Eastern Coastal Asmat
14 days/ 13 nights from/to Denpasar, Bali
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.
Expedition to the Eastern Coastal Asmat – A rarely visited region.
To this day, Coastal Asmat is extremely rarely visited by foreigners. The culture and traditions of these Asmat tribes are intact and original. The villages are full of traditional material culture and everywhere you can feel the magic of the original Asmat, with its festivals, rites and customs. This unique special expedition takes us to the real Asmat, away from the main rivers. We are planning some big events where whole villages are on their feet: Big boat ceremonies, mask dances, drum festivals, and the carving of an ancestor pole are on the program.
After the flight from Denpasar to Timika, our expedition starts with a charter flight to Ewer/Agats and continues from there by motor longboat.
Minimum 6 persons (maximum 10 persons). Level of difficulty: 2**
Arrival in Denpasar, Bali (international flights can be booked on request). Our local agent will pick you up at airport and bring you to our partner hotel Ida in Kuta. This is a classical Balinese hotel only 5 minutes from Kuta Beach. Breakfast is included.
Denpasar – Timika
Full day in Bali. Around midnight, we pick you up in the hotel and transfer you to the airport for the Garuda Indonesia flight to Timika, Papua. Departure time is around 01:50am.
Timika – Agats
After arriving in Timika, we go directly to the small terminal for domestic flights. Here our complete luggage and we are weighed. Our charter flight to Agats should be done during the morning. The flight is usually done with a Twin Otter, the flight time along the coast is about 45 minutes and is the first highlight of our trip. The airfield of Agats is located on a small island and can only be reached by boat. We are expected by our boat crew and start the 30 minute drive to Agats. In Agats we go to the Hotel Anggrek, a small, clean and quiet hotel, like all other houses in Agats built on meter-high wooden stilts. We still have some errands to do for the trip today; especially gasoline and food are difficult to find in the coming days. In the afternoon, a visit to the absolutely remarkable ASMAT MUSEUM is on the program. During the subsequent tour through the town center, we will be astonished how many people live in this city, in which there is not even a single car today! Lunch and dinner in a local warung.
We’re leaving. Today’s route depends on the tides. At high tide we can use a beautiful mangrove channel, at low tide we first cross the sea. Our current destination is UWUS. Here, a big boat ceremony is planned today. The Asmat demonstrate us how high ranking visitors were welcomed in the former times. More than 50 traditional canoes are in use today. On each canoe there are between 3-6 decorated men, on the river bank the whole rest of the village is on its feet. There is so much happening at once that as a spectator one is almost overwhelmed. After a successful ceremony we enter the men’s house and take a breather. The whole village is present and we are right in the middle of it. We introduce ourselves to the men of the village, discuss our concerns and clarify whether and where we can stay overnight. Most likely we are accepted and will spend the night with our tents in one of the men’s houses.
Continue to ATJAMUTSJI. Atjamutsji is a wild village and receives hardly any visitors. It lies on a small water channel and some men here are experienced crocodile hunters. Under good conditions they will go hunting for us and whoever wants can accompany them. We spend the night in the men’s house.
After breakfast we leave Atjamutsji and drive through a narrow river channel in the middle of the coastal mangrove forest. On this fantastic trip you will be thrilled by the lush tropical flora, which can be admired at close range. From the canal we get directly to the sea. We follow the coast eastwards until we reach OMANDESEP, one of the most famous artistic villages in Asmat. 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, one often finds unusual and inexpensive objects, such as one cannot find in any other official shop. A big drum festival is planned later in the evening. Several drummers will sit around the main fire and play their old songs. Little by little more men from the village join in and start dancing, soon the whole house trembles. We want to spend two days in Omandesep. We stay overnight in an empty house or school.
After breakfast we accompany a large group of Asmat to the nearby forest. We drive our boats along the canal until we find a suitable place to start. With singing and screaming, the Asmat will cut down a suitable tree. This is decorated and rafted back into the village with a lot of singing. Once in the village, the men are welcomed by angry women who want to chase them back into the forest. Ritual beating with sticks is also part of this ceremony. When the women are calmed, the decorated trunk is carried in front of the men’s house, drums are played, and the highest-ranking carvers begin their work – an ancestor pole is created!
Today we want to continue along the coast to the villages of PIRIEN and OCANEP. These villages can only be reached during high tide and our departure is therefore dependent on the current tide. Since the disappearance of Michael Rockefeller in 1961, Ocanep has certainly been the most famous settlement in Asmat. The fate of Rockefeller, son of the then New York Governor and US Vice President, is still one of the great mysteries of our time. According to current knowledge, the young Rockefeller was killed and ritually eaten by men from Ocanep, his bones were distributed among the tribal leaders, his skull is said to still be in a tree trunk deep in the forest. We will get to know this village today. Because Ocanep is very remote, despite its prominence it receives hardly any visitors and the conditions are wild. Overnight stay planned in an empty house. If we are not allowed to stay overnight, we will sleep on a beach on the coast.
We leave Ocanep and continue along the coast. We pass the mouth of the mighty Fajit River and shortly afterwards turn into a small canal. Here are the villages YAPTAMBOR and SANTAMBOR. They mark the border of the actual Asmat and their culture already shows some differences to the villages visited before. We want to visit both villages, attend a drum festival, and later spend the night again in a men’s house or an empty building.
Today we start our return journey along the coast. It will take us two days to get to Agats. As soon as we reach the mouth of the Bets, we leave the coast and follow a beautiful canal, pass the settlement BIWAR LAUT, and reach the mighty river Sirets. In the village BERITEN we will set up our night camp.
After breakfast we leave. Depending on the situation we either cross the sea or follow a mangrove channel again. At noon we will arrive in AGATS. Here we again stay in Hotel Anggrek. Afternoon at leisure.
Agats – Timika
In the morning, boat transfer (about 30 minutes) to the airfield in Ewer. Here we will say goodbye to our boat crew. All passengers and luggage must be weighed before departure. If no charter is available, transfer to Timika by speedboat (approx. 6 hours). After arrival in Timika, transfer to Hotel Komoro Tame. Here you can spend the afternoon by the pool, later dinner in the hotel.
Timika – Denpasar
In the morning, transfer to Timika airport and flight back to Denpasar, Bali with Garuda Indonesia. Arrive in Bali in the early afternoon. Transfer to our hotel Ida. The rest of day has no program.
End of tour. We provide transfer to airport.
Price in EUR per person sharing a double room/tent
Price per Person1/2 double room/tent
5.490 Single supplement +€ 350