Raja Ampat on Shoestring

Raja Ampat is well known for its beauty both marine life and wildlife nature, but it’s also known for outrageous price just to get there. I did my trip to Raja Ampat on a tight budget, i hope this can encourage more people to come there as it’s too precious to be scratched off of your bucket list just because it’s too expensive.

So, i flew Jakarta to Sorong via Makassar with Merpati Airlines for 1,2 mills returns, it’s about 120 USD, it’s normal price for one way fare, i got promo so… 😉 They usually have fixed schedule with arrival time at 1.00 pm, it means we still have time to catch ferry boat which leaves at 2.00 pm. I caught motorcycle ojek from airport to jetty cost 20 thou or around 2 USD, and ferry boat Av Marina cost 120 thou or 12 USD. There isn’t too much hassle, yes it’s crowded but not too many people offer chartered boat which sometimes can rip you off.

It takes 1.45 to 2 hours to get to Waisai jetty. Waisai is a main city of Raja Ampat, most budget homestays around Raja Ampat are able to pick you up in this city’s jetty, unless you’re willing to pay more money for your resort to pick you up in Sorong then you need to catch this ferry boat to Waisai.

So since my homestay couldn’t pick me up on the same day i arrived in Waisai, i needed to stay overnight in Waisai. I picked Surya Hotel as it’s the cheapest i could find, cost 150 thou per night or 15 USD for basic room with private bathroom, double bed, a table and a wall fan. They also can be contacted via email frans_yoe@yahoo.com for reservation and arranging dive trip if you choose to stay in Waisai and dive around Waigeo Island.

As for me, i chose to stay a bit far from Waigeo Island, it’s in Kri Island or Small Mansuar. I stayed at Mangkur Kodon, you can contact Raymond +6285243359154 the owner, dive guide, manager, basically one man show on this guy. From my experience, text is better than voice call because phone coverage around the island is kinda on and off, and no email i can assure you. They do have website but i think it’s not updated, their service is not the best but i know that he tries his hardest to meet his guests’ needs with limitation he has in the island.

They have quite reasonable price, well..comparing to other resort, 400-500 thou or 45 USD for 45 mins boat ride from Waisai to Kri return, 400 thou for a nice single bed room, shared bathroom and 3 times a day delicious meal, 550 thou for dive includes boat and BCD and regulator, i don’t know the exact amount for complete gear rent as i brought my own, but i think it’s around 150-200 thou. These prices are considered expensive for diving in South East Asia, but it’s in remote island and everything we need is provided in the mainland either Waisai or Sorong, from vegetables to gasoline.

When the time has come for you to leave heaven on earth, their crew will take you to Waisai ferry jetty and they will wait until you get on the ferry before they go back to Kri Island. You can buy the ticket inside mini stadion shaped building (it’s the only building in there) for 120 thou. Ferry leaves Waisai at 2 pm, the same time as leaving Sorong, but in Saturday it leaves at 11 pm and only one ferry boat operates in a day. So if your flight leaves before midday, then you’ll need to stay overnight in Sorong.

I stayed at Royal Mamberamo Hotel in Sorong, a 3 stars hotel cost 425 thou for queen bed room, fair price for nice room with cable tv, hot shower, amenities, free tea and coffee, and of course delicious various breakfast. Only 10 mins motorcycle ride from the pier and another 10 mins to the airport, small restaurants, warungs and papuan batik shop are within walking distance, seems quite convenience location for me.

So pack your sunscreen and sunglasses to Raja Ampat!

*more of underwater pics are coming 🙂

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