Indonesia Travel Guides

Sorong: Travel Guide

Welcome to the complete Sorong Travel Guide: Indonesia’s largest city on the Birds Head Province of West Papua. Serving as a portal to the remote archipelago of Raja Ampat, the number of people travelling through the city is small but growing fast.

The complete Sorong Travel Guide

Our simple Sorong Travel Guide will help you to find hidden gems and popular things to do, recommended places to stay, where to eat, how to get around and of course our money saving tips.

Sorong is known for not much more than a thriving gas and oil industry, most stop here for no more than a day. However with its melting pot of cultures, historical relevance and super friendly people, Sorong is well worth taking time to see.

Many visitors often refer to Sorong as ‘so wrong’ but take time to scratch beneath the surface and discover that there is more to this city than just a hop skip and a jump to Raja Ampat.

The best things to do in Sorong

  1. Tricylce taxi in Palau Doom, Sorong

    Visit Pulau Doom, the original Sorong – From the public port take the small local ferry across to Doom Island (pronounced ‘Dom’) As the population outgrew this tiny island, the city of Sorong was relocated to the mainland in 1965. Steeped in Dutch history and remnants of WWII the friendly locals welcome you gladly and will take you on a wonderful tour of their colourful home by ‘becak’ bikes which we highly recommend.

  2. Travelling Women cutting coconuts in Berlin Wall, Sorong

    Get some street food at the Berlin Wall and watch the world go by – Nobody really knows where this 2km long wall got its nickname from, but it does a great job of protecting the land from the waves which crash against it at high tide. At dusk this is a great place relax, eat street food or drink a tasty Papuan coconut. Come here to people-watch, mingle with the locals and enjoy a beautiful sunset.

  3. Sapta Ratna Pagoda building in Sorong

    Visit the Sapta Ratna Pagoda – Who knew that there was a Buddhist temple in Sorong? The Sapta Ratna Pagoda is a great place to visit from around 4pm when the sun starts to go down. As this beautiful Pagoda is located on the top of a hill, you can enjoy spectacular views of the city and the seas beyond!

Other things to do in Sorong

  • Take a bemo to Pasar Boswesen – Enjoy an amusing journey through the streets of Sorong in the back of a noisy yellow bemo, the public minibuses. Ask to be dropped at Rufei and stop at the market Pasar Boswesen by the seafront. Not only is this a great place to buy fresh fruit etc, but it is also a really amazing cultural experience.
  • Attend to your visa – Did you know that Sorong has an immigration office just behind the big Masjid Raya Al-Akbar on Jl. Ahmed Yani? We extended our Indonesian Tourist Visa here and are happy to report that the service was quick, friendly and painless!
  • Stock up on supplies – You’ll no doubt be transiting through Sorong to and from Raja Ampat. As all amenities are inaccessible in the islands, Sorong is a great place to stock up on essential items such as toiletries and snacks. The Ramayana Mall is inexpensive, convenient and also quite fun to wander around.
  • Head to the beach – It’s certainly no Raja Ampat, but if you are in need of some Vitamin Sea, the beach at Pantai Saoka is a quiet place to come for some sun sea and sand. The picturesque trees and mangroves at low-time make for some nice photo opportunities.

Where to stay in Sorong

There is a fairly good range of accommodation to choose from in Sorong, although speaking from experience, rates aren’t particularly backpacker friendly. Overall most have average reviews and what you get for your money isn’t much compared to other parts of SE Asia. Our advice is not to go with huge expectations and you won’t be disappointed!

Hotels we recommend in Sorong

Hotel Rumberpon, Jl. Selat Rumberpon – Budget

We were on the hunt for more affordable accommodation in Sorong during our recent trip to Raja Ampat, and stumbled on the Hotel Rumberpon by searching Google maps.

The Hotel Rumberpon is a 5-10 min walk from the airport and offers 3 room types – small rooms with no window, or large rooms with. We opted for the smaller room which was tiny, but the bed was clean and comfy. The bathrooms are relatively modern, and include a hot water shower. Rooms are well equipped with A/C, WiFi, TV, kettle plus free tea & coffee, win!

A good breakfast is included, usually something savoury plus delicious cakes from the local bakery. There is also free drinking water dispensers. The hotel has an in-house menu and provides hearty Indonesian food at local prices.

