Even the residents of the paradise island sometimes want to change the scenery, hop on a plane, forget about work matters and traffic jams in Canggu, and embark on a journey.
Have you ever heard of the Raja Ampat Islands? This place in the West Papua province is considered by enthusiasts as the best in the world for snorkeling and diving. The emerald waters of the archipelago hide an incredibly rich, and most importantly, untouched underwater world. Here, the highest concentration of hard corals is registered – more than 250 species per 1 hectare. This is five times more than the coral species in the entire Caribbean Basin. And all these wonders cover an area equal to two football fields. It is precisely the landscape of Raja Ampat that adorns the 100,000 Indonesian rupiah banknote.
Previously, due to complex and expensive logistics, only true diving enthusiasts and gourmet tourists flew here. But now, you can reach Raja Ampat in three hours with a direct flight from Denpasar airport.
Garuda Indonesia announced the opening of a new route Denpasar — Sorong! Without a doubt, the number of guests in Raja Ampat will increase exponentially. An increase in tourists on Bali should also be expected.
The return flight from Sorong will be a connecting one. The layover is planned at Makassar airport, the capital of the South Sulawesi province. This is the largest metropolis located on the island of Sulawesi and the sixth-largest city in all of Indonesia.
"Seeing the various potentials and opportunities that exist, we are confident that the operation of this route will contribute to the further economic development of the eastern regions of Indonesia, especially in the Papua region, where the city of Sorong has been designated as the first special economic region," said the president of the airline, Irfan Setiaputra.
Experts are confident that Makassar and Denpasar, which are economic centers of the country, can become accelerators of development not only for Raja Ampat but also for the entire West Papua province. The flight between these two paradisiacal corners of Indonesia will be operated by Garuda Indonesia every Friday and Sunday using Boeing 737-800NG aircraft, capable of carrying up to 162 passengers (12 in business class and 150 in economy class). The airline promises to increase the frequency of Denpasar - Sorong flights to three times a week (Thursday, Friday, and Sunday) starting in December of this year. This is done to optimize the potential increase in traffic or high demand during the New Year holidays. As of now, according to the schedule, flight GA686 from Denpasar to Sorong departs from Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport at 02:15 and lands at Dominique Edward Osok Airport at 06:20. Meanwhile, the return flight GA-621 from Sorong departs at 08:30, lands at Sultan Hasanuddin Airport in Makassar at 09:10, and then continues with the same flight number at 10:55. It lands in Denpasar at 12:25.
Previously, reaching Raja Ampat was possible with Garuda Indonesia but via Jakarta. Regarding ticket prices, they are, of course, higher than to Jakarta or even Kuala Lumpur. But firstly, don't forget that Garuda Indonesia is the national carrier. Secondly, getting to Raja Ampat used to be much more expensive. Now, for example, in December, you can round-trip for less than $350. By the way, if you don't want to bother with organizing transfers and excursions (all island-to-island movements are done by boats in the archipelago) and accommodation booking, mybalitrips.com offers a seven-day tour to Raja Ampat, which is already a classic for them. During the trip, you'll walk through rainforests and rocky caves, visit rivers with spring water, see unique birds and endemic animals. You'll have the opportunity to feel like Robinson by visiting uninhabited islands with postcard views, untouched corals, and thousands of inhabitants of the underwater world. If you want to experience Raja Ampat with fewer people and more authenticity, hurry up. It's bound to become busier here soon.