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Baliem Valley, Papua, Indonesia

Villager from Dani tribe. Papua,  Indonesia. Western part of New Guinea island is incredible place. Beautiful landscapes, jungle, forest, and traditional culture. There are still a lot of indigenous tribes. The most accessible place is Baliem Valley at Papua province (formerly called Irian Jaya), Indonesia. Dani tribe is the tribe which inhabits Baliem Valley.

If you are going to visit this place you would land at Wamena village. Well maybe itís better to call it small town. Wamena is changing very fast and more and more Indonesian people started to live there. To see Dani people you have to visit local markets around the Wamena or to trek around surrounding villages. North part of valley is not so steep so there are many easy walks. More interesting is south part, south of Kurima village where landscapes are stunning but trekking is more difficult. Lot of Dani people are Christians now and itís difficult to see some traditions. Easy way to see local culture is to visit Baliem Valle Culture festival which is organized by local government at the beginning of August every year. Place is changing so itís necessary to ask around which village is this year festival place. You will see lot of dances, pig cooking, and men warriors. They are just hanging around beautifully decorated or showing their fighting skills. Itís really nice event.

If you are there itís nice to make some trekking too to see beautiful landscapes with interesting flora. Every visitor is also going to Akima and Jiwika villages to see old mummies. Mummies are old village chiefs. They are stored at special huts over the fire place and are conserved by fire smoke. Historically mummies were at many villages but almost all were unfortunately burnt by missionaries. Akima and Jiwika are among few places where mummies are still present. Uphill of Jiwika village is small salt lake which was traditional source of salt. It was owned by villagers and they traded salt for other stuff with other villages.

Baliem Valley is really nice place to visit and to see traditions of indigenous Dani tribe.


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