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What To Expect On A Sorong Liveaboard
Liveaboards from Sorong, which is the second biggest city in Papua Indonesia and is on the western coast of West Papua, usually depart from here to embark on a Raja Ampat itinerary. The city’s name comes from the Papuan Biak language and means ‘the deep and wavy ocean’. The name is apt as not only is this a prominent sea side city but the two main industries in Sorong are dependent on the sea. Much of Indonesia’s oil and gas industry is based around Sorong meaning a substantial sized port has been constructed here.
The other main industry in Sorong is tourism. The port is the main liveaboard departure point for visitors to the Raja Ampat islands and the city’s airport is the closes to the marine park. Sorong port offers boat transfers from West Papua to a number of the Raja Ampat islands including Waigeo and Misool.
The importance of the Raja Ampat islands, as one of the most marine diverse areas in the world has had the knock on effect of attracting a huge number of tourists to Sorong as well. Most people only visit en route to the marine park and in order to pay for entrance to the marine park. There are however some interesting things to do in Sorong and the surrounding area. Eco tourism on the Bird’s Head peninsula is very popular with beautiful mountains and forests for walking. The region is also home to huge protected rainforests and rare birdlife such as the king bird of paradise.
Liveaboard Diving from Sorong
The port in Sorong is quite large and is used for both industrial and leisure craft. The majority of diving liveaboards that take in the Raja Ampat islands depart from Sorong. The dive sites around the Raja Ampat are widely thought to be some of the best in the world due to the region’s rich variety of marine life. Many people stop here before boarding a liveaboard to recover from jet lag and to pay the entrance ticket for the Raja Ampat marine park.
Sorong is a few hours’ sail from Waigeo island where you can dive the famous Four Kings dive site. Nearby the Dampier Strait is also a favourite with diving liveaboards due to the number of Mantas and pelagic fish that can be seen here. Many of the liveaboards leaving from Sorong also visit the island of Misool which is a few hours further South. Misool is full of stunning reefs caked with hard and soft corals and interesting sharks such as the Wobbegong and the ‘walking’ epaulette shark.
Getting to Sorong
Indonesian liveaboards that operate in the Raja Ampat region use Sorong as a departure location on some itineraries. The airport at Sorong also known as the Dominique Edward Osok airport is located close to the city. This is one of the busiest airports in Papua and as such it has been recently extended to allow it receive larger aircraft and therefore more passengers. This extension is largely due to a huge increase in eco-tourism and the fact that Sorong is by far the closest airport to the Raja Ampat archipelago. There are however no international flights available to Sorong airport. Visitors must fly to Sorong from Jakarta or Singapore via a domestic airport in Indonesia such as Mando or Makassar.