The tidal swampland of Irian’s south cost are of the best known , tangle of mangrove line the shore and inland from the river the vegetation is so thick as to be almost penetrable. Only the riverbanks are habitable. This is land of the Asmat, now world famous for their spectacular wood carvings and previously notorious as head-hunters and cannibals.
Visiting the Asmat region around Agats requires hiring a dugout canoe with a guide and sleeping at night on bark floor of a JEU-the long raised men’s hut that serve as an architectural and cultural center of Asmat villages.
In the villages you can watch wood carvers at work, see how canoes are hollowed out and decorated and look around the place and chat with your host. You might even stumble onto a festival accompanied by night long-drumming and dancing, special carvings and general high spirits. In the morning you may join the Asmat people going fishing, collecting Sago grabs, and another kind of local vegetables for daily diet.