(Meta description: Besides Raja Ampat Islands, Kaimana is also the island worth visiting in West Papua. Especially with the Senja Kaimana Festival held every year there.)
West Papua is not only rich with nature but also their own cultures. There are many tourist destinations here that you ought to visit. Besides the world-famous Raja Ampat Islands, you must also check out Kaimana, a small port town in the south coastline. Why? If the chance is there, you may get to experience Senja Kaimana Festival.
What is Senja Kaimana Festival? First of all, let’s check out Kaimana first.
Although not as well-known as Raja Ampat Islands, Kaimana is actually worth a visit too. It is one of Papua’s amazing marine tourism destinations. A white sandy beach with shallow water and colorful coral reefs is just the first of many reasons you must visit here.
On the island, you will also find ancient fortresses dated back to World War II in West Papua. Even if you have not got a chance to experience Senja Kaimana Festival, this island is still worth visiting.
Then, how about the festival itself?
About Senja Kaimana Festival
This cultural festival was first held in 2012. The idea is to introduce the local cultures in West Papua. Eight ethnicities live in Kaimana. Each has its own cultural products, and they participate in this festival every year.
This festival is held for a few days. Sometimes it can take five days to a week. Tourists get to see a lot of cultural products here—for example, handcrafts, souvenirs, cultural exhibition stands, and artistic performances on the stage. The dance performances are also varied. You get to see traditional dances and also Western dances.
Since people in Kaimana also love dances and parties, they accept many dances, as long as they are fun and can liven up the party. This is why a lot of different dances are always performed at the festival.
Visitors from outside the island can also participate in the festival. There are various exciting competitions, like traditional spear and archery. These two skills have been valuable to Kaimana ancestors and are now considered as their cultural heritage. There are also photography and cooking competitions at the festival. You can join these too.
This festival also offers an opportunity to go around the town by having a Kaimana Fun Bike competition. You can cycle around Kaimana. This is also part of the Senja Kaimana Festival.
Why ‘Senja Kaimana’?
In Indonesian, the word ‘senja’ means “twilight” or “dusk.” Why is this cultural festival called ‘Senja Kaimana Festival’?
Kaimana has a spectacular sunset view here. It is unlike any other sunset view you may have ever seen. On sunny days, you get to see a perfect full moon on the horizon. The sky turns red too. You get to experience witnessing this view on Kaimana Beach, West Papua.
This sunset scene has inspired many Indonesian artists for decades. In fact, there is a popular song called ‘Senja di Kaimana’ (“The Twilight In Kaimana”), sung by Alfian, an Indonesian singer, back in the 1980s. Many people are willing to spend some time in Kaimana – just to look at the sunset while strolling on the beach. Many have agreed that the scenery looks romantic.
Visiting Kaimana for the festival means experiencing a whole package of fun and anthropological insight. You get to enjoy the competitions while learning more about the cultures in Kaimana. This is why the Senja Kaimana Festival has been one of the main tourist attractions in West Papua. At least once in your lifetime, you need to experience being in this festival. Participating in the contests and the dances too will be even more interesting.
While enjoying the festival, you might want to take some time as well to go to Triton Bay. Here, you get to see whale sharks, Mai-mai, and Little Comodo. Little Comodo is a diving spot. With just one dive in, you get to see colorful reefs, white gorgonian, exposed rocks and seamounts, and coral black and white garden. There are also a wide variety of sea creatures here.
When it comes to enjoying the festival, many people usually plan their trip ahead. That way, you get to stay in a nearby inn before everything else is fully booked close to the festival week. The closer the inn you get to the location of the festival, the easier for you to enjoy everything there.
The Covid-19 Pandemic and How It Affects The Festival
So, how is the Senja Kaimana Festival handled after the Covid-19 pandemic has been around since 2020? Especially since this year of 2022, we have Omicron as our new worry.
Although there has not been news yet, bear in mind that when the festival is held again, it will be done with further consideration. Following health protocols is a must these days, so just stick around to wait for more information. Hopefully, we can still see this festival in West Papua while maintaining our safe distance. There are many ways to make it happen again.
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