Wamena is located 40 minutes by commercial flight from Sentani in West Papua.
From Wamena you can branch out in many directions where you will find innumerable mountain ranges to climb, ranging up to 4730 metres (Puncak Trikora)
There are many hikes around this region from the shorter local village treks up to month long adventures
Trigana Air flies from Sentani every day.
Best to fly into Wamena in the morning as Wamena lies in a plateau in between vast mountains and is often shrouded in fog or very heavy rain. In these conditions planes do not fly into Wamena.
Aviastar also flies from Timika to Wamena though this is not a regular service. It is possible to charter Aviastar to fly virtually anywhere in West Papua. You will their office at the airport though it is manned infrequently.
The Indonesian military have direct flights from Jakarta to Timika to Wamena in C130 Hercules though you would be hard pressed to be able to get onto one of their flights unless you know someone!
You can also charter Aviastar and you will find a contact at the Airport.
West Papua is unusual in that you must have a Surat Jalan (travel permit) to go to all places except for Sentani/Jayapura. Wamena is no exception. The SKJ can be obtained at the Central Police station in Jakarta, Denpassar Police station, Lake Sentani or at the Central Police station in Jayapura.
SKJ will cost around 30-100,000 rupiah, say $10US maximum.
Interestingly all tour operators will tell you just how hard it is to get a permit to travel in West Papua though it’s a load of nonsense aimed at dramatically inflating the prices of any expeditions or tours.
How to get an SKJ for general travel.
You will need an Indonesia Tourist Visa granted for most on arrival. In addition you will need 2 passport photos on a red background. Armed with these you can proceed to the Police Station to receive your SKJ to most destinations in West Papua. Some expedition operators are able to bypass some stages of this process. In most cases an SKJ can be issued while you wait. The police generally will not issue an SKJ for Puncak Jaya or Puncak Trikora. .
For all remote destinations in West Papua you will be required to show your SKJ, quite often upon arrival and in nearly all towns it is the Law that Hotels keep a record of your SKJ and must report your arrival to the Police within 24 hours. In remote villages when hiking you will pass via both Police and Military post. It is highly likely that at each of these you will be asked for your permit. In most cases a friendly outgoing nature will go a long way, though in some areas you may be required to pay a "fee" to proceed. This is commonplace and will generally only be a small amount. Remember these guys are paid next to nothing so this will supplement their income. Indonesia survives on bribes and this is commonplace. Once you know a region, say Wamena you soon learn where these posts are and how to avoid/circumnavigate them. I have travelled in all directions from Wamena and have only ever had to show my SKJ once. There are posts everywhere and sometimes your guide will feel obliged/scared/co-conspirator for you to stop and make a visit/payment
Puncak Trikora (4730) and Puncak Mandela (4640 metres), the second and third highest mountains in West Papua with Puncak Jaya number one at 4884 metres..
Wamena (Baliem Valley) regional map showing Puncak Tkikora
Where to stay
There are numerous options though my recommendation is the Pilamo Hotel located a few minutes drive from the Wamena airport.
Jl. Trikora No. 114
Telephone: (0969) 31043-32359
Fax: (0969) 31798
You will need to book well in advance as this is a very popular Hotel, probably rated at 2-3 stars. Book the Deluxe room and make sure you have confirmation. Its really important not to book the cheap rooms at the front of the Hotel facing the road as they are very very noisy at night and are mostly filled with large groups of Papuans and Indonesians. There is also the traffic noise to be considered.
Just hire a Baichac (pushbike with driver) to transport you to the Hotel Pilamo. There are many to be found on the road in front of the airport. You could take a car also but they charge excessively!! They will approach you for your business just outside the arrivals gate where they are parked.
Cheaper option is the Hotel Nayak directly opposite the airport though hot water is not always available!
Wamena Town Map
Wamena town map
Wamena town map
What else to see and do in Wamena
There are three mummies in Wamena; Aikima mummy 350 years, located in Aikima, 8.3 km from Wamena Jiwika mummy 300 years, located at Jiwika 15.5 km from Wamena and Pumo mummy 250 years, located at Asologaima 32.6 km from Wamena. There are several options for viewing the mummies. You can take a bus on and ask the locals along the way as they will tell you where to get off or hire a car (expensive).
Located around 80 km or a 2.5 hour drive from central Wamena
Car hire for this will be at least 5,000,000 Rupiah due to the high cost of fuel and the need to use a reliable 4WD vehicle.
Multiple trekking opportunities
Travel out to Kurima and trek this circuit for around 5 days. You can find guides (or they will find you) at the airport or your hotels to take you trekking anywhere for the right price which usually is greatly inflated! The guides are of varying degree from very poor to very good. You will find it hit and miss unless you know who the correct guides are.
Pasa Jibama/Baru, take the baichac (bike taxi) from town about 15 mins or a bus
Here you can buy a wide range of local handicrafts, woven bilums, penis gourds and a huge range of fruit for any expedition. Take the Bus back to Wamena town or by bike taxi.
Multiple caves can be found on the way to Wosi, see the map. Take a bus or hire a car (expensive). Take food and water with you on all travels as it may be hard to come across both.