There are some things you should know before visiting Baliem Valley in Papua, such as reporting to the local official, showing respect, and anticipating extreme weather.
The tourism in Papua and West Papua is now uplifted. There are so many destinations for local and foreign tourists to visit, from national parks like Lorentz National Park and Cenderawasih Bay National Park to beautiful beaches like Batu Pica beach and Raja Ampat. Among so many Papua and West Papua travel destinations, one you must visit is Baliem Valley.
In fact, this location became a prime site toward PON XX Papua 2021 back in October. Baliem valley was the place where the PON fire stayed overnight after being paraded from Sorong, West Papua to Biak city, Papua, then proceeded to Timika city, Mimika regency. If you want to visit, here are things you should know before visiting Baliem Valley in Papua.
Baliem valley is a valley in the Jayawijaya highlands. Laid at an altitude of 1600 meters above sea level, the area is surrounded by a captivating mountain landscape. At night, the temperature can reach 10-15 degrees Celsius. This valley is widely known as the residence of the Dani tribe, located in Wosilimo village, 27 kilometers from Wamena, Papua.
Other tribes that live in the neighborhood are the Yali tribe and the Lani tribe. When visiting this valley, you will not only be captivated by the scenic background but also the Dani tribes’ unique culture and the traditional life they still preserved up until now. One thing that is also popular about this ethnic group is their traditional house called honai.
The design of honai will remind you of mushrooms. Locals use hay or weeds as the roof and wood for the wall. There are two kinds of honai, honai for men and honai for women. Even if the man is already married, he still needs to sleep in the honai for men with the rest of the men of the tribes. Dani tribes are known for their hospitality, war technique, and unique culture.
What to Do When Visiting Baliem Valley
Do you want to give Dani tribes a visit? Here are things you should know before visiting Baliem Valley in Papua.
Report to Local Official
Even if you go solo or in a group, make sure to report to the local official first. You can go to Jayawijaya Resort Police. Plus, during a visit to Baliem valley, you should be accompanied by a travel agent.
During your tour, you must respect the customs of the tribes. Tourists are suggested to bring cigarettes or candies, in case anytime the locals ask for it. According to a researcher of the Papua Archeological Center, Hari Suroto, giving cigarettes or candy is a form of mutual respect between the hosts and the guests. It wasn’t meant to charge or beg. Even if you don’t bring cigarettes, Dani tribes will receive the candies you bring with pleasure.
Regardless they’re wearing peculiar clothes that are very different from your daily outfits, never make fun of them. Do not laugh or show other disrespectful attitudes towards them. Also keep in mind to never take plantations, fruits, or animals without the tribes’ permission. You are also forbidden to burn your food packaging waste.
Extreme Weather Anticipation
One of the things you should know before visiting Baliem valley in Papua is to make great preparations for the extreme weather conditions. The weather in Baliem valley often changes because it is located at an altitude of 1600 meters above sea level and is surrounded by mountains. For the least, bring an umbrella, raincoat, and thick jacket.
Because you are a visitor or a tourist, it is important to never forget to bring your identity cards such as your ID card or passports if you are a foreign tourist.
For travelers who love trekking, breaking through locals’ housing or house yards marked with prohibited signs or silo is highly forbidden. In addition, don’t bring too much cash during trekking.
Rule of Taking Picture
Remember to always ask permission first before taking pictures or wishing to pose with the residents in their traditional clothes. Always seek an agreement between you and Dani tribes when it comes to capturing photos.
It is because residents wearing their unique traditional clothes whether in tourism locations or certain places will ask for a reward for their permission. The reward is mostly in the form of money. This is you being thoughtful about their self-esteem.
Beware of Pet
Don’t be nosy to any animals in Baliem valley. Local communities usually keep pigs or dogs because according to their culture, these two animals have cultural value and are precious. If a tourist happens to crash or hit these animals, he or she must pay a pretty high fine or compensation.
Beware of Drunk People
If you accidentally pass a drunken person, it is better to stay away from them.
So those are things you should know before visiting Baliem Valley in Papua. Remember that respect is very important. By respecting Dani tribes as the residents of Baliem valley, you will build a feeling of trust and safety in them.