The Jakarta Post
Various traveling programs have been created to boost tourism to the regency, including a cruise program by state-owned ship operator Pelni. (Shutterstock.com/File)
Raja Ampat is no longer a foreign destination for diving enthusiasts from around the world. One of its main islands, Misool, has been named one of the Top 100 Global Destinations. Various traveling programs have been created to boost tourism to the regency, including a cruise program by state-owned ship operator Pelni.
For those planning to visit Raja Ampat for the first time, here is a guideline on how to reach the West Papuan region.
Before entering the Raja Ampat area, travelers need to reach Domine Eduard Osok Airport in Sorong, West Papua. Both direct and indirect flights are available from Jakarta to Sorong at one-way prices starting from of Rp 1.4 million (US$107). Unfortunately a direct flight from Bali is not yet available.
Transferring to Sorong harbor
After arriving in Domine Eduard Osok, travelers should head to Sorong harbor to catch a boat to Waisai, the capital of Raja Ampat regency, which is located on Waigeo Island. To reach the harbor, visitors can opt for a 10-20 minute taxi ride that will costs around Rp 100,000, an ojek (motorcycle taxi) for around Rp 20,000 or local minibuses that will cost less but may take considerably longer to get there.
(Read also: Banten eyes more tourists with Baduy Festival)
From Sorong harbor to Raja Ampat
Upon arriving at Sorong harbor, you have these options to get to the Raja Ampat Islands: public ferries, speedboats, regular boats or aircraft operated by private carrier Susi Air. The two-hour ride on a public ferry is one of the most popular options, with fares starting at Rp 130,000 for an economy class seat. The ferry will depart from or to Sorong at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Saturdays, it will only depart at 2 p.m. or 12 p.m. from Waisai to Sorong.
Meanwhile, regular boats take about four hours and cost around Rp 100,000 per person, as reported by kompas.com. Speedboats are faster and will take travelers straight to their lodgings, which is why they may cost a million rupiah or more. Those opting to fly with Susi Air will need to contact the airline directly, as it has only a tentative flight schedule.
Island-hopping in Raja Ampat
The main activity for tourists in Raja Ampat is island-hopping—visiting the four main islands of Raja Ampat, namely Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati and Misool, or perhaps the smaller islets. As the fare may be high, it is advised to arrange transportation and accommodation with your host prior to arrival in Waisai. (kes)
(Read also: Must-see artworks at National Gallery Singapore)