The Stunning Valley of the Dani Tribe
High up in the mountains of central Papua at an altitude of 1,600 meters above sea level, hemmed in by steep green mountain walls, lies the stunningly beautiful Baliem Valley, home of the Dani tribe. Baliem valley is 72 km long, and 15-31 km wide in places. It is cut by the Baliem River, which has its source in the northern Trikora Mountain, cascading into the Grand Valley, to meander down and further rushing south dropping 1,500 meters to become a large muddy river that slowly empties into the Arafura Sea. The first outsider to discover the valley was American Richard Archbold, who, on 23 June 1938 from his seaplane, suddenly sighted this awesome valley dotted with neat terraced green fields of sweet potatoes, set among craggy mountain peaks. This is Indonesia’s own Shangri-La.
By trekking, you can witness traditional ceremonies, traditional markets and the way of life of the Dani. There are a very limited number of restaurants inside the Baliem Valley. Your tour guide can bargain with the Dani people to provide you with simple meals.
It’s strongly advised that visitors bring their own meals and snacks during trekking through and around Baliem Valley. Meals and snacks can be bought at grocery stores in Wamena. To make your trip easier and to get the most value, it is advisable to find a packaged tour offered by several operators.
The only access to the Baliem Valley is by flying to the town of Wamena. There are a number of carriers from Jayapura to Wamena: (For more info, ask the officers at Sentani Airport Information Center). From Wamena into the interior of the Baliem valley you can rent a car or travel by public bus.