Baliem Valley Festival, Korowai & Asmat

Three Highlights In One Tour

16 days/15 nights ● from Jayapura/ to Timika, Papua ● 10 nights in tent ● min 6 pax/max 12 pax ● Level of difficulty: 3***

On this 16 days/ 15 nights group tour from Jayapura/ to Timika, we experience 3 highlights in one tour. First, we visit the colorful Baliem Valley Festival, in which numerous Dani tribes participate. The spectacular war and dance performances are overwhelming. As it can be very crowded, we also organize a private festival in a traditional village near our Resort on the second day of the public festival. On this day, our guests can choose to attend the public festival, or our exclusive festival. After the Baliem Valley we go on an intensive journey to the Korowai, who still live very traditionally in tree houses up to 40 meters high. The Korowai are one of the most original tribes in Papua and visiting them is a very special experience. Since they live deep in the forest, daily trekking is necessary. From the Korowai, we go by boat to the area of the former headhunters of Asmat. They are world famous for their craftsmanship and culture. We attend a large ceremony involving hundreds of decorated Asmat – a spectacle that visitors rarely get to see! 

Price per person
from Jayapura/ to Timika, Papua

USD 5.690 Price in EUR / IDR on request
  • 07.08.-22.08.2024

Day 1: Jayapura – Baliem Valley
Arrival in Jayapura, flight to Wamena, and transfer to The Baliem Valley Resort

When arriving at Jayapura airport, our manager Siprianus is here to welcome you and assist with the check-in for your direct onward flight to Wamena. At Wamena airport, you meet your local guide and your driver. On the way to The Baliem Valley Resort, we visit the market of Wamena. Here local Danis offer their agricultural products. Besides the very popular sweet potato, many other vegetables and fruits are offered. The market of Wamena is also the biggest trading place for the very sought-after wild boars. Once at The Baliem Valley Resort, you settle in your bungalow and, depending on the time of day, you can enjoy lunch or an afternoon coffee. Later, dinner is served in the restaurant.

Transportation: Flight time to Wamena: 30 minutes. 45 minutes of drive. Guide included. Accommodation: The Baliem Valley Resort. Meals: full board.

Day 2: Baliem Valley
Attending the public Baliem Valley Festival

After breakfast we drive to the Baliem Valley Festival taking place near Wamena. From the tribune, we have a good view of the performance area. Many villages from the Baliem Valley participate in the festival to present themselves with dance and fighting performances. Originally, the festival served to pacify the Baliem Valley. Once a year, the clans were to get together to interact in a peaceful, joyful atmosphere. This was to prevent possible tensions that could lead to warlike conflicts. Even today, the festival is mainly for the locals. However, the decorated warriors and the informal atmosphere attract more and more foreign visitors. After a certain time, you can freely walk the grounds and interact directly with the performers. In the afternoon, we drive back to the Resort.

Transportation: 2 hours of drive. Guide included. Accommodation: The Baliem Valley Resort. Meals: full board.

Local crowd attending the festival
The Baliem Valley Resort

Day 3: Baliem Valley
Attend the second day of the public Baliem Valley Festival or join our private traditional festival

Today you have the choice: either you go with your guide once again to the big public Baliem Valley Festival in Wamena. Or you can opt for another very special experience in a small group! In this case, after breakfast we get ready to participate in a pig festival that takes place in a traditional Dani village near the Resort. Many decorated people from the Dani tribe participate in the feast. We are among ourselves and can experience and enjoy the spectacle in privacy. Such pig festivals with hot stones and earth pits are probably the most interesting part of a trip to New Guinea. It is difficult to describe what is so unique about these festivals because too much happens at once. You have to see and experience it for yourself.  For lunch there is a picnic, but if you want you can also try the food from the traditional earth pit. The freshly cooked pork and sweet potatoes are delicious! In the late afternoon we return to the Resort.

Transportation: either 2 hours of drive or 1 hour walking. Guide included. Accommodation: The Baliem Valley Resort. Meals: full board.

Day 4: Wamena – Yanirumah
Start of the journey to the Korowai sector

We are transferred to Wamena airport for our charter flight to Yanirumah. The charter flight is usually operated by Pilatus Porter or Cessna Caravan aircraft. Yanirumah is a small settlement in the Korowai territory that can only be reach by plane. We use this settlement as a starting point for our trekking expedition into the Korowai corridor. With a bit of luck, we can pitch our tents and kitchen in an empty stilt house. Later, we start recruiting our porters for the next days.

