Papatai (War) Dance of Dayak Tribe, Berau, East Kalimantan Province


One of the tourists’ motives in visiting East Kalimantan Province is the culture of Dayak Tribe. Even Berau District is rich in it! This explains why Berau has more attractions aside from Derawan Archipelago. So, what makes the tribe interesting? It can be as simple as their unique dance called Papatai, which is also called Dayak’s War Dance. The locals perform it to show the courage manliness of the tribe. With its powerful aura, the dance becomes one of the best attractions for those visiting Berau and nearby regions. As if, it boosts everyone’s spirit during the performance.

About the Dance
The locals perform Papatai Dance differently, depending on the event. Mostly, it is performed by two men wearing traditional attire of Dayak Tribe – Sapei Sapaq. The base color of the attire is black and it has several ornaments on it. Apart from that, the dancers also wear Abet Kaboq or traditional pants. When it comes to accessories, each of them carries a shield and a machete called Mandau! They use those items to attack each other and defend during the performance. No wonder, Papatai is considered both entertaining and tense.

Enjoying Papatai Dance
The fact is the dance can be performed either by 2 or more men. When it is performed by a group, it becomes a theatrical show instead of a war simulation. That means it would be less tense and more entertaining. Still, tourists are likely to look for the duel. They love its swift and powerful moves and feel pumped when two men show their fighting skills using a Mandau. At the beginning of the dance, the dancers only show some theatrical movements. Later, they start provoking each other before the war begins.

During the show of Papatai Dance, the men may attack each other with their items. Have no worries. They only perform a simulation, so it is not real. In the middle of the fight, they would take some rests and show their sturdy defense. This move shows that they are always ready for the next encounter. This leaves the audience in awe or amazement, for sure. Tourists are allowed to take pictures during the performance, too. Yet, they are not allowed to get too close to the dancers.

Apart from powerful movements, Papatai Dance also has beautiful accompaniment, especially Sape (Dayak Kenyah’s traditional music). The combination of the music and the movement would never cease to amaze the audience! The music is hypnotizing and the dance moves are quite motivating. Above all, Papatai becomes both a local entertainment and cultural heritage in East Kalimantan Province. Enjoying such encouraging dance is a must for any tourists who come to Berau District, as well.

Other Attractions

  • Maratua Island
  • Tanjung Redeb City
  • Igal Dance
  • Dalling Dance

How to Get There
For those coming from Balikpapan, they can directly head to Berau District and the fastest transportation is an airplane. Once they arrive at Kalimarau Airport, the last thing to do is to visit any village that holds such performance. As for the tip, tourists must have learned the schedule of the dance prior to visiting Berau.

Where to Stay

  • Bumi Segah Hotel
  • Palmy Hotel
  • Sederhana Hotel
  • Berau Plaza Hotel
  • Derawan Indah Hotel

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