The Island Time Forgot

When people think of Indonesia, thoughts usually turn to the beaches of Bali, or the volcanoes of Java. And the eastern province of Papua is forgotten. But with its Dani and Lani people, trying hard to maintain their traditional agrarian lifestyle, Indonesian Papua is worlds apart from the hedonism that thrives on Bali. Papua should be on everyone’s travel list.

A visit to the far east province of Papua will yield some pretty memorable images. You’d have to give up some comforts to get them, but it’s nothing most people couldn’t handle. The resulting collection of photographs would more than make up for the travel challenges and the long journey to this remote part of the world. But for many people, that’s what travel is about – the experience.

Visiting Papua is an experience you’ll never forget. Even if you’ve been to other parts of Indonesia before, that experience would not prepare you for this part of the country. First, it’s a bit challenging to reach, as there’s very few direct flights from anywhere big. It can actually be 2 or 3 short flights to get there. And second, once you’re there, it feels like you’ve stepped back in time. Nothing happens quickly, the roads are rough, the ground is moist, and the people live a very simple life. And those are exactly the reasons why you should come to this province.

As a photographer, we tend to visit places that feel familiar to us, or provide us with images that we can see in our heads before we get there. Not so with Papua. It’s a truly unique location, with truly unique people and scenes.

And it’s quickly disappearing, as modern Indonesia is encroaching on the tribe’s lifestyle. Every year, more of their traditions fade away, as younger generations experience the outside world. Little things like denim jeans, access to the internet, and mobile phones are supplanting centuries-old traditions. How long before it’s all gone?

Plan for at least a week because of the travel time, and depending on how deep you want to explore the region, maybe as much as 2 weeks.

As always, the length of the journey is your call, since it’s your private tour.


Wamena and Baliem Valley

Wamena and Baliem Valley

• Indonesian Papua central town
• Produce and meat market scenes
• Access point for all nearby hill tribes

Dani Villages

Dani Villages

• Close up and intimate view of Dani traditions
• Observe rituals, dances, conflict simulations
• Learn about the Dani agrarian communities
• Help maintain their traditional way of life

Jayapura and Lake Sentani

Jayapura and Lake Sentani

• Capital region for Indonesian Papua
• Largest freshwater lake in the province
• Several small communities on the 21 islands

When to Travel to Indonesian Papua

The weather in this part of Indonesia is not too different than the rest of the country. Since it’s just south of the equator, the temperature doesn’t vary much all year, and really isn’t any definable rainy season. Pretty much every month gets rain, some months more than others. If you have specific dates in mind, please let us know.

•  The wettest months would be March and April, and the driest months would be June through August.

•  August through September are probably the most pleasant months to visit.

•  There is a large festival in Baliem Valley in August, which can complicate travel in an area with few resources.

Combines Nicely With...

If you’re thinking of combining a visit to Indonesian Papua with a visit to another country, you should consider:


Maybe consider combining your
trip to Indonesia with a trip to Thailand.
Check it out...


At Private Photo Tours, the safety and wellbeing of our guests is very important. We do our best to keep up with the latest developments concerning the COVID-19 pandemic around the world, but things are changing pretty rapidly. So we rely on an outside source that collates the latest information in one handy location.

If you would also like more information about travelling to Indonesia during the current COVID-19 pandemic, please visit these websites for up-to-date details: or Sherpa

With this site, you can identify your nationality or residency, and it will give the most recent information about travel to each country, and any medical requirements or quarantines needed.