Dani tribe village in Baliem Valley, West Papua

West Papua Accommodation

There’s plenty of accommodation in and around all Papua’s major centres and popular tourist destinations. The biggest problem is that much of it is quite high end and prohibitively expensive for many travellers. Fortunately, that has started to change in recent years with more budget and mid-range accommodation appearing on the scene, although it will still be more expensive than what you’d pay for the same thing elsewhere in Indonesia.

Some highland villages on popular trekking routes offer accommodation in former missionary buildings converted to guesthouses or traditional thatched huts called honai’s. In other remote villages, accommodation will be limited to staying with a host family. Be sure to agree the price upfront and on a cautionary note, be aware that fleas are real problem in highland villages. Alternatively, there are endless places to camp in the interior, around the coast and on offshore islands so take a tent and overnight for nil cost.

When it comes to food, don’t expect anything too fancy. Meals are carbohydrate dense and often best described as bland, which comes as a bit of shock when compared to the rest of Indonesia. Outside the major centres meals will consist of fruit, vegetables such as sweet potatoes, cassava, yams, coconut, taro, rice, noodles and sago with little if any hint of seasoning or spices. Along the coast and islands, protein is almost exclusively limited to fish, inland pork and chicken and if you’re lucky, maybe some wild venison in the south. In more touristy places, there’s more variety and an attempt to make meals somewhat more appetizing for sophisticated western palates but it’s reflected in the price. If you’re on a tight budget, don’t be surprised to find yourself chowing down on such local staples such as boiled banana or papeda, a type of sago porridge. Tossing a few packets of biscuits and other tasty treats into your pack before you depart for Papua is probably a good idea.