Baliem Valley has been the most visited part of the island, especially in the recent years. It is inhabited by the Dani tribesmen, which are one among many tribes who speak related Papuan, or non-Austronesian languages and live in the high central ranges of Irian Jaya. Until the last few decades, the Dani people were some of the most isolated populations by swamps and mountains. They grew root crops, raised pigs and used polished stone axes and adzes. They did not make pottery, but their technology was very much like of the Neolithic of the Old and New Worlds.
There may be 250,000 Dani living in the central mountains. The Western Dani of the Konda or the Yali of the East may live scattered among the steep mountain slopes. The Baliem Valley has one of the highest densities of population in Irian Jaya. The Dani tribes build their huts in a compound nicely express both environmental adaptation and Dani's character. The men's and women's huts have thick thatched roofs which keep out of rain, yet retain the heat from the hearth along with just enough smoke to discourage the mosquitoes. The temperatures of the highland range from 26°C at the day time to 12°C at night. It is even cooler in the Southern region, Habberna lake and higher elevation which reaches down to 7°C at night.
The highlights of the sightseeing are Dani market in town, Wauma villages, and Sinatma hanging bridge which can easily be reached either on foot or by car from Wamena. Farther out are Aikima with its 250-year-old mummy, Suroba, Jiwika, and neighboring villages. With two-hour climbing, you can see the salt spring where the Dani women have been making salt in a primitive fashion for centuries. Outer adventures are southward to Kurima area, where the Dani and Yali ways of life mixed into a unique combination.
How to get to the Baliem Valley is not as difficult as to reach other parts in Irian Jaya. There are daily Merpati flights from Jayapura to Wamena, the district capital of the valley. Incase of the flight is fully booked, there is an option which is flying with Air fast, a cargo plane that sometimes takes passengers. For a short visit around Wamena, there are some fair hotel accommodations while in the villages, tourists may stay at Dani huts. Villages near the town are no longer interesting as recently there are less Dani men wearing koteka. More beautiful scenery with primitive villagers is Southern out to Kurima region. It has no differences, but when you explore up to Baliem George and the villages of Wamena, Tangma, and Ibiroma, you will discover a perfect combination of Dani compound inhabited by primitive tribesmen with adorable scenery.
Beautiful Scenery at Baliem Valley Papua
4/ 5Oleh Andi Mudji