Jayapura is the capital and largest city in Papua, with a population of 315,000 people in 2014. The city has also been known in the past as Hollandia (1910-1962), Kota Baru (1962-1963) and even Sukarnopura (1963-1968).
As the easternmost province (and provincial capital) of Indonesia, it is somewhat far from most of the country's major cities and perhaps contributes to the less modern development of the town. However, with the intensification of development in the Papua province, this city is growing, and attracting investment and tourism.
Papua has always been considered the most ignored part of Indonesia, in terms of development and tourism; a reputation that stems from the very far distance from other big cities in the nation. Jayapura began as a trading post nestled on a bay right at the centre of New Guinea, further developed by the Dutch in the 1900s as a port of entry to explore Eastern New Guinea, and gave the name Hollandia which means "the village of the Dutch".
The area houses the frontline of the United States Air Force in World War II by General Douglas MacArthur for the 1945 Philippine Conquest and to prevent Japan from taking over New Guinea and Australia to its south. After the war though, after Indonesia gained its independence, the Dutch refused to relinquish the territory until a 1962 referendum supervised by the UN gave the territory to Indonesia. The city was renamed "Sukarnopura" for the Indonesian leader's contribution to freeing the land from the Dutch.
The city name reverted to Jayapura before the colonisation in 1968. The Indonesian government's transmigration policy has further populated the area with residents, especially from Java. Jayapura is perhaps the most diverse city you can find in Papua. The traditional Papuan races have blended in well with migrants from other parts of Indonesia.
Jayapura City administratively includes a number of districts. The most populated areas are at the city proper and the Abepura district that is halfway between the airport and the city. Heavy traffic occasionally occurs as plenty of people would commute between the two areas.
- 1 Sentani International Airport (DJJ IATA) (about 30 km west of the city centre). Virtually every national carrier in Indonesia flies from either Jakarta, Denpasar, or Makassar. It also acts as a transit point for flying deeper into the smaller cities and various settlements in Papua. Flights from Jakarta take nearly 6 hours and many include a stopover in Makassar.
Do not miss the view when you are landing, as the curvy green hills bumps above the blue lake, a good first impression of Papua's unspoiled nature.
Get to/from the airport
There is a bus served by the state-owned, DAMRI. The fare is Rp50,000 to the downtown of Jayapura.
From the neighboring Papua New Guinea, you can travel for up to 2 hours from the border crossing at Skouw Checkpoint. While most countries are eligible for a visa waiver (See Indonesia for more details), an Indonesian visa can be arranged at the consulate in either Port Moresby or Vanimo, the last checkpoint before entering Indonesia. Public Motor Vehicles travel regularly between Vanimo and the Wutung border crossing. Once across the Indonesian border there are taxis into Jayapura.
The border town of Skouw is a tourist attraction as it contains markets and exotic ornaments that are from Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. The Indonesian rupiah and Papua New Guinean kina currencies are accepted.
Dedicated drivers can be arranged through the Swiss-Bel hotel for around Rp800,000 per day.
- 1 General MacArthur Memorial, Jl. Hawai Sentani, Sentani Kota (take the road on the right in front of BRI on your way to the airport). A monument honoring the American general Douglas MacArthur that defended the Philippines, New Guinea, and Australia from Japan on World War II; Then-Hollandia was where the military airplanes and operations took off. Whilst the memorial is basic, the steepness of the terrain makes the site a spectacular vantage point. A number of old Dutch colonial houses can also be seen on the road up to the memorial.
- 2 Base G Beach. A white sandy beach with pristine light blue waters overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Quiet and undisturbed, yet not so far from the city center. The gazebos there are for rent though and preferable for a long rest in groups. Though entrance to the beach is free, beware of rip-offs from locals. Free.
- 3 Hamadi Beach. A local harbor beach near the city. On the beach are four large artillery emplacements from the World War II. Further down the beach are the local fish markets. The beach is not very well-kept and covered in rubbish. However, at night a number of food stalls are set up and provides plenty of atmosphere. Also the new Holtekamp Bridge nearby is quite an eye-catching phenomenon.
- 4 Harlem Beach, Tablasupa, Depapre. Watching sunset in the dusk. There is a natural freshwater pond on this beach.
- 5 Pasir 6 Beach. A white sand beach.
- 6 Kali Biru Genyem, Berab, Nimbokrang. A "blue" water river.
- 7 Lake Imfote (Lake Love, Danau Love), Atabar, Ebungfau. A love-shaped lake.
- 8 Lake Sentani (Danau Sentani). A large freshwater lake surrounded by steep mountains. A small number of restaurants and guesthouses are located on the edge of the lake.
- 9 Jayapura City Hill (Take a left from Jl. Ardipura to the hill with transmitter towers). An equivalent to Seattle's Kerry Park or Los Angeles' Griffith Park, the park on the mountain has a wide and perfect view of the Jayapura city and the bay it nestles in.
- 10 Teletubbies Hill (Bukit Teletubbies), Doyo Lama, Waibu.
The area around the governors residence consists of old Dutch colonial villas, some of which still have what look to be traditional-style gardens.
- 11 Border Post Skouw (Pos Lintas Batas Negara Skouw). The border post between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. There is a lighthouse so you may watch Solomon beach, Wutung in Papua New Guinea from above.
