West Papua tourism offers untouched rainforests, natural beauty, crystal clear waters, fascinating marine life, exotic animals, stunning rock forms, and indigenous tribal culture. Since it is located in the easternmost province of Indonesia, people find West Papua hard to reach. Still, it has so much to offer and little information to know about this ‘Heaven on Earth’.
That is why it is important to know about the place you will be visiting. It would be best if you took a lot of information regarding how to travel there, where you will be staying, what to bring, and the best time to visit before you explore this secret corner of paradise.
This article will discuss some things you need to know before visiting West Papua tourism.
Best time to visit
The weather in West Papua can be unpredictable. The best time to visit West Papua is between April and October, where the sun shines throughout the day and rarely rains. Still, it is important to know that in West Papua, sometimes it rains too, but less in that period.
Any outdoor activities—such as trekking, bird watching, and diving—can be enjoyed in the dry season. Almost every festival also takes place during that time. In the rainy season, from November until March, some local tours aren’t open for business.
How to travel to West Papua?
If you are not an Indonesian, don’t forget to bring necessary documents to apply for a visa on arrival, especially for these listed countries, including all countries in Europe, Canada, America, Australia, and many more. The visa is free and valid for 30 days.
After preparing documents, you need to book a flight to West Papua. The biggest airport in West Papua is Domine Eduard Osok in Sorong. You can’t fly into West Papua directly from your country. Your main flight are to Jakarta, Makassar, Bali, or Ambon, and then you need to continue your flight to Sorong. As you arrive in Sorong, you can take domestic flights to Waisai (Raja Ampat), Manokwari, Fakfak, or Timika.
Getting around West Papua Tourism
Getting around the island takes so much time since the infrastructure is quite limited. The island is enormous with heavy terrain. It’s challenging to move from regions to towns or vice versa because there are no primary road links, but using local roads.
In town, there are public bus services, but not really reliable. The comfortable way to go is by using private cars with a driver, but it costs USD 75 per day. It’s best to ask locals, hotels, or homestays how you can go to the place you want to go to. The easiest way, you can go between places using a boat or plane, as many areas are only accessible by boat or plane. However, it’s worth to explore.
Traveling alone, of course, costs more. Thus, by joining a group, you can share transportation or boat fees.
Where to stay?
Comfortable and nice accommodation is available throughout West Papua. You can stay either in an international hotel in Sorong, beach resorts, bungalows, reasonable value accommodation such as a humble homestay or a traditional hut. You can get more information about hotels or local homestays from the internet.
It’s important to book your accommodation in advance. Booking accommodation will make your trip safer and save more money. If you come directly to a hotel or guesthouse, sometimes the prices are higher than in most Australasian states.
If camping on the ground is your thing, there are also a few inhabited islands that you can camp there. However, keep in mind that you need to get a permit from a local community and pay a small fee. Another option is liveaboard, where you can feel living as a sailorman with diving spots everywhere.
What to bring for your journey to explore West Papua Tourism?
Just like your usual island trips, you need sunblock, swimwear, sandals, hat, sunglasses, sunburn-soothing lotion, comfortable walking shoes or sandals. Also, don’t forget to bring mosquito repellent. Wearing your long-sleeved clothes in the evening, using the mosquito repellent, and sleeping under the mosquito net at night will prevent you from contracting malaria.
Don’t forget to bring all your legal documents, such as passport, visa, return ticket, insurance, dive certifications, and cash. Keep them waterproof. Make sure to exchange your money into Rupiah in Sorong because ATMs and money changers are rarely found in other places.
West Papua Tourism
The best way to explore West Papua tourism is to join a shared tour. It’s a simple reason because West Papua is huge and lots of tourism guide information you will get from the local guide. This will save your time and prevent you from getting lost in West Papua. If you are joining a shared tour, the costs are fixed, so you won’t need to spend more extra cash.
If you insist on arranging your trip, you should be prepared for an adventure. It’s challenging and frustrating, especially if you can’t speak Indonesian. It will over-budget, and there is also a chance to get lost.
However, exploring West Papua tourism will be an unforgettable experience, whether you’ll go by yourself as a backpacker or join a trip.