15 Best Places to Visit in Papua (Indonesia)

If you really want to go off the grid in Indonesia, then consider a trip to Papua (also known as Irian Jaya), where you can enjoy beautiful scenery as well as some of the best diving in the world.

Papua is technically part of Indonesia, but not to be confused with Papua New Guinea, which is an independent country.

Away from Indonesia’s central hubs such as Java and Bali, Papua is covered in acres of beautiful rainforest as well as clinking rivers and gushing waterfalls.

Visitors here can also enjoy the long white sand beaches as well as the magnificent wavy coral reefs, which can be enjoyed by anyone who enjoys diving, as the visibility is so clear that you will be able to spot a wide variety of underwater life.

Papua is also an important place in terms of culture, and you can see amazing tribal art here in the form of ancient cave paintings that still exist in some places.

Getting to Papua and traveling around the island takes time as many places are only accessible by boat, but it is well worth exploring the last unspoilt part of Indonesia, if not the world.

Here are the best places to visit in Papua:

1. Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat has to be one of the most beautiful islands in the world.

Located in West Papua, it is a top choice for honeymooners and for those who love diving.

Much of the island is covered in unspoiled rainforest, and you’ll find wide, clean sandy beaches back into turquoise waters teeming with marine life.

As you might expect, snorkeling, sailing and swimming are also popular pastimes here, but diving is the real star of Raja Ampat, where you can see 540 species of coral and more than 1,500 species of fish.

2. Goa Day State

goa day state

Goa Jepang, which means Japanese Cave in Indonesian, is located north of the town of Kota Biak, one of the larger and more important towns in Papua.

It’s a historical place that was used as a hideout for Japanese soldiers during World War II, and there’s even a tunnel that stretches three kilometers from here to Palai on the coast.

About 3,000 Japanese soldiers are said to have been killed here when the US bombed the cave, and now you can go down to the large cave and witness the scene for yourself.

You’ll also find Japanese and American weapons on display, as well as old photos of the cave.

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3. Cenderawasih Bay Marine National Park

Cenderawasih Bay Marine National Park

Also known as Taman Teluk Cenderawasih, Cenderawasih Bay Marine National Park is actually a large marine park consisting of 18 different islands that stretch along a vast and beautiful coastline.

Covering an area of ​​14,000 square kilometers, the park is one of the largest in Indonesia and many people come here for trekking, hiking and scuba diving, making it a great place to go if you like bird watching.

One of the most popular islands in the national park includes Pulau Auri, Pulai Rumberpon and Pulau Wairondi.

4. Picnic at Base G Beach

Base G Beach

Base G Beach in Jayapura is nearly 3 kilometers long and covered with wonderful golden sand.

One of the best features of the beach is the wooden picnic deck you can find here, if you want to bring some food and spend a lazy day enjoying the view, this is the perfect place to go.

You can swim here, but caution is advised as the water is lined with rocks, which means the beach is good for relaxing rather than bathing.

Another draw is that you might find yourself alone on the beach, which is secluded and only packed with locals on weekends.

5. Fak Fak

hair hair

The oddly named Fak Fak is a Dutch settlement that sits at the base of some picturesque hills and you can also enjoy uninterrupted views of the adjacent sea.

It’s not a particularly big town, but well worth a visit, you can walk along the main road called Jalan Izaak Telussa and enjoy many sights from here.

It’s also a good place to visit if you want to visit the neighbouring Banda and Ambon islands, which are part of the wider Maluku Islands.

You can also take a day trip from Fak Fak to neighbouring Pulau Tuir Seram, a beautiful island covered in sandy beaches and hiking trails.

6. Manokwari

Manokwari

Located around the Teuk Doreri bay, Manokwari is a place of historical significance as it was originally the first missionary base in Papua, which is predominantly Christian in the Muslim-majority country.

Many tourists choose to come here for sightseeing as you can explore a range of wildlife trails, many of which are part of the idyllic Table Mountain Park known as Taman Gunung Meja. Other local attractions include Japanese Monument and Japanese Cave.

Near Manokwari, you’ll find the sunny Pulau Lemon (Lemon Island), where you can snorkel and swim.

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7. Biak Island

biak i.

