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Category Archive: How to Get There

How to Get to Raja Ampat Islands – Indonesia

map-flights

How to get to Raja Ampat
1: Getting to Sorong
Flight info presented here is aimed at international travellers seeking the quickest route to Raja Ampat from outside Indonesia and so ignores flights to Sorong from airports not serviced by international flights (Ambon, Jayapura etc). Info is current as of February 2014, but the Indonesian air travel market is volatile and things change quickly – be sure to confirm by checking via the provided links.

Domine Eduard Osok Airport – SOQ

Sorong’s airport is Domine Eduard Osok (IATA code: SOQ) not Jefman Airport as some sources report. Jefman is an older airport (originally built by the Japanese during World War II) on an island off Sorong. There is also the Marinda Airport at Waisai, with twice weekly flights between it and Sorong. See below for information about Sorong-Waisai flights.

– There are no international flights into Sorong
– There are no direct flights from Bali to Sorong
– The only international airports in Indonesia that offer direct flights to Sorong are Jakarta, Makassar and Manado

Attention KITAS holders: bring your passport! October 2014 – Although it’s quite legal for those holding them to travel within Indonesia with just a KITAS, we have reports of an immigration official at Sorong airport demanding to see passports and imposing an IDR 2 million (~USD 200.00) “fine” for any foreigners travelling without one. Be prepared!

– From outside Indonesia:
Via Jakarta:
– Lots of airlines fly from Southeast Asian hubs to Jakarta (Skyscanner is a good flight search site)

Via Makassar:
– Silk Air offers 3 flights a week from Singapore to Makassar (flights codeshared with Singapore Airlines and Garuda Indonesia)
Air Asia offers direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Makassar

Via Manado:
– Silk Air flies Singapore to Manado 4 times a week (flights codeshared with Singapore Airlines)

From inside Indonesia:
– Skyscanner to check availability of flights from your departure point
If you’re having trouble booking internal flights, Mau ke Mana are reliable agents and can arrange ticket purchases for you
If you want to experience sea travel in the archipelago, here’s Indonesia’s Pelni ship schedules.

1. Flights Schedule Link:
– Express Air :
https://booking.xpressair.co.id/EAStart.aspx?New=1&Language=en&CurrencyOverride=IDR

– Garuda Indonesia:
https://www.garuda-indonesia.com/id/en/index.page

– Sriwijaya Air:
https://www.sriwijayaair.co.id/welcome.php

– Lion/Wings Air:
https://secure2.lionair.co.id/lionAirSked/default.aspx

2. Sorong airport to harbour transfers

The taxi ride from Sorong airport to the ferry harbour takes around 10-20 minutes, depending on traffic, and costs around 100,000 Rupiah (~ USD10.00)

If you don’t have a lot of luggage you can get a lift on the back of a motorbike (ojek) for about 20,000 Rupiah (~USD2.00)

If you’re trying to keep costs as low as possible you can get there for 6000 Rupiah if you’re happy to walk a few hundred metres to the main road and catch the yellow public bimos (minibuses) to the city terminal, then transfer to the bimos heading for the harbour. Each leg of the trip is 3000 Rupiah – no news yet on how long that takes…
3: How to get from Sorong to the Raja Ampat islands

There are three choices for making your own way from Sorong to the Raja Ampat islands:

3. Public Ferries

There are two ferry types (express and ‘slow boat’) that make the crossing between Sorong and Waisai. Waisai is on the island of Waigeo and is the capital of the Raja Ampat regency. Almost all of the accommodation options on this website provide pickup from Waisai.

Both the express ferries and the slow boat run every day except Islamic Indonesian public holidays (they run on non-Islamic holidays like Christmas and Easter) and both types have departures from both Sorong and Waisai scheduled at around 2.00pm. Departures can often be delayed, so it’s worth asking someone to call the harbour if you’re running late.

The express ferry takes around two hours to make the crossing. The slow boat takes about four hours. Naturally, most travellers prefer the express boats!

At last report, slow boat tickets cost IDR 140,000 (~USD 14.00) and can be purchased either on the pier before boarding or on the boat itself. A limited number of private cabins are available if you want one. For the best deal ask one of the crew about these.

Express ferry tickets currently range from IDR 130,000 to IDR 220,000 depending upon the class of seat you want. A VIP seat will give you an adjustable-back chair in an airconditioned room equipped with a state-of-the-art loud karaoke system that usually sees a lot of use.

At Sorong harbour, the white and orange Bahari Express ferries can be found by going to the very end of the L-shaped pier. The express ferry is tied up alongside the ship at the end of dock and you have to cross that ship’s deck to board the ferry. The slow boat (normally the Fajar Mulia) is usually to be found on the right hand side of the jetty, at the corner of the “L”.

Express ferry schedule
The table below shows the express ferry schedule and was correct at March 4 2015. Schedules can change without notice. The tourism office in the JE Meridien Hotel and your accommodation provider will be able to provide up to date accurate ferry information. Ferry departures can often be delayed. We’ve experienced a delay of over 90 minutes on one occasion, with departure being delayed to wait for late VIPs to show up. You’re taking a risk by scheduling a 2.00pm Waisai departure to connect with a late afternoon flight out of Sorong!

4. Speedboats
If you’re in a real hurry, you can charter speedboats to take you directly to your accommodation. The speedboat harbour is about 200m west of the ferry wharf. Speedboats are far more expensive (hundreds of dollars) and a lot less comfortable than the public ferries. It would probably be better to plan your arrival on one of the early flights and get the plane across to Waisai as below…

5. Sorong to Waisai flights
A 16 seat Twin Otter operated by Susi Air flies from Sorong to Waisai’s Marinda Airport and return. The route isn’t commercially viable yet and Susi Air only operates it thanks to a subsidy from the Raja Ampat government. As such, schedules can be changed without notice, so be sure to contact the airline to confirm the current schedule when planning your trip.

– Departs Sorong Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 0830, arriving Waisai 0900
– Returns from Waisai Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 0910, arriving Sorong 0940
Cost (one way – August 2014): Adult or child > IDR 405,000 Infant > IDR 150,000

Note:
Susi Air’s website doesn’t yet show the Sorong-Waisai route (they inherited the service from the now defunct Merpati airline), so it’s not possible to book online. Current information is that bookings are only able to be made at the Sorong and Manokwari offices.

– How to get from Waisai to the islands
The simplest way to get to your accommodation from Waisai is to arrange a pickup when you book the accommodation. Most of the homestays listed here publish Waisai transfer prices.

If you’d prefer to organise your own transport, your options are via Transwisata in Waisai, by chartering a local boat, or by seeing if you can find space in a boat going to a place near the one you want. Transwisata and most other small boats leave from the boat harbour at the end of Jalan Abdul Samad Mayor on the east side of Waisai. (On map below.)

The cost of transfer from Wasai to the islands is a sore point with many travellers. It’s not cheap and bargaining rarely yields a substantial discount on the asking prices. If you discover a good deal, please let us all know by commenting below!