When talking about West Papua, the first thing that comes in your mind probably Raja Ampat. The world has known the beauty of this series of four adjacent island clusters with its rich coral reefs and rare marine species. If there is one other place to visit West Papua, then the answer should be Baliem Valley.
Baliem Valley is located in the Jayawijaya Mountains with an average temperature of 10-15 degrees Celsius at night. The air is very much refreshing, and the view is so magical. If you haven’t heard about this exotic paradise yet, we are ready to astonish you with some great things and experiences that Baliem Valley will offer.
White Sand in the Middle of the Valley
If white sands are identical to the beach, you will see the same here. Only this time, you will not find any beaches. Even though it is located at an altitude of about 100 meters above sea level, a stretch of white sand just like you always see on the beach lies wide here. They call this a little miracle of Wamena.
You can see this white sand on the highlands in several places in Wamena. Those places are including Pisugi Districts, namely Aikima Village, Tulem Village, Habema, and Baliem Valley. It is said that the white sands of this valley were once a lake.
Surrounded by Stunning Scenery
Baliem Valley is nothing but exotic and awe-inspiring, a perfect reason why you should visit West Papua. This paradise is about 80 kilometers long and 20 kilometers wide. Baliem is cut by the Baliem River which flows into the Grand Valley and disembogues into the Arafura Sea. That is why you will not only see only mountains.
When trying to reach the Baliem Valley, you will be welcomed with a mountaintop background surrounding unique and traditional housings. The spot will take you back to past times.
Rock Burning Party
Besides spoiling your eyes with remarkable natural sights, you will also have a chance to enjoy the culture of the tribes living here. The tribes living in this valley are Dani tribes. They do this celebration when welcoming births, weddings, and post-war euphoria. This celebration is also used for the locals as they are gathering.
In this rock burning party, the fire is created by rubbing two sticks together. Then, the fire produced is used to burn the neatly arranged stones. For the highlights of this celebration, sweet potatoes and pork are placed on hot coals to be eaten together.
Finger Cut Tradition
Another cultural tradition you can see in this valley besides the rock burning party is this finger cut tradition. This scary tradition is also called ikilapin. Not without reason, the Dani tribes carry out this tradition. Even though what they do give you the creeps, but this heritage is meaningful.
Ikilapin represents loyalty and sadness as they lost their family member. It is because the Dani tribes uphold brotherhood and harmony between them. The number of the finger that is cut off speaks for the number of family members who died. Mostly, the women from Dani tribes do this tradition. Meanwhile, men show their sadness by cutting the ear skin.
Dani Tribes’ Hospitality
In West Papua, Dani tribes are popular for being shy, friendly, soft, and loyal. They value diversity among them and welcome visitors who come into their society. Dani tribes are also known for their fondness for war and a strong sense of pride.
Usually, when there is important tourists visit West Papua and arrive at Wamena Airport, Dani tribes will welcome them with their traditional dances and songs, along with their traditional clothing. No matter how far their village is, they will always welcome the guests with warmth and friendliness.
Baliem Valley Festival
The Baliem Valley Festival is the most anticipated event in Baliem Valley. Tourists from Indonesia and foreign countries are both willing to flock to West Papua for this famous event. Baliem Valley festival has been held more than twenty-five times. Among foreign tourists, this festival has been famous for decades.
During this festival, you will see the war simulations and dance performances between three tribes, namely the Dani, Lani, and Yali. Even though this show showcases inter-ethnic power battles, it is certainly safe to watch.
The Baliem Valley Festival was first held in 1989. The scenarios that you will be able to see are wars triggered by kidnapping citizens, killing tribal children, or invading newly opened fields.
So, have you made up your mind? You will be amazed by the magical atmosphere and unique traditional culture offered by Baliem Valley. This site should be one of the top reasons why you should visit West Papua.