Biak, the new tourism gateway to Papua

Biak Numfor can rightly be considered a piece of Paradise in Papua. Blessed with beautiful and natural underwater sights, the views are much like a painting, with scenic atolls and coral reefs in their natural condition.

Biak Padaido, one of the best scuba diving spot in Papua (source: Our Travel Tip)

Not only is Biak an attractive tourist destination, it is amply supported by infrastructure such as the airport which plays a major role in the region’s economy. Its strategic location and infrastructure support has made it worthy of being named the new gateway to tourism in Papua.

The administrative area of Biak measures 1602 km2 with the surrounding seas measuring 12,522 km2. It is made up of 19 districts with 257 villages and 14 wards. To the North and East lies the Pacific Ocean, while the Yapen Bay is located to the South and Supiori Regency in the West.

The major draw of Biak is its natural beauty, and has many attractive destinations. It is a great destination for marine tourism, especially for divers with its three diving points namely Catalina Wreck, Undi Cave, and Rasi Wreck. In addition, it is also known for its history and culture, making it a draw for foreign tourists.

According to Dr. Ira Adriati, Lecturer at the ITB Arts and Design Faculty and writer of the book  “Perahu Biak”, Biak has a wealth of natural and cultural tourism potential. She adds that when the local government through the tourism office continues developing the unique natural and cultural tourism potential of tourism, it will be draw more foreign tourists to visit.

The area has plenty of nature tourism destinations. In the Raja Tiga Islands at Adoki Village there is a beautiful natural vista, made up of three islands. Another scenic destination is the Samares Spring in Sepse village in East Biak with its blue waters.

In terms of cultural destinations, Biak possesses a unique culture that is preserved to this day, namely the custom of walking on hot stones or Apen Byaren an interesting sight which draws tourists.

Apen Beyeren, walking on hot rocks barefoot in Biak (source: Okezone)

One of the bigger programs slated by the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy is the Sail Cendrawasih 2023, which has designated Biak Numfor as the host of the event In 2023. This certainly will bring more tourists to the area. In preparation, the various supporting infrastructure has been completed by the local government. These include roads, clean water, and others.

Several nature tourism spots have also been prepared including the Old Padwa Cemetery in Yendidori District. The location is a cultural heritage site in the form of limestone cliffs used as graves of the ancestors of Biak tribes even today. Another interesting site is the World War II Monument located in Paray Anggraidi built in 1994. It is a silent witness of the brutality of WW2, with areas  containing relics of the war including flags, and even ashes of cremated soldiers can be seen. 

Another destination is the Bird and Orchid park which are sites for education. It was built in 1984 by the Forestry Office to preserve the many species of birds in Papua which face extinction including Cassowaries, black parrots, and the famous birds of paradise.

Those who prefer to witness natural beauty can visit the Batu Picah beach at Kampung Sor in the north island of Biak with its wonderful views. Other points of interest include the Oridek beach which possesses exotic natural beauty with blue sea waters as well as the Tanjung saruri beach at the mouth of the Pacific which is a draw for surfers. Overall, the growing development of tourism in Biak will impact the hotel and restaurant businesses in the area, along with increasing tourism flows. Many related organizations have made the area a focus of their activities, which in turn will increase the number of tourists and contribute to the local economy.