- 12 Youtefa Bridge. 24 hours. A new landmark of Jayapura. Free.
- Lake Sentani Festival (Festival Danau Sentani). Every June, a portion of the lake (both the shore and the water) is used for a 4-day festivity that celebrates the diverse indigenous culture of Papua. The stage is lit with dances and traditional ceremonies, as crafts and local food & beverage favorites are on sale.
- 1 Lukas Enemble Stadium Complex, Nolokla, Sentani. There is an aquatic center, shooting range, indoor stadium, and football main stadium. You may see a football match on the weekend.
- 1 Mal Jayapura (MJ), Jl. Sam Ratulangi no. 46, Apo. The largest in the metro area and the only mall in the city center. Though it's no different than any metropolitan shopping malls, this is the most chic place you can find to shop for everything you need.
- 2 Saga Mall, Jl. Raya Abepura, ☏ . A basic mall at another district. Not as much anchor tenants as Mal Jayapura other than the first KFC in the city that made the locals hyped.
A number of local craft stores in Hamadi sell Papuan wood carvings, bark paintings, and other artifacts.
Abepura markets are a large local market in Abepura (20-min drive from Jayapura). This market caters to locals and as such does not stock tourist items.
Jayapura city markets seem to be open every night and sell a broad range of items. Although most are for local consumption, cheap clothes, accessories, DVDs, etc., can be found here. Local produce is also sold at these markets and makes for an interesting walk.
- Noken bag. A UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage stuff. A knotted net or woven bag handmade from wood fibre or leaves by communities in Papua.
- Sari buah merah. Pandanus conoideus juice. It is healthy natural medicinal drink.
- 1 Rumah Laut, Jl. Koti, ☏ . An upmarket place, built on stilts above the waters of Jayapura Bay. Literally meaning "The Sea House", the menu includes seafood in addition to the usual Indonesian classics.
- 2 Ungkea Jungle Resto, Kwadeware, Waibu. Open 07:00. Traditional Papuan restaurant in the middle of sago plantation. They serve authentic Papuan dishes, papeda (the jelly carb from sago), ouw (grilled sago wrapped in banana leaf), kha ebehele (snakehead fish in black gravy), etc.
The street food is plentiful and good. Different areas of the city have their own specialty. On the road from the Swiss Belhotel to the city are BBQ seafood stalls. The easternmost main street of the city has a large number of satay chicken stalls (although satay stalls are pretty much everywhere) and on one of the crossroads between the two main streets are noodle soup vendors. The most expensive street food will cost you less than Rp40,000.
- 3 Bakso Bang Yus, Wahno, Abepura, ☏ . 9AM-9PM. Meatball soup with many variants. From Rp32,000.
- 4 Mie Medan Percetakan, Gurabesi, North Jayapura. 7AM-3PM. Serves mie ayam (chicken noodle). A halal food. From Rp33,000.
- 5 Warung Barokah Tahu Tek (Tahu Tek Kaki Lima), Jl. Garuda, BTN Skyline Indah. Open: 10AM. Tofu dish with peanut sauce.
Drinking in Jayapura is limited. Most restaurants will serve Bintang beer if you ask; however, it may not necessarily be cold. There are some bars and nightclubs in Entrop (5-min drive from the city), but they are not heavily frequented. The Swiss Belhotel bar is nice, but quiet.
A number of hotels can be found in the city.
- 1 Aston Jayapura Hotel and Convention Center, Jl. Percetakan Negara No 50 - 58, ☏ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. A mid-range hotel, right at the heart of the city center and a close walk to the large shops. From Rp600,000 per night.
- 2 HOM Premiere Abepura, Asano, ☏ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. A 3-star hotel. Free Wi-Fi, refrigerator, and breakfast. From Rp680,701.
- 3 Horison Jayapura, Jl. Percetakan II No.2, Gurabesi, ☏ . Check-in: 14:00. A 3-star hotel. Set in a colorful, contemporary building, this casual hotel is 3 km from the beach at Pantai Dok 2, 3.3 km from the Port of Jayapura, and 5 km from Mandala Stadium, a 30,000-capacity venue hosting soccer matches. Modern, streamlined rooms and suites come with flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi and safes, as well as minibars, and tea and coffee-making facilities. Some suites have separate living and dining areas. Room service is available. Amenities include a coffee shop, a fitness center, and a casual guest lounge, plus a chic spa and an indoor pool. Free parking is provided. From Rp476,908.
- 4 Swiss-Belhotel Papua, Pusat Bisnis Jayapura, Jalan Pasifik Permai, ☏ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. The most luxurious option in Jayapura, as its hotel and pool overlooks the bay. The facilities are of high standard and more importantly for travelers with no Indonesian language skills, some of the front desk staff can speak English. From Rp850,000 per night.
- Papua New Guinea, Jl. Percetakan No. 23-B, Jayapura 99111, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com.
- Papua New Guinea is a 90-minute ride to the east.
- Fly to Baliem Valley if you want to get to know more about the indigenous cultures and tribes of Papua.
- As a hub city, you may fly to some cities in Papua, Biak, Manokwari, Merauke, Sorong, and Timika.
- Arso, the capital of Keerom Regency. 2 hr by land.
- Sarmi, the city of the wave. 7 hr by land.