Meta description: Interested in more cultural experiences while visiting Papua and West Papua? Stop by at Yoboi Village and enjoy the local festivals while you are here.
First-time Papua and West Papua visitors may probably not know where to start. There are plenty of interesting tourist sites, including museums, conservation areas, and villages, to check out. If you are looking for suggestions besides the already famous Raja Ampat, you might want to consider Yoboi Village.
About Yoboi Village
For starters, Yoboi Village is located in the middle of Lake Sentani, Jayapura, Papua. One of the attractions in this village is a lot of sago anyone can find. It is no wonder that visiting this village also means experiencing sago tourism.
Yobi Village is also ranked in the Top 50 of the 2021 Indonesian Tourism Village Award (ADWI or Anugerah Desa Wisata Indonesia). This event is held annually by The Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy (Kemenparekraf or Kementerian Pariwisata dan Ekonomi Kreatif).
Since located right in the middle of Lake Sentani, visitors have to cross the lake first to get there.
Sago tourism also offers some interesting cultural activities in Yoboi Village. Have you ever heard sago-tree-trekking? This activity involves trekking the 420-meter-sago tree. This village is a house to plenty of sago palms which grow in a 1,600-hectare-forest. Visitors get to see 20 types of sago here. The one from the 420-meter tree is the most common sago found in Indonesia.
Another sago-related cultural activity is the Sago Caterpillar Festival (Festival Ulat Sagu). There is also another festival called Festival Ela, where people compete against each other in terms of hunting forest animals. Another famous festival here is called Festival Danau Sentani (Sentani Lake Festival).
The Sago Caterpillar Festival usually takes place from the 26th to the 28th of November every year. The local residents take this opportunity to start selling sago caterpillars, papeda, and other artistic handcrafts.
The Lake Sentani Festival is also an annual festival held in this village. This grand festival is a rare opportunity for everyone to witness and enjoy a variety of cultural attractions from the Sentani tribe in one go. There are dances, music, and a variety of local cuisines for everyone to try.
The Lake Sentani Festival has been held since 2007. It is held in the middle of June, and it takes five days nonstop. You get to see dances on rafts floating on the lake. You also get to see Papuan war dances. There is also a tribal ritual ceremony to choose a local leader based on their territorial autonomy called Ondoafi.
With the growing creative economy comes more interesting inventions. In West Papua, especially during this festival, you get to see and try a variety of local cuisines made from sago. From sago flour to baked sago, it is here. Another interesting dish is their dessert called sago ice cream.
Who says only the Javanese own batik? If you come to this festival, you get to see that West Papua also owns its own batik. You get to see it in the bags of woven sago leaves and curtains made of sago fruit that they sell. You also get to see taman gizi terapung (a floating nutrition garden). It is the raft where they set a garden of fruits on it.
Reasons You Should Visit Yoboi Village
Based on the descriptions above, it is evident that it is not hard to find this village. As long as you can find the lake, it is there—right in the middle. It is also very much accessible and safe.
There are many reasons why you should visit Yoboi Village. Besides its accessibility, you get to experience a variety of local cultures without having to go around so much. This is why you need to note down the time of these festivals. That way, you may have a better chance to catch up with them next time around.
Of course, attending these festivals also means better preparation ahead. These are the times when many tourists flock the scenes, either for the whole experience or just on a holiday or business. It is best to prepare your budget and book accommodation as early as possible. That way, when the festivals take place, you will not have any trouble finding a place to stay.
Another reason is to try a more variety of sago-produced goods. As a source of carbohydrates, sago has been used in a variety of meals here. You get to try them all here, from simply replacing rice to soup and ice cream. In fact, you may not be able to find them easily elsewhere. This will enrich both your culinary and cultural experiences too while visiting Papua.
One other, equally important reason to visit this village is to experience the warm, friendliness of the Papuans to visitors. You will feel at home because they treat their guests with kindness and respect. In turn, you should give them the same amount of kindness and respect for having allowed you to visit their home.