Various kinds of Honai

Hello fellow Climbers!

If you ever visit Papua, you may see a lot of modern houses or tall buildings in the few regions of Papua. However, if you visit the mountain area of Papua, you will come across various traditional houses that looks something like a hut. The traditional name for this little hut is Honai. What is honai and what is its uniqueness?


Honai is a traditional home of the tribe of Dani and the many tribes inhabiting the areas around the Mountain region of central Papua. Honai is derived from the word “hun” meaning a grown man and “ai” meaning home. So literally, Honai means a home of a grown man. Honai is made out of wood with the cone-shaped roof made out of hay or weeds. In general, Honai is shaped like a cone/mushroom with no windows, has a height of approximately 2,5 meters, and has a narrow room measuring around 4 to 6 meters.

Types of Honai

There are 3 types of Honai in general, which are:

  1. Honai (for men)
  2. Ebei (for women)
  3. Wamai (a shed for pigs)

Honai’s Function

Honai can accommodate 5 to 10 people and it is built purposely to protect cold weather. Other than that, honai has other functions which are:

  1. Storage

Honai has the advantage for Papuan people to store any crops from their gardens for instance sweet yams, tubers etc. If there is any cooking with stone ceremony (a tradition where food is stuffed inside with hot steaming rocks at once) locals will easily take the food supplies out of their storage Honai. Other than that, Honai is also used to store hunting equipment and also war combat equipment. This sacred home of Papua is also made into storage for valuable pieces culturally and morally to each tribe.

2. Body fumigation

In a few places remotely located in the tribes of Papua (Aikima and Kerulu Village), Honai is used as a location where the process of mummy fumigation is taken (preserved body). The sacred and fumigated body is no ordinary person. It can only be the Head of the Tribe and the vital people of the tribe.

3. Rendezvous

Honai can be a place where tribe figures or men (who is mentally and physically ready for war) to discuss war strategies.

4. Galvinizing

A son of the tribe plays an important role in the Dani tribe. That is why this traditional home is used as a place where the father trains the son mentally and physically so that they can grow up to be a man that can protect and lead a tribe. The teachings of war and hunting is also applied, so its heritage can survive for years to come.

Honai Philosophy

  1. Unifying groups

Honai with its circle shaped wall is a cast that makes the tribe of Dani unifies with every other tribe.

2. A symbol of unity

Other than the feeling of unity, Honai is also a foundation for Dani tribe to continue to see eye to eye with each other in daily life.

3. Pride status

Reputation is also a vital matter to the Dani Tribe, and the traditional home Honai is what shows the value of pride the clan has.

Well, these are one of the uniqueness of Papua. If you ever come visit Papua, come and try spending a night in a Honai with the locals. Amakanie!


The Hidden Treasure of Pogapa

The occupants of this village, the Moni tribe, lives in harmony along with nature and are gratefully blessed with fertile soil. They plant taro, one of the earliest cultivated plant similar to yams, which is their main source of food. Coffee is also one of the plants they manage traditionally.

Being the village with the only airstrip, Pogapa is the starting point to the other remote villages located in the mountains. Plane rides take 45 minutes and it is the one and only to reach Pogapa. The trek of Pogapa and other villages around it gives you the chance to see how the locals go on with their daily routines. Along with the scenery, enjoy the fresh air fabricated by the thick rainforest.

Set your plan to come here. Meet the people of Pogapa and see their daily activities; from their food processing in the kitchen to the traditional market. Enjoy spectacular view of mountains around and feel the real inner peace while you are here.

