The Baliem Valley is a land of rich history and fascinating culture that dates back well over 40.000 years. The legendary Valley is the most popular tourist destination and most accessible place in Papua’s interior. It is also known as Grand Valley, this spectacular valley measures around 20 km wide and 80 km long. Hidden from the main tourist centres, the valley becomes the home of numerous tribes. Wamena is the main city of the Valley. It is a home to around 10.000 inhabitants who form a mix of Papua, Lani, Dani, Yali, and Asmat tribe lands. Each tribal group has its own distinct cultural practices and distinct language.
What is the Baliem Valley Festival?
Baliem Valley Festival is an amazing cultural celebration to showcase the local traditions and customs of the various tribes of the Valley. Every tribe from different villages come down to the spectacular festival. They ground to perform dances, mock wars, pig races, and other fun activities. Therefore, it is a best chance to witness the vanishing lifestyle of the tribes of Papua. After the spectacular festival, you also can go sightseeing to the Dani Market in Wamena.
The Adventures of the Valley
- Mummy Visit -When else are you going to have the chance to meet a 400-year old mummy? According to the Dani Tribe, the mummified corpse represents a tangible link to their past, the spirit and their ancestors. The mummification begins by draining the body of blood, then hanging the mummy above a smoking fire. They put the mummy in a special hut for around two years. Once the mummification process is done, a huge feast is held to celebrate.
- Jiwaka Salt Spring – Jiwika Salt Spring is located about 1hour hike east of Jiwika. There is a small cluster of naturally occuring salt springs that have provided the local people with a valuable source of salt for centuries. The local people soak sections of banana stem in the water, then dry and burn them and use the resulting ashes as salt.
- Hiking and Trekking – Hiking and trekking in the Baliem Valley are arguably the great way to explore the valley if for no other reason that many local villages of interest are only reachable by foot. You need a guide for this trekking because the trails are often wet, steep, and slippery. But, the biggest challenge is rivers. By trekking, you can witness local markets, traditional ceremonies, and the relatively untouched way of life of the Dani. The Dani tribe live in the traditional compounds where they build their house from grass and wood and usually round in shape. There are a very limited number of places to buy some foods inside the local villages.