Summer Vacation in Tropical Island of Papua
As a travel writer and tourist guide in Manokwari city of Papua island of Indonesia, I often receive questions from tourists from around the world about how they can fly to this island and tips on how they can enjoy their one week summer holiday in this tropical island.
Papua is the second largest island in the world after Greenland. It consists of two territories, Papua New Guinea an independent state in the eastern part of the island and West Papua, which now consists of two provinces - Papua and Papua Barat, that is part of the Republic of Indonesia. Manokwari, the capital city of Papua Barat Province is now increasingly famous as tourist destination. There are a lot of tourist attractions in Manokwari ranging from snorkeling and scuba diving to hiking and bird watching. Here are some tips for travelers who want to visit Manokwari city or other towns in Papua island.
Where is Manokwari? How to get there?
First, you need to fly to Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia or to Denpasar city of Bali island- another tourist hub in this country. Second, take a domestic flight to Manokwari city. Airlines that serve flights between Jakarta and Manokwari are Batavia Air, Merpati, Express Air and Lion Air. If you enter Indonesia through Denpasar city in Bali island, you can take Lion Air to Manokwari city. Air fare varies from 150 Euros during low season to 250 Euros during crowded high season. You can book tickets one or two weeks before flying to Manokwari directly from the websites of the respective airlines. You need to provide name, sex, age, nationality for that purpose. Manokwari can also be reached by passenger ships. Check pelni.co.id if you want to know more about the ticket prices and available classes for sailing to Manokwari. Its website is http://www.pelni.co.id (for English language, click the British flag at the top right of the homepage).
There are a number of hotels ranging from hostels for budget travellers to 4 star hotels for business travelers. The average price for standard room starts as low as 25 Euros per room per night to 45 Euros per room per night depending on the hotels where you want to stay in. Breakfast is included. Usually every room is equipped with AC. The internet facility is available. The hotel car will pick you up at the airport upon arrival and bring you back to the airport when you fly back to your country.
Budget travelers like to stay in Losmen Kagum (meaning Kagum Homestay). It's located on Brawijaya street behind Xavier bookstore. The rate Rp. 180,000/room/night. Please contact me, Charles Roring, via my e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or text me to my cell phone +62 81332245180 if you want to reserve a room in the homestay. It is located just a stone throw away from the Table Mountain. Table Mountain is a favorite hiking destination for tourists who want to watch birds and go caving to see bats hanging among the stalactites of the caves.
Eating and Drinking
When you spend your summer vacation in this town, you can eat and drink at your hotel or at a number of restaurants that provide Indonesian, Western, Chinese food. Because this city is located in the Dorey bay near the Pacific Ocean, most of the restaurants sell sea food. Every time you eat in the restaurant you will spend as little as 2 Euros to as much as 10 Euros depending on the types of food that you order. Manokwari is claimed by the local people as Gospel city so, alcohol is not allowed.
For hiking and bird watching, you need to wear sport shoes, hiking trousers and T-Shirt (the terrain is moderate). You can bring long lens camera or binoculars (kijker) for bird watching. You need mosquito repellent lotion which is available in most shops in this town. Tourists who are interested in going to Mokwam villages in Arfak Mountains or Senopi and Kebar villages in Tambrauw Mountains, they need to wear warm clothing. Tents are needed when trekking inside the tropical rainforest of Papua.
Swimming and Snorkeling
For swimming, I think you can walk barefoot. Sun block lotion is absolutely needed to protect your face, shoulders and other parts of the body from burning. For snorkeling, you need to bring your snorkeling gear (you can buy in the Netherlands or in Denpasar). Shops in Wasior and Manokwari do not sell snorkeling gear. To take picture of the underwatercoral, you need to bring digital camera that is equipped with watercasing that can withstand water pressure up to 3 meters below the surface. You can also bring watershoes but most tourists in Manokwari buy rubber sandals. The price here is Rp. 10.000 (less than 1 Euro) per pair. At Pasir Putih beach (public beach that are visited by many citizens of Manokwari), it is better not to wear swimsuit.
As a tourist guide, I don't bring western tourists to Pasir Putih beach. Instead, I usually bring them to Mansinam island, and Raimuti island. Swimsuit or bikinis for sunbathing a long the beaches of the islands can be used because usually there were no or very few people around mostly Papuans.
Money - cash or credit card?
You need to pay in cash for most of the goods and services in Manokwari and Wasior. Because the exchange rate offered by banks in Manokwari is low for Euros to Rupiahs, it is better for you to change your money in Bali. However, there are ATM machines in banks in Manokwari for Link, Cirrus, Plus, Maestro ATM card owners where you can withdraw some cash money.