Endemic Flora along the Trekking Route to Carstensz

Rhododendron SP

Natural resources of Papua play a key role in economic and social development in this area. The resources are found in the forest, coast, sea, and land which is rich of minerals. The ecosystem in Papua is the richest in Indonesia where a half of variety of Indonesian flora and fauna live. Some of endemic flora and fauna are only found here. Papua is the habitat of 15.000-20.000 kinds of plants (55% is endemic), 602 kinds of birds (52% is endemic), 125 kinds of mammals (58% is endemic), and 223 kinds of reptiles (35% is endemic). In February 2006, a group of researcher carried out a study in Foja Mountain. They found various types of bird, amphibian, and plant, including a new variant of rhododendron which flower is the biggest in its genus.  This natural potency is getting more significant along with the agreement of Nagoya Protocol which protects the biodiversity in Papua in order to give advantages for Indonesia in general and local people in Particular. Nagoya Protocol is very important to accommodate traditional knowledge of local people living in customary laws.

Rhododendron Verstegii

Rhododendron is a stand out type of flora in Carstensz with its bright color flower. It grows at the altitude of 500-meter in mountain forest. It is a kind of epiphyte living in branches of trees. Rhododendron is usually found with some different species. In this condition many hybrids occur. There are species of Rhododendron Rarum which blossom in April to July. Their habitat is near small lakes and wet stones along the trekking route to Carstensz.

There are many species of Rhododendron along the trekking route. One of them is Rhododendron Verstegii. It has yellow petal but reddish at the bottom. It is different from Rhododendron Macgregorii which has yellow petal and pedicel and smaller flower.

Rhododendron Rarum

Rhododendron Macgregorii

It is not only Rhododendron found along the trekking route.  Other plants like Orchidaceae or orchid also commonly grow in this wet tropical area. Most of orchid species here are epiphyte which is different from other species grow in tropical area which usually grow on soil. Epiphyte orchid can live from dew and moist air with fiber radix. The epiphytes develop their roots and cling on the branches where they live. However, other species grow in land with their roots in the soil. Other species are saprophyte which grows on humus formed from leaves and decayed woods. On the surface of the root it is usually found fungus which develop symbiosis with orchid.

Orchid in Carstensz

Epiphyte can grow its stem well, often thicken it and has wax on the stem to avoid over evaporation. The stem can grow long (monopodial) or wide (simpodial), depending on its genus. The leaf of orchid is usually oval and long, typical of monocotyledon leaf.  It can widen itself and function as water supplier. Orchid has typical flower which distinguish it from other families.

Dendrobium Dekockii

Dendrobium is a genus of epiphyte orchid. It grows in simpodial manner, which means the growth of the tip of its stem is limited. It will stop growing when it reaches maximum limit. This growth is continued by its saplings. There is rhizome (stem under the soil) in simpodial orchid. Saplings of the orchid emerge from its rhizome. Dendrobium needs sun light with mid to high intensity, depending on the type of Dendrobium.

Dendrobium Subclausum

Dendrobium Subclausum is a kind of epiphyte orchid which blossom its yellow flower in rainy season. Its flower ranges from 3 to 5 cm length. This species is commonly found in Maluku and trekking route to Carstensz.


Dendrobium Dekockii

Dendrobium Wentianum

Dendrobium Wentianum is a kind of epiphyte orchid genus with dark green leaf and flower comprises a group 1 to 4 flowers. Its flower is usually purple, orange, red, or combination of orange and red. It grows on branches at the altitude of 1850 to 3300 meter. It is commonly found in the trekking route to Carstensz and  Papua New Guinea. It is believed that there are still a lot of kinds of orchid species along the trekking route which have not been found and labeled with scientific name.
It is not only orchid that grow well along the trekking route to Carstensz. ‘Sarang semut’ (literally means ‘ant nest’) a term to refer to Myrmecodia Pendans also can grow well in this area. It is a genus of micromechophyta epiphyte from Southeast Asia and big islands to Queensland, Australia. The term ‘myrmecodia’ derived from Greek word ‘myrmekodes’ meaning “(look) like ant” or “surrounded by ants”. It grows on the branches or stalks of trees and commonly found in the forests in Papua. Although living in the branches or stalks of trees, it does not belong to parasite.

Myrmecodia Pendans
Ant’s Nest

It has been used by people in Wamena, Papua as a medicine to cure kinds of illnesses, such as diarrhea, malaria, rheumatic, and hepatitis. Even today, it has been use to cure serious illness like cancer and hypertension. 

