Korowai Trekking, Asmat Headhunters & Baliem Valley

Meet the Korowai tree house nomads and the former headhunters of Asmat

15 days/14 nights ● from Jayapura/to Timika, Papua ● Private Tour ● 9 nights in tent ● 3 nights in The Baliem Valley Resort ● Level of difficulty: 3***

During this 15 days/14 nights private tour from Jayapura/to Timika, you visit the Baliem Valley and later on you go on a breathtaking journey to the Korowai and Asmat tribes. We start our trip in Papua with an easy hike to meet the Danis in their villages and fields. Of course, we also experience a traditional pig festival, one of the absolute highlights of any Papua trip. After our exciting days in the Baliem Valley the real adventure begins. We take a flight to the lowlands, from where we travel, first by boat and later on foot, to the land of the Korowai.  We meet authentic tribesmen who live in tree houses and still hunt with bows and arrows. Then we continue our journey to the territory of the former headhunters of the Asmat, which is still very rarely visited by foreigners. The culture and traditions of the Asmat tribes are intact and fascinate every visitor. What a journey!

Price per person
from Jayapura/to Timika, Papua

for minimum 2 guests
EUR 5.950
  • PRIVATE TOUR

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
Easy hiking in the southern Baliem Valley and encounter with the Dani people

Today we visit the southern Baliem Valley. We start our easy hike in the village of Sogogmo and we follow the mighty Baliem River. We cross suspension bridges, walk through Dani settlements, meet the locals and see them working in their terraced fields and wild sugar cane groves. For lunch, we enjoy a picnic with a magnificent view over the river and the narrow valley. We walk back on the other side of the river, passing more Dani fields and settlements, before we meet our driver again. In the late afternoon we are back at the Resort.

Transportation: 2 hours of drive. 4 hours hiking. Guide included. Accommodation: The Baliem Valley Resort. Meals: full board.

Dani warrior presenting bow and arrow
women hands reaching over cooking pit
Dani women prepare the cooking pit

Day 3: Baliem Valley
Traditional pig festival, an unforgettable experience

Today is a very special day! After breakfast, we get ready to participate in a pig feast which takes place in a traditional Dani village. Many decorated people from the Dani tribe take part in the festival. Such pig feasts with hot stones and earth pits are probably the most interesting part of a trip to New Guinea. It is difficult to describe what exactly is so unique about these festivals because there is just too much happening at once. You have to see and experience it yourself.  For lunch, there is a picnic but you can also eat the food from the traditional earth pit if you like. The freshly cooked pork and sweet potatoes are delicious! In the late afternoon, we return to the Resort.

The pig festival takes place in changing villages. Precise information on travel times cannot be provided. 1 hour walking. Guide included. Accommodation: The Baliem Valley Resort. Meals: full board.

Day 4: Wamena – Dekai
Flight to the lowlands and start of the boat trip towards the Korowai area.

In the morning, we drive to Wamena airport for our flight to Dekai which is located on the upper reaches of the Brazza River. After arrival, we visit the local market and do the last shopping for the tour. After lunch in a local restaurant, we drive to the port of Dekai where our motor longboat and crew are waiting for us. We go downriver until we reach the village of Patipi Dibawa. Here we set up our first camp on the riverbank. This short stage gives us an idea of what to expect in the next days: pure jungle landscapes!

Transportation: Flight from Wamena to Dekai: 30 minutes. 1 hour of drive, 2 hours by boat. Guide and cook included. Accommodation: tent. Meals: full board.

Porters entering a Korowai settlement

Day 5: Dekai – Mabul
Arrival in Mabul and preparation of the trekking

After breakfast, we continue downriver in our longboat. We pass lush forests and every now and then hornbills, flying foxes and other birds appear at the sound of the passing boat. Around noon, we reach the mouth of the mighty Siret River. After the lunch break, we go up the Siret River until we reach the Korowai settlement of Mabul. On our way the Siret changes its face. The current gets stronger, sandbanks appear, big tree trunks often block parts of the way, and less and less local boats can be seen. Under the best conditions, we reach Mabul in the early afternoon. Mabul is a small settlement established by the Indonesian government for the Korowai in the hope that they leave the forest and give up their nomadic life. 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: 6-8 hours by boat. Guide and cook included. Accommodation: tent. Meals: full board.

