua might be a distant place to reach, but it’s definitely worth the wait and the price. Not only you can find Raja Ampat, but there are also other famous tourism spots in West Papua. If you’re about to have a holiday there, especially the long one, you can take a look at these places and put them in your itinerary.
Sentani Lake’s abundant natural resources and marine diversity make it the first of many must-visit tourism spots in West Papua. Its beautiful scenery attracts not only domestic but also international tourists. The lake is located 12 kilometers from Jayapura with an area of approximately 9,360 hectares, at 75 meters above sea level, and surrounded by 22 islands.
The lake is a home for 30 species of freshwater fish, four of them are endemic and can only be found in Lake Sentani. The four species are Lake Sentani Snakehead (Oxyelotris heterodon), the Sentani Rainbowfish (Chilatherina sentaniensis), Red Rainbowfish (Glossolepis incises), and large tooth sawfish (Pristis microdon).
If you’re born in the ’90s, you must’ve heard about a kid’s show titled Teletubbies. It turns out that you can see Teletubbies hill here. Just go to Lake Sentani, and you can find the verdant Teletubby Hill around the lake. You can enjoy the scenery directly by climbing to the top of the Douglas MacArthur Monument. You can find the monument in Cyclop Mountains, Rindam Jaya Kodam 8 Trikora Complex, Indonesian Military headquarter.
If you’re looking for a cultural experience, visit Lake Sentani in June. You’ll find the locals are celebrating Lake Sentani Festival by prancing and singing on boats, performing Papuan war dances, holding traditional ceremonies such as Ondoafi, and serving the culinary specialties of Papua.
It is almost impossible to make a list of tourism spots in West Papua without Raja Ampat in your itinerary. Despite the hefty amount of money that you have to spend to get here, it’s always worth it.
Be prepared to be welcomed by the almost translucent turquoise sea, the home for 1,500 fish species and 540 coral species. And when you set your foot on land, explore the untouched rainforests, and feel the trash-free sand seeping through the gap of your toes.
If you want to relish the beauty of marine life and you are not afraid of getting wet and a bit messy, try water sports. Diving, sailing, swimming, snorkeling—you name it.
Tapurarang Archeological Site
Do you know that West Papua is not only rich in natural resources but also in culture? Other than going to the beach, lake, or anything that might make you sweat, you can opt for a cultural trip to Tapurarang Archeological Site in Kokas, Fakfak region. The site is surrounded by hills and sloping riverbanks, shaped like a cave.
The prehistoric artifacts, relics, and paintings on the site will bring you back to the megalithic period. Everything on the archeological site has been preserved very well. It gives an insight into how people live and communicate in the past.
The wall is painted with plants and animals, mostly in red. One of the most renowned attraction is “the blood handprints” – mysterious red handstamps on the cliff that resembles the color of human blood.
This tourism spot is perfect for extroverts! It is the best spot to mingle and interact with the native tribes (Dani and Lani) and grasp the culture in Sauwandrek village. The village is located near Raja Ampat, at the foot of Jayawijaya Mountain.
About 50 households or less are living in the coastal area. They’re still holding onto the local traditions such as war dance and animal hunting. They still live in traditional houses which are made of wood and topped with straw.
Goa Binsari / Goa Jepang (Japanese Cave)
If you drive 15 minutes away from the center of Biak to Biak Numfor Regency, you’ll reach a historical site called the Japanese Cave. The cavern got its rather unusual name from its history. It used to be the Japanese troops’ hideouts during World War II where they plan their strategy against the United States troops.
The cavern consists of two connected caves: Binsari and Five-Room Japanese Cave. The Binsari Cave acts as the entrance gate, while the Five-Room Japanese Cave acts as the exit gate. Once you reach the exit gate, you’ll find yourself near the coastal region of the Pacific Ocean.
Those are the top 5 tourism spots in West Papua that you can write down on your bucket list. You can have Lake Sentani for the nature adventure, Raja Ampat for a bit of sport, Tapurarang Archeological Site to get a glimpse of our ancestor’s life, Suwandarek village for those who are social, and the Japanese Caves that teleports you to the warzone.