West Papua: Travel Tourist Information Guide
West Papua otherwise known as Western New Guinea is the Indonesian western half of the island of New Guinea. It has a total land area of 162 371 square miles and main cities are Jayapura, Manokwari, Sorong, Wamena, Timika and Merauke. It has a population of about 4.4 million people of various ethnicities such as the Papuans, Melanesians and Austronesians. It is believed to have been first inhabited 48 000 years ago. Previously owned by the Dutch it was annexed by Indonesia in 1969. The region of West Papua has thick and dense forests with some coastal areas and that is where the majority of the tribes have built their villages. However, the Dhani tribe have succeeded in making the once almost impenetrable Baliem Valley their home. Though Indonesian is the official language, there is said to be between 200 - 700 tribal languages spoken throughout the region. The leading religion is Christianity followed by Islam, then Hinduism and Buddhism and a small percentage practice animism. The bread winning industries are agriculture, fishing, oil production and mining.
Tourist travel from far and wide to marvel at the beauty of West Papua's unspoiled mountains and baroque islands. Those with a passion for unique bird and marine life will be pleasantly amused by what West Papua has to offer. Some of the islands main attractions are Sorong City, the archipelago of the Raja Ampat Islands and the town of Manokwari. Other great places to visit are the Arfak Mountains, Anggi Lakes, the towns of Fakfak, Kokas and Kaimana, and the bays of Bitsari and Triton. Getting to the region is possible by sea and air from Indonesia and moving around is done by pelni ships, flights, buses or the rentals of Ojeks. There is a variety of accommodation available throughout the region and the more luxurious hotels are located in the bigger cities such as Jayapura and those aforementioned.