Saturday, October 25, 2014

Hiking and Birdwatching in Sorong of West Papua

Visitors who travel to Raja Ampat will first have to fly to Sorong city. The city is located in mainland West Papua province of the Republic of Indonesia. I often receive questions from tourists whether there are other natural attractions around Sorong regency which they can see before or after visiting Raja Ampat islands.
Female Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus)
Female Eclectus Parrot
The lowland forest in the suburb of Sorong regency is a new destination for tourists who want to explore the biodiversity of tropical rainforest. The forest is the natural habitat of birds, reptiles, insects, mammals and marsupials. I introduced it for the first time on the internet in November 2014.
Male Lesser Birds of Paradise
a male Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor)
Tropical birds of New Guinea that thrive in lowland rainforest can be seen in the valley. Shining flycatcher (Myagra alecto), Sulphur crested cockatoo (Cacatua galerita), Pinon Imperial Pigion (Ducula pinon), Palm Cockatoo (Probosciger aterrimus), Western crowned pigeon (Goura cristata), Blyth's hornbill (Rhyticeros plicatus), Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Moustached Tree Swift, and Lesser birds of paradise (Paradisaea minor) are some of the many birds of New Guinea that visitors can watch while walking through the forest.
Western-crowned Pigeon (Goura cristata)
Western-crowned Pigeon
Hiking through the rainforest of Klasow valley is easy because the land is flat. However, the footpath to the display tree of Lesser Birds of Paradise is steep and slippery. It is approximately one hour on foot from the village. Visitors have to walk for at least 1 hour to reach the lek of the birds that is located near Klasow river.
Visitors can watch the birds in the mornings and in the evenings. Male lesser birds of paradise compete against one another to win the heart of female birds.
Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor)
Lesser Birds of Paradise
When the weather is good, the courtship dance performance usually lasts for 3 hours from 6 to 9 a.m.
After watching the paradise birds, visitors could walk back to the village and do birdwatching along the way. Binoculars, spotting scopes and laser pointer will be very useful during the morning walk.
Leg-cramps and muscle pain are not very common among tourists, but there were some cases where  tourists experienced them. Dehydration, salt depletion and fatigue of long day walking on the trails caused these severe leg cramps. When these signs happened, I immediately stopped the hiking tour and returned to our guesthouse. In the jungle guesthouse, I served instant noodle and gave it to my client who suffered it.  The soup of the noodle contains salt that would reduce the cramps. The noodle soup resupplies her body with new electrolytes. To ease the soreness or pain in the muscles and joints, I gave gentle massage using coconut oil. I applied the oil on my palms, warmed them up and then gave relaxing massage to the tensed musles.
Massage also increased the flow of blood that brings nutrients and oxygen to underlying tissues. It relieved muscle tension, and stiffness. Birding could be continued around the clearing area of the forest.

Birding in the Forest Edge

The clearing area around the jungle village is a good place for birding in the afternoon particularly between 16.00 to 18.00 local time. Birds such as friarbird, moustached tree swift, large fig parrot, red cheek parrot, and black lorry often fly and perch in the nearby trees. Children in the village with their sharper eyes can spot birds in distant trees faster than most of the visitors.
Rufous-bellied Kookaburra (Dacelo gaudichaud)
Rufous-bellied Kookaburra
What you need to bring:
  • Water shoes or trekking shoes and long sleeve clothing that will protect you from insect bites when you sleep. You also need t-shirt that is suitable for tropical climate that is usually hot during the day
  • Torch
  • Rain poncho
  • Insect repellent lotion. Apply it on your skin, and the clothes that cover your body, including areas over your neck, armpits, chest, crotch and ankle. This is very important to protect you from tiny insects that can go through your clothes and bite your skin. 
  • Bring binoculars or digital camera with super telephoto lens if you want to take pictures of the animals that live in the jungle.
  • Extra batteries for your camera.

Itinerary of Rainforest Tour:
Day 1
Transfer from Sorong city to lowland forest of Sorong by 4WD pick-up car. You will stay in a guesthouse (basic accommodation) in the jungle. Birding can be done directly along the forest edge. After dinner, I or local villager will accompany you to have a night walk in the jungle to find wallaby. Sometimes Papuan frogmouth or fruit bat can be seen too. We will use flash or torch. If you are too tired to do the night walk, we could do it in the second night.
Day 2
Early in the morning, after breakfast, you will leave your camp to walk deeper into the jungle to explore its biodiversity. Deer, wild pigs and wallaby live in the jungle of the valley. Our targets for this morning are Lesser Birds of Paradise and Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise. If we are lucky, we could see them. At night, after dinner, local guide can accompany you to find cuscus possum that usually comes out at night to find food or to mate.
Day 3
We will go trekking and birding in the hill forest. Usually, Hooded Butcherbird, Western-crowned Pigeon, Black-capped Lory, Yellow-billed Kingfisher, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, Frilled Monarch and King Bird of Paradise.
Day 4
This is your last birding day, the easiest way to explore the forest is to walk around the forest through old logging tracks that are located near the village. Birds such as Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Large Fig Parrot, Magnificent Riflebird, usually come to villagers' garden to find grains such as corn, peanuts and green beans. In the afternoon, 4WD pick up truck will transfer you back to Sorong city.
Unpaved road leading to Klasow valley

This depends on the number of participants and duration of the tour. Traveling in a group of 3 or 4 people will make the price cheaper.

