Papua-Baliem Valley Trekking and Festival

sinI am a solo female traveler and visited West Papua to witness the Baliem Valley Festival. I always wanted to visit West Papua, Indonesia. It’s my neighboring country but yet too far and not easy to reach (3 flights to reach Wamena!!!). In view of West Papua is not a popular tourist destination, it’s a bit difficult to get the updated travel information. Finally I’ve made up my mind and started searching for a reliable tour operator to plan the trip. I found Jefalgi Papua Tours and their website is showing lots of information about West Papua, various types of tours to suite different kind of travelers needs and detailed itineraries with price quoted. I dropped a note to their website and got prompt reply from the person-in-charged, Athan. Athan patiently answered all my enquiries about the arrangement of flight, date, festival, trekking matters, etc. Even though I’ve paid for the deposit but still keep on searching for the positive reviews about this tour company. Yes, I was not convinced till I finally managed to find positive reviews about this tour operator and Athan’s professional service. So, in the end, I paid for the 7 days Trekking and Baliem Valley Festival trip. Almost forgot, they always welcome solo traveler to join their tour!

Athan was there to receive his clients including me at the Jayapura airport and helped us to transfer to the next flight to Wamena. Once touched down Wamena, our Tour guide Herriman was already there. My 7 days trip had started with trekking. The trekking is not a difficult one but a chance for us to reach locals’ villages to have a glance of their daily life. Herriman speaks English, very knowledgeable about West Papua. Through my observation, found that he knows the locals quite well and cares for them. We were arranged to stay at the local house and it’s a great opportunity to have in-depth understanding about life of the locals. The lunch box they served is more like home cook food to me which definitely can keep your stomach full to have all the energy to continue with the trek. Have no complaint about the food.

The highlight of this trip is the Baliem Valley Festival which last for several days. A lot of tourist, photographer were gathered there to witness the annual festival participated by different local indigenous tribes. We can choose to sit there to watch the performance, singing and dance by the local or we can even go down to the field to get closer, nearer to the local. Before the trip, I’ve checked with Athan how many days we should attend the festival. He said 1 day is enough thru his past experience with his clients. True enough unless we are obsessed with the performance.

The tour also included spending a day or two to explore Wamena and Jayapura. All the activities highlighted in the itinerary were followed. Accommodation wise (what I mean is hotel here) is far better than what I’ve expected.

My trip at West Papua ended perfectly with the superb arrangement by Jefalgi Papua Tour and the team. They have shown fantastic hospitality and delivered quality service. Most important, you can feel their passionate about the land of West Papua throughout the conversation along the trip. Awesome. SinYit88, Malaysia (Aug 2015).