Top visited travel sites in Indonesia
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.
GETTING AROUND IN JAYAPURA
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.
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) 21270.
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.
R Mohd yatim
Visited Plaza Indonesia, Ancol Dreamland, ITC Mangga Dua and ITC Kuningan. Can get taxi very easily from the hotel but again the traffic is quite bad esp. during peak hours. Enjoy shopping at Kuningan, Mangga Dua and also Soga (Plaza Indonesia).
A Sanusi (additional night)
For shopping, I would recommend you to go to Tanabang, Mangga Dua, Pasar Senen, Pasar Baroe and Sarinah Store. The price is cheap and unbelievable. If you love history and heritage, don't miss to visit Gaja Mada National Museum and Monas.
A Abdul aziz
This hotel is located in Jakarta Utara, close to Ancol recreational park but a little bit far from block M area, where you can find many interesting Indonesian items. Mangga Dua is suitable for people looking for clothing, electronics but not recommended for tourist. Always insist for blue bird taxi, quite reliable and very friendly.
We arrived 2 days after the Jakarta bomb at the Australian Embassy, and local people seemed surprised that we (Australians) were still game to visit, and pleased that we were there. We got around by taxis which were quite cheap but on average they were reluctant to use their meters and we had to insist. No problem with Bluebird cabs, but imitators were abundant. We visited Ancol complex and walked around the beach. Good food and drink, not many tourists (indo or australian).
Mangga Dua shopping mall was not far from the hotel, and well worth a visit - clean and bright and modern, with good prices on consumer goods, and there are lots of rumah makans and padang restaurants nearby which do a roaring trade. Also visited Pasar Raya shopping mall a little south of the city, better than Mangga Dua and a favourite of ours. Only about Rp 15,000 by taxi. The market around the mall was a hassle.
Sunda Kelapa harbour was interesting, watched boats being laden with timber bound for Sumatra and outlying islands, but the bearers loading the timber only get paid Rp 25,000 per day, a pity. Went to Cafe Batavia on Fatahillah Square. Despite it being lunchtime on a Saturday, it was very quiet. Beautiful ambience, old colonial features, ceiling fans, dark wood, linen table cloths etc - very Raffles. Also very overpriced - we had a modest 2 course lunch which cost Rp 425,000 for 2 people including 2 beers - still stinging from that bill. Visited Istiqlal Mosque, the biggest in SE Asia, which was beautiful - 5 storeys high and very vast and cool inside. We were made very welcome and given a tour by the guide/guard who advised us that he "normally gets Rp 20,000 from each person" for the tour. We gave him only Rp 20,000 total and he seemed ok with that.
Also visited the fleamarket on Jl Surabaya which was very interesting - well kept, neat, orderly, little tiny shops in a row filled with bric a brac, "antiques", bits of porcelain, coins, brassware, and assorted interesting bits and pieces - worth a visit. We did struggle to fill 3 days in Jakarta and were happy to be leaving at the end, and feel we won't return unless it's necessary to pass thru on the way to another destination. Having said that, we have visited in the past and stayed a beautiful villa in Pondok Indah with swimming pool and cook, and were chauffered around by drivers - if that had been the case again, I'm sure we would feel very differently than having to find our own way around in dodgy taxis in uncertain areas.
I didn't take any tours cos I was there for business but Hardrocks good, not very far from the hotel. Laguna is a restaurant to go and if you're travelling by cab make sure you take the BlueBird cabs, they go by the meter. If you choose not to travel at night, then the Hotel's Tiga Puluh Bar will be the best place to relax and have some fun. As for shopping, Mangga Dua (2) should be the best place to shop.
Be sure to visit places like Taman Mini - great cultural revelation. Do also spend a full-day at Dunia Fantasi especially if you have kids. They'll love it there. For the shopaholics, don't leave Jakarta without stepping out to Mangga Dua Mall. It is great for the computer freaks as well. If you have the time, head on to Bogor and then up to Puncak. Don't forget to visit the Taman Safari there. Great outdoors for the whole family.
I did not have much time to go around, outside of business meetings and meals. When I ask residents about what I can see in Jakarta, most say "not much", which surprised me. The hotels had very good restaurants and I would recommend highly the ox-tail soup in Hotel Borobodur. I was able to visit the Wayang (International Puppet) Museum and watched a brief impromptu puppet show, in English. I found this very interesting and worth the time.
I was in Jakarta 4 bays for business purpose, so could neither visit nor entertain a lot. I would recommend the beautiful national museum and the astonishing handicrafts available at Sarinah Plaza (3rd Floor), Thamrin Road.
Went up to Puncup with friends. An excellent place to get away from the polluted city air. Cool climate and great scenary. Lots of good photo opportunities. One thing to note is that most money changers do not accept old US-dollar notes. Only the newer post-1999 notes are accepted.