Sorong: the starting point of your Raja Ampat trip

Sorong is the largest city in the province of Southwest Papua and is best known as the gateway to the famous Raja Ampat. For most visitors, it is more of a mandatory stop, as Sorong itself is not the most attractive city to visit. With a population of about 50,000, it is one of Papua’s larger cities, but still relatively small. The city has been growing tremendously in recent years because it is the logistics center of the oil and gas industry.

Chances are you will have to spend a day in this town during your Raja Ampat itinerary because of the ferry that departs only twice a day. However, that doesn’t mean your day is lost. Here are some great tips to make the most of your day in Sorong.

market indonesia

Visit the tiny Sorong Doom

15 minutes away by local boat cab you will find the small island of Doom. This island played an important role during the Dutch occupation. In 1906, the Dutch established a colonial post here, turning the island into an administrative center with offices, a prison and a recreation building. During World War II, it was occupied by the Japanese. After the war and the transfer of Papua to Indonesia in 1965, the city of Sorong moved to the mainland.

The island has a rich history and is therefore special to visit. In addition, there is a different atmosphere from the busy and chaotic capital. It is hilly, green and the local waterfront cottages make it a unique destination. The people are very hospitable and happy to chat with you. You can spend about 1-2 hours walking around the island. Highly recommended if you have some spare time.

The best way to get to the port is by cab. From here you can easily rent a boat. We paid about 15k per ride for two people.


Ratna Pagoda

Another unique sight in Sorong is the Ratna Pagoda. This is a beautiful Buddhist pagoda in the middle of the city. The pagoda offers breathtaking views, especially at sunset, when the city and nature are shrouded in golden hues.

Visit a local market

Visiting a local market is always a good idea. It offers a unique opportunity to experience the vibrant culture and daily life of the city. Sorong’s largest market is Pasar Jembatan Puri. Located in the heart of Sorong, the market is easily accessible to visitors staying in the city.

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Transportation in Sorong

You have two ways to get around easily in Sorong. Grab, the Indonesian Uber, is the easiest option. Download the app before departure and buy a Telekomsel SIM card upon arrival so you never have to worry about transportation in Sorong.

If you prefer not to use the Internet during your trip or are not a fan of Grab, you can also use an angkot. This is local public transportation. They are small colored minivans that function as shared cabs. They don’t drive a set route, so you just say where you’re going. For a single ride, you pay only IDR 5,000.

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Flights to Sorong

You can reach Sorong several ways, but the easiest and cheapest flights are via Jakarta, Makassar and Bali. The flight from Bali goes once a week at night and then you fly Garuda. Should you have the chance, we recommend taking this flight. We saved almost 100 euros per flight with this. Garuda is one of the best airlines in the world and it is a direct flight. For a return flight, we spent about 270 euros per person. View options here >

Hotspots & food in Sorong

Except for one KFC, you’ll find mostly local restaurants in Sorong. We slept at the Aston and actually enjoyed eating there. The menu was very simple and there are hardly any options especially for vegetarians, but you can have a nice seat at the “sky bar” with a nice view of the city.

Sorong’s nicest warungs:

  • Marina Star Restaurant Seafood
  • Mansae Hore Korean Grill Sorong cabang KAMPUNG BARU
  • Pizzeria Terrazza di Sorong

Tip! Are you looking for good coffee? Then search Google for Point Coffee. You can always find Point Coffee at the Indomaret and it is really unbelievably delicious. Starbucks is nothing like it, believe us.

What are nice places to stay in Sorong?

Should you have the chance, we recommend spending the night at the Aston. This is a fairly new hotel and very modern. The rooms are spacious, there is a pool and breakfast is extensive. However, don’t expect a well-organized Western hotel; there are certainly some areas for improvement, but it is a fine starting and ending point for your trip to Raja Ampat.

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