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Facing a peaceful bay that once was dubbed ‘a better harbor’ than Ternate, Moluccas by the great British naturalist Sir Alfred Wallace, Jayapura is today the capital city of Papua and home to more than 100,000 people. The residents of this city come from many parts of Indonesia.
Jayapura, located in East Papua, is the starting point for many travelers wanting to make the adventurous journey into the interior of Papua. Travelers come here for all kinds of adventures. This is where you can begin your trek into the remote Baliem Valley, or conduct sustainable crocodile conservation study for your thesis, or prepare to capture the magic of Lake Sentani and its culture on camera.
On a lush hill stands a red-and-white communication tower which is the best place to to view the town. While this may not be the most exciting activity to do in Papua, it’s a good way to get your bearings and discover just how large is this region. Jayapura is after all, only a gateway to your extraordinary journey into one of the largest islands on the planet.
Acting as the hub for travelers seeking to explore Papua and a hub to other parts of Indonesia, Jayapura is used to travelers and is always ready to welcome visitors. This is the place to come and begin your exotic Papuan adventure, taking in the culture and the landscape of an untouched world.
Many visitors come to Jayapura to get their travel permit from the police station, the Surat Jalan, half-hour for the officers to finish the permit, during which time you can wait or go for a short stroll in the area.
Money can be changed in Expor-Impor Bank on Jalan Ahmad Yani. The bank will exchange your U.S. dollars, Australian dollars, Yen, Deutsche Marks, Pound Sterling, and Swiss Francs. TC is also accepted. If you are planning on traveling further inland, remember to stock up on rupiah as the banks in other places of the region may offer expensive exchange rates.
In case of medical emergency, go to Puskesmas (community health clinic) on Jalan Ahmad Yani.
Eat only well-cooked food in the highlands when you are on overnight treks.
Newspapers like Newsweek, Time, and other English language newspapers are only available at Ayumas Irian Jaya Shop, across the street from the movie house on Jalan Irian.
The town is small in size, so you can visit many places easily on foot. However, if you intend to visit Sentani and the beaches on the outskirts of town, it might be best to try public transport. The public transport terminal is there just across the post office. Angkot (public minibus) is convenient and quite economical. Chartered minibus (the taxi) is another option but requires bargaining skills. Again, be sure that to agree to a price before you depart.
As a capital city of a vast province, Jayapura is well connected to many large cities in Indonesia by air and by sea. If you are flying it is advisable to always double-check your flight details with your airline since there is a distressing tendency to overbook seats. All flights land and take off at Sentani Airport, located around 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Jayapura.
Outside the airport, minibuses wait for passengers going to Jayapura. Prices vary widely so make sure you agree to a price before you get in.
Garuda flies to Biak, Makassar, Surabaya, and Jakarta daily. It also flies on selected days to Sorong, Menado, Denpasar-Bali, and Ambon. More information is available at the Garuda office on Jalan Percetakan no. 2. Phone +62 967 21220
Merpati Airlines Office is located on Jalan Ahmad Yani no. 15. Call its representative at +62 967 21111. It is located next to the Hotel Matoa. Merpati flies daily to Wamena at 7 am. It also flies to several cities in Papua and other cities in Indonesia on selected days.
MAF (The Missionary Aviation Fellowship – Protestant) Office is located next to the Sentani air terminal. Its schedule is set based on the church’s requirements. This airline provides services primarily for missionaries whose needs take priority. If you fly MAF, the airline will take into account your body weight, including your luggage. MAF does run chartered flights into the interior of the island. To organize a chartered flight contact MAF two months before your date of departure, and then double check a couple of weeks before your arrival. The office is at harbor road, past the Bank of Indonesia. Call its representative at +62 967 21264.
AMA (The American Missionary Alliance) is the Roman Catholic version of MAF. Please call the officer at +62 967 21925. The office is located at Jalan Sam Ratulangi no. 3, P.O. Box 523, Jayapura.
Pelni Liners Office is located on Jalan Halmahera no. 1. Their telephone number is +62 967 21270. It has the Umsini, a 2,400-passanger German-built ship going to Jakarta and points between every 15 days. Five different classes are available in the ship. Please check the officer for current price list.