The hotel is situated in front of the main bus terminal, making it easy to pick up a bemo ride into town, although there are plenty of mini-marts and Warungs within walking distance. If you need an a ATM or Pharmacy, these are literally a stones throw away. It is also worth noting that the Hotel Rumberpon is very quiet (we did not hear the 4am Call to Prayer). Prices start at 385,000 IDR per night for a standard room with no window.

You & Me Hotel, Jl. Ahmed Yani – Budget

We can’t promise anything spectacular by staying here, except that if you’ve spent time roughing it in Raja Ampat the You & Me will feel like luxury in comparison!

The rooms are spacious and (somewhat) clean, with good AC and ok WiFi. The rate includes a buffet breakfast which can be a bit hit and miss. They offer a free shuttle service to the harbour and the airport which are within a 5 minute drive of the hotel. It is also in walking distance of the Immigration Office, Ramayana Mall, pharmacies, bakery, ATM and the Telkomsel shop. As long as you don’t mind being woken by the call of prayer at 4.30am we highly recommend the You & Me for a budget place to stay in Sorong. Prices start at 420,000 IDR per night.

Favhotel Sorong, Jl Basuki Rahmat – Mid-range

The Favhotel is a firm favourite (hence the name!) for most people passing through Sorong. For us it’s a little on the pricey side, but we have met plenty of people who have been very happy with their stay here. This relatively new hotel is modern and close to the airport. There are many amenities nearby including local Warungs, the Mega Market and even a KFC.

Rates include AC, WiFi and breakfast. We’ve heard that the airport shuttle is expensive and unreliable so you’re probably better off on foot or taking a bemo. Prices start at 740,000 IDR per night.

Swiss – Belhotel, Jl. Jendral Sudirman – Top-end

From what we’ve heard, the Swiss Belhotel is the most luxurious place to stay in Sorong and it certainly looks like it from the outside. This 4 star hotel offers a bar, swimming pool, modern decor and sea views and is located conveniently between the airport and the harbour. Prices start at 770,000 IDR per night.

Where to eat in Sorong

Rumah Makan Goyang Lidah – Jl. Mesjid Raya

Goyang Lidah or ‘dancing tongue’ translated into English offers a delicious lunchtime ‘all you can eat’ buffet service. Enjoy a huge portion of rice with your choice of traditional Papuan and Indonesian dishes. There is an excellent range available for both vegetarians and meat lovers alike. Try the coconut fish curry and tempe with chillies. Yum! 50,000 IDR per bowl.

Warung Makan Aloha – Jl. Ahmed Yani

Warung Aloha set up their grills every evening just along the road from the big Masjid on Jl. Ahmed Yani. This family-run food stall serves generous portions at excellent prices! Their Ayam Bakar and spicy sambal was some of the best we tasted in the whole of Indonesia. You can also pick up amazing freshly grilled fish, Nasi Goreng with chicken, amongst other classic dishes. Sit al-fresco and enjoy the sights and sounds of Sorong, sipping on a fresh lemon tea. We love it! Prices from 15,000 IDR.

Solaria, Ramayana Mall – Jl. Ahmed Yani

This is an Indonesia fast-food chain situated in the Ramayana Mall. If you are back from Raja Ampat and in need of something naughty, grab a burger, fries and a shake at Solaria. With comfy seating and a convenient location its not a bad place to indulge in some Western food…as long as you can tolerate the lady on the loud microphone in the Mall that is! Prices from 30,000 IDR.

Kitong Papua Resto – Jl. Ahmed Yani

If you are looking for a seafood restaurant in Sorong, don’t miss out on Kitong Papua. For sure it isn’t the cheapest place to eat but the food is exceptionally good. Expect prawns, crabs, grilled fish and curries to die for. We have heard that they also provide free transport to and from your hotel. How amazing is that?! Prices from 50,000 IDR.

General travel advice for Sorong

Travelling and walking around in Sorong roads

Getting around

The best way to get around in Sorong is by using local public transport, the yellow public minibuses or ‘bemos’

Top tip – Catching a yellow public bemo shouldn’t cost you more than 5,000 IDR to anywhere in Sorong. Jump in and enjoy the ride! As long as you don’t mind loud music 😉

Internet & Mobile

Most hotels offer WiFi connectivity in Sorong so you shouldn’t have problems getting online. But if you need to buy a local SIM card – especially before travelling to Raja Ampat, head to the Telkmosel kiosk in Remu Utara on Jl. Ahmed Yani opposite the Hawaiian Bakery and BRI bank.


