Sunday, July 10, 2016

Hiking Tour in the Forest of Sorong Regency of West Papua

Early this year I organized a rainforest tour for some French tourists in the jungle of Sorong regency. There were 3 ladies and 1 gentleman. We went hiking in lowland forest see colorful wild flowers, trees, shrubs and creeping plants as well as butterflies, birds of paradise, wallaby (a kind of kangaroo), and a lot of species of birds. The forest is located