Getting Closer to Maya Tribe in Raja Ampat Regency, West Papua


Raja Ampat Regency is considered the most famous region in West Papua Province. Not only it has lucrative marine tourism, but it also offers interesting culture. For tourists, learning some knowledge about local tribes of Raja Ampat is both fun and challenging. They want to know the history, uniqueness, and traditions of those tribes. As for the reference, there is Maya Tribe! Tourists can find them in most parts of Waigeo Island, excluding Waisai City. What makes them popular, actually? According to some passionate travelers, the tribe is famous for its traditional wedding ceremony. Even tourists can attend and observe such customary wedding directly in Araway Village.

The Nuance
The best destination to meet Maya Tribe is Araway Village, which is located in Tiplol Mayalibit Sub-district. The people who live in such region consist of several sub-tribes like Maya Teluk, Wawiyai Maya, and Kawe Maya. It is true most of the villagers are Muslims, but they still believe in supernatural powers. Despite the fact, they apply Islamic Shari’a in their wedding tradition. Such combination of religious and local tradition is definitely attractive. No wonder, more tourists are interested in witnessing the ceremony and learning more about Maya Tribe’s culture.

More about Maya Tribe’s Wedding Tradition
Being a famous local tribe, Maya becomes one of the tourists’ motivations in visiting Raja Ampat Regency. That means visitors want to witness the local wedding ceremony with their own eyes. They also want to talk to some villagers regarding Maya’s traditions. Here is the thing. Those indigenous people apply a peculiar marital system called Gelet Exogamy. That means they may marry someone within their family (cross-cousins marriage). The purpose is to strengthen and increase the number of their clan. Not to mention they want to retain the clan’s prosperity.

For tourists, such kind of marital system is definitely uncommon. No wonder, it also attracts some anthropologists. Visitors want to learn the details of such marriage, after all. According to the locals, the most common dowries are fabrics, plates, clothes, and sago. However, household appliance and money become more popular these days. When it comes to settlement, the groom would likely to join the bride’s family. During the procession, tourists are allowed to take pictures, as long as they have obtained the permission. In fact, some villagers may invite visitors to stay in their house.

Apart from a unique wedding tradition, Maya Tribe has other interesting things. For instance, they would create custom regulations without any involvement of the government. The most common issue is related to nature. They are against illegal cultivation and hunting, as they want to retain nautical richness and beauty. The fact is that many bad people use harmful methods in fishing and do not pay attention to the procedures.

Nearby Attractions

  • Waisai City
  • Mayalibit Bay
  • Araway Waterfall

How to Get There
The prime destination is Araway Village. First, travelers need to head to Waigeo Island by airplane and the destination is Waisai City (Marinda Airport). From there, they can take a local transportation service to Tiplol Mayalibit Sub-District and head to Araway.

Where to Stay

  • Tera Ailan Resort
  • Maras Risen Hotel

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