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Raja Ampat is one of the most stunning destinations in the world and you’d be hard-pressed to find a scuba diver who doesn’t have it listed on their bucket list. One of the first things people want to know about this scuba diving paradise is how to get to Raja Ampat.
In this guide, we’ll show you how to get to Raja Ampat from multiple destinations, tell you the best airports to fly into, share our favorite liveaboard trips in Raja Ampat, and let you know whether it’s possible to explore on your own.
Step 1. Fly to a nearby major airport like Jakarta, Bali, Singapore, or Kuala Lumpur
To get to Raja Ampat, you will need to fly into one of the major airports surrounding Indonesia. This includes getting to Raja Ampat from Bali, Jakarta, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Perth.
We recommend flying directly into Jakarta if possible. That way, you can take a direct flight from Jakarta to Raja Ampat (Sorong Airport) without additional layovers. Otherwise, you will likely have a stopover in Makassar, Sulawesi.
Use a flight search engine like Skyscanner to see the lowest prices for fares from your city to one of these key hubs for accessing Raja Ampat.
Airlines that offer flights to Raja Ampat include Garuda Indonesia (our preference if you are flying with your own gear), Batavia Air, Lion Air, Merpati, Wings Air, Batik Air, Sriwijaya Air, Silk Air, and Express Air,
Step 2. Fly into Sorong Airport (SOQ) in West Papua, Indonesia
The code for Sorong Airport is SOQ (Domine Eduard Osok Airport). You will need to fly to here from the major city you’ve come from.
If you are already in Indonesia, you can fly direct to Sorong Airport from Jakarta, Surabaya, Manokwari, Fak Fak, Ambon, Jayapura, Manado, Kaimana, Tembagapura, Makassar, Babo, or Waisai.
While getting to Raja Ampat in the past was a major challenge, there are more and more airlines offering convenient routes to Sorong Airport each year.
Step 3. Drive from Sorong Airport to the Ferry Harbor
If you’ve booked a liveaboard trip in Raja Ampat, someone will likely greet you at the airport. If not, you’ll need to get from Sorong Airport to the Ferry Harbor, which is where you can take a boat to Raja Ampat’s outer islands.
The ferry harbor is about 3.5 kms away from Sorong Airport. The best way to get here is by taxi or ojek (a motorbike).
Taxi: Should take around 10-20 minutes and cost around 100,000 IDR. If the price is much more than this, it’s worth waiting for a driver who will take you for a fair price.
Ojek: If you’re light on luggage, consider hopping on the back of a motorbike which will cost you around 30,000 IDR.
We recommend downloading the Grab app to travel for a set price.
Step 4. Take a boat to the Raja Ampat islands
Raja Ampat has five main islands of Kri, Misool, Salawati, Waigeo, and Batanta. The capital of Raja Ampat is the town of Waisai on the island of Waigeo. Most homestays and some liveaboards offer pick-up only from Waisai, which is why you’ll likely need to get here.
Ferries shuttle travelers from Sorong to Waisai, the capital of Raja Ampat regency. This journey takes about 2 hours.
One of the frustrating things about going to Waisai by ferry is a lack of consistency and frequent schedule change. While we recommend traveling spontaneously in many destinations, you may want to confirm pickup and travel details through your hotel or homestay. It’s best for them to arrange most of this travel and many will do so at no extra cost.
Tickets are available at the Raja Ampat Tourism Office and at the port office itself. You can also purchase tickets on the ferry itself.
You can purchase VIP tickets or general tickets for each of the ferries. VIP gets you larger seats and better air conditioning.
PT Fajar: Direct route from Sorong to Waisai.
Bahari Express: Direct route from Sorong to Waisai.
Marina Express: Has two routes that stop at multiple destinations along the way.
Speedboat vs. ferry: While you can charter a speedboat to get you from Sorong to Waisai, it tends to be a bumpier ride (and much more expensive). There’s no real reason to choose a speedboat over one of the larger ferries.
Getting around Raja Ampat
Island hopping in Raja Ampat is expensive and can be impractical. Hotels and homestays organize inter-island travel themselves — though not all have this capability for islands that are further away. This is why we recommend booking a liveaboard trip in Raja Ampat. It’s the best way to see many islands the most efficient (and potentially even cost-effective) way. Your accommodation, transport, and food is all sorted