Vacation in tropical island of Numfor

Rowing with a canoe from Numfor island to Numpuri islet
Rowing with a canoe from Numfor island to Numpuri islet

Last November 2010, I and two volunteers from SDSP foundation went to Numfor island. We went there by passenger ferry Kasuari Pasifik IV. It was a very nice experience for me. We spend the first night of our holiday in the tropical island at the Amberimasi tourist house. This "hostel" is located at a beautiful lagoon with pristine coral reef thrive around it. After doing the morning walk for watching birds, we continued our adventure by paddling with canoes to Numpuri island which was located some three hundred meters across from the beach where our hostel was. Two Papuan chidren rowed the canoes to the islet. When we arrived at the site where the coral reef was, the tide was still in its high level, not suitable for us to do the snorkeling. We decided to continue our trip to the beach of Numpuri islet. We swam there for two or three hours. It was 1 p.m. when we went back to the coral reef to enjoy snorkeling with the two Papuan boys. We were very happy because the journey to the islet and to the snorkeling site was really wonderful. We could see various species of corals and ornamental fish. Althought the previous two hours were filled with heavy rain, when we did the snorkeling the weather had already been bright again.

Mirror effect of a boat and Numpuri islet on the sea surface early in the morning
Mirror effect of a boat and Numpuri islet on the sea surface early in the morning

Where is Numfor island and How can I get there?

Numfor island is located in Cendrawasih bay (formerly known as Geelvink baai during the Dutch colonial period) between Manokwari city and Biak. It is not difficult to visit this beautiful tropical island.

  • First, you need to fly to Jakarta - the capital of Indonesia, or to Makassar - the capital of South Sulawesi.
  • After that you can take a domestic flight to Manokwari city - the capital of West Papua province.
  • From Manokwari, you can continue your trip to Numfor island by ferry boat (which will cost you only Rp. 40,000 (around 5 US dollars) or by small airplane operated by Susi Air. The ticket price is approximately Rp. 300,000 (around 37.5 US dollars). Rp. means rupiah - it is the standard currency of Indonesia.
  • The standard rate of a tourist homestay - Losmen Kagum in Manokwari city is Rp. 180,000 (around 22.5 US dollars)/room/night
  • The rate of tourist guesthouse in Numfor island is Rp. 100,000/person/night.
  • If you need an experienced English speaking guide like me, the standard rate is Rp. 250,000 (around 31.25 US dollars)/day.

Please, contact me via my e-mail: charlesroring@gmail.com if you still need more information about traveling to Numfor island or around West Papua.

traditional dance and music performance in Rarsibo village of Numfor island of Papua province, the Republic of Indonesia
traditional dance and music performance in Rarsibo village of Numfor island of Papua province, the Republic of Indonesia

Marine Tourism

Numfor island is very potential to be developed and promoted for ecotourism especially because its marine environment is still in pristine condition. There are not any scuba diving centers in the island yet. So, bring your own diving or snorkeling gear if you want to see the beautiful underwater world of the island. In addition, if we continue to promote the region for scuba divers and snorkelers, the local islanders who live in Numfor will be more serious in preserving their land and sea environment. Besides watching birds, hiking and snorkeling, another interesting activity which tourists can enjoy in the Numfor island is cultural interaction with the local people. We can see how the indigenous Papuan use the plants such as orchids, and other flower herbs from their tropical rainforest to make herbal medicines that can cure diseases or we can visit the house of Simon Wanma, tribal chief of the Numfoor island to watch traditional music and dance performance.

White sandy beach of Samido in the tropical island of Numfor of the Republic of Indonesia
White sandy beach of Samido in the tropical island of Numfor of the Republic of Indonesia

White Sandy Beaches

Besides the beautiful Amberimasi beach, most of the coastal areas of Numfor islands are beautiful and worth visiting but two beautiful beaches that I should recommend to you are Samido and Asaibori. You can go there by a rent car or by ojek (motorcycle taxi). While you are at the beach, you can swim, sunbath or catch fish. To catch fish, don't forget to bring your fishing rod. You can also buy nylon string at the local shop and ask a fisherman to bring you to the nearest coral reef where you can catch some fish for dinner.

coral reef in Numpuri islet near Numfoor island of Indonesia, a potential site for tourists who want to enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving
coral reef in Numpuri islet near Numfoor island of Indonesia, a potential site for tourists who want to enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving

Flights to Numfor island from Manokwari city

As I have explained, you need to fly to Manokwari city first. There are regular domestic flights from Denpasar Bali and Jakarta city. A lot of airlines provide international flights to Indonesia. Merpati Nusantara Airlines, Batavia Air, Express Air, Wings Air and Lion Air fly to Manokwari city every week. Check their respective websites to check for the rates and book for the tickets. When you have arrived in Manokwari, you can contact me via my email peace4wp@gmail.com to help you arrange your trip to the island. Ferry boat service usually go to Numfor island twice a week (Tuesday and Wednesday). The name of the ferry boat is Kasuari Pasifik IV. There is also another passenger boat that goes to Numfor every Monday night and arrives in the morning of Tuesday. Her name is Yap Wairon. If you do not have much time, you can go by airplane operated by Susi Air. It goes there twice a week.

Where to stay

There are four hostels where you can stay during your vacation tour in Numfor island. Only two hostels (also known as losmen in local terminology) which I'd like to recommend for ecotourists. The first is Amberimasi hostel in Amberimasi village and the second one is Losmen Klasis in Yemburwo village.

an old machine gun abandoned by the Japanese forces in Numfor island after being defeated by the American forces in 1944
an old machine gun abandoned by the Japanese forces in Numfor island after being defeated by the American forces in 1944

The battle ground between the US and Japanese forces during the Pacific War in 1944

This visit to Numfor island was my second trip. Before that, I guided the Schepers (Dutch tourists) to also enjoy various ecotourism activities in Yemburwo village and Manem islet. Besides attractions from its beautiful nature, tourists can see World War II remnants that are scattered around the island. Numfor is a small tropical island in Papua province of the Republic of Indonesia. Historically in 1944, Numfor island was the battle ground between American and Japanese forces in the Pacific region. Thousands of American troops landed in the island to fight against the Imperial Japanese army and navy before they could use the island as their base before they could continue their campaign to push the Japanese forces out of the Netherlands Nieuw Guinea, the Indonesian islands, the Philipines, Taiwan, China and to drop two Atomic bombs on Japanese lands. by Charles Roring

Also read:

Coral reef in Amberimasi bay
Coral reef in Amberimasi bay

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