How To Get To Raja Ampat

With direct flights from Jakarta to Sorong, it’s now easier than ever to get to Raja Ampat

Sorong Airport - Domine Eduard Osok Airport (SOQ) - gateway to Raja Ampat

If you’re planning a dive trip to Raja Ampat, there’s good news – as of 2018, it’s now much easier to fly to Sorong, the city that acts as the gateway to Raja Ampat. Virtually all liveaboards depart from Sorong and it’s the nearest airport for most of Raja Ampat’s dive resorts too.

Sorong completed its new Domine Eduard Osok Airport in 2017 (airport code: SOQ), allowing bigger jets to land. As such, Indonesia’s national carrier Garuda Indonesia now flys direct from Jakarta to Sorong on a daily basis.

As the national carrier, Garuda Indonesia flights all arrive and depart from the new Terminal 3 at Jakarta Airport (formally known as Soekarno-Hatta Airport – airport code: CGK). See my Terminal 3 Jakarta Airport Quick Guide to help make your transit as stress-free as possible.

Other Indonesian domestic carriers also fly direct from Jakarta to Sorong including Nam Air and Batik Air. Check Skyscanner to compare the timings and pricings of all carriers from Jakarta to Sorong.

There is a decent airport transit hotel at Jakarta Airport which is located in Terminal 2.

Indonesia scuba diving locations

The other main route to fly to Raja Ampat is Jakarta to Sorong via Ujang Pandang, also known as Makassar. The airport code for Ujang Pandang aka Makassar is UPG. Be aware that both names are used so that you don’t suddenly worry that you’re flying to the wrong place!

If you are flying from Bali’s Denpasar Airport (airport code: DPS) to Sorong, then you will typically fly via Jakarta or Makassar. Search Skyscanner to see different flight timings and layover lengths to find the shortest journey time.

Makassar has a large, newly built airport (officially known as Sultan Hasanuddin Airport) and has a small budget Ibis hotel if you have a long layover and want to get some rest.

While it’s been open for over a year, Sorong Airport is still a work in progress with very few facilities for customers besides a couple of coffee shops and a small, very modest, business class lounge. There’s no airport hotel at the moment, but the town is so nearby this is not really an issue. There are several good quality hotels in Sorong if you want to stay on land before or after your Raja Ampat dive trip.

Wikipedia states there is a another airport in the region called Raja Ampat Airport aka Marinda Airport. At the moment, I don’t know anything beyond what Wikipedia mentions, but it’s just worth pointing out that Raja Ampat Airport and Sorong Airport are two different airports! They’re not synonymous.

For more in-depth info on diving Raja Ampat, have a listen to my podcasts on diving Raja Ampat, diving Triton Bay and Misool Eco Resort, one of the main conservation activists in Raja.

You can read my trip reports of diving Raja Ampat to Triton Bay (2008), the Whale Sharks of Triton Bay (2017) and a general overview of Diving Triton Bay (2017).



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Comments

  1. Hi Chris,

    Another good post!! But if I may suggest, if you don’t dive in Manado, better your fly to Jakarta from HK/KL/Singapore. Then fly to Sorong on the next morning. There are 3 airlines from Jakarta to Sorong; Merpati, Lion Air and Express Air (Garuda not fly to Sorong). Merpati will transit in Makassar/Ujung Pandang no more than 1 hour. Lion Air will transit in Ambon, longer route and price is a bit expensive compare to the other 2 airlines.

    If you fly from Manado to Sorong by Lion Air, you will take this route: Manado – Makassar – Ambon – Sorong. A long journey but I think you have no other choice.

    Am not sure about Express Air’s route, but I heard they have the same route with Merpati. But the aircraft is older than Merpati, price slightly cheaper.

    Merpati depart Jakarta early in the morning (about 5am or 6am) and will arrive Sorong about lunch time then you can start LOB on the same day and will have 2 dives on day1.

    You may check their websites (not that primitive but a bit frustating hehe) http://www.merpati.co.id/default.aspx and https://secure2.lionair.co.id/lionairibe/OnlineBooking.aspx

    Last time, I took merpati from Jakarta to Sorong, coz they have a good schedule. But please note, they may change their schedule in short notice, don’t be surprised :-)

    Cheers,
    Adri

  2. Awesome, detailed info Adri – thanks for taking the time to let me know! I bet this will be very useful for others too. Cheers, Chris