John Urbon

John Urbon - Raja Ampat guide for Sorong region

John Urbon is a Sorong based guide and can help with your travel arrangements in and around Sorong.

John has excellent English, can almost always be found at Sorong harbour at ferry arrival and departure times, and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the marine transport services available in Raja Ampat.

John can also help with airport meets, airport-harbour transfers and hotel arrangements, as well as organise birdwatching tours or any other explorations you might like to make around Sorong.

Sorong’s most often seen as a transfer point for onward travel to the Raja Ampat islands, but there’s a lot to see in the area and nearby islands. John’s familiar with it all.

Phone: +6282238444120 (SMS text message best)

Email: None


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  1. Stevannie on

    Hello, I love your articles. Anyway, I want to make sure if John’s number is still active because I can’t make a call and send a message. I’m in Indonesia and use Indonesia sim card. Thank you!

    1. Hi Stevannie – and thank you :)

      As far as we know, John’s number is correct and still active. (He has updated us whenever he has changed it in the past.) Perhaps he is in an area without signal?

  2. Sergio Sampaio on

    Good evening! We are Brazilians my girlfriend and I would like to get to know the archipelago, I want to know how we can have your help with travel tips, we will be in Thailand in August, Thank you!

    1. Hello Sergio

      If you are seeking John’s help, then you will need to call him, as it is extremely unlikely that he will see your enquiry on the website here.

      If you have not seen it already, our step by step guide provides the information and tips that independent travellers need to plan and book a stay in Raja Ampat.

      Note, too, that Indonesia is not yet open to international tourism. Hopefully it will be by the time you have finished travelling in Thailand!

  3. Marie on

    Here’s the Catch-22. John apparently cannot receive text messages from international numbers, eg any not +62. And he doesn’t have email. So no way to contact him unless you buy a SIM card which would give you a +62 number. Wish I knew before painful learning curve on WhatsApp. Especially since apparently he is the only resource who can answer questions about public ferries from Sorong.

    1. Ah, sorry we didn’t make that clear Marie!

      It’s true: Nobody in Raja Ampat can afford to respond to messages or make calls to international numbers.

      Calling is best if you don’t have an Indonesian number.

      Indonesian SIMs are really cheap, are available everywhere, provide data connections, and are definitely worth getting!

      John is definitely the best source of info about ferries, but he’s not the only one. Other Sorong guides (who do use WA) can help, and if you’re headed for Waisai, then this information is always kept up to date.

  4. Akshay on

    Since it was our first time visiting Raja Ampat, we landed pretty much early in the morning at the harbour just to be approached by John who pointed us directions to the entry and boarding of the ferry. I was able to identify him since I had already read up on the article and I can confirm he’s the most busy and humble person you’ll ever meet which made our time at the harbour less terrifying. He had quite a chuckle when I showed his photo from the article.

    Thank you Uncle John!

  5. schwaller marianne on

    I d like to know what could be a relevant payment for John’s assistance ? thank you . Marianne

    1. Totally depends on what he does for you Marianne. I doubt he’d want anything at all if you were only asking a few questions. Otherwise, he’s an honest man – just ask him how much he wants.


    can you confirm the avaibility of a Ferry leaving from Soron on 16:00 Friday to Batanta

    1. John won’t see a comment left here Rino. To the best of our knowledge, that schedule is still correct. If you want John to confirm, then you will have to call him.

      Please note, though, that very few people in Raja Ampat have the ability to make calls or send SMS to international numbers.

  7. Steven on

    Does he got an Email adres? Text isn’t working… Thx!
    I need birding guide for 2 days klasow. Thx

    1. Nope! Would have published it if he did Steven. The guides page has some other Sorong guides who can arrange birding and who do have email addresses though.

  8. AKARI on


  9. Francesca on

    We meet mister Urban at Sorong Pier, is Very kindly man and knows a Lot of things abaut ships timetablet!
    Thanks mister John from italian orang?

  10. Andrea on

    My husband and I were on a 5 week long honeymoon trip, with a stop in Sorong for 4 days, in late November. We had read this website a few times, and while in Sorong, decided that finding John was our best bet for getting to Raja Ampat. After going to two incorrect ports (walking much too far), we were taken to the correct port, with the ferry landing. After flashing a photo of this photo of John around, someone said they knew him. Miracle–John spoke with us and helped us get one night (which is the only time we had) with an old school friend of his who lives in R.A. and operates a homestay. With John’s help, we got on the ferry that left about 1.5 hrs after our conversation with him, confirmed a stay with his friend, and had a great experience at a homestay in Raja Ampat. John Urbon is a very friendly and well-informed guide for Sorong and Raja Ampat. Many thanks to him and to this post for mentioning him!

  11. Marie-Josée and Raynald on

    Wow what a great help, we meet John by chance at the ferry terminal to go to Misool. Noboby was able to help us until John appear! After 5 minutes, he got the key of the cabin for us directly from the owner of the boat.
    Thank to this good man who really love his country.

  12. Debbie & Howie on

    We met John by chance at the ferry terminal in Sorong. We had been trying to find out how to reserve a cabin, and no one was able to tell us the procedure until John offered his help. He proceeded to help us get to Misool and back in comfort. John is fluent in English, and genuinely happy to help foreigners. He followed up on our travel arrangements and greeted us upon our return to Sorong to help us with our luggage back to our hotel. In fact, he seemed to be on the ferry before it had even stopped moving! We highly recommend this gentlemen for your travel needs in Sorong and beyond.

  13. Steve Anyon-Smith on

    We used John’s services on two days to access some great forest sites near Sorong for birdwatching. John and his good friend Dek were reliable, friendly and above all great ambassadors for West Papua. John’s priority is not about money – it’s your satisfaction with his country, his service and your experience. He is highly recommended.

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