Myrmecodia Pendans or ‘Sarang Semut’

It is ironic that stern gains less attention when scientists carry out survey in Papuan forests. Collectors will be astonished at the inventory of stern in Papua (it is estimated that there are over 2.000 species, which only 1.200 species have been given scientific name). Wet forest in the mountain along the trekking route to Carstensz is the widest habitat of stern in Papua. Some groups of sterns living under the altitude of 3.400 m never face frozen condition. Subalpine stern, on the other hand, grow at the altitude of 3.700 m where the temperature is extremely cold. The following pictures of sterns were taken during Carstensz expedition with climbers from Russia in October 2011.

This species is common along the trekking route

Stern grow on the rocks

Stern in Savanna in the area of Carstensz

Fern forest in Carstensz area is dominated a big sized species which is believed to have been existed since Jurassic era. Stern is a part of vascular plant which reproduces with spore and does not have flower and seed. The family of stern covers 10.560 species in the world.

Fern Forest

Stern appeared in fossil account around 360 million years ago in the last period of Devon. However, many of current families and species just 145 million years ago, in the beginning of Cretaceous era, since flowering plants started to dominate the environment.

Guide Tips on Visiting Timika

When it comes to Timika City, it is no longer unfamiliar with the city built alongside the world’s largest mining company from the United States, Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold Inc., which mines copper, gold and silver ore miles away in the mountains. The complexity of Grasberg mine situated right in the heart of the mineral zone is one of the largest coppers and gold extraction in the world.

In addition, there have been more supplementary copper and gold noted around the hills of Jayawijaya. Not only that, the city is also popular with estuaries, beaches, snowy mountain peaks, and recreational hunting/fishing.

The city of Timika is surrounded by tropical rainforests, where the air temperature can feel hot and humid, but also balanced by heavy rainfalls making the air cooler and more pleasant. However, there is a slight change of atmosphere when stepping foot in this small city into another district, Kuala Kencana. From a not so advanced small town into an area so elite and conceptual.

The Kuala Kencana area has a smooth and wide paved road, a small meadow in the middle of the roundabouts with lit streetlights at night, even having a statue with fountains in the middle of the city the locals consider sightseeing. The residential area looks American-style houses with a fairly large lawn and the distance between the houses is quite spacious.

As the capital of Mimika Regency, Timika is surrounded by several districts, including:

  • East Mimika
  • Middle East Mimika
  • Far East Mimika
  • West Mimika
  • Far West Mimika
  • Middle West Mimika
  • New Mimika
  • Kuala Kencana
  • Tembagapura
  • Agimuga
  • Jila
  • Jita

History of Timika

Timika is inseparable from the history of Mimika Regency which was originally a sub-district from the Fakfak Regency which later became the Autonomous District in 1999. The area is around 20,093 km2 with high and low topography.

Mimika is inhabited by seven indigenous tribes, of which two large tribes including Amungme inhabit the mountainous and Kamoro region in the coastal region. The other five tribes are still in kinship originating from other regions but have long lived in Mimika Regency, namely the Dani / Lani, Damal, Mee, Nduga and Moni tribes.

Ways of getting to Timika

  • Airplane

The only way to reach Timika by air is landing at Moses Kilangin Airport which is managed by PT Airfast Aviation Facility Company (AVCO) for PT Freeport Indonesia (PTFI) activities. Airlines serving the Timika route are Garuda Indonesia, Sriwijaya Airlines and Airfast. Airfast is the company’s airline specialized PTFI’s employees, consultants or guests to travel.

  • Ship

The sea route to Timika is reachable through Makassar or Manado with the fastest time, two to three weeks. There are two ports in Timika, namely Pomako Port which is located 66 km from Timika for public use and Amamapare Port specifically for PTFI. From the port, small boats are available to navigate the rivers of rural areas, such as Kamoros, Pikapu, Jaramay and Mimika

Climate in Timika

The climate in Timika is classified as tropical with an average annual temperature of 25.9°C. The average annual rainfall is 3340 mm, a lot of rainfall in Timika Jaya, even in the driest month.

