Sorong is the city of West Papua, well known as the gateway to Raja Ampat islands that are famous for diving in Indonesia. Therefore this place serves as a port for travelers to get to the remote West Papua and then connect onwards by ferry or boat to Raja Ampat.
The town Sorong is located at the ‘beak’ of the Papua’s bird’s head peninsula, where you would take as departure point to Raja Ampat. It serves as an important port for West Papua in Indonesia.
The word Sorong meant “deep and turbulent sea” in the local Soreri language. Sorong is well surrounded by mountains, hills and protected forests all around.
Map of Sorong, West Papua, Indonesia
Where is it
At the tip of the beak of West Papua bird’s head peninsula.
Gateway to Raja Ampat, one of the best diving sites in Indonesia.
Fish Market at Sorong, West Papua, Indonesia
When is the best time to go
As most travelers come to Sorong to go to Raja Ampat, the best time to come here is during the good weather for diving which is the dry season of September to June.
What to see
People of Sorong, West Papua
People of Sorong, West Papua, Indonesia
– one of the nearby beaches that are worthy for some chilling and sunbathing
View from Stone Hill – climb the Stone Hill nearby for a panoramic view of Sorong city , beaches and sunsets from atop. This hill dotted with Dutch colonial houses can see as far as the Crocodile island.
Tugu Arfak – a war memorial to the Japanese. The complex has an obelisk, a bronze Shinto diety and memorial plaques.
What to do
Watch birds of paradise – the famous endemic birds of the Papua can be seen by taking a boat to Batanta Island (about 3-4 hours). You may also stay overnight at Waigeo or Sawinggrai in a tent or local huts while catching a glimpse of these birds.
What and where to eat
Sample some of the local unique West Papua cuisine, which is diverse yet somewhat similar to other parts of Indonesia. Go for the food at stalls around Sorong and eat food like Bakso, Pangsit Solo and Es Teler.
Werur Beach, Sorong, West Papua, Indonesia
Where to stay
In Sorong you will find upmarket hotels to some sparse choices of budget places. If you head out to Raja Ampat quickly then it will be better to stay out there where you can choose from many dive resorts of homestays.
How to get there
Fly into international airports in Indonesia such as Jakarta, Surabaya or Bali (Denpasar) and then connect by domestic flight to Sorong in West Papua. Sorong Airport is also known as Domine Edward Osok Airport. Some of the Indonesian airlines that fly to Sorong, West Papua are Garuda Indonesia, Merpati, Sriwijaya Air, Lion Air and Batavia air while international Airlines is Silk Air.
How to get around
This town though seem remote is actually one of the fastest growing cities in Indonesia. You can get around in taxi, chartered van and also the usual becak for shorter distance. Angkot are also available just like everywhere else in Indonesia.
Where to go nearby
Pulau Raja Ampat (islands) of course, for most is diving but there are also many things to see and do in Raja Ampat. It is part of the world’s Coral Triangle which is known for housing more than 3000 species of fish and other extraordinary habitats that breeds the biodiversity of its marine life.
Ferry boat from Sorong to Raja Ampat, Papua
Do not need to stay here for long as there are not much things to do in Sorong, so try to arrange to escape to Raja Ampat islands as soon possible!
Photo credits from top: Rachel, Behan, Doris Muggler, Jacques Beaulieu, Jacques Beaulieu, Jacques Beaulieu and Lakshmi Sawitri