Day 6: Mabul – 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. We leave Mabul heading East. Within only 50 meters, we are standing in a dense forest which we will not leave for the next days. Today we need about 4 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.

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

Can you spot him?
Korowai woman squatting presenting sago grub
A Korowai presenting a sago grub

Day 7: 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 8: Korowai settlements
Trekking to another Korowai settlement

We leave our first Korowai camp and go back into the forest. Today we want to trek 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.

Korowai tree houses can reach up to 40 metres in height
River crossing during trekking

Day 9: Korowai settlement – Mabul
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 Mabul. Today’s forest walk takes about 4 hours. Arriving in Mabul, 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 journey to Asmat. 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.

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

In the morning we leave Mabul and follow the river downstream. After 2 hours we pass again the mouth of the Brazza River, but this time we continue along the Siret River towards Asmat. Downstream the strong current makes our journey much faster. Shortly after passing Brazza we reach Binam, the largest settlement in the area. Here we have to fill up our fuel canisters and it is also time for lunch in a small warung. After lunch we continue to 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.

people in boat on river with forest background
On the Siret river
two wood carving poles standing up
Ancestor poles

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.

Day 12: Yaosokor – Warse, Asmat
Visit to Amboreb village and overnight stay in Warse village

Today we continue by boat until we reach Amboreb, a larger Asmat settlement with three mighty men’s houses. Amboreb is known for its Asmat craftsmanship. After our arrival the villagers bring all their art treasures to the men’s house and open an ad-hoc bazaar with carved wooden statues, traditional drums, shields, weapons, jewelry or bags. Visitors often have a good chance to find interesting objects at reasonable prices which cannot be found in the stores in larger cities. After lunch in the village, we continue on to Warse, where we pitch our tents again in one of the three large men’s houses in the village. There should be enough time for a short walk to the other men’s houses where you can find more handicrafts.

Transportation: 4-5 hours by boat. Walking for 1 hour. Guide and cook included. Accommodation: tent. Meals: full board.

Day 13: Warse – Agats
Arrival in Agats, the capital of Asmat

In the morning we drive through a narrow river channel in the middle of the mangrove forest. This ride through the maze-like mangrove channels is fantastic. 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 and cook included. Accommodation: Hotel Asmat Permai. Meals: full board.

man carries cassowary on shoulder
Asmat hunter with cassowary
men sitting inside house
Drum ceremony inside a men’s house

Day 14: Agats – Timika
Last day in the Asmat territory, speedboat to Timika.

Today we have an early breakfast at 5:00 am because we want to be early at the port of Agats. Here we take a private speedboat for the journey to Timika. An early morning trip is much more pleasant and faster, because there is hardly any wind in the morning and therefore hardly any waves. Once in Timika, we drive directly from the port to the hotel, where we can relax at the pool and reminisce about the last days. Lunch and dinner at the hotel restaurant.

Transportation: Private speed boat to Timika: 3-4 hours. 1 hour of drive. Guide included. Accommodation: Hotel Komoro Tame. Meals: full board.

Day 15: Timika – Timika airport
Last day in Papua

You enjoy your breakfast at the hotel before your transfer to Timika airport. Your guide accompanies you to ensure a smooth check-in and a pleasant onward journey. End of the tour.

30 minutes of drive. Meals: breakfast.

PRICE & CONDITIONS

Korowai Trekking, Asmat Headhunters and Baliem Valley ● 15 days/14 nights ● Private Tour
Price per person from Jayapura/to Timika, Papua
for minimum 2 guests
EUR 5.950
  • Single supplement +EUR 400
for 3-6 guests
EUR 4.950
  • Single supplement +EUR 400
for 1 single guest
on request
  •  
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!

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. Passport must be valid for at least 6 months when entering Indonesia. Most nationalities receive a visa on arrival (free of charge). Please check with your embassy if you need a special visa for Indonesia and about the procedure. For the special surat jalan travel permit each participant must bring 1x passport copy and 2x passport photos. A list of equipment will be sent with the booking confirmation.

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