Good To Know!
Find everything you need to know in order to plan your unforgettable holiday to West Papua, Indonesia!
Frequently Asked Questions
Weather & Season
The climate in West Papua is tropical and very humid. The area doesn’t really have a dry or rainy season – the weather is more or less the same all year long. It can change very quickly from bright sunshine with blue skies to clouds and heavy rain. Luckily the temperature remains around 30°C – which makes it easier to handle.
Even without a dry or rainy season, the region experiences high and low season. From October to March it rains a lot in many other parts of Indonesia, so more visitors come to Raja Ampat. The months between May and September are relatively quiet although the weather is still good and diving is great. Visitors looking for dive spots without the crowds should come around this time.
The time zone of Sorong is GMT+9. It is one of the first time zones together with New Zealand, Australia and some parts of Russia.
Currency & ATM
The currency of Indonesia is the Indonesian Rupiah. The country has experienced some strong inflation and the Indonesian Rupiah has fallen steadily ever since. That means: lots of zero’s to deal with.
Be careful, especially in the beginning!
Credit Card payments are accepted in most of the bigger hotels and restaurants. However, it is always recommended to bring enough cash – especially on the islands!
ATM’s can be found in front of any major supermarket (like Mega or Saga), as wells as a few branches of the biggest Indonesian banks: BCA, Mandiri, BNI, BRI, Danamon.
There two options to enter Indonesia, depending on how long you want to stay.
The Visa on Arrival allows you to stay in Indonesia for 30 days and is issued at the airport in Indonesia. The Visit Visa allows you to stay for 60 days and can be extended at the Immigration Office inside of Indonesia. It is issued at an Indonesian Embassy outside of the country.
None of those visas allow you to work legally in Indonesia – they are for Holiday, Family, Social and Cultural purpose only.
Countries that are excluded from the Visit Visa on Arrival and therefore have to apply for a visa in advance are:
Afghanistan, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Colombia, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kosovo, Liberia, Micronesia, Montenegro, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Yemen
Countries that require a special permit from the Immigration Office (Indonesia Calling Visa) are:
Afghanistan, Cameroon, Guinea, Israel, Liberia, Nigeria, North Korea, Somalia
Visa regulations can change unexpectedly at any time – it’s always best to check for any current updates with an Indonesian Embassy before arriving in Indonesia.
If you need to extend your visa while you’re in Sorong, don’t worry!
If you don’t want to get stuck with paperwork or need some assistance, contact Miss Eflin (WhatsApp: +62 812-4742-7120).
She knows the current regulations, speaks English and is always happy to help with any visa issues. She arranges all papers in advance to make the process easy and smooth for you!
Health Care & Travel Insurance
Nobody wants to get sick while traveling but sometimes it happens.
There are a few hospitals in Sorong but unfortunately, not all of them have practicing doctors at all times.
Please keep in mind that Sorong is still in a very remote area and medical supplies are limited. Whenever possible, try to treat yourself (pharmacies are well-equipped) or try to make your way to Manado, Makassar or Bali, where you can find internationally trained doctors.
If you ever experience an emergency situation, try the Pertamina Hospital. It’s one of the most reliable ones with well-trained doctors.
Valid travel insurance is necessary at all times when traveling.
Read more about travel insurance in the 7 things to consider when choosing your travel insurance.
West Papua has a humid, tropical climate – the perfect place for mosquitos.
There have been some cases of Malaria and Dengue Fever in the past but generally there is no need to worry. Don’t get confused by the locals, who often refer to any kind of fever or flu as “Malaria”.
The best option is to protect yourself by using mosquito repellent and wearing long sleeves and trousers in the evening. Some people even take prophylaxis, prescribed by the doctor. In the end, you should decide for yourself if that’s necessary.
Internet & SIM Cards
Many coffee shops and basically all hotels provide WiFi-Connection.
You can also get a SIM card from one of the local network providers. A fast 4G connection and monthly data packages make it easy to use.
SIM cards are available in small mobile phone shops or in the supermarkets. Just keep in mind that on some remote islands the reception might be limited!
In Indonesia standard voltage is 230 Volt and frequency 50 Hz.
The sockets being used are of type C and F.
Electricity supply is usually good but depending on weather conditions sometimes less stable.
Occasional power cuts happen and it’s not recommended to leave sensitive plugs in the sockets when not in use.
Alcohol & Nightlife
Don’t expect to find any alcohol other than beer in Sorong.
Some larger hotels (and sometimes restaurant Dapur Berkat) offer wine – when in stock.
If you prefer to drink anything other than beer, it’s best to bring your favorite liquor from one of the last Duty-Free Shops before entering Indonesia.
The nightlife in Sorong is not really worth mentioning. The city has one or two clubs with loud music and cheap self-made alcohol. If you’re prepared for that, you’re welcome to join the local youngsters at “STARLIGHT”.
Local karaoke bars can be found as well – but be warned: some might offer other things apart from karaoke!
Indonesia has almost 18,000 islands and a population of more than 300 million. The official number of native languages is not clear. West Papua alone has more than 250 different Tribes – there must be a few hundred languages in the whole country.
The government has decided on one official national language – Bahasa Indonesia. There is not a lot of complicated grammar involved, so it’s very easy to learn.
Locals will be happy if you know some of the most useful phrases – it will put a big smile on their faces!
Good morning (until 11 am)
Good day (11 am until 3 pm)
Good afternoon (3 pm until sunset)
Good evening (after sunset)
Good night/sleep well
How are you?
I am fine
How much is…?
I am sorry
See you again
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