There are ATMs and banks all over Sorong, so withdrawing cash is not an issue.


Since the city doesn’t exactly cater towards tourists, shopping here is actually pretty cheap. There are a number of malls to choose from such as Saga, Ramayana and the Mega Mall. But don’t expect anything too fancy, Sorong is quite a few years behind so electronics and clothes look a bit out-dated. There is also the odd souvenir shop around if you’re looking to take a little piece of Papua home.

Top tip – It can be hard to stock up on alcohol before entering Raja Ampat, but try the SAGA Mall as most places in Sorong don’t sell any.

Dive Equipment

There is a ‘PADI’ shop in Sorong where it is possible to pick up a basic snorkel mask set but do not expect branded gear or a great selection to choose from. The shop is located in Kompleks Pelabuhan, Usaha Mina. There is also a sports equipment shop upstairs the the Mega Mall selling basic masks, snorkels and fins but when we last checked they were not the best quality. We highly recommend buying snorkel and dive equipment prior to arriving in Papua.


You won’t find it difficult locating a pharmacy in Sorong, they are everywhere! Most pharmacies provide antibiotics over the counter in Indonesia and Sorong is no exception. We recommend the Apotek Kimia Farma (Mesjid Raya) just next door to the You & Me hotel on Jl. Ahmed Yani – from our experience the staff are very helpful and speak good English.

Hospitals & GP

There are two hospitals in Sorong and a number of GPs. If you need to see an ENT Doctor we recommend Dr Titus at the Apotek Videta in Rufei or Dr Tumpal at the Herlina Hospital both of which speak good English and specialise in ‘telinga’ (ears). Ear infections are a common snorkel and diving ailment in Raja Ampat.

Sorong Harbour

There aren’t any amenities at Sorong Harbour except for a few small food stalls to buy snacks and drinks. Be prepared to pay for your ferry ticket with cash and ask about the cheapest ferry options available, as there is more than one that will take you to Waisai and beyond. There are always taxis and ojeks ready and waiting.

Top tip – Taxi drivers at the harbour use the same yellow minibuses as the public bemos. These are a private mode of transport, but you shouldn’t pay more than 50,000 IDR. Drivers will try to charge you 100,000 IDR so haggle hard and walk away if you have to.

Getting to Sorong

There are regular flights to Sorong Domine Eduard Osok Airport – SOQ
with a number of major Indonesian Airlines, but there are no direct international flights.

Sorong can be reached from Jakarta, flying via Manado (MDC), Ambon (AMQ) or Makassar (UPG). If you are coming from Bali, you will fly via Manado (MDC) or Makassar (UPG).

We recommend booking tickets via

It is also possible to take a Pelni Ship to Sorong from either the port of Makassar or Ambon. For schedule information click here:

Sorong Airport

Arriving into Sorong airport, you will be bombarded by taxi drivers wanting your business. The general asking price for a taxi to the harbour is IDR 100,000 but this can be negotiated down to IDR 50,000 if you have the patience.

If you don’t have a lot of luggage, get a lift on the back of an Ojek (motorbike) for 20,000 IDR. Or if you are on a strict budget, walk a couple of hundred meters outside to the main road and catch a yellow public minibus (bemo) for 5,000 IDR.

Best time to visit Sorong

The best time of year to visit is from October to April, though the months with the best temperatures and fewest rains are from October to December. It might rain briefly but intensely at any time, but the significant windy and rainy season comes from June to September. During this time it is likely to experience problematic boat journeys.

Sorong money saving tips

  1. Airport Transfer – Rather than taking a taxi from the harbour or the airport, walk 300m to the main road and catch a yellow public minibus instead for 5,000 IDR.
  2. Use the minibuses to get around Sorong – They are cheap, fun and offer a great insight into the local community and surrounding areas.
  3. Stay in a budget hotel – If you’ve been roughing it in Raja Ampat, a simple clean bed, AC and WiFi will feel like luxury!
  4. Hotel extras – Opt for a hotel that includes breakfast and a free shuttle service.
  5. Eat at local roadside Warungs – They are half the price of restaurants.
  6. Opt for the least expensive ferry from Sorong to Waisai – There is no need to take the Bahari Express if one of the other ferries is departing at the same time.
  7. Stock up – Alcohol is much cheaper to buy in Sorong than in Waisai, so stock up here before heading to Raja Ampat if you’re partial to a Bintang on the beach!

