Eastern Coastal Asmat

Expedition To A Rarely Visited Area

12 days/11 nights ● from/to Timika, Papua ● 7 nights in tent ● min 6 pax/max 10 pax ● Level of difficulty: 3***

This 12 days/11 nights group tour from/to Timika, Papua brings you to the famous Asmat tribe in the southern lowlands of Papua. The former headhunters and cannibals of the Asmat were once very feared and have only been safe to visit for a few decades. Until today many Asmat villages are wild and culturally intact. From Timika we fly directly to the Asmat capital. From there, we take boats along the coast to the east, passing the area where the most famous headhunting victim, Michael Rockefeller, lost his life. We move away from the usual travel routes and experience the wild and difficult to access Asmat. We witness several big events involving hundreds of people. A gigantic boat ceremony, drum festivals, mask dances and the ceremonial carving of an ancestor pole are all part of the massive experience!

Price per person

USD 4.890 Price in EUR / IDR on request

Day 1: Timika airport (airport code: TIM)
Arrival in Papua and transfer to the transit hotel.

Upon arrival at Timika Airport in Papua, you are greeted and met by Marc, your guide for this tour. It’s a short drive to the Komoro Tame hotel, where you can rest up before the big adventure in Asmat while the last travel permits are arranged! In the evening, the whole group comes together for a first dinner and discusses the plan for the coming days.

Airport transfer: 15 minutes. Accommodation: Hotel Komoro Tame. Meals: full board

Day 2: Timika – Agats
Flight to the Asmat territory

After breakfast we go directly to the small terminal of Timika airport for domestic flights. Our destination, the airport of Agats, is located on a small island and can only be reached by boat. We are expected by our boat crew and leave directly. All of Agats is built on meter high wooden stilts, as well as our clean and quiet hotel in the center of town. In the afternoon we visit the absolutely worth seeing Asmat Museum, which prepares us for the upcoming days.  We go for a walk through the town where there is not a single car until today! Lunch and dinner will be taken in a local restaurant.

Transportation: Airport transfer: 15 minutes. Flight from Timika to Agats: 45 minutes. 30 minutes by boat. Guide included. Accommodation: Hotel Asmat Permai. Meals: full board.

river sky mangrove coastline
By boat along the Asmat coast
man standing on pole crowd gathering below
Ancestor pole ceremony

Day 3: Agats – Uwus
Visit of first Asmat village and boat ceremony in the afternoon

This morning we leave Agats and make our way to the first village of the Asmat: Uwus. Today’s route depends on the tides. At high tide, we can use a beautiful mangrove channel. At low tide, we go across the sea. Arrived in Uwus, we are invited directly to the men’s house. Here we introduce ourselves, explain the purpose of our visit and clarify if and where we can stay for the night. Later we experience our first Asmat ceremony: a traditional boat ceremony on the river, in which hundreds of people participate. From our own boats, we have a great view of the event and are right in the middle of it. These boat ceremonies are usually done to welcome important guests. It is a very intense moment when all decorated men jump into their canoes, paddle and scream. In the late afternoon, we set up our tents and kitchen either in the men’s house or in a suitable empty house.

Transportation: 3 or 4 hours by boat. Guide and cook included. Accommodation: tent. Meals: full board.

Day 4: Uwus – Atjamutsji
Overnight in a village of crocodile hunters

After breakfast, we leave Uwus and drive on to the village of Atjamutsji. Atjamutsji is a wild village and receives only a few visitors. It is located at a small water channel and the men here are experienced crocodile hunters. We repeat the protocol again, introducing ourselves, explaining the purpose of our visit and asking where we can stay tonight. If everything works out, we are most likely welcomed with a drumming and singing ceremony at the men’s house. Later in the evening, if the weather is good enough, the men go hunting with us and whoever wants can accompany them. We jump into our boats, but this time paddles are used. In the dark, we follow the river’s current while the hunters sit in the front with flashlight and spear, looking for crocodiles.

