Collaboration of beautiful destinations and cultural exploration in Wamena

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Wamena is surrounded by a valley called Baliem. This valley is home to several tribes, the majority is the Dani tribe. This tribe lives in circular houses called the Honai. (photo: IO/Pramitha Hendra)

IO – The city of Wamena in the interiors of Papua has a new, modern airport. After landing at this airport, a trav­eler can immediately explore various cool destinations around Wamena. Wamena is a city that is a part of Jay­awijaya Regency, Papua. Wild and untouched landscapes make this city inaccessible anywhere other than by air. Several years ago, the Wamena Airport building was poorly main­tained, however, now the airport has been renovated to be large and clean.

The Baliem Valley
Wamena is surrounded by a valley called Baliem. This valley is home to several tribes, the majority is the Dani tribes. They are the tribe that has a circle-shaped house called Honai. In the beginning of every August, the Baliem Valley hosts Indonesia’s oldest cultural festival. The Baliem Valley Festival, as the name sug­gests, in recent years has become a routine agenda in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism. Var­ious cultural rituals, ranging from war dance to traditional cook­ing methods in the form of stone burning, can be seen by tourists. Apart from that, the Baliem Valley has an amazing panorama. The ex­panse of green grass is lined with Jayawijaya Mountains which looks magnificent from a distance. Every corner is very photogenic!

280 years old Mummy in Kerulu District
Still in the Baliem Valley region, there are a total of 6 traditionally preserved mummies. The most fa­mous mummy is in the Kerulu Dis­trict. The mummy’s name is Wim Motok Mabel, who is 280 years old. Wim means war. While Motok means commander, and Mabel is the real name. In the past, Ma­bel was a warlord who was high­ly respected in the Kerulu Dis­trict, and by the entire Baliem Valley. Thus, the Motok Mabel Wim is sanctified by the local population. The Baliem Valley community, in­cluding the Dani Tribe, preserves mummies by using smoke and ban­daging it. Frying is done inside the honai, for about 200 days. This mum­my has become the target of many tourists and photographers. But if you want to visit, it’s good to prepare a budget because local residents often ask for an amount that is not speci­fied. Of course, you can bid.

Telaga Biru
In the interior of the Baliem Val­ley, about 2 hours drive from the City of Wamena, there is a small lake with turquoise green water. Telaga Biru, as the locals call it, is located in Maima District. There are no road signs to get there. But once you get to Maima, some small children offer to show the way. It takes 1 hour trekking from Maima District to Telaga Biru. But the strug­gle to get there results in pure satis­faction. Blue Lake is exotic. The color is turquoise, with a slight green gra­dation of the influence of lush trees around it. The lake is not too big, but the depth of it, isn’t shown basical­ly, because the blue is very striking. However, you cannot swim in this lake because the Blue Lake is sacred by the locals. They believe, the first person in Papua came from the mid­dle of this lake. It is also said, at the bottom of the lake there is a honae (traditional house of the Papuan peo­ple).

The white sand of Aikima Village
Masihin the Baliem Valley, there is Aikima Village which has a unique spot in the form of a hill full of white sand. Of course this is surprising, because Wamena and the Baliem Valley are thousands of kilometers away from the coast. The hill is located near the high­way, about 15 minutes away from the City of Wamena. From the side of the road we can step on clean white sand. Reflect sunlight until it looks like a crystal. Without rocks, the journey up the hill gets heavi­er because the sand is very soft. Less than 10 minutes climb, giant rocks in the middle of the hill become the right place to take pictures. Still surrounded by white sand, we can see the magnificent Baliem Valley landscape. Floating clouds like cotton in the middle of a perfect blue sky. Based on science, white sand exists because of natural formation. Once the Baliem Valley was a giant lake called Wio. Around 1813, an earth­quake caused a shift and geological changes. From there, the Baliem Riv­er formed which swerved in the mid­dle of this valley. That said, the white sand of Aikima Village is one side of the ancient lake. (Pramitha Hendra)