Wondama regency in West Papua is one of the top destinations for marine tourism. Its coral reef areas, together with Raja Ampat and Triton Bay in Kaimana, have got the highest marine biodiversity in the world.
One of the coral reef sites in Wondama that can easily be reached by visitors is Ketapang Lima beach. It is a beautiful site for swimming and snorkeling. There are a lot of species of fish including surgeonfish, anemonefish, butterflyfish, grouper, moorish idol, and a lot more. The coral reef itself is located around one hundred meters from the beach making it well protected from ordinary beachgoers. Between the coral reef and the beach, the water is quite deep and can reach a depth of 3 to 7 or even 10 meters. This is a natural barrier that curbs people from walking to the reef.
Visitors who are interested in taking a holiday in Wondama Regency to enjoy swimming, and snorkeling need to bring their own snorkeling mask, snorkel, fins and underwater camera. Snorkeling experience will be better during the peak of dry season which is around late June to early late November.
While snorkeling over coral reef, visitors can see the Wondiboy mountains behind the beach. Its rainforest is the natural.habitat of hundreds of species of plants and animals including marsupial animal such cuscus possum, tree kangaroo and bandicoot. Birds such as palm cockatoo, blyth's hornbill, Lesser Birds of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, King Bird of Paradise also live in this forest.
There are wooden canoes that belong to local people at Ketapang Lima beach. Visitors can rent one of them for around 2 to 3 hours or 1 full day snorkeling. The cost is between 100 to 150 thousand rupiahs (approximately 10 US dollars).
Accommodation at Ketapang Lima Beach
There is a homestay at Ketapang Lima Beach. Its name is Karumatiri homestay. There are two bedrooms for couples in the homestay. Although it is not a luxurious accommodation, it is comfortable for families or honeymooners. Breakfast is served at around 07.00.
There are some small hotels in Wasior town. Food such as nasi goreng, sate, and ordinary nasi campur (rice, with vegetables, fish or chicken). Local delicacy such as papeda with yellow broth fish soup, grilled fish or crab can be ordered in certain eating houses in town.
How to get to Wondama?
The capital of Wondama is Rasiei, it is an integral part of Wasior town. Traveling to Wasior is easy. Visitors need to take international flight to Jakarta which is the capital of Indonesia. After that they can continue their trip by Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 jet planes operated by such airlines as Sriwijaya, Lion and Batik Air to Manokwari. The trip to Wasior can be done by fast ferry boat that leaves the Anggrem harbor of Manokwari city at 12:00 for the harbour of Wasior town (arriving at around 19:00). There is also overnight passenger boat service that leaves Manokwari city at 18:00 local time and arrives the next morning
Susi Air operates Cessna Caravan 208 several times a week between Manokwari and Wasior. The maximum capacity is 10 people. The maximum free luggage is 10 kilograms.
Other Tourist Attractions in Wondama
Wondama Bay has got a lot of natural places for visitors to explore. Here are some of them.
- Hiking site in Aitumieri (also the site where the first teachers training school in New Guinea was built by Izaac Samuel Kijne).
- Rowor beach
- Wandamui Hill
- Rowi River
- Mangrove and Sago forest in Ramiki
- Aisandami - This is a village that is located at the northern region of Wondama peninsula. Here visitors can enjoy hiking and easy birding walk to see a lot of species of tropical birds including Blyth's hornbill, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Eclectus Parrot, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Lowland Peltop, Hooded Butcherbird, Red Myzomela, Common Paradise Kingfisher, and a lot more. The waters of Aisandami is also a great site for swimming and snorkeling because it has got giant glams, grouper, moorish idol, parrotfish, wrass, and etc. After exploring Aisandami village, its waters and forest, visitors can cross the sea by motorized boat to Roon islands to further explore its marine wonders.
From Wasior town, visitors can explore more tropical islands in the National Marine Park of Cendrawasih Bay including Rumberpoon, Roswar, Purup, Roon and Auri islands. This is written by Charles Roring.