Need a personal Sorong travel guide?

If you are interested in taking a guided tour of the city, we can put you in touch with Patrick, he’s a wonderful guide. Please drop us a comment below for more information.

Was our Sorong Travel Guide helpful?

Travel Guide view of houses in Sorong

Thank you for reading our Sorong Travel Guide. If you like our guides and find them useful, or if there is any more you think we could do, please let us know in the comments below. We love hearing your thoughts!

Need help preparing for your trip to Raja Ampat? Read our essential Travel Guide here.


  1. Hello!
    Your Sorong Travel Guide is fantastic! Thank you so much for posting this information!
    I’m not sure if this is still possible but you mentioned:

    “Need a guide?
    If you are interested in taking a guided tour of the city we can put you in touch with a wonderful guide. Please drop us a comment or an email for further information.”

    My best friend and I will arrive into Sorong 18 April, 2019 for 3 nights and we would enjoy seeing some wildlife/nature/birds/bugs and less touristed parts of the island. Also interested in a ferry ride/boat ride/kayaking if the weather permits.
    I’ve read about Benny on Waigeo and John Urbon in Sorong. Open to any suggestions or connections you can make!

    Thank you and HAPPY TRAVELS! 🙂

    1. Hi Chandra,

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment! Great to hear you are planning a trip to West Papua, it is our favourite place in the world 🙂 The guide we know is a friend from Sorong who would only be able to take you on a tour of the City itself. If this might be something of interest we would be happy to put you in touch.

      Hope this helps,

  2. Hi Clair, we are aid workers and after a tough 3 month journey we coming to sorong tomorrow yes tomorrow on March 21, we are looking for a local guide to show us tribes, beaches. We don’t have lots of money but we treat people fair. Please email me if you have some one. Thanks dean and Jennifer

    1. Hi Jennifer & Dean,
      Thank you so much for your comment! Oh wow, how long will you be staying in the region? We have a friend in Sorong who would be willing to take you on a tour of the city, but we don’t use a guide when out in the islands.
      Are you planning on heading to Raja Ampat? This is definitely the best place to experience pristine beaches and local life. Our recommendation for you would be to stay in a traditional Papuan homestay on one of the islands, close to a local village. Sawinggraii / Kapisawar villages on Pulau Gam are both wonderful, plus they are situated along an incredible stretch of coastline with some amazing beaches and house reefs. From the homestays it is possible to take boat excursions to visit other islands and villages to explore more. It may be helpful for you to check out our Homestay Recommendations and our Raja Ampat Travel Guide which has some great money saving tips.

      We hope this info is helpful to your trip, have an amazing time and safe travels – Claire & Nick

  3. Hi, Claire and Nick !

    I love your very clear, detailled and helpful reports from Indonesia. I Have read you on StayRajaAmpat forum and from what I understand, you freshly come back- again- from Raja Ampat. I am eager to read posts about the new places you have discovered, and I am wondering if we could have the chance to get a post on Manado as this one you wrote about Sorong?

    1. Hi Marine, thank you for your comment, so glad you’ve been enjoying the blog! Yes that’s right, we travel regularly to Raja Ampat (most recently Nov 18’ through till Jan this year) so we’ll be adding and updating the blog with new findings very shortly 🙂

      We haven’t spent much time in Manado, so we don’t have a guide for the city, however we do have a Bunaken Travel Guide which may help? Will leave a link below, just in case:

      Thank you for subscribing, if you have any more questions please feel free to get in touch! All the best, Claire & Nick

      1. Hi Claire & Nick

        Thanks for the link to your Bunaken Travel guide, which I already had visited with great interest, but I was looking for some tips specifically about Manado. On the way to Raja Ampat islands (or on the way back). I’ll likely have to sleep in the city and would have loved to read something about it from you.
        All the Best

  4. Hello again, Claire & Nick,
    I wrote to you originally on March 1. My friend and I booked a Lowlands tour and a mangrove tour for our time in Sorong. Unfortunately, the company canceled both days and we have since done everything we can to secure a new guide with no luck. 🙁
    I am wondering what sites your friend’s city tour includes? We arrive soon, on April 18th.
    Thank you in advance for connecting us!

