Paradise found: West Papua for beginners
For a grab bag of stimulating experiences, this remote province is hard to beat...
Places in Papua
The province of West Papua chiefly comprises two large peninsulas – the Vogelkop (Bird’s Head/Kepala Burung/Semdoberai) and the more southerly Bomberai Peninsula – and several hundred offshore islands. The attractions here are primarily natural – above all the world-class diving and gorgeous island scenery of the Raja Ampat Islands.
Raja Ampat Islands
This group of about 1600 mostly uninhabited islands off Sorong has some of the best diving in the world. Little known until the last few years, Raja Ampat’s sheer numbers and diversity of marine life, and its huge, largely pristine coral-reef systems, are a scuba dream come true – and fantastic for snorkellers too. It’s like swimming in a tropical aquarium.
The North of Papua
Papua province’s capital, Jayapura, and its airport town Sentani, are hubs of Papuan travel, and there’s a scattering of appealing things to see and do in and around these towns. Further west, Biak is a relaxed offshore island that's good for a spot of lazing on a beach, snorkelling and diving, and has evocative WWII sites to investigate.
The Baliem Valley
The legendary Baliem Valley is the most popular and most accessible destination in Papua's interior. The Dani people who live here were still dependent on tools of stone, bone and wood when a natural-history expedition led by American Richard Archbold chanced upon the valley in 1938.
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