Papua Travel Information - Itineraries
Papua: Itineraries

One week Two weeks One Month Two Months


1. Jayapura & Baliem Valley
Most people with only a week to spend in Papua will want to fly to Wamena as quickly as possible to do a few days hiking around the Baliem Valley. Since you must fly via Sentani and pick up a travel permit either there or in Jayapura, you should also plan to spend at least one day seeing Lake Sentani and the excellent collection of the Cendrawasih University Museum, and do some shopping in Hamadi market.

2. Islands
If tropical islands, beaches and diving or snorkelling attract you more than traditional cultures and hiking, you should head for either the Raja Ampat Islands by flying to Sorong, or to Biak and its neighbours. Of these two options, Raja Ampat is the more beautiful, but also much more expensive one, basically best suited to those prepared to stay in expensive resorts. Biak is cheaper and much easier to do independently, and offers a bit more "sightseeing" with its museum and World War II history.


1. Jayapura & Baliem Valley
With two weeks, you could have a more leisurely look around the Jayapura-Sentani area, visiting also the beaches and villages around Depapre. This will still leave you with enough time for a longer trek out of Wamena, too. If you have the cash to fly back from there, you might even be able to reach the Yali area. If you are not so wealthy, you could try and explore the Lani country west of the Baliem.

2. Highlands & Islands
If you don't mind rushing, you could have a taste of both by combining the two one week itineraries above.

3. The Arfak Mountains & Islands
If you prefer less touristed areas, you could do a hike in the Arfak Mountains out of Manokwari, seeing traditional villages and birdlife, including birds of paradise, unique to the Bird's Head Peninsula. After the hike, you could rest up by visiting the islands and beaches near Manokwari, or if you have a few more days and don't mind roughing it, you could visit the Cendrawasih Bay Marine Park. You could also hop over to Biak instead of those, and then fly out of there instead of returning to Manokwari.


1. Highlands & Islands
With one month on hand, you could do a really good hike by spending almost three weeks in the Highlands. Add to this a few days around Jayapura, and round it off with a week around Biak or Raja Ampat.

2. Western Papua
An interesting itinerary would be flying to Manokwari for some trekking in the Arfaks, then moving on to Sorong to visit the Raja Ampat Islands. Then spend a couple of days around Fakfak to visit Kokas with its World War II relics, cliff-graves, caves and rock paintings.

3. Cendrawasih Bay
Another interesting combination would be to visit both Biak and Yapen after hiking in the Arfaks. Depending on how much time you've spent there and how transport works out, you could even visit the islands off Nabire in the south of the bay.

4. The South
Transport is slow and often unreliable in southern Papua, so it would be easy to spend a full month there. Don't miss visiting Wasur National Park near Merauke before heading off to explore the Asmat Region and the Korowai country. You could also approach the Korowai by going up the Digul River first, which may work out cheaper if you don't have the money for many expensive boat charters, however you would not get to see the art of the Asmat this way. If wildlife is not your thing, you could skip Merauke and Wasur by visiting the Asmat and Korowai areas as a round-trip out of Timika, though you would need some luck finding sea transport from Timika to Agats.


1. Highlands, Lowlands & Islands
If you have enough time and money to spend two months in Papua, you could have a good taste of its diversity. Start with a few days around Jayapura, then fly to Wamena to spend 2-3 weeks trekking in the Highlands. After that you have a choice of continuing south either by finishing a hike there or taking a flight, and visit the Korowai and Asmat regions before ending up in Merauke to see wildlife in Wasur, or in Timika for better flight connections. Round up the experience by visiting either Biak or the Raja Ampat Islands. Those feeling adventurous could try and visit the interior of the northern lowlands instead of the South, or even do their Highlands hiking in the Paniai region arund Enarotali instead of flying to Wamena, but both of these would involve some uncertainty regarding getting a permit to cover these areas, and you may not get to see as visually obvious traditional cultures as in the Central Highlands and in the South.

2. Nature's Best
Those more keen on seeing a good cross-section of Papua's amazingly diverse and beautiful wildlife and habitats could start in Sorong by visiting the island of Batanta in the Raja Ampat group, where 2 endemic species of bird of paradise can be seen. Different, more widespread lowland species can be seen on neighbouring Salawati. Next stop should be Manokwari to see montane forests and Bird's Head endemics in the Arfaks, before hopping over to Biak. There is little forest on Biak itself but more on neighbouring Supiori, and the islands are home to several endemic bird species. Spend your second month by continuing to Jayapura, where you could try and explore a bit of the Cyclops Mountains before flying to Wamena to experience the moss forests and plateaus of the Central Highlands. Then it's back to Jayapura to fly to Merauke, the gateway to Wasur National Park with its Australia-like landscape and easily seen wildlife.