    1. Good afternoon Chandra, nice to hear from you again! So sorry to hear that your tour has been cancelled. The best thing to do would be to speak to our friend directly to find out his availability and see what he is able to offer. We would be very happy to put you in touch, look out for an email from us with his contact details – Warm regards, Claire & Nick

  5. Bonjour
    Merci pour vos infos sur Sorong .Pouvez vous me dire s’il y a des bureaux de change , ou des banques qui changent des Euros à Sorong.
    Merci beaucoup pour cotre réponse.

    1. Hi Monique, thanks for commenting! Personally we’ve never changed currency in Sorong so cannot say for sure whether it is possible to change Euros. However, there are a number of banks in the city plus PT. Apil Money Changer on Jl. Basuki Rahmat: Hope this is helpful, if you have any luck do let us know! – All the best, Nick

  6. Hello, I will be in Sorong in March 2020 and would be interested in the city tour that your friend gives, can I be put in touch with him? -Merrill

    1. Hi Merrill, of course! Look our for an email from us with Patrick’s details. He’ll be very happy to hear from you – Thanks a lot, Claire & Nick

  7. Hi – I may be too late but is anyone available tomorrow, Tuesday October 15, to take me on a city tour?

    1. Hi Susan, we’ll send you an email with our guides contact details. You could reach out to him today to see if he is available for tomorrow. Fingers crossed! – Nick

  8. I just spent the best(!) day touring Sorong with your recommended guide, Patrick. He was available on very short notice, lucky me, and the day with him just couldn’t have been better. We went to the Pagoda, rode the yellow minibus many times, went out to Pulau Doom (what a wonderful and beautiful place), and saw the Berlin Wall. He also accommodated my need to souvenir shop and gather last minute supplies for my trip out to Raja Ampat.
    I am so glad I found your site and that your friend was available. It was such a great day and I now have such a deeper appreciation for Sorong and its people.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Susan! We are absolutely thrilled that you managed to meet up with Patrick at such short notice, and wow what a testimonial! Would you mind if we share your kind words on our Facebook page? We are so happy that you got the chance to truly experience Sorong and it’s beautiful people. Patrick is great isn’t he! We hope your positive experience of Sorong will encourage other travellers to explore the city and taste another side of West Papua. Have an amazing time in Raja Ampat (we are here now too!) honestly it just gets better and better. Best wishes – Claire & Nick

  9. Hello! I will be in Sorong in February 2020 before travelling to Raja Ampat and I was wondering if you could kindly put me in touch with your friend please? I will be in Sorong very briefly and am looking to explore it a little bit with someone who knows the surroundings. Thanks so much!

      1. Hi Nick,

        Did you still keep the information about your friend?

        We are planning a trip and may stay in Sorong cup of days, if you can provide any information and we will very appreciate.


  10. Hi guys,
    thanks for the very informative and comprehensive blog (and for tending to the comments promptly!).
    I am wondering if you could help me find any information about Susi Air flights from Sorong to Kabare, maybe through one of your local contacts? Are they still operating? How many times a week etc etc.
    Any lead would be greatly appreciated.
    Many thanks.

    1. Hi Emi, unfortunately we do not have any information on this for you! Sorry we can’t be of more help on this occasion. Wish you all the best for your trip – Claire & Nick

  11. Hi
    Thanks for your time building this guide. It is very good on compact info about Sorong.
    Really, really nice from you!
    Maybe I’m little late on that, it was written some time ago.
    The fact is that only now I’ll be able to go to Papua and spend some days in Sorong.
    Is Patrick still available for the city tours?
    Thank you

  12. Thank you for the guide.

    I tried to find the Berlin Wall today, but I failed and find nobody who have heard of it.
    Could you add a link or description how to find it?
    Thank you!

  13. Hi – Love your Sorong guide! We will spend two nights there prior to heading to Raja Ampat. I would like to know if you think renting a scooter would be okay to do? We didn’t feel comfortable renting one in Ubud, Bali or Hanoi, for example, but had a wonderful time touring the south end of Lombok on a scooter. What do you think?

    Also, could you send me Patrick’s info for the city tour?


    1. Hi Polly, yes I’d say riding a scooter would be fine in Sorong, with far less tourist to worry about. Sorry but I don’t have Patrick’s contact details anymore.

  14. HI. We will be traveling through Soong to get on a live aboard for 12 days and then on to Bali. We have half a day upon our return to the port before our flight and was wondering if there is a place to do laundry in Sorong during that time frame?

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