Pulau Biak is one of the most popular islands in Papua with many historical places.

The main town of Pulau Biak is called Kota Biak, and on the island you will find a wealth of diving options as well as bird watching tours.

Another must-see in Biak is the Cenderawasih Museum, and you can also head to the other side of the island to see the amazing rock formations of Urfu and Samber.

In short, this is an island that you must not miss if you visit this exciting province.

8. Lorenz National Park

Lorenz National Park

Lorenz National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to a famous mountain called Puncak Jaya.

Castensz Pyramid (the mountain is called the mountain in English) is 4,900 meters high and this is the place you need to visit if you want to know all the flora and fauna of Indonesia.

Hundreds of species of birds in the park will delight bird watchers, and if you’re feeling adventurous, you can also enjoy hiking and climbing Puncak Jaya.

But keep in mind that this is a tough hike, so be sure to plan accordingly and only try it if you’re used to hiking.

9. Akima

Aikima Indonesia

If you want to get around Papua, consider heading to Aikima, home to the Werapak Elosak mummy, about 8km from the larger Waimena.

The well-preserved corpse, dating back 300 years, was that of an ancient chief who was smoked to prevent his body from decomposing.

It is said that this is because the chief has magical powers that the village wants to keep after his death to keep the area safe from evil spirits or marauding armies.

10. Loka Budaya Museum

Locabdaya Museum

The Loka Budaya Museum in Jayapura, part of Cenderawasih University, is one of the best museums in Papua.

Here you will find a large variety of different handicrafts such as ancient Asmat carvings and traditional costumes.

There are also handicrafts from different parts of Papua and you will even find various collections such as old photo exhibitions and even musical instruments.

Anyone who enjoys taxidermy can also peruse the Papuan Stuffed Animal Gallery, which includes some of the iconic birds of paradise.

11. Bird Orchid Garden

Bird Orchid Garden

For a little peace of mind in Kota Biak, head to Ibdi, the Bird and Orchid Garden, which houses Papua’s native birds, including hornbills, cockatoos and parrots.

In addition to colorful birds, you’ll find dozens of orchids here, so if you’re looking for a cool, laid-back stroll in the city, this is the place for you.

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It’s also one of Biak’s main attractions, it’s a beautiful place but doesn’t have a ton of sightseeing per se.

12. Givica

Givica

The Wimontok Mabel mummy is located near the town of Jiwika and is said to be the remains of a famous chieftain from the 18th century.

His body has been preserved, and if you want to learn more about the history of the area, you can now see this eerie spectacle for yourself.

This is also a typically off the beaten track area of ​​Papua, so it’s a great place to meet some locals and learn how people live in this amazing province.

13. Asmat Region

Kebudayaan dan Kemajuan Museum

The Asmat region of Papua is not well visited by tourists, which is a shame because if you want to see some of the most majestic countryside in Papua, this is a good choice.

The area stretches for miles and is covered in mangrove swamps, rivers, and tropical jungle, and the main town is called Agats, although don’t expect a metropolis as it’s actually more of a small town.

However, one of the highlights of Agats is the museum Kebudayaan dan Kemajuan (Museum of Culture and Progress) filled with galleries of Asmat tribal art.

14. Spend a few days in Jayapura

Jayapura

Jayapura is the capital and largest city of Papua.

That said, it has a population of 200,000, which means it’s not huge, but there’s a lot here to keep you busy for days.

The city is surrounded by mountains, you will be close to beaches such as Base G Beach, and there are many temples in town for local Buddhists to visit.

Also make sure not to miss the local market in Hammadi for an authentic Papuan experience.

15. Kaimana Island

Kaimana

Kaimana Island in West Papua is a marine reserve connected to Raja Ampat and part of the Bird’s Head Seascape.

It is known for some of the best diving in the world, as it sits in the famous Coral Triangle, which is home to more fish and coral species than anywhere else on Earth.

Often referred to as the kingdom of fish, Kaimana is also a favorite for those who love macro photography.

As the name suggests, you’ll find rich coral gardens and graceful species of dolphins, marlins, seahorses and sharks here.

Where to Stay: Best Hotels in Papua, Indonesia
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