Baliem Valley of Irian Jaya

The Baliem Highlands is centered on the Grand Valley some 1,600 meters above sea level. Temperatures of the highland are ranged from 26 degrees Celsius at the day time and 12 degrees at night.. The valley is 60 kilometers long and 15 kilometers wide and is surrounded on all sides by mountain peaks rising to between 2,500 and 3,000 meters.This valley has been the most visited part of the island, especially in recent years. This valley is home to the Dani tibesmen. They are living in primitive way of farming.

The Baliem river flows through the center of the valley providing fertile ground for the local Dani and Lani tibes who live there - they are really close to each other. They have same language but different dialect. Dani men use a short, thin Koteka (penis gourd). Women who have not married wear knee-length bark skirts and married women wear orchid fibre skirts. Lani men wear longer, thicker penis gourd and carry tobacco and other treasures. The women dressed in knee-length grass skirt.

There may be 250,000 Dani living in the central mountains, many live scattered among the steep mountain slopes. The Valley has one of the highest densities of population in Papua Province. The Dani Tribes build their huts in a compound nicely express both environmental adaptation and Dani's character. The men's and women's huts have thick thatched roofs which keep rain, yet retain the heat from the earth, along with just enough smoke to discourage the mosquito.

The regency's capital of Baliem is Wamena (45 minutes flight from Jayapura) and it is the only town in the valley. Small Dani villages surround Wamena and can be explored by those who have a little time to experience an ancient way of life.

The highlights of sightseeing are Dani Market in Wamena Town, Wauma Village which can be easily reach on foot or by car from Wamena. Further out are Aikima, with its 250 years old mummy, Suroba, Jiwika and neighboring villages. With 2 hours climbing, you can see the salt spring where the Dani women make salt in primitive way fashion for centuries. Outer adventures are southward to Kurima area, where the Dani and Yali Tribes' way of life mixed into a unique combination.

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