Don’t miss it for your chance to go island hopping, scuba diving, hiking or immersing in the diverse tribal cultures West Papua is known for.
- Dive With Friendly Whale Sharks
West Papua’s waters are teeming with life, including numerous whale sharks that you can go swimming with.
Large numbers of these ocean giants frequent Kwatisore Bay in Cenderawasih and have a very special relationship with the local fishermen.
All along the bay, fishermen use floating platforms to secure their nets and have always given away part of their catch to the whale sharks.
The result is a totally unique dive site where the whale sharks are completely at ease with divers and snorkelers around them, allowing you to get close to these impressive animals.
- Discover Cenderawasih Bay’s World War II wrecks
When you’ve had your fill of whale sharks, be sure to immerse yourself in the history of Cenderawasih Bay.
The area was subject to many battles between Allied and Japanese forces in WWII and is littered with diveable wrecks of aircraft and ships.
While you’re busy exploring the wrecks you can also spot a range of marine life from sea turtles to tiny pygmy seahorses and sea snakes.
- Capture Piaynemo Island’s incredible views
If you’re going to West Papua you can’t miss a trip to Raja Ampat’s Islands.
Pay a visit and you’ll be surrounded by over 1500 picture-perfect small islands, cays and shoals.
Make sure you pack your camera and take time for a short hike up to Piaynemo Island’s viewpoint. You can capture an iconic image of Raja Ampat’s islands at the top.
Gracing the pages of many websites, you’ll have undoubtedly seen this view before. It’s a classic photo opportunity.
- Switch off and sail Raja Ampat’s Paradise Islands
See-through sea: A fisherman tries to reach the shore of one of the Fam Islands. (JP/Seto Wardhana)
- Relax in crystal-clear waters at Pasir Timbul
If you’re looking for perfect clear waters to swim in, take a trip to Pasir Timbul beach. You won’t be disappointed.
One of the most beautiful sandbanks in the world, the immaculate white sands slope gently into clear turquoise waters.
You can go swimming and snorkeling there or just kick back and watch the day go by.
- Meet West Papua’s diverse local communities
West Papua is home to around 312 different tribes, including some that have never been in contact. This diversity of communities has created fascinating cultures that you can experience.
You can meet local communities when you go island hopping and enjoy homestays at smaller islands such as Arborek, Sawingray and Yenbuba.
If you visit in August this year you can enjoy the 30th Baliem Valley festival on August 7-10.
Bringing together the peoples of Wamena’s highlands and Baliem Valley, the festival is a rare chance to experience the different traditions of the tribes without trekking deep into West Papua.
- Swim among thousands of stingless jellyfish
Take a trip to Misool Island, Raja Ampat and you can swim with huge populations of harmless jellyfish.
The popular Jellyfish Lake is home to thousands of golden medusa jellyfish that you can swim with, without fear of being stung.
If you don’t want to go for a swim, that’s okay. The waters are clear so you can see the jellyfish from land and enjoy their mesmerizing movements as they drift by.
- Hike the most remote of the world’s 7 Summits
If you’re up for a real challenge and some serious training, you can hike one of the world’s 7 summits in West Papua. The Lorentz National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site, is the largest national park in Southeast Asia and hosts the tallest island peak in the world; the Carstensz Pyramid.
Be warned, this impressive peak is for experienced hikers and climbers only and should only be attempted as part of a guided expedition.
Alternatively, you can visit parts of this diverse park with guides. Hiking the Baliem Valley from Wamena is a popular choice.
This article was written by Kathryn, a diver and writer with LiveAboard.com