Exploring Syuru and Agats in West Papua

Syuru is a village in Asmat regency that lies in a labyrinth of rivers, small islands and mangrove vegetation that extends deep into the inland of West Papua. Asmat culture attracts scientists as well as intrepid travelers who are tempted by the colorful landscape and intriguing traditions on display. The Asmat people are famed for their artistic “primitive” woodcarving, and Agats has an interesting museum filled with woodcarvings and other objects. The Asmat are an ethnic group with one of the most well-known and vibrant woodcarving traditions in the Pacific, widely producing small drums, statues and engraved boats.

To visit the Asmat tribe is a highlight for any voyage stopping in Indonesia. Cruise Asia by Destination Asia offers an incredible experience whereby guests can witness the tribal ceremony of the Asmat. As passengers disembark the ship, an armada of 40 war-canoes led by Asmat warriors starts rowing towards them. They create a thunderous noise on their approach, each warrior dressed in traditional costume. The women then attack the men in a mock battle when they reach land, the whole event culminating as guests are invited to follow village elders into their houses.