Regional Languages in Timika

Although there are seven tribes that wander Timika, the language used are the two large tribes of the indigenous people, namely the tribes of Amungme and Kamoro. Generally, migrants still use Indonesian for daily communication. Other than that, accents may vary along with the many tribes and culture populating Timika.

Do’s and Don’ts

  • Be friendly and smile
  • Try not to wear flashy/expensive items such as jewelry etc.
  • Regularly check your wallets, phones and hold on to your bag when walking through a crowded area
  • Keep Indonesian cash on you at all times
  • Remember to always have identification on you
  • Be cautious when going into the streets at nighttime
  • Do not excessively act on something you think is peculiar
  • If you get into a situation of dealing with street merchants that start insisting on selling you products you don’t really need, feel free to reject their offers by saying tidak, meaning “no”
  • Prepare anti-mosquito lotions or get yourself vaccinated with antimalarial vaccine
  • Bring antiseptic practical

As long as you keep things lowkey and stay away from problematic situations, you will remain safe. You should trust your intuition and try to get out of the situations which could possibly become dangerous for you. In the end, we will only tell you one more thing and it refers to basic words s. Terima kasih is the Indonesian phrase for “thank you”. Keep that in mind

Pepper Dickson: A Sound from Top of Carstensz

Puncak Jaya, May 2, 2019
Pepper Dickson 

Puncak Jaya, also known as Carstensz Pyramid, is located on the island of Papua and the highest mountain on the Oceanic Continent. Famously known as one of the Seven Summits. Due to its remote location and the fact that it is the most technical of all Seven Summits, it is not widely summited. While Kilimanjaro has over 40,000 visits a year, Carstensz Pyramid has approximately 100. 

Being so close to this notable, majestic summit; loving mountains and the feats they incite; and living in close proximity; I couldn’t wait to get out there and connect with this icon myself. With a lot of help and an eager soul, I was introduced to Adventure Carstensz. They are a tour company based in Timika that takes climbers from around the world to summit Carstensz, among other places of interest in Papua. They have a professional and experienced team that is knowledgable about this region, the mountains, climbing and the local people. I spent a few days in Timika a month prior to our climb doing some ropes training with Michael Korwa, the lead guide, and knew I was in good hands. 

Across the limestone fields, between the steep mountain peaks, with rain lightly falling, we followed the rocky path to Yellow Valley where our Base Camp was already set up and waiting for us. I walked out with Wens our cook, and Jacko our porter. Our two guides had hiked out the day before to get everything ready. When we arrived the other two climbers were already there, having come by helicopter earlier that morning. Wang and Zhao, two accomplished Chinese men who flew in from Beijing. We spent the afternoon getting acquainted, sharing stories of past adventures and generally getting a feel for how experienced each of us were. I went to sleep that night after staring at what I could see through the rain of the tough and weathered north face. 

We woke early the next morning. Cold, dark and still raining, we eagerly prepared for our climb. Geared up and ready to leave Base Camp at 4am, the five of us started the short walk to the first pitch. Wearing a harness, using a combination of carabineers, ascenders and a figure 8 descender the whole way, our safety was always the first concern of our guides. Carstensz isn’t the most physically challenging of the Seven Summits, but it is the most technical. After a couple hours of scaling the easy, class-5 rock walls, the sun rose and we were able to have a better look at where we were. The steel grey rocks glistened in the rain, sleek and cold. The summit was out of sight, but even still, we could feel it looming above us. Before us was the “Sky Bridge” tyrollean crossing and two small chasms that require a little more bravado. Sleet started to fall as we crossed the summit ridge, luckily it never turned to ice.

We summited sometime after 9am, over 5 hours after leaving Yellow Valley. It felt triumphant. We were all proud of our efforts and riding an endorphin high. Everyone was full of energy and excitement. Grinning ear to ear we all took the requisite photos and shared snacks before heading back down shortly before 11am, knowing the journey ahead would take time.

