A Convenient Gateway: New Flight From Bali to Sorong Expands Diving Opportunities in Raja Ampat

A Convenient Gateway: New Flight From Bali to Sorong Expands Diving Opportunities in Raja Ampat

Great news for everyone wanting to dive the famous Raja Ampat, there is now a direct flight from Bali to Sorong! Sorong is the gateway to the beautiful diving paradise of Raja Ampat. The port town might not have much to offer tourists and may be a little rough around the edges, but this is where all Raja Ampat bound liveaboards depart from, so hence where you have to fly to. 

But getting to this airport for international travellers has always added a pain into the liveaboard trips to Raja Ampat. Previously there was only a flight into Sorong from the other Indonesian airports in Jakarta, Makassar or Manado. Not only is this an inconvenience to dive holiday makers wanting to see the famous Island of the Gods either before or after their trip, it also made for some nasty connections and travel times to get to Sorong directly from your origin. There’s quite a few of us that have done the dreaded 10pm to 4am stopover in Makassar airport from Bali to arrive red eyed and ready to sleep rather than dive when we hit Sorong! 

Now Garuda Indonesia has started direct flights between Bali and Sorong the pain has been taken away. The 40 + hour flights from the States and 30 + hour flights from Europe are now a thing of the past, the new direct Bali route will bring that down to 24 and 26 hours respectively. But the catch is you need to get it on the right day, currently what the Garuda website displays in the info page about these flights is incorrect, it’s much better to actually check the booking portal to see what days these flights are going. (https://www.garuda-indonesia.com/id/en/special-offers/sales-promotion/bali-sorong)

As of writing this article on 1st February 2024, there were currently direct flights from Bali to Sorong on Friday and Sunday’s, and no return flights from Sorong back to Bali despite the promise of Thursday and Friday flights on the Garuda website. Let’s hope they keep their promise, but honestly the stop over on the way back to Bali is during the day on the return leg so it’s not so bad for those looking to maximise their time in the holiday destination in a non zombie sleep deprived state.  

Indonesia, with its 17,000 islands, offers a treasure trove of diverse ecosystems and cultures, making it a captivating travel destination. While Bali remains the premier choice for many, the recent developments at Bali’s I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport are opening up new possibilities for adventurous travellers seeking to venture beyond the well-trodden path.

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Handy Heryudhitiawan, General Manager of Angkasa Pura I for I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport, expressed his enthusiasm for the new routes, emphasising the connectivity they bring to Bali and other Indonesian regions. He congratulated Garuda Indonesia for their efforts, foreseeing a positive impact on passenger numbers.

For those with a penchant for underwater exploration, the Garuda Indonesia flight to Sorong in Papua unlocks the door to the mesmerising Raja Ampat. Renowned for its exceptional diving opportunities, Papua also boasts the famous Cenderawasih Bay on the other side of the ‘Bird’s Head Peninsula’ to Raja Ampat, this is one of the best places globally to swim with whale sharks.

Beyond the aquatic wonders, Papua’s rich cultural tapestry is woven with indigenous groups maintaining traditional ways of life. Rainforests and mountainous regions are inhabited by tribal communities, creating an immersive experience for travellers seeking authenticity.

Indonesia’s tourist-friendly visa policies, allowing up to 60 days of travel (30 on arrival then another 30 extension at an immigration office), further facilitate exploration. The ease of extending visas online is supposed to be particularly beneficial for those planning extensive journeys across the archipelago, but again despite promises made of an online system, this is another one to watch out for. You actually need to go into an immigration centre physically for interviews and photos in the same location 3 times over a week, so make sure your plans include a week-long stay in a location where you can get this done. Both Bali and Sorong are locations where you can do this.

As Bali continues to be a gateway to extraordinary destinations, the convenience of direct flights to Sorong eliminates the need for transit flights, making it more accessible and time-efficient for diving enthusiasts than ever.

For those looking to embark on an unparalleled diving experience in Raja Ampat, La Galigo Liveaboard stands out as one of the best options. We have recently released our second quarter 2025 to second quarter 2026 itineraries to Raja Ampat with the trip start dates and direct flight days in mind.  Renowned for its exceptional service and commitment to providing an unforgettable journey, La Galigo Liveaboard offers a unique opportunity to explore the vibrant marine life and stunning coral reefs of Raja Ampat. With the new flight connections from Bali, reaching this diving paradise has never been easier for passionate divers seeking adventure and exploration in one of the world’s most captivating underwater realms. Dive into the wonders of Raja Ampat with La Galigo Liveaboard for an experience that combines convenience, comfort, and the breathtaking beauty of the Indonesian archipelago.

Enjoy a Diving Trip in Raja Ampat and Komodo with La Galigo Liveaboard

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La Galigo is known as one of the best liveaboard diving boats in Raja Ampat Indonesia, and it offers trips to well-known diving destinations such as Komodo and Raja Ampat. The Coral Triangle is located in Indonesia, which has the highest marine biodiversity on the planet.

La Galigo Liveaboard Diving was founded in 2015 by two avid divers who wanted to explore some of Indonesia’s pristine reefs but found that all existing scuba diving options were frequently out of their budget, and wanted to provide an affordable option for everyone to be able to explore these beautiful places.

La Galigo Liveaboard Diving in Raja Ampat & Komodo is a friends and family affair, and our liveaboard diving trips are always focused on fun, safety, guest comfortability, and are exceptional value for money. Our trip prices range from $2,160 for a six-day Komodo liveaboard diving trip to $3,815 for an eight-day Raja Ampat liveaboard diving trip. The price includes four meals a day, diving or snorkelling three to four times a day, and land tours.

Where do you want to go liveaboard diving? Check our trip schedules below ▾

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