Biak and Yapen Islands

Biak is one of the better known areas of West Papua and it formerly served as a major air-stopover on trans-pacific flights from Indonesia. At that time there were clearly plans to develop this pearl of an island for tourism but that never really happened and the stop-over flights ceased. That being said, a visit to Biak, sitting off the north-west coast, is certainly one of the easier options in West Papua. It is a small island only 50 M across and averaging about 18 KM wide. Regular flights from Jayapura serve the island.

The Biak people are ethnic Melanesians, thus differing from the majority of Papuans, and have been largely "Christianised" by missionaries. However, key elements of the pre-Christian culture certainly remain and can be experienced by most visitors.

The major attractions for visitors to Biak are coastal: wondrous white sand beaches and extremely accessible shallow water coral reefs. The diving and snorkelling here and at nearby Yapen is thought by many to be amongst the very best in the world. Accommodation can be simple in tents or in a four-star resort.

Yapen is far less known and visited than Biak. A week long journey to these Islands, flying in from Biak, offers an experience of true pristine beauty. The main Island of Yapen is populated by many birds of paradise and a good number of serious birdwatchers make the trek here. Camping is at its very best in the sweet and still heartland of this tropical island paradise. Snorkelling, diving and swimming are as good, if not better, than on nearby Biak. The Yapen Islands offer an opportunity to allow Mother Nature to fully embrace and delight you.

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