Marinda Airport Waisai Review

marinda-airport-waisai-review Marinda Airport Waisai Review

This review of the Marinda Airport in Waisai is for anyone who plans to fly from Sorong to Waisai in the Raja Ampat Regency. You should know that there is currently one daily flight from Sorong to here and this is the closest airport to entering the main Raja Ampat area. 
From other major cities in Indonesia, all the flights land at the Domine Eduard Osok Airport in Sorong, West Papua. Usually, travelers will opt to take the ferry to Waisai before catching the local boats to your resort in Raja Ampat. 
For those who get seasick, flying from Sorong to Waisai would be your best option as it only takes 30 minutes flight. If you take a ferry or fast boat from Sorong, it will take you around two hours by sea. 

Review of Marinda Airport Waisai

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The welcome sign as you walk into the Marinda Airport in Waisai, Raja Ampat.
On my trip to Raja Ampat in late 2017, I was fortunate to have experienced flying from Makassar to Sorong, and then a connecting flight to Marinda Airport here in Waisai. Therefore, I am doing this airport review for anyone who plans to do this same route. 
The Marinda Airport (RJM) is considered to be one of the very small airports in this part of Indonesia, which is a Class 3 domestic airport.

This is also the closest airport to the Waisai Harbor where you catch your boat to the resort you are staying at. The airport officially opened in May 2012 due mainly to the increase in tourism to Raja Ampat.

Currently, the airport is undergoing renovations as the Waisai province is hopping to extend the runway in order to accommodate larger wide bodied aircraft like the Airbus A320’s and Boeing 737’s. At the moment, only the ATR turboprop planes can land here.

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Arriving lets you walk to the main terminal building
The Indonesian transport ministry is hoping to turn the Marinda Airport into an international airport, to receive more guests into Raja Ampat. Originally initiated in 2015, renovations are ongoing as I noticed when I landed here. 
The current runway is only 1,200 meters long by 30 meters wide, and a small terminal with a total of 120 square meters large. This is the old format of small remote airports in Indonesia, but with tourism leading the way here, it is only right to renovate this airport.

In 2017, a total of 40,000 tourist visited Raja Ampat making this one of the up and coming places to visit in Indonesia. 

Here is a fun fact – The unique name of Marinda Airport (Bandar Udara Marinda) is also adopted from the combination of regional leader (Bupati), where his name is Marcus Wanma and vice bupati Inda Arfan. So they named the airport after both of them calling it Marinda.

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The baggage collection area is still manual here
Facilities at Marinda Airport Waisai
When you arrive, be prepared to go back in time. The plane will make a quick land and a quick turnaround, before stopping about 10 meters from the airport entrance. Sorry, no shuttle bus or aero bridges here, exit the aircraft and take a nice slow walk to the building. 
The airport is so small, there is only one door leading into the arrival room. Luggage is sill manual and dropped through a hole in the wall. You pick up your own bags as it is put through the hole. Old school if you ask me. 
Once you collect your luggage, it is five steps and you are outside the arrival entrance. Here you will be greeted by local drivers or ‘supirs‘ who will ask you if you need a taxi service.

Before you exit, there are some general notice boards with signs indicating how much it costs to go where in Waisai.

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The one and only gift and general store at the Marinda Airport.
Sorry to say, there is no coupon or taxi counter at this small airport. Only locals dressed in their everyday attire waiting to pick up confirmed guests.

If you have arranged a pick up with your resort, they would most likely send a decent modern day air conditioned van to pick you up. Well, I saw a traveling couple using that service. 

There are toilets, but they remain in a time from back in the day. They are overall clean and usable. But do not attempt to shower or drink the local water from the bathroom taps. Just buy a bottle of mineral water from outside the tuck shop.

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Promotional banners on Raja Ampat are the only colors you see just as you exit the airport.
To be very honest, there is only one little shop that sells coffee, tea, some local snacks and instant noodles. This is located outside the arrival hall by the entrance. From what I saw, only locals will frequent this place for their daily coffee fix. 
There is nothing modern in terms of Starbucks, souvenir shops or any kind of shop. Just one local cafe, so if you need to buy anything, please do so at the Sorong airport in west Papua before you come here.

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The transportation service from the Marinda Airport to various places in Waisai.

Outside, minor renovations are ongoing, but I guess at a very slow pace as debris and construction materials are seen around the area.

Well, they are doing upgrading works, and according to the locals, the new Marinda airport should be ready by end of 2018 or early 2019, if it all goes smoothly. 

Marinda Airport is a stand alone airport and located about 20 minutes out of the Waisai Harbor. My group was decently large with about 15 people, hence a local bus from the 80’s was arranged to send us to the harbor. 
Classic design with no air conditioned and slide up windows, this was truly a trip down memory lane. The bus ride takes you through a pristine rainforest, looking like those you only see deep in the heart of normal rainforests. 
I sat at the last seat by the window to capture anything out of the ordinary on my camera, and to my surprise as the bus was traveling, an eagle was flying next to the bus after being startled. You can imagine the look on my face when I saw it. This is truly Raja Ampat.

By the way, if you are planning to visit this exotic place, please don’t forget to get your Raja Ampat Marine park permit[1] from Sorong before you come to Waisai.

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Wings Air ATR-72 aircraft that flies to the Marinda Airport

Airlines that fly to Marinda Airport in Waisai

As of April 2018, only two airlines fly to Marinda Airport in Waisai. They are Susi Air which uses a Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft since 2012, and Wings Air which started once a day flights in January 2017. 
Wings Air uses an ATR 72-600 aircraft for this flight which operates four cities. The flight route is Manado, Waisai, Sorong and Monokwari which is a once a day flight. This means the airport only operates from 8.00 AM to around 5.00 PM. 
Apparently, at the end of October 2017, Nam Air and Sriwijaya Air began to operate flights to Marinda Airport from the Sorong Airport as well. There are a total of 17 flights a week operating this route.

News also surfaced that there may be AirAsia flights to Raja Ampat[3] in the near future, but it was only verbally announced. Once they start flying here, it will most likely land at the Sorong Airport due to the aircraft used. 

[2]

Marinda Airport Waisai 
Address: Jln. Marinda Waisai Raja Ampat.
GPS Coordinates: 00 ° 25’56,3 “S130 ° 46’22,33” E
Contact: marinda.airport@gmail.com
Conclusion
Raja Ampat is home to 75 percent of the world’s corals with a whopping total of 553 coral species and 1,437 coral reef species.

Raja Ampat also contains the richest marine biodiversity on earth, making this destination one of the best places for snorkeling and scuba diving.

To get here, you can read my other article on how to get to Raja Ampat[4] as I share the most common ways for all types of travelers.

Overall, I would say that you should not be booking a three or five day trip here as it is not worth it. You really need to spend at least a week in Raja Ampat to fully enjoy this amazing place. 

Again, for those who plan to take a flight from Sorong to Waisai, this is the main airport that you will arrive at, and I hope you got some valuable information from my review Marinda Airport in Waisai. 

References

  1. ^ Raja Ampat Marine park permit (blog.malaysia-asia.my)
  2. ^ Sorong Airport (blog.malaysia-asia.my)
  3. ^ AirAsia flights to Raja Ampat (blog.malaysia-asia.my)
  4. ^ how to get to Raja Ampat (blog.malaysia-asia.my)

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