Raja Ampat has to be at the top of most Indonesian backpackers travel list. It is also one of the ultimate destinations for diver from around the world. But how can you fly easiest to this hidden paradise?
There are some alternatives to go to Raja Ampat through some ways. If you are flying from Jakarta or Singapore, the easiest way to get to Raja Ampat is by taking a six hour flight to Sorong, West Papua.
Good news for travellers, with the new airport to be located in Sorong: Domine Eduard Osok Airport, flying to Sorong has never been easier. This airport replaced the smaller, former World War II airfield, Jefman Airport on the island of Jefman.
Last week, President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) recently visited and inspected Domine Eduard Osok Airport project to evaluate construction progress. The head of state was accompanied by First Lady Iriana Widodo, Transportation Minister Ignasius Jonan and his wife Ratna Jonan.
Domine Eduard Osok Airport serves as a major gateway to the Raja Ampat Islands, since it is closer to the city of Sorong, compared to the provincial capital of Manokwari. Due to increasing demand, the government has decided to lengthen the runway to 2,500 m from 2,000 m, so that the airport can accommodate wide-body aircraft.
This new terminal and overall the Domine Eduard Osok Airport is expected to have a passenger capacity of 2,4 million annually, up from 700 thousand passengers at present. This airport project is expected to cost Rp 239 billion, and the budget for 2015 totaled Rp 170 billion.
As we know, Sorong that is located on the Bird's Head Peninsula, is well known as the gateway to Raja Ampat islands. But other than Rajaampat, Sorong itself is beautiful, well surrounded by mountains, hills and protected forests all around.
In Sorong, you can climb the Stone Hill nearby for a panoramic view of Sorong city from top, watch birds of paradise by taking a boat to Batanta Island, or relax at the nearby beaches that are worthy for some chilling and sunbathing.
On December, President Joko Widodo has just inaugurated two new airports in Papua, namely Wamena and Kaimana Airports. Moreover, Domine Eduard Osok Airport in Sorong is close to a completion, meaning that it will be ready on February 2016. Currently, Indonesia has 54 airports, and government is adding more airports in Indonesia, especially in the remote areas.