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Baliem Valley, West Papua


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#1 AMW

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 09:41 AM

I am heading back to Raja Ampat this December 2012 for twelve days of liveaboard diving.
Since I am going to be in the "neighborhood", I am considering doing a topside adventure to the Baliem Valley.
I am interested in getting outside of Wamena and touring the Dani, Yani, and/or Lani areas.
Any information regarding specific tour operators, tour guides, or your personal experiences in the Baliem Valley would be greatly appreciated!!
Thanks.

#2 okuma

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Posted 26 February 2012 - 10:46 PM

[quote name='AMW' date='Feb 26 2012, 09:41 AM' post='302845']
I am heading back to Raja Ampat this December 2012 for twelve days of liveaboard diving.

We did that same thing several years ago.
It was a 'do it once trip'.
Very limited on luggage on air plane.
We each just took a small, canvas hand bag.
Stayed at "The Baliem Valley Resort Wamena" and took 1/2 day jeep tours around the area.
P/M me for more details.

Allan

Edited by okuma, 26 February 2012 - 10:47 PM.

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#3 Drew

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Posted 27 February 2012 - 12:23 AM

I did 3 different trips in the area. 2 for wildlife and one for cultural. I can't help you with guides since the guys who helped me organize now work as consultants for NGOs and mining companies! :lol:

The Valley Resort is ok. They arrange extended package treks and "show tours" around the valley. Sorta like those traditional dances liveaboards arrange for village visits. Not exactly authentic and not my thing. But Werner is one of the best known and most experienced expedition leaders in the area. Since you don't say how long you have, the resort is probably the easiest way to see the area.

If you do the extended packages, make sure you have all the shots (Japanese encephalitis etc) and make sure you have strong mossie repellent. There are going to be all sorts of insect bites as well. Anti-malarial meds for treatment (if prophylactics fail) and anti-parasitic are also much packs!
Camera wise, bring batteries and extra cards. Forget recharging even with solar panels, since you'll be under the rainforest canopy a lot! If you are birding for BoP, you'll need 500mm or more, unless you stay in hives and such. Otherwise, I'd bring the macro lens as well for insects and small creatures. Or just bring an extension tube for your walk around lens. I used the Sigma 50 f2.8 for portraits and small insects. I'd also bring a small housed P&S for the inevitable waterfall/river wading shots. I also use bags that can handle submersion as a camera bag.
For trekking in the rainforest, there can must lots of deep mud so I went with open toe sandals most of the time. You get the leeches and other insect bites but it beats boot full of water. My friends go with either knee high water boots or those waterproof trekking shoes but they suffer from all sorts of issues with mud... including losing a shoe!
The tree houses are relatively comfortable but I brought my yoga mat as extra cushioning, easy to roll up and trek with. Have fun. It is a fantastic place to visit if you love rainforest hikes. The biodiversity is amazing... as are the cultures that have developed there.

Drew
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