Sunday, August 24, 2008

Visiting Diving Sites in Eastern Indonesia the cheaper way


by Charles Roring
Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world. It consists of more than 13,600 islands which offer many world class diving sites to scuba divers. The rapid growth of population in this country gives more pressures to the coral reefs that are located near the coastal towns or cities of Indonesia. Western part of this country is experiencing industrialization. In Eastern Indonesia the condition of most of the marine parks is still good. They are Banda Marine Park of Moluccan islands, Bunaken National Marine Park in North Sulawesi, Raja Ampat Marine Park and Cendrawasih National Marine Park of Wondama in West Papua.
Only Bunaken that has the best infrastructure for foreign and domestic tourists.
If you are interested in visiting these marine parks, you can go there by plane or passenger ship. The cheapest way to travel from one island to another in Indonesia is by passenger ferry. Pelni, the largest state owned ship liner, has many ships and ferrys that can take to most of the big islands. The condition of the passenger ships is good. Most of them are made in Germany. By sailing with these ships you can bring as many diving equipment as you need. The price of first class ticket is very cheap if compared to European or American standard. For safety reason, it is better to buy first class. You will have your own bed room, with private toilet and locker. Backpackers can choose tourist class. Many people choose economy class because it is very cheap but with noprivacy at all. In addition, passengers in economy class have to be careful with their luggage all time.
Upon arrival in Wondama - West Papua, for instance, you need to stay one night in that town. The next day you can contact boat owners there to arrange for a visit to Cendrawasih National Marine Park. It is better to go to there with a partner or some of your friends.