The town has just under 15,000 inhabitants and is often the base for excursions and treks through the Baliem Valley. The airport has several daily flights to Jayapura and daily to Timika and Dekai (towards Korowai). Be sure to visit the Pasar Jibama market here.
The valley itself measures approximately 20 x 80 kilometers and is the habitat of the Dani tribe. The Lani and Yali live at a somewhat greater distance from Wamena. The basic food in the valley is the sweet potato. Rice doesn't grow here. Furthermore, vegetables are grown and pigs are kept (and cherished!).
A trip to the Baliem Valley is like a trip with the time machine. The population lives very primitively in small bead villages with at most ten mud huts with thatched roofs and a large communal kitchen. The pigs also often have one of the huts. The men usually only walk with a koteka (penis sheath) and the women only wear grass skirts.
It is wonderful to walk in the Baliem Valley. Enthusiasts can take a multi-day trekking, but the day trips from Wamena also invite you to explore the valley. At the village of Sogokmo you cross the river via a suspension bridge and walk through the sweet potato fields past several traditional villages. At the village of Jiwika you can climb to a traditional salt mine and at Kurulu you come face to face with the famous ancient mummy of the Dugum clan. You can also view such a mummy at Alkima, but it has now become a touristic event.
It is also special to spend part of the day at the Pig Festival. Normally the party is held during a wedding, but the residents are proud of their traditions and are happy to show it to tourists. A pig is slaughtered with a bow and arrow and stewed on hot stones. As a guest you will be offered a piece of meat with vegetables. Tasty is different, but just to be polite you grab a bite and then enjoy the lunch that your guide has brought.
The Baliem Festival takes place annually in the month of August. The three Dani, Lani and Yali tribes wage war for three days, but now with different rules of the game than before.
Baliem valley - Tribes
Under Indonesian administration in the 70’s the situation became tense with the Dani, who were considered as underdeveloped people. In the early seventies the Indonesian government tried with 'Operation Koteka' to motivate the Dani to change their Koteka for clothes and to house them in modern square houses. Many Indonesian soldiers, who had to carry out the policy, regarded the Dani as 'savages' (little more than animals, an attitude that’s still alive among many Indonesians) and treated them very badly. Opposing Dani were sometimes even killed. In 1977 the Dani rebelled led by the Organisasi Papua Merdeka, the Dani fought with bow and arrow against Indonesian soldiers with rockets, attack planes and helicopters with which they bombed the Dani villages. It is estimated that 500 Dani died during the fighting, that was concentrated around the villages Pyramid and Bokondini in the north of the valley. 'Operation Koteka' was a complete failure.
In the nineties a new fight broke out for independence, which also was put down violently by the Indonesian government, that in 1997 even tried to put up the tribes against each other and thus stay out of range itself. Until the middle of the 20th century the valley was closed territory. A lot of Indonesian government officials still consider the valley as ‘the end of the world’.
In de heuvels gelegen 3*** resort, op een dik uur hobbelen van het stadje Wamena. Het resort telt een 15-tal houten luxe houten cottages en heeft een mooi gelegen restaurant met prachtig uitzicht over de vallei.
Alle cottages beschikken over eigen badkamer/toilet met warm stromend water en een priv ... meer infomore infoinformations supplémentaires