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Tropical Island of West Papua

Updated on June 28, 2012

West Papua

West Papua is the eastern most island of Indonesia. Indonesia occupies the western half of the island and Papua New Guinea the eastern half. Papua is the second largest island in the world after Greenland but it is the largest tropical island. It is still covered with pristine tropical rainforest where male birds of paradise perform courtship dance in the bright morning days to attract female birds. During the Dutch colonial period, West Papua was called the Netherlands New Guinea. It was controversially handed over to Indonesia by the UN on 1 May 1963. Now, West Papua consists of two provinces, i.e. Papua and Papua Barat (also called Irian Jaya Barat). Ecotourism in West Papua is growing due to the existence of massive coral reef areas in Raja Ampat islands and the mountainous region along the northern coast of vogelkop between Manokwari city and Sorong city that is rich of wildlife.

As a travel guide, I have been guiding tourists around the coastal and mountainous areas of Manokwari, the capital of Papua Barat province. Most of them were impressed with the beauty of the scenery, the morning performance of the magnificent birds of paradise and the colorful corals around Raimuti island. I cannot explain all of my travel experiences in this hub but you can see how wonderful West Papua is from the Youtube video that I provide at the top right side of this article. After pressing the play button and watching the video, please, continue reading the rest of my following story to know more about West Papua. I hope that you will have a chance to see the island in the future.

Tour Package

Please, read, download, and print the following brochures if you are interested in traveling to West Papua:

Tour Package Hiking and Birdwatching in Arfak mountains

Tour Package Snorkeling in Manokwari bay

Raja Ampat Islands - the most beautiful marine park in the World

This tropical island is now emerging as one of the Indonesian most important marine tourism destinations since marine biologists announced that its Raja Ampat has the highest marine biodiversity in the world. Over 1,000 species of reef fish had been identified in Raja ampat islands' waters. Scuba divers and forest lovers come to Papua every year. There some diving resorts in Raja Ampat islands where tourists can stay during their holidays in the tropical islands.

Manokwari of West Papua Indonesia

Dorey bay
Dorey bay

Watching Birds of Paradise in Senopi

For those who prefer to see the natural beauty of the mountains and valleys of the vogelkop regions, they can fly to Manokwari first and then continue their trip to Arfak mountains or to Senopi village at the Kebar valley of Tambrauw mountains. In Senopi, tourists can see deers, various species of wild birds including the lesser birds of paradise and interact with the indigenous Papuan people whose culture is unique and interesting.
In the past, only a few Western researchers occasionally visit Papua. They come to investigate the flora and fauna or the mineral content of its earth.

PELNI passenger ship was entering the Dorey bay of Manokwari city in Papua island
PELNI passenger ship was entering the Dorey bay of Manokwari city in Papua island

Papua island of Indonesia

Manokwari regency

In West Papua, besides Raja Ampat, Manokwari city is considered as an important hub for eco-tourists who want to see birds of paradise, goliath cockatoo, and bat cave in their natural habitat. Manokwari city is surrounded by Table Mountain and Arfak Mountains that are covered by tropical rainforest. There are a lot of species of animals such as tree kangaroo, bower bird and magnificent birds of paradise living in the forest.
Table Mountain which is only a-fifteen-minute walk from the Governor's office is the starting point for nature lovers who want to experience the beauty of the tropical rainforest of Papua island.
If we travel deeper into the interior region of the island, we will be able to reach Senopi and Kebar villages where deer come out to graze in a vast green grass plain at night. Manokwari city is the capital of West Papua province. It stretches along the Dorey bay. A bay which in 1858 became the house of Alfred Russel Wallace, a British naturalist who was doing research on natural history of this tropical island. Later Wallace and Charles Darwin developed a theory which what is now called as Theory of Evolution.
There are three islands in this bay where World War II shipwrecks scattered around them among the coral reef.
Although Papua is one of the most beautiful tropical islands in the world, it is now facing environmental degradation. Every year thousands of hectares of its forest are being cleared for its timber and to make ways for monoculture palm oil plantation that is now a highly profitable commodity in the world market. by Charles Roring

Also read:

Snorkeling in the Dorey bay of Manokwari

Tropical rainforest a great tourist attraction

Map of West Papua


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    • charlesroring profile image

      charlesroring 7 years ago

      Paradise 7, indeed it is a beautiful place. If you have time, you can visit this region.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 7 years ago from Upstate New York

      It looks like a beautiful place to visit. Thanks for the hub.