Korowai Tribe Papua

  • 8 Days
  • Tribes
  • Challenging

The Korowai Tribe of Papua is among the most unique tribes we found so far in Irian Jaya, West Papua, Indonesia. They are living high up on the trees which they built on the tree trunks. A treehouse will remain to be used for about 3 years, or till the tree is eaten by the termites. A Korowai treehouse is made of wood and tree bark, plus some bamboo and sago leave for the roof. The house can be about 10 m or 20 m or higher from the ground level.

korowai tribe tree house
The Korowai tribe is a group of indigenous people who live in the southeastern part of Papua, Indonesia. The tribe has unique cultural practices and a unique way of living in treehouses high above the ground. The Korowai people have a deep connection to the forest, which they rely on for their survival. They hunt and gather food from the forest, including wild animals and plants.

Korowai Tribe Tree House

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Korowai tribe is their treehouse architecture. The Korowai people build their houses high up in the trees, sometimes as high as 100 feet off the ground. They build tree houses to protect their homes from floods and wild animals, as well as to keep them safe from rival tribes. The houses are made from wood and palm leaves and are constructed using simple tools such as axes and knives. The treehouses are also used as a way to communicate with the spirits, as the Korowai believe that the spirits live on the tops of the trees.

A so-called village in Korowai usually consists of 2 or 3 houses only, seldom more. As they are semi-nomadic peoples, we might be unable to find a village on the same site a few years after our visit.

Although they are semi-nomadic peoples, the Korowai tribe in Papua also does gardening. Banana is among the famous plant for them, and occasionally, they also plant some pineapple. Food gathering is a daily activity for the Korowai people. Men are carrying arc and bow to hunt birds, wild boar, and other faunas, sometimes they do fishing and collect the sago worm. While the women are working on the sago processing, taking the starch of the sago.

The main food staple is the sago with some supplements such as fish or sago worm. They use traditional methods to extract and process the sago, which has been a staple of their diet for generations. If they found no supplement, there will be sago only which is roasted on the fire.

Arrival at Jakarta airport by an afternoon flight. Stay at hotel near the airport building.
At app 19.30, you check out from the hotel, then fly to Jayapura.
Arrival by morning flight at Jayapura. Then, fly by noon flight to Dekai, a small size town in the hinterland of Papua. It takes us about 40 minutes flight. Dekai is a new developed village to a small size town, after the recent self autonomy policy in Papua. Roads, government offices, etc are started to build. Arrival in Dekai, then check in to the small hotel in Dekai.. Dekai is the home of the Manimo tribe, a tribe which is quite modern now.
Transfer by motorcycle to the small traditional harbor on Lopon village, about 1 hour of rough ride along the unpaved road. From Lopon, we will sail down to the south to Braza river, one of the largest river flowing to the south joining other river to Asmat area. All the way you will see the dense forest, peaceful surrounding, sometimes encounter the other passing by boats. On the way we may stop at the small villages which are belong to Citak Mitak tribe. This tribe built their houses on the riverside make of wood shape, with grass roof. In the past 1980’s the tribe were still naked, however, the opening of the access to their village has changed their way of clothing. Now they wear short pants, but mostly wearing no shirt. There are 2 or 3 small villages. Most of them still work as food gather, such as fishing and hunting animals. We will sail down to the south to a midsize village called Mabu. 8 - 9 hours required from this boat ride.
Breakfast at the local house, then together with our local Papua porter, walk to the village of Sendik a small village with 2 tree houses (at the moment, may change in the future). We will be walking along the muddy and partly wet tail from Mabul to Sendik for about 5 hours walk. The trail today is the main access for the local Korowai to the outside world. The trail is covered by the thick canopy of the rainforest, which the locals use as the place to hunt and make semi nomadic farming.
We spend the day at Sendik Village, a good moment to comprehend the locals daily habits. We may see how they work in their garden, how they cook their food, take care of their children, etc. they are still semi nomadic, sometimes they go deep into the jungle to search for food. They collect young sprout, fruits from the jungle, and hunting animals too. When they go for hunting, they will take their family along.  The Korowai tribe food staple are mostly sago which is supplemented with the “jungle vegetable, or insects, or else. Thy wrap those food in the leaves, and cook them on the fire.  You may also try their food which is taken from the jungle.
We do the same trek, the same way back from Sendik to Mabu. Arrival in Mabu in the afternoon.
Walk to the riverbank, then sail up to Lokbon, a 9 hours boat ride. We will be sailing upriver through the great Sirez and Braza river. In dry season, we may need longer time, as we have to be carefully of the fallen log into the river, and sometimes, we have to assist the boatmen to move the boat when the water level is low. Arrival in Lokbon, then proceed by simple car to hotel in Dekai.
Back to the civilization, by flight back to Jayapura. Then, proceed to your next destination.

We usually stay in their local house. Especially in Korowai, the stay on the tree house is a hair raising experience, you have to climb the house through 1 single log ladder, and then get the floor of the house. The floor it self made only from the tree bark


  • Tailor Made Program
  • Flexible Departure Date
  • Private Trip
Send Your Enquiry