The Lowland forest is located in the west of Sorong city. Visitors need to rent a 4WD Pick-up truck to reach the valley. You could contact me if you want a more customized trips and different itinerary.


Please, send me (Charles Roring) an email to: or text message to my cell phone 006281332245180. I will be happy to arrange your trip to Sorong forest or other parts of West Papua.
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo (Cacatua galerita)
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

Also read:
Birdwatching Tour in Sorong Lowland Forest
Birding in Sorong regency
Birding tour in Sorong regency of West Papua

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Cruise Ships Visit Manokwari

Motor vessel Oceanic Discoverer visited Mansinam island of Manokwari twice this month. It was the second ship that entered Dore bay this year. The first one was Caledonian Sky. As the capital of West Papua province, Manokwari regency is the center of government administration in the bird's head region of New Guinea. The arrival of tourists in this town will attract the attention of the local government.
Cruise Ship Oceanic Discoverer in the waters of Manokwari
According to the plan of Cruise Asia, bigger cruise ship will visit Manokwari in 2015. We expect Coral Princess to come on 6 February 2015 when the guests will be able to watch Cultural Parade that are attended by tens of thousands of participants who come from all corners of New Guinea and several regencies in Indonesia.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Symbol of Eternal

Blyth's hornbill is the symbol of eternal love. If one of them dies, the one that lives will fly alone for the rest of his or her life.
A couple of Blyth's hornbill was flying in the sky - Photo by Charles Roring

You could see Blyth's hornbill if you go birdwatching in the rainforest of Klasow valley of Sorong regency - West Papua. Contact E-mail:

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Rainforest Tour in Sorong Regency of West Papua

Sorong regency is the entrance gate in West Papua province of Indonesia for visitors who want to go to Raja Ampat islands- the most popular destination in the world for scuba divers. Sorong city itself is located on the mainland New Guinea. Unfortunately, very little information about tourist attractions of this regency is available on the internet. Geographically, Sorong is surrounded by mountains and lowland areas.
Malagufuk village in Klasow Valley
There is a valley in the east of Sorong city called Klasow. Lowland tropical rainforest that covers the valley is the natural habitat of various species of tropical plants, insects, birds, and mammals of New Guinea. Some terrestrial wild orchids can be found in the jungle of the valley too. Its flat land is suitable for visitors who are interested in hiking, birdwatching and exploring the ecosystem of rainforest.
terresterial orchids

Jungle Walk in the lowland forest
Wake up early in the morning and start walking along the banks of the river or footpaths to see the wild animals that live in the lowland forest of Klasow valley.  Because animals  and plants depend on water we could see birds, butterflies and some reptiles while we walk. Night walk is also recommended if want to see nocturnal animals such as cuscus possum, bandicoot and kangaroo.
small stream in Klasow valley

Bring a bridge camera with telephoto lens such as Nikon Coolpix P900 or a D-SLR Camera with at least 600 mm lens if you want to take pictures of birds. Sulphur crested cockatoo, Blyth's hornbill, Kingfishers and pigeons live in the forest of Klasow valley. Blyth's hornbill like to eat wild nutmeg fruits in the jungle whereas cockatoos can easily be recognized by their loud shrieking sounds in the middle of peaceful atmosphere of the forest.
Papuan hornbill (Rhyticeros plicatus)

Where is Klasow valley?
Klasow valley is located in the east of Sorong city. There is a village in the valley. Its name is Malakutuk. Look at the following map.

How to get there?
It is easy to go to Klasow valley.
  • Fly from your country to Jakarta and then 
  • Take a domestic flight to Sorong city (Garuda Indonesia, Sriwijaya, Express Air and Lion Air have got regular flights to Sorong city every week)
  • Before flying to Sorong, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by e-mail to or by sending text message to my whatsapp: 006281332245180. 
Cost: It is expensive to travel alone. You could travel in a group of at least 2 to 4 people or more to share the cost. I could make a budget calculation if you contact me by email before you come.

Duration of the rainforest tour
You could choose to stay for 3 days/ 2 nights or more in the jungle of the valley to explore the wildlife of New Guinea. Because there is no hotels in the jungle, visitors will stay at simple wooden houses built by the local people. You plan to stay longer, make sure that you buy enough food from Sorong city.
Rainforest in Klasow Valley

What to bring
Wear water shoes or jungle boots
Buy a small bottle of insect repellent lotion and apply it all over your body.
Bring extra batteries for your camera
Buy enough food and drinking water if you plan to stay longer

Logging versus Sustainable Tourism
We promote rainforest tour to Klasow valley of Sorong regency to reduce and to stop selective logging operations and to empower the indigenous Papuan people to take up sustainable development and eco-tourism for improving their quality of life. Because the indigenous Papuan people who live in the valley are still new to and in the very early stages of developing their eco-tourism program, be more tolerant for their lack of experience and professionalism when serving you as their guests.

If you still need more information, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by e-mail to: