By October 30, 2014 0 Comments

Observations on the Journey to Raja Ampat

We are millonaires in Indonesia

Store for the very wealthy? No… We are millionaires in Indonesia. Everything for 100,000 = 99 Cent Store or the Dollar Store in USA.


I flew DPS Bali – UPG Makassar – SOQ Sorong with Garuda Indonesia Airlines  today. * (starred) observations are only for that route.

** I may have observations for travel from Jakarta later in a separate post.

  • *I checked two bags with Garuda, just under 23kg each. No excess was charged. Be sure to tell the check-in agent your bags contain diving equipment. Zero hassle.
  • *The Garuda tickets we purchased for Bali – UPG – Sorong in July 2014 included the DPS Airport tax. At the tax payment counter just show your DPS-UPG boarding pass. This is not true for tickets purchased later.
  • DPS Airport Food Cream Puffs

    DPS Airport Food – Beard Papa’s Cream Puffs

    *At the DPS airport domestic terminal the walk to the gates is very long, but there are cream puffs on the journey!

    “Beard Papa’s” opens early. Time for freshly baked puffs filled with cream after you order & coffee before the 6:35AM flight if you arrive around 05:00.

    P.S. the coffee machine is bizarre, if you have time get coffee elsewhere.


  • *The aircraft has limited storage space in the cabin. OK under the seat. Overheads are not large. I could fit my medium size backpack stuffed full of cameras, PC, rain jacket, files, etc. in the overhead with no trouble. A medium size rolling bag will be checked at the gate and handed to you when you exit the aircraft at the end of the flight segment. Anything fragile should be put in a bag that can fit in the cabin.
  • *When you get off the bus at the UPG airport (Makassar), take your boarding pass for the UPG-SOQ (Sorong) flight to the transfer counter located just inside the building on the ground level so they will know you are there. It isn’t that obvious.
  • Makassar Airport Phinisi Ship Model

    Makassar Airport Phinisi Ship Model – Don’t let it distract you from trying to find the gate for your flight!

    *At UPG (Makassar) airport connecting flight information on the screens is NOT correct. The transfer desk and the screens will send you to Gate 1. Watch the time. 15 min. before boarding time ask someone who looks “in charge” at Gate 1 where the flight to Sorong will board. When you to that gate, find someone from Garuda and ask again. Gates are NOT announced. Screens are NOT updated. This happens for many airlines, not just Garuda.

  • One day we will film “Survivor UPG Airport” here.

Mikel (local guide, working with me since 1999) looks good! He met me at the SOQ (Sorong) airport this afternoon. Irritated the porter ’cause Mikel took charge of getting my bags – got them straight off the trolley outside, put them on the carousel himself, and then took them outside with only a wave of his hand to the security guards!

  • At the Sorong airport (SOQ) baggage claim, the coolest place is near the open door to the tarmac, plus you can see bags arriving on trolleys from the flights. If you feel the need to stay in the bag claim while the porters fetch your bags, stand there. More comfortable.
  • You must have your baggage claim check stubs to claim your bags in Sorong. Know where they are.


  • WiFi in the J.E. Meridien Hotel Soron (JEM) works only in lobby & restaurant ( as before).
  • There is a shiny new ATM in the JEM lobby.
  • You CAN cut cable ties with fingernail clippers.
  • The regulation “Please do not carry or consume stink meals (durian fruit)” is still in effect & printed on the sheet in your room.
  • As is the rule “Prohibited from bringing not legally married partner.”
  • Elevator works! AC not so much…
  • I’ve been in Indonesia 8 days. No rain where I’ve been. Zero. Hot and sunny in Sorong this afternoon.
Posted in: Dive Trip Oct 19

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