regency in South Papua Province, Indonesia

The Asmat is a regency of southwest Papua province of Indonesia, located on the western half of the island of New Guinea.

The term Asmat refers both to the Asmat people and the region they inhabit. The region is vast and covered in primary rainforest and swamp forest, and covers approximately 1.5 million hectares. The western half of Asmat is part of Lorentz National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Asmat is notable both for the rich and vibrant traditional tribal culture and art as well as its globally significant biodiversity.

Understand Edit

Syuru village in Agats, the capital of Asmat

The Asmat region is located in Papua province (western New Guinea) of Indonesia. The area is home to the Asmat people, are an ethnic group of New Guinea, who possess one of the most well-known and vibrant woodcarving traditions in the Pacific and whose art is sought by collectors worldwide. The Asmat region is located on the island's southwestern coast and totals approximately 19,000 km². Habitats include mangrove, tidal swamp, freshwater swamp, and lowland rainforest. The land of Asmat is located both within and adjacent to Lorentz National Park and World Heritage Site, the largest protected area in the Asia-Pacific region. The total Asmat population is estimated to be around 70,000. The term "Asmat" is used to refer both to the people and the region they inhabit.

There are about 12 sub-areas of Asmat: Joerat, Emari Ducur, Unir Siran, Unir Epmak, Bras, Bismam, Simai, Kenakap, Aramatak, Yupmakcain, Becumbub, and Safan. Towns include Agats.

Talk Edit

People in Asmat speak Indonesian and Papuan Malay.

Get in Edit

Map of Asmat

The easiest transit in and out of the Asmat region is via Timika city to the west. There are semi-regular plane flights and ships making the run from Timika to Agats, the main town, and entry point.

By plane Edit

  • 1 Ewer Airport (EWE IATA). There is a flight from Timika by Wings Air (Lion Air subsidiary).    

Get around Edit

The Asmat area is dense tropical rainforest and swamp, so walking any distance is virtually impossible. All transportation between villages is by dugout canoe with an outboard motor. Due to rising fuel costs, this can be very expensive.

See Edit

Woodcarving, village life, ceremonies, pristine nature.

An Asmat wood carver

The birdlife of Asmat is especially rich and birdwatching is certain to be challenging but very rewarding. Asmat forests contain dozens of species of Birds of paradise, parrots, lorikeets, and other birds.

  • 1 Asmat Museum of Culture and Progress. An excellent museum containing outstanding examples of traditional Asmat woodcarving and artifacts. The museum was developed in the 1980s and 1990s by the local Catholic diocese with the assistance of European art collector Ursula Konrad and American anthropologist Tobias Schneebaum.    
  • 2 Patung Tangan, Jl. Hasanuddin. 24 hours. The city landmark.

Do Edit

Buy Edit

Eat Edit

As a city in eastern Indonesia, typical food in Asmat is made from sago, such as papeda and sago bread. You also may find another Indonesian cuisine there.

  • 1 Nasi Kuning Beta, +62 852 365 75553 (WhatsApp). 07:00-11:00. Serves nasi kuning (yellow coloured turmeric rice) for breakfast with some protein side dishes like chicken, egg, and fish. Delivery service minimum 3 pieces. Rp15,000-25,000.
  • 2 Rumah Makan Al-Fath, Jl. Yos Sudarso, Agats. 10:00-21:00. Indonesian food such as ayam bakar, sate, soto, and so on.
  • 3 Warung Atom, Jl. Hasanuddin. 07:00-18:00. Serves Indonesian food. A food stall with an interior in the form of Asmat ornaments.

Drink Edit

Bottled water only. Alcohol is restricted and should not be brought in.

Coffee shops Edit

  • 1 Capo Kopi, Agats. 12:00-03:00.
  • 2 The Coffeeholic Asmat, Jl. Anderep, Agats, +62 821 777 73767. 16:30-00:00.
  • 3 Tanjung Jaya, Agats, +62 813 910 83923. 07:00-20:00. A cafe with an ocean view.

Sleep Edit

  • 1 Hotel Assedu, Jl. Pemda, Agats, +62 902 31300. Start from Rp250,000.
  • 2 Hotel Firwan, Jl. Yos Sudarso, Agats, +62 812 400 02222. A hotel with an ocean view.

Stay safe Edit

Avoid crocodiles and mosquitos.

Go next Edit

Easiest transit in and out of the Asmat region is via Timika city to the west. There are semi-regular plane flights and ships making the run from Timika to Agats.

This city travel guide to Asmat is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.