Marinda Airport Waisai Review

Raja Ampat Airport 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 if West Papua.

You should know that there is currently one daily flight from Sorong to Waisai, and this is the closest airport to entering the main Raja Ampat area. 

From other major cities in Indonesia, all the flights will land at the Domine Eduard Osok Airport in Sorong, West Papua.

Usually, travelers will opt to take the ferry or boat 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 a 30 minute flight.

If you take a ferry or fast boat from Sorong, it will take you around two hours by sea, and this all depends on sea conditions, which are usually not that bad. 

Review of Marinda Airport Waisai

Airport Raja Ampat
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 catch 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, in order of cutting some travel time. 

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 Marinda Airport officially opened in May 2012, which is due mainly to the increase in tourism to Raja Ampat.

Currently, the airport is undergoing structural renovations to better the facilities and load of the termina.

The renovations include extending the airport 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.

Waisai Airport
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 were ongoing when I visited this place. 

The current runway is only 1,200 meters long by 30 meters wide, and a very small terminal with a total size of 120 square meters.

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 for the future.

Surprisingly 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 West Papua regional leader (Bupati), where his name is Marcus Wanma and also vice Bupati Inda Arfan. So they named the airport after both of them calling it Marinda.

Photo of Raja Ampat Airport
The baggage collection area is still manual here
Facilities at Marinda Airport Waisai

When you arrive, be prepared to go back in time. The aircraft will make a quick landing and then a quick turnaround, before stopping about 10 meters from the airport entrance.

Sorry, there is no shuttle bus or aero bridges here, you exit the aircraft and take a nice slow walk to the terminal 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 the staff put them through the hole. Honestly, this was so old school, as I have seen this at some other remote airports in Borneo too. 

Once you collect your luggage, it will take you five steps, and you are outside the arrival entrance. Here you will be greeted by the local drivers or 'supirs' who will ask you if you need a taxi service or if you are a confirmed guest.

Before you exit, there are some general notice boards with signs indicating how much it will cost to travel around Waisai.

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. You will fin only locals dressed in their everyday attire, waiting to pick up confirmed guests or act as taxis.

If you have arranged a pick up with your resort, they would most likely send a modern day air conditioned van to pick you up. Well, I did see a couple that used one of the services. 

There are toilets, but they  look like a scene from the 1980's. They are overall clean and usable, as some of us had to go after landing.

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 general shop.

Raja Ampat Promotion at Waisai
Promotional banners on Raja Ampat are the only colors you see just as you exit the airport.
Yes, there is only one little shop that sells coffee, tea, some local snacks and instant noodles. This is located just outside the arrival hall by the entrance.

From what I saw, only the locals will frequent this place for their daily coffee fix or a quick meal while waiting for guests to arrive. 

There is nothing modern in terms of Starbucks, souvenir shops or any kind of shop. Just one local general shop, so if you need to buy anything, please do so at the Sorong airport in West Papua before you come here.

Bus Taxi Service from Raja Ampat Waisai Airport
The transportation service from the Marinda Airport to various places in Waisai.
Outside, minor renovations are still ongoing, but I guess at a very slow pace as debris and construction materials are seen lying 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 1980's was arranged to send us to the harbor. 

It was classic design with no air conditioned, and slide up windows, this was truly a trip down memory lane.

The bus ride took us through a pristine rainforest, which was so raw, just like those I have seen deep in Borneo. 

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 in West Papua, please don't forget to get your Raja Ampat Marine park permit from Sorong before you come to Waisai.

Raja Ampat Marinda Airport
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, Nam Air and Sriwijaya Air are to operate flights to Marinda Airport from the Sorong Airport as well.

There are a total of 17 flights a week operating this route, but you should double check the schedules, as at times, other airlines may cancel or reschedule.

News also surfaced in 2018 that there may be AirAsia flights to Raja Ampat in the near future, but it was only verbally announced.

Once AirAsia starts flying here, the airline will most likely land at the Sorong Airport due to the aircraft size used, unless the Marinda Airport is ready to accept larger aircraft.  

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.

The destination also contains the richest marine biodiversity on earth, making this place one of the best places for snorkeling and scuba diving in the world.

To travel here, you can read my other article on how to get to Raja Ampat, as I share the most common ways to travel here.

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. 
Marinda Airport Waisai Review Marinda Airport Waisai Review Reviewed by Malaysia Asia on Thursday, February 21, 2019 Rating: 5

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