Jayapura is the capital and largest city in Papua, Indonesia. 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 recent government's intensification on developing the Papua province, this city is now thriving, welcoming businessmen to invest and tourists to explore the exotic province.
The area houses the frontline of the United States Air Force on World War II by General Douglas MacArthur for the 1945 Philippine Conquest as well as to avoid Japan from taking over New Guinea and ultimately Australia to its south. After the war though, as the country of Indonesia was then born, the Dutch refused to relinquish the land until a 1962 referendum supervised by the UN ultimately gave the land to Indonesia, giving the city another name called Sukarnopura for his contribution in freeing the land from the Dutch Indies colony.
The city name reverted back to Jayapura as it was before the colonization in 1968 and government transmigration further populate the area with residents, especially from Java. Jayapura is perhaps the most diverse city you can find in Papua. The traditional Papua races have blended in well with migrants from other parts of Indonesia.
OrientationJayapura City administratively actually 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.
Sentani International AirportVirtually 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.
By carFrom 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#Get In 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 itself is a tourist attraction as it contains markets and exotic ornaments that are from both Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Both Indonesian rupiah and Papua New Guinean kina currency are accepted.
The public transport system consists of numerous minivans which have their destination route printed on the side. Each trip usually costs Rp 6,000 per person.
Dedicated drivers can be arranged through the Bel-Swiss hotel for around Rp 800,000 per day.
General Macarthur Memorialaddress: Jl. Hawai Sentani, Sentani KotaA 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 itself 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.
Hamadi BeachA local harbor beach near the city. On the beach are four large artillery emplacements from the WWII. Further down the beach are the local fish markets. The beach itself 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.
Base G BeachA 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.
Lake SentaniA large freshwater lake surrounded by steep mountains. A small number of restaurants and guesthouses are located on the edge of the lake.
Jayapura City HillAn 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.
Lake Sentani FestivalEvery June, a portion of the lake (both the shore and the water) is used for a 4-day festivity that celebrates the indigenous yet diverse culture of Papua. The stage is lit with dances and traditional ceremonies, as crafts and local food & beverage favorites are on sale.
Mal Jayapuraaddress: Jl. Sam Ratulangi no. 46, ApoThe largest in the metro area and the only mall in the city center. Though its no different than any metropolitan shopping malls, this is the most chic place you can find to shop for everything you need.
Saga Mallphone: +62 967 586139address: Jl. Raya AbepuraA 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.
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.
Rumah Lautphone: +62 967 5367673address: Jl. KotiAn 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.
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 Rp 40,000.
phone: +62 967 537700address: Jl. Percetakan Negara No 50 - 58A mid-range hotel, right at the heart of the city center and a close walk to the large shops.
phone: +62 967 551888address: Pusat Bisnis Jayapura, Jalan Pasifik PermaiThe 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.
A number of other (and cheaper) hotels can be found in the city.
Papua New Guineaphone: +62 967 531-250address: Jl. Percetakan No. 23-B, Jayapura 99111