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Iran Jaya Papua

Irian Jaya is Indonesia's largest province covering approximately 253,616 square kilometers (158,510 square miles)of the western half of New Guinea, the worlds second largest island after Greenland. Irian Jaya is one of the most fascinating islands to visit and explore due to its geographically diverse landscape, rich bio-diversity and indigenous peoples. Irian Jaya is the last Indonesian island to be touched by the outsider and provides an opportunity to witness people just now emerging from the Stone Age.

Irian Jaya constitues 22% of Indonesia's total land area and may be divided into the 3 distinct regions; the Baliem Valley, the Casuarian coast and North and West Irian. Geographically Irian Jaya has enormous diversity from swampland at the southern coast, to Savannah, and snow-covered mountains. The highlands consist largely of sedimentary limestone, sandstones and shale of tertiary periods. Volcanic rock is not common in the mountains, but in one of the few places an igneous intrusion has appeared at Mountain Tembagapura in the Sudirman Mountains the outcrop has proved to be incredibly rich in copper, gold and silver and is now the site of the world's most productive copper mine.

Rivers and lakes add to the beauty of Irian Jaya. Membramo River, the mother of all rivers, lines the Irian Jaya 's map from north to south. This river then splits into many secondary rivers. Lake Sentani nearby Jayapura, and lake Habema near the Baliem Valley are just two famous ones among many others. Like the rest of Indonesia, Irian Jaya has only two seasons: wet and dry. Although almost all parts of the island are tropical, regionally the weather is diverse. In the mountains and tropical forest rain falls almost all the time while in the northern part raining season occupies longer than dry season and at the-south-eastern area rain falls from April through November. Generally the best time to visit Irian Jaya is from May through September and December.

Its people and tropical rain forest are probably the most untouched on the planet. This may be one of the reasons why it is not easy to explore. Puncak Jaya (Cartenz) covered by everlasting snow has become a climbers paradise. Rounding the Puncak Jaya is Lorentz National Reserve, that has become an important conservation project in the province. At some coastal towns like Jayapura, Biak, Sarmi, Sorong and Manokwari there are World War II remains, which may be of interest to World War II enthusiasts.

Irian Jaya is a nature lovers paradise it has the richest concentration of plant life in Indonesia and perhaps in the world. With hundreds of species used in medicinal treatment, over 2,500 species of orchid including giant orchid of Rafflesia Arnoldii Amophophallus. The fauna is also very diverse with marsupials, reptiles, insects and approximately 1,500 varieties of bird including well-known bird of paradise (paradise spoda), crown pigeon (gonravictoria) and cassowary (casuarius).

The population of Irian Jaya is now an estimated 2 million people, the majority of which still live in the jungle. No one really knows exactly the ancestors of Irian. The people of Irian, black-skinned, and frizzy-haired, are physically very distinct from other Indonesians in the rest of the archipelago. There may also be a link connecting the Java man of a half million years ago to today's Irianese. But in any event, it has been established that groups related to the Papuans and the Negritos were the true aboriginals of the Indo Melayan archipelago and the likely ancestors of today's Irianese.

Today there are about 250 ethnic groups all speaking distinct languages and dialects. Most of the tribes still live a primitive life, farming, fishing and hunting for survial. The two most well known tribes of Irian Jaya are the Dani of the Baliem Valley and the Asmat of the south coast near Agats. Before missionaries came to introduce western religion, the natives of Irian were mostly animists. In remote areas animism is still practiced today. Two Christian missionaries, Dutch and a German, first arrived in Manokwari, Irian Jaya in 1855. Supported by the government these missionaries then founded schools, simple hospitals and churches. They also helped the local people learn Bahasa Indonesia, which is spoken in many areas of Irian Jaya today. Some of the missionaries even built air strips so small planes could reach remote villages. People living in the north, west and eastern part mostly confess Protestant while in the south they are Catholic. Some native people around Fak-Fak and Gala Ampat, Sorong are Muslim. As in many other regions of Indonesia, there still remains religious diversity.

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Jayapura, meaning 'Victorious City', is Irian Jaya's modern, bustling capital city with white sandy beaches in close vicinity and opportunities to dive and visit the local crocodile farms, it is a great place for a holiday for the more adventurous tourist. Built on the hills that slope down to the sea, it is an impressive view at the top of Jayapura- not only of the town itself, but the boats in the far distance, flashing in the pink swirling sunsets. Nirwana provides a good selection of Padang style foods that you pay for by the dish. Padang Simpang Tiga is another reasonably priced padang restaurant.

Indonesian Cuisine

 Jalan Ahmad Yani 40.

 Padang Simpang Tiga
 Jalan Percetakan 92.

 Angin Mamiri
 Jalan Kanon No.1
 Phone: (967) 35436

 Kebon Sirih
 Jalan Seitapura 10
 Phone (967) 31261

 Sari Rasa Jalan Koti
 No. 5
 Phone: (967) 34436

European Cuisine

 Jalan Percetakan 64.

 Hawai Restuarant
 Jalan Berdikari No. 2
 Phone (967) 34706

 Jaya Grill
 Jalan Koti No. 5.
 Phone: (967) 22783

 Jalan Ahmad Yani No.
 Phone: (967) 34316

 Jalan Percetakan
 Phone: (967)31759

 Chinese Cuisine

 Pondok Ria Wisata
 Jalan Soa Siu Dok II
 Phone: (967) 33381

 Jalan Pembangunan No. 35
 Phone: (967) 31274


By Air:
Jayapura is well connected to the rest of Indoensia by air. All flights land in Sentani airport, 32 kilometers from Jayapura. There are minibuses waiting outside the airport to take people to the city.

By Sea:
There is a passenger ship that calls at Jayapura every 15 days that calls at Ternate and Sulawesi before docking in Jakarta. This German built ship holds up to 2,400 passengers and has five classes of cabin on board. The trip from Jayapura to Jakarta takes approximately 1 week, for further information Phone PT Pelayaran Nasional on (967) 21270.

By Land:
One can walk around most of Jayapura because it is fairly compact, but to get to the beaches and airport one needs to take public transport. Minibus is the most common form of public transport in Jayapura and the hub is the taxi terminal across the road from the post office. The minibus driver will wait until he has at least a partially full bus and he may even drive through the town to get more passengers for a full bus. Prices to nearby destinations cost between 15 cents and 40 cents.


  • Souvenir Shops
    The city has some wonderful souvenirs produced in the local area.

  • The Yos Soedarso Monument
    Located in Imbi Park in the centre of the city is the monument of Yos Soedarso built in tribute to Commodore Yos Soedarso. Yos Soedarso a hero to the local people who died in battle with the Dutch in the Arafura sea in 1962. The park is a pleasant place for some relaxation and recreation.


Crocodile Farm
The crocodile farm attracts both the locals and tourists and was built in 1986 to raise crocodiles for there valuable skins for export and to conserve crocodiles.

The Vihara Buddhist Temple (Vihara Budha)
The Vihara temple is located 8 kilometres to the south from Jayapura on a skyline hill and has beautiful and attractive scenery, and is a great location to watch the sunrise or sunset. The temple can be reach by various means of public transport and takes approximately 10 minutes from the city centre.

The Hindu Temple (Pura Hindu)
This temple is set in beautiful grounds on a skyline hill 7 kilometres to the south of Jayapura. The temple is the main place of worship for the local Hindu community and can be reached using public transport within 10 minutes from the city.

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Information provided by Department of Tourism. Government of Indonesia.


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