When you arrive in Wamena, selfappointed guides will be allready waiting for you ($ 30 per day as a first asking prize in march 2008) airport looks like a trainstation, just opposite are cheap hotels (cheaper to the left, from $ 10).A lot of day trips you can do by yourself, take a Bemo (shared taxi/minibus, very crowded, south from terminal Misi,...more
Minibus A2 and A3 brings you from Wamena Jl. Timor near airport to Terminal Jibama / pasar, from where you have minibuses to many surounding villages,
Make a clear price agreement with yor guide, especially when you want to make a overnight trip. What is included: tansport, food, porters, ...
So you will not have some surprises en route.
Although these tribal people look very traditional, actually they already know the value of money. As they understood that we perceive them as having truly unique culture (which we definitely love to take picture of them), they will ask you some amount of money for each picture that we have taken of them! Be careful, the are quite persistent in getting it. It could be very annoying for tourist.
On the contrary, they would use or save the money for pigs - symbol of wealth in their culture. The more pigs they have, they wealthier they become.
Unique Suggestions: If you really want to take pictures of them (of course you should!), then prepare some cash / small changes. But if you bring a video camera, you might want to get permission and negotiate on how much you want to pay.
Fun Alternatives: If you are travelling in a large group of people, the best way is to get permission for the whole group and have the tip covered together by all the tourist. It should be cheaper and easier.
Dont hesitate and bring a lot of snacks with you to Wamena and trekking. All the things in Wamena are much much more expencive than other places cose everything needs to be brought into the city by air. And during the trek every energy source is a great refreshment for your body.more
Given the fact that Wamena's guides have gain a very bad reputation -for a reason- it is worth exploring "on yout own" alternatives. This way you can avoid the bad taste of a "corrupted" guide, and hopefully end up were the masses don't go.
A very interesting route would be from Dombomi to Ladikma. You can take a pick up from Jibama market, Wamena heading to Dombomi or Elelem. From Dombomi it is a 3-6 hours hike ti Ladikma. It's a clear path (for the trained eye) or you can ask a boy to come along). Anybody bypassing you on the trail is likely to slow down and escort you out of interest though.
When you arrive at the airport, the guides are waiting for customers. Ask a few to come to the hotel and ask them about the trips and do some small talk, so you know about his English speaking (if needed), after that you can decide which one you want to hire. The hotel staff can also tell he is reliable or not.
Our guide Kosman Kogoya was recommended by a friend of us.
his email is: email@example.com