Our descent took over 4 hours, almost as long as it took to go up. We were coming down through pouring rain and the further we went, the bigger the cascading waterfalls grew. With water plummeting us from above, it was impossible to stay dry. It came through the tops of our jackets, drenching us all the way down through our boots as we rappelled down one pitch at a time. Waiting for each person to tie in and out of their figure 8 at each rope length was challenging. I wanted to get down and dry off, but the feel of that strong mountain under my feet gave me the power to slow down and appreciate where I was. 

We gleefully arrived back at Base Camp before 3pm, after 9 hours of climbing and an hour of time spent on the summit. We were greeted with hot tea and a big lunch, thanks to our cook, Wens. After a few more “we made it home” photos, we all retired to our tents to dry off and warm up. I spent Thursday night at Base Camp and hiked back out of Yellow Valley on Friday. Happy for a shower and a warm, soft bed, but still buzzing from the energy permeating from the mountain. 

The whole experience was so much fun, the feeling of accomplishment satisfactory and I’m sure the memories will be enduring. I want to do it again when it’s (hopefully) sunny! I can’t recommend Adventure Carstensz and their qualified team enough. Get out there and climb! 

Kamoro Woodcarving

People of Kamoro tribe live along the Coast of Arafuru Sea in the southern of central Papua. Their villages lay in tidal are along the coast. They independently fulfill their primary needs, especially food by gathering it from nature. This tribe lives in semi-nomadic fashion and gains their food through gathring and fishing.  Their area is abundantly blessed with kinds of food, such as sago palm, fish, and cassava. Men are responsible for gathering the food and women cooking it for their family.

Once in a few months, people of Kamoro move and settle temporary houses along river banks to gather food for their daily need or to sell it in the markets in Timika.  The region which belongs to Kamoro tribe is Kokonao, part of the District of Mimika Barat, in Regency of Mimika. This tribe comprises 40 villages with population of 180.000. Generally, men in Kamoro work on gathering food. However, few of them are wood carvers. In Kamoro local language, they are called maramowe. Wooden carving is made to be used as a part of traditional ceremony ornament or for sale. Maramowe handmade wood carving is cultural icon of Kamoro tribe.

Types of their work: yamate (shield), wemawe (sculpture), po (paddle), paru (bowl of sago), eme (drum), but the most sacred is mbitoro (totem of ancestor). They even carve their dugouts with special reliefs which have particular meanings. Every lineage of maramowe has their own typical carving motif, which other lineages are prohibited to copy. Disaster may happen if this rule is purposefully broken.

As a local tour operator based in Timika, Adventure Carstensz always escorts their clients to have a city tour, including visiting local tribe communities around the town. The aim of city tour is to introduce the city to the clients and to make them acknowledged of culture and fine art of Kamoro teribe.

5 Most Attractive Art and Culture Festivals in Indonesia

Indonesia consists of more than a thousand islands lying down from Sabang to Merauke. The people live in a diverse culture. Each features remarkable arts, traditions, and local wisdom. Some cultural heritages are already globally well known, being performed in annual festivals and attracting so many tourists. Following below we reviewed the top five art and cultural festivals you must join.

Indonesia is made up of more than a thousand island laid across from Sabang to Merauke. The people are not strange to diverse culture mushed into living in a community. Each culture with its own remarkable art. traditions, and local wisdom. Some cultural heritages are globally well known, performed in annual festivals and attracting great amount of tourists. The following are the top 5 art and cultural festival you must come and see. Continue reading 5 Most Attractive Art and Culture Festivals in Indonesia

Jokowi Celebrates New Year in Raja Ampat

Friday, January 1, 2016, Sorong – President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo just welcomed the first day of 2016 at the Waiwo Beach dock of Raja Ampat, West Papua.
News agency reported that Jokowi, wearing a white shirt and sarong without footwear, walked out onto the dock at about 6:15 a.m. local time before the sun had completely risen. Continue reading Jokowi Celebrates New Year in Raja Ampat