Transportation: Charter flight from Wamena to Yanirumah: 45 minutes. 1 hour of drive. Guide and cook included. Accommodation: tent. Meals: full board.

Day 5: Yanirumah – Korowai settlement
Start of the trek, visit of the first Korowai settlement

After breakfast, we meet our team of porters who accompany us for the next days. In order to leave Yanirumah, we first have to cross the Deiram River in small boats. It takes some time for us and our team to get across the river. Shortly after we are standing in a dense forest which we do not leave for the next days. Today we need about 2 hours to reach our first destination: a fantastic jungle settlement with several tree houses. The Korowai are very loving people and they welcome us immediately. We set up our camp amidst the tree houses – or maybe even inside a tree house.

2 hours of trekking. Guide, porters and cook included. Accommodation: tent. Meals: full board.

A Korowai man standing in front of tree house
Korowai tree houses are up to 40 metres high

Day 6: Korowai settlement
Full day with the Korowai tribe and demonstration of sago processing

Today we follow the Korowai into the sago forest. Here we experience a spectacle from another world. The forest nomads cut down a huge sago palm with their stone axes, open the trunk and start to smash the sago. The sago pulp is processed by women who wash it in primitive “washing machines” – built only from leaves, twigs and rotan. Photo lovers will never forget this day! In the afternoon, we are back to the tree houses where our cook starts preparing our next real jungle dinner. Besides the fresh sago we probably enjoy papaya, vegetables, sago larvae and plantains!

1-2 hours of easy hiking. Guide, porters and cook included. Accommodation: tent. Meals: full board.

Day 7: Korowai settlements
Trekking to another Korowai settlement

We leave our first Korowai camp and go back into the forest. Today we want to hike to another Korowai village and spend the night there. The trekking through the untouched tropical forest is unique and sometimes challenging. It may be necessary to cross small rivers or swamps. We expect to arrive at the Korowai village in the early afternoon. After setting up our tents and kitchen, we spend the rest of the day with the local Korowai. They often repair their tree houses at extreme heights. They still make and use bows and arrows – the most important weapons here. Or maybe we accompany the Korowai on a journey into the forest to seek food. They are true hunters and gatherers: in a few hours their nets are filled with spiders, larvae, grasshoppers and other exotic animals. They even shoot flying foxes from the trees.

4-5 hours of trekking. Guide, porters and cook included. Accommodation: tent. Meals: full board.

Day 8: Korowai settlement – Yanirumah
Another day in another world

This is our last day with the Korowai and in this wonderful forest. We thank our hosts and hike back to Yanirumah. Today’s forest walk takes about 4 hours and we again have to use boats to cross the river. Arriving in Yanirumah, we have time for an extensive bath in the river. We set up our camp for the night again or – depending on the weather – we get back into the boat and cover the first part of the next boat journey. In both cases, we have another night in tents and dinner from the campfire.

4-5 hours of trekking. Guide, porters and cook included. Accommodation: tent. Meals: full board.

people in boat on river with forest background
On the Siret river
River crossing during trekking

Day 9: From Yanirumah towards Asmat 
On the way to the famous Asmat

In the morning we leave Yanirumah and follow the river downstream. We will spend the full day in boat while we make our way towards Asmat. During the first hours, at the headwaters of the river, conditions can be difficult and obstacles can also block the way. Further downstream the strong current makes our journey much faster. We pitch our tents in a wild camp on the river bank.

Full day by boat. Guide and cook included. Accommodation: tent. Meals: full board.

Day 10: Wowi village
On the way to the famous Asmat

In the morning we continue our journey downstream until we reach Wildemann River. We continue downstream until we reach Siret River. At the mouth of the river Wildemann into the Siret lies our destination today, the village Wowi, a typical settlement of the Citak tribe and also the hometown of our boatman. We pitch our tents next to his house, which enjoys a beautiful view of the river, and we can use the kitchen and the washroom. The river is full of fish here and maybe the locals bring us some nice ones for dinner.

Full day by boat. Guide and cook included. Accommodation: tent. Meals: full board.

Day 11: Wowi village – Yaosokor, Asmat
Entering the Asmat area

Today we spend half a day in our boat until we reach Kaimo, the first typical Asmat settlement. Here we have lunch in the traditional men’s house. Afterwards we spend another 1 hour in the boat until we reach the Asmat village of Yaosokor. The men’s house of Yaosokor is probably the biggest house of its kind in the whole Asmat. We pitch our tents and our kitchen at one of the fireplaces inside the house. The night in this impressive house is a unique experience in itself.

