The town of Sorong, located on the “beak” of the Bird’s Head Peninsula in West Papua is the departure point for your visit to the fabulous Raja Ampat marine park. The word “Sorong” is said to originate from the local Soreri language meaning “deep and turbulent seas”. Mountains, hills, lowlands, and protected forests securely surround the town. As a port, its inhabitants come from multi-ethnic descent.
Sorong has long been one of the busiest harbors of West Papua, owing to the oil supplies found in this region since 1932. However, oil projects have declined significantly today. The productive oil fields off Sorong were one of the reasons why the former Dutch colonialists hung on to Irian (former name of Papua) even after the independence of the Indonesian archipelago. It is not surprising that the town is multi-cultural.
Today, oil is actually still the dominant industry here, although timber export comes second, with logs usually directly shipped overseas. Nowadays, government regulations require that milling and processing take place locally. Therefore, plywood factories and such are being built in Sorong. The seas around Sorong are rich in tuna and shrimp, which are also major export commodities. On Kabra island, there is a Japanese farm for cultured pearls, while shark fins and trepang are shipped to Hong Kong, Taiwan and China.