Is Raja Ampat open?
January 2022 COVID update.
Raja Ampat is open, and most homestays are accepting bookings.
If you are already in Indonesia, then, subject to domestic travel regulations, you can visit Raja Ampat.
International visitors: Indonesia’s Immigration website advises that Indonesia remains closed to tourism. Tourist and social visit visas are unavailable.
A limited number of special visas are available for foreigners, but all are for special purposes (business, family reunion etc) and require an Indonesian sponsor.
Bali is reportedly open for tourism arrivals, but it’s a moot point, because international airlines have not yet resumed services to that destination.
We can only hope that Indonesia will reopen soon to international travellers. If you’re already in Indonesia, then read on for how to get to Raja Ampat.
What are the choices?
- Take a taxi from the airport to Sorong ferry harbour
- Then one of the ferries to Waisai (or you can fly if you prefer)
- Meet your pickup (or see if you can hitch a ride) at the homestay boat harbour.
How to get to Raja Ampat
- Getting to Sorong
- Sorong airport to harbour transfers
- How to get from Sorong to the Raja Ampat islands
- How to get from Waisai to the islands
- Inter-island transfers
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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).
Domine Eduard Osok Airport – SOQ
Sorong’s airport is Domine Eduard Osok (IATA code: SOQ).
- There are no international flights into Sorong
- There are no direct (non-stop) flights from Bali to Sorong
From outside Indonesia:
Via Jakarta or Surabaya:
- Lots of airlines fly from Southeast Asian hubs to Jakarta and Surabaya.
- Silk Air flies from Singapore to Makassar (flights codeshared with Singapore Airlines and Garuda Indonesia)
- Air Asia offers direct flights from Kuala Lumpur to Makassar
Note that these are merely the most convenient entry points for international travellers bound for Sorong. There are other international airports in Indonesia, but to the best of our knowledge, none of those offer non-stop flights to Sorong. (Correct us if we’re wrong about that!)
From inside Indonesia:
- Use Traveloka, Tiket.com, Tiket2Indonesia or Skyscanner to check availability of flights from your departure point
- Many international credit cards do not work on Indonesian websites. Most guests report they have no trouble paying by card on Garuda’s website. Nusatrip.com sells Indonesian domestic flights and is worth a try if you have problems.
- If you want to experience sea travel in the archipelago, here’s Indonesia’s Pelni ship schedules.
Direct flights to Sorong
As Raja Ampat tourism grows, so do the number of flights available to Sorong. We used to publish a table of airlines and their flight times here, but the last few years’ growth in the available options has made it impractical for us to keep those up to date.
Many airlines fly direct (no stops) to Sorong from Indonesia’s international airports. International airports offering direct flights to Sorong include Jakarta, Makassar, Surabaya and Manado. There is currently no direct flight from Bali/Denpasar to Sorong. We recommend searching one of the flight aggregators linked above to quickly find available flight dates and times from the Indonesian airport that best that suits you.
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 the asking price is 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
All of the accommodation options on this website provide pickup from Waisai, which is the capital city of the Raja Ampat Regency. (See this page if you are looking for information about how to get to Misool from Sorong.)
3.1: Public Ferries
January 1 2022: Sorong to Waisai departs at 9.00am and 2.00pm every day. Waisai to Sorong: departs at 9.00am and 2.00pm every day.
Schedules have been changing frequently and without notice in response to government covid policies. It’s always best to allow for delays. We update schedules here as soon as we receive notification of changes, but if you need up-to-the-minute information about ferries, please call Wiwin at the Homestay Association’s Raja Ampat Homestay Information Center.
Raja Ampat ferries depart from Sorong’s Pelabuhan Rakyat (public harbour). Journey time to Waisai is about 2 hours for the Bahari Express boats, or three hours for the “slow boat”.
Bahari Express tickets are IDR 100,000 for economy class, or IDR 215,000 for a VIP ticket. A VIP seat will give you an adjustable-back chair in an airconditioned room.
Tickets can be purchased on your day of travel at the ticket offices in the Waisai and Sorong port office buildings. Just ask at the port if you can’t spot those. Online booking of ferry tickets is not available.
At Sorong harbour, the express ferries can be found by going to the very end of the L-shaped pier. The express ferry is often tied up alongside another ship at the end of dock and you have to cross that ship’s deck to board the ferry.
Schedules can – and do – change without notice. Individual departures can also be changed at random.
The Raja Ampat Homestay Information Center at Waisai and your accommodation provider should also be able to provide up to date ferry information. Ferry departures can be delayed, brought forward, and even cancelled without notice. The only way to absolutely guarantee that you will be back in Sorong in time for your flight is to return to Sorong the day before your flight leaves.
John Urbon at Sorong harbour usually has the latest ferry information and is also a great help with anything you might need to organise in Sorong. John has excellent English and everyone at the harbour knows him – just ask.
3.2: Sorong to Waisai (SOQ-RJM) flights
Susi Air operates a service between Sorong and Waisai’s Marinda Airport. These are the only flights available into Marinda, and are on light planes with a 10kg baggage allowance.
Contact Susi for current schedule and prices > Call Center (24 Hours) +628112113080 or +628112113090 Email : firstname.lastname@example.org Susi Air Sorong +628112123934 Email : email@example.com Note: Homestays pick up guests from the harbour at Waisai, so if you make a booking using the website and request a Waisai pickup, you’ll need to get a taxi from the airport to the harbour to meet your pickup.
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 or flying – you’d need a really compelling reason to charter one!
3.4 Misool Ferries
4: How to get from Waisai to the islands
The simplest way to get to your accommodation from Waisai is to select the Check this box if you need Waisai pickup checkbox provided on the booking form when you book your accommodation. Note that you only need to request a Waisai pickup from the first place you will be staying at. (See inter-island transfers below.) Your homestay will be advised that you need a pickup at Waisai, and our system will send them a pickup reminder by SMS 48 hours before you are due to arrive. It’s a good idea to also SMS them yourself when boarding the ferry in Sorong, to let them know which ferry to meet.
Transfer prices vary according to distance between Waisai and the homestay. Each homestay’s transfer price is published on its Stay Raja Ampat page.
If you arrive in Waisai without a pickup arranged, or you cannot find your host, the Homestay Information Center can help. Homestay boat pickups are from the floating dock next to the ferry wharf. (See the map below and the photos on the Raja Ampat Homestay Information Center page.)
The cost of transfer from Waisai to the islands is a sore point with many travellers. Boat transfer prices are in some cases more expensive than they should be and bargaining rarely yields a substantial discount on the asking prices. Be sure to let your host know if you think his transfer prices are too high. See this page for more information about boat prices.
Going to Kri?
Because it’s the most popular island, there are almost always homestay boats picking up guests bound for Kri. If seats are available, you can save transfer costs by sharing with existing passengers. You may be in for a bit of a walk to your homestay though. Don’t do this if you requested a Waisai pickup when you made your booking: If your homestay sends a boat at your request, you are not there, and they have no other passengers to pick up, then they will (quite fairly) expect you to pay for the transfer anyway!
A note about Sundays
If your intention is to always be culturally sensitive on your travels, you should try to avoid a homestay arrival or departure on a Sunday. Read more about that and other important cultural considerations on our Raja Ampat local culture page.
5: Inter-island transfers
There is no inter-island public transport available in most of Raja Ampat, but transfers from one homestay to another can easily be organised.
It’s always best to organise transfers a day or two ahead of when needed. You can either ask your current host to transfer you to your next accommodation, or call your your destination to arrange a pickup.
So, if you book multiple homestays using our website booking forms, only request a Waisai pickup from the first place you will be staying at.