Transportation: 4-5 hours by boat. Guide and cook included. Accommodation: tent. Meals: full board.

A man from the Asmat tribe playing the traditional drum.
A dance mask of the Asmat tribe in Papua

Day 12: Yaosokor – Biwar Laut, Asmat
Visit of Biwar Laut village, ceremony

Today we keep on following the Siret River until we finally reach the sea. After a short ride on the sea, we turn into a narrow river channel and pass through a beautiful mangrove forest. At noon, we arrive in Biwar Laut. After our arrival, the inhabitants quickly bring all their art treasures to the men’s house and a lively bazaar is created. On such occasions, we often find unusual and inexpensive art objects like carved wooden statues, traditional drums, shields, weapons, jewelry or bags. Later in the afternoon, we want to see a big ceremony. Depending on the local conditions, we plan an ancestor pole ceremony or a boat ceremony today. An Asmat ceremony often attracts hundreds of Asmat, who gather in the men’s house decorated, drumming and dancing to ecstasy. We will spend the night directly in the men’s house or in an empty house.

Transportation: 4-5 hours by boat. Guide and cook included. Accommodation: tent. Meals: full board.

Day 13: Biwar Laut – Uwus, Asmat
Visit of Uwus village, ceremony

Depending on the weather and the tides, we leave Biwar Laut and travel across the rivers and the sea to Uwus. Like most Asmat villages, Uwus is located in a mangrove channel, not far from the sea. Depending on the time of arrival, we plan another Asmat ceremony here. Possibly a boat ceremony will take place here, or we can experience a mask dance. We will spend the night directly in the men’s house or in an empty house.

Transportation: 3-4 hours by boat. Guide included. Accommodation: tent. Meals: full board.

Day 14: Uwus – Agats
Arrival in Agats, the capital of the Asmat regency

After breakfast we leave Uwus. Depending on the tide level, we either cross the sea or follow a beautiful mangrove channel. Around 10 am we reach Agats, the capital of the Asmat regency. The whole city is built on meter high wooden stilts, as well as our clean and quiet hotel in the center of the city. In the afternoon, we visit the very interesting Asmat Museum, which collects a large amount of unique Asmat artifacts. The collection gives a very good overview of the different Asmat cultures and handicraft styles. We go for a walk through the city where there is not a single car until today! Dinner in a local warung.

Transportation: 3-4 hours by boat. Guide included. Accommodation: Hotel Asmat Permai. Meals: full board.

two wood carving poles standing up
Ancestor poles

Day 15: Agats – Timika
Last day in Asmat and flight back to Timika.

In the morning, we have a short boat transfer to the airfield of Agats for our flight to Timika. Here we say goodbye to our boat crew who accompanied us for the past 10 days. After arrival in Timika, we check-in to Hotel Komoro Tame. We enjoy the afternoon by the pool and later dinner in the restaurant of the hotel.

Transportation: Flight from Agats to Timika: 45 minutes. 30 minutes by boat. Guide included. Accommodation: Hotel Komoro Tame. Meals: full board.

Day 16: Timika – Timika airport
End of tour 

Individual airport transfer for your onward flight. Farewell and end of the trip.

Transportation: Airport transfer: 15 minutes. Meals: breakfast.

PRICE & CONDITIONS

Baliem Valley Festival, Korowai & Asmat ● 16 days/15 nights ● Group Tour
Price per person from Jayapura/ to Timika, Papua
USD 5.690 Price in EUR / IDR on request
  • 07.08.-22.08.2024
INCLUDES
DOES NOT INCLUDE

Travelling to remote areas of Papua is difficult, the conditions are harsh, there is no comfort at all. If you can handle such conditions, you will enjoy this trip. If you have any doubts, ask us before you book it. We are happy to help!

For payment we accept USD, EUR, and IDR. Please let us know your preferred currency. We ask for a deposit of 15% of the tour price at the time of booking. The balance is due no later than 4 weeks before the start of the tour. Prices are subject to change. The final price will be quoted upon confirmation of the tour. Foreigners need a travel permit for Papua (“surat jalan”). We will take care of this permit before your arrival. For the permit we need a copy of your passports and passport photos. A list of equipment will be sent with the booking confirmation.

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