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

red-white striped dance masks with leaves and people in background
Asmat dance masks symbolize evil spirits

Day 5: Atjamutsji – Omandesep
Visiting another Asmat settlement with mask dance ceremony

After breakfast we leave Atjamutsji and first drive through a narrow river channel in the middle of the coastal mangrove forest. On this fantastic ride we marvel at the lush tropical flora. Then we come back to the sea and follow the coast to the east until we reach Omandesep, one of the most famous artist villages of 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, we often find unusual and inexpensive art objects like carved wooden statues, traditional drums, shields, weapons, jewelry or bags. Later in the afternoon, a mask ceremony is planned. Men with large dancing masks parade through the village and are accompanied by drummers. The whole village gathers around the masks before they are ritually chased out of the village with stones and blows. The masks symbolize evil spirits and this ceremony serves to purify the village. We spend the night in tents in an empty house in the village.

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

Day 6: Omandesep
Full day in the village of Omandesep for ancestor pole carving and ceremony

Today we attend an ancestor pole carving ceremony. After breakfast, we accompany a large group of Asmat to the nearby forest. We first drive with our boats along the canal until the Asmat tell us a place to get off. A suitable tree is felled, and many men are needed to pull it to the riverbank. There it is decorated and floated back to the village accompanied by a lot of singing. Once in the village, the men are welcomed by angry women who want to chase them back into the forest. The trunk is full of evil spirits and could wreak havoc. The ritual beating with sticks is also part of this ceremony. When the women are calmed down, 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!

Transportation: 1 hour by boat. Hiking for 1 hour. Guide and cook included. Accommodation: tent. Meals: full board.

Day 7: Omandesep – Ocanep
Visit to Ocanep, the Asmat clan that killed Michael Rockefeller

Today we continue our boat trip along the coast. First, we visit the village of Pirien, then we arrive in Ocanep. These villages can only be reached at high tide and our arrival is therefore dependent on the tides. Since the disappearance of Michael Rockefellerin 1961, Ocanep is certainly the most famous settlement in Asmat. The fate of Rockefeller, son of the former 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 still said to lie in a tree trunk deep in the forest. And we get to know this village today! Since Ocanep is very remote, it receives hardly any visitors despite its fame, and the conditions are wild. Once again, we set up our camp in an empty house.

Transportation: 2-3 hours by boat. Guide and cook included. Accommodation: tent. Meals: full board.

Want to read more about Rockefeller’s disappearance? See our blog post about Papua’s most famous adventurers

A man from the Asmat tribe playing the traditional drum.
Asmat with leaf decoration

Day 8: Ocanep – Yaptambor
Journey to the southern border of Asmat territory

We leave Ocanep and keep on-going along the coast. We pass the mouth of the mighty Fajit River and shortly afterwards turn into a small canal. Here are the villages of Yaptambor and Santambor. We visit both villages. They mark the border of the actual Asmat territory, and their culture already shows some differences to the villages visited before. We attend a drum and singing festival and later we spend the night again in a men’s house or an empty building.

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

Day 9: Yaptambor – Beriten
Start of the return journey to Agats and last visit of an Asmat village

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 river, we leave the coast and follow a beautiful canal. We finally reach the mighty Sirets River. We arrive late in the village of Beriten where we set up our night camp.

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

Day 10: Beriten – Agats
Arrival in Agats

After breakfast we leave Beriten. Depending on the tide level, we either cross the sea or follow a mangrove channel again. Around noon, we are back in Agats. We check-in in our previous hotel and we enjoy a free afternoon to rest or to walk once again in the little town. Lunch and dinner are taken in local restaurants.

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

man carries cassowary on shoulder
Asmat hunter with cassowary
two wood carving poles standing up
Ancestor poles

Day 11: 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 12: 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.


Eastern Coastal Asmat ● 12 days/11 nights ● Group Tour
Price per person from/to Timika, Papua
USD 4.890 Price in EUR / IDR on request

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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