Besides Honai, Here Are 6 Captivating Traditional Houses of West Papuan

Other Than Honai, Tribes In Papua And West Papua Have Other Beautiful And Unique Traditional Houses. Here Are Some Charming Traditional Houses Of West Papuan.

Slug: captivating-traditional-houses-of-west-papuan

Spread from Sabang to Merauke, Indonesia has many ethnics and cultural diversities. Each cultural tribe in Indonesia has its languages, traditional clothes, traditional foods, ceremonies, and, of course, traditional houses. Among many regions in this country, Papua and West Papua are two provinces that have so many different ethnic groups with their uniqueness.

One of the uniqueness is their traditional housings. While people may only be familiar with Honai, there are many captivating traditional houses of West Papuan. What are they? Here is the list for you.



Let’s start with the traditional houses of West Papuan that most Indonesian people know. Honai is a traditional house of the Dani tribes. Up until now, Dani tribes still preserve their unique architecture. Honai uses hay or weeds as the roof. As for the wall, it is made of wood. The design looks like a giant mushroom. Even though it looks rather small, this house can accommodate many family members. 

Honai is separated into Honai for men and Honai for women. Even if they are married, the married couple should live in different Honai. Consisting of living rooms, bedrooms, and kitchen, Honai doesn’t apply room partition. There is only one small door, so you need to bow when entering the place. It has no window as well. It is meant to protect them from the cold and wild animals’ attacks.


Rumah Kaki Seribu

Rumah Kaki Seribu or in English, we say a house with thousand legs. This house is a traditional house of Arfak tribes. Rumah Kaki Seribu is also known as Mod Aki Aksa or Igkojei. The design is like a stage with a lot of piles as the base that fills the bottom. The base becomes the support for the main building. Mod Aki Aksa measures about four to five meters with a width of 8×6 meters, more or less. 

Although this house looks simple, many people can live here since it is pretty big and comfortable. The flooring is made from rattan, while the roof uses weeds. Another uniqueness of Rumah Kaki Seribu is that this house only has two doors and no windows. The design is meant to protect Arfak tribes from wild animals, cold weather, and natural disasters.



The design of Kariwari is very stunning. The shape of this traditional house is an octagonal pyramid with a conical roof. The conical roof represents peace, wealth, prosperity, and religion. Kariwari can withstand strong wind from any direction, thanks to its remarkable design. This building is built with sliced bamboo as the wall, sago leaves as the roof, and tree bark as the floor. 

The traditional house of Kariwari features eight whole blocks of wood as the framework. The whole woods selected are ironwoods. The woods are assembled and spliced using ropes. The height of Kariwari is twenty to thirty meters, and the diameter size is eight to twelve meters. The house is divided into three rooms. 


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The next traditional house of West Papuan is Jew. Jew is widely known as Asmat’s bachelor house. Why is it called Asmat’s bachelor house? It is because Jew is only occupied by unmarried boys. Nevertheless, married men still can live here, especially for those considered leaders of their respective families. 

Mostly, Jew or bachelor’s house is used to hold a gathering between leaders and village leaders of the Asmat tribe. They conduct village meetings, war strategy decisions, traditional parties, guest welcoming, and other traditional activities in Jew. Every village of Asmat tribes usually has one Jew in their community. Inside Jew, there are several fireplaces according to how many families are in the village. Thus, if there are ten families, there will be ten fireplaces in the Jew. 



Yamewaa is the traditional house of the Mee tribe. Mee tribe is one of many ethnic groups in Papua and West Papua. Mee tribe inhabits the central highlands of West Papua. Locals call themselves Mee or Makado Mee, which means real human. 

Yamewaa is lived only by men of the tribe. This traditional architecture is made from rattan, woods, and weeds as the roof. Inside Yamewaa, there is a fireplace to keep the room warm and be used for cooking needs. Like other West Papua traditional houses, Yamewaa also consists of different houses for men and women. 


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Another unique traditional house of West Papuan is the treehouse of the Korowai tribes. This traditional home is literally built on top of a tree. Korowai tribes themselves are discovered by the Indonesian government in 1970. Some of their treehouses can even reach a height of 50 meters above ground level.

They build the treehouse to protect them from beasts and evil spirits. They believe in the existence of Laleo, an evil demon who likes to make a sudden attack. That is why the higher their house, the safer they will be. The house is built on the top of a big and sturdy tree as the understructure. It usually takes seven days to build this house which lasts for three years. 

So, which traditional houses of West Papuan do you wish to stop by when visiting West Papua