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Learn a Bit about Papua at Festival Lembah Baliem 2019

Lembah Baliem (the Grand Baliem Valley) is a huge valley in Jayawijaya Mountain. Located in the central part of Papua Province, this valley is home to Hubula Tribe and its sub-tribes (Dani, Lani, and Yali). Festival Lembah Baliem is an annual cultural festival to celebrate the diversities in the valley.

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A war dance. via Tegar Allfi Ariyandy/travelingyuk

In the past, the tribes often engaged in a war. This tribe war is now a mere show but with a huge cultural value. Here is all you need to know about the Festival Lembah Baliem.

Inter-tribes war

The war. via Tegar Allfi Ariyandy/travelingyuk

Initially, this festival is an inter-tribes war that involved Dani, Lani, and Yali tribes. It was a celebration of fertility and prosperity. This festival is also a platform to show the strength of the tribes in the valley. This festival was initially organized in 1989 and has been going on for 30 years.

The scenario

The tribe war. via Tegar Allfi Ariyandy/travelingyuk

Even though the war is just a show, it has a ‘believable; scenario. The war is started with abduction or murder of tribesmen, or an assault of newly-opened cropland. The tribes then send their best warriors in their respective regalia. However, the war itself is more of a coordinated massive choreography, involving the three tribes.

The cultural market

The women at Baliem. via Tegar Allfi Ariyandy/travelingyuk

Apart from enjoying the massive war festival, you can also learn a thing or two about the unique culture here. In addition, there are many wonderful local items you can buy in the market. Apart from various handicrafts, you can also get rare stuff like Papua specialty coffee beans.

Culinary delights

A warrior during festival. via Instagram/baliemfest

If you come to watch the cultural festival in Lembah Baliem, you might as well enjoy their culinary delights. You can indeed enjoy them in Wamena, the biggest city in the valley. You can try delicious dishes such as papeda, lontar cake, martabak sagu, udang selingkuh, and many more.


The warrior. via Instagram/baliemfest

There are several unwritten rules you need to heed when visiting Baliem Valley. The first thing is always to respect the locals. Prepare cigarettes (candies if you don’t smoke). There are occasionally a local who will approach you and ask for a cigarette, give them one.

Furthermore, they never cross private property. Additionally, if you want to take a picture with a local, approach them carefully. They will usually ask for money to pose with you.

The tribesmen. via Tegar Allfi Ariyandy/travelingyuk

Festival Lembah Baliem will be held on the 7th-10th of August 2019. The location is at Welesi District, Jayawijaya Regency, Papua. It’s a massive festival where you can learn about local culture. Next

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