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
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
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.
'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.
Jalan Ahmad Yani 40.
Jalan Percetakan 92.
Jalan Kanon No.1
Phone: (967) 35436
Jalan Seitapura 10
Phone (967) 31261
Phone: (967) 34436
Jalan Percetakan 64.
Jalan Berdikari No. 2
Phone (967) 34706
Jalan Koti No. 5.
Phone: (967) 22783
Jalan Ahmad Yani No.
Phone: (967) 34316
Jalan Soa Siu Dok II
Phone: (967) 33381
Jalan Pembangunan No. 35
Phone: (967) 31274
GETTING AROUND IN JAYAPURA
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.
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)
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
ACTIVITIES AND ATTRACTIONS
The city has some wonderful souvenirs produced in the local area.
The Yos Soedarso
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.
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
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.