Papua, Western New Guinea
PAPUA, WESTERN NEW GUINEA – INFORMATION:
Are you ready for time travel? Fasten your seat belts, and off we go to Papua, Western New Guinea! There is only one place left on the planet like this. New Guinea (divided into independent Papua-New Guinea and Indonesian Western Papua) is the world’s second largest island covering an area of 303,500 square miles (which happens to roughly equal the size of Central Europe). Even in our present day and age of instant GPS tracking and Google Maps, New Guinea still has satellite imagery with white spots on it amazingly noting: “data relief incomplete.” Covered with the second biggest rain forest in the world, the island also has impenetrable mountains with the lowest peak being Crown of the Earth (Puncak Jaya, 4884 m.). Papua’s coastal line is a slice of paradise itself possessing untouched beaches, coral islands, and fantastic reefs honored to be one of the best diving spots on Earth. It also happens to be the home of the mythical Bird of Paradise so if you are into bird-watching then this is the destination for you!
Papua, Western New Guinea is home to over 300 different tribes speaking between 300 to even 500 tribal dialects. Some of these languages have only a few users left and soon may be forgotten in time. A majority of the tribes made their “first contact” with the outside world in the 1950’s – 1970’s but there are still groups out there that have yet to see a “white man”. For centuries now, this mysterious island has been feeding the imagination of Westerners with blood-freezing stories of cannibals and headhunters. Indeed, the last recorded act of cannibalism was not that long ago in just the year 2000 so just something to keep on the brain as your lay your head down at night. One of the most famous explorers who lost his life in Papua was that of Michael Rockefeller, the youngest of the powerful American family, who was killed and probably eaten during his expedition in the early 1960’s.
Papua’s natural resources (copper, oil, coal, uranium, and the world’s largest of gold) lay proof to the area’s abundance in natural wealth. Only a 30-minute flight away from civilization deep into this relatively untouched kingdom and one is directly back to the Stone Age. Once you are there – look around: this is how humans use to live 10.000 years ago. Without knowing steel, agriculture or the wheel, some of these tribes represent the very last of the “hunter-gatherer” society. Rough, rugged, and naturally magnificent, expeditions to Papua, Western New Guinea are not easy but definitely provide the adventure of a lifetime even for experienced travelers.
PAPUA, WESTERN NEW GUINEA – BEST ATTRACTIONS:
Korowai and Kombai tribes
Visit Korowai and Kombai tribes living deep in the jungle, south from the Jayawijaya Mountains. These tribes are famous for building their houses in the trees, sometimes even 30-40 meters above the ground!
See the ancient mummy! The easiest trip to be done in Papua will bring you to the Dani and Lani tribes, the only people to have developed basic agriculture in the western part of the island.
The Uma Tribes
Meet with stone axe makers and fearsome warriors from the mountains “discovered” by Heinrich Harrer, which you might know from the character portrayed by Brad Pitt in the film “Seven Years in Tibet”.
Go for a cruise! A small, coral archipelago set east from the coast of Papua. This is TRUE paradise on Earth and is famous for 4-star diving and pristine beaches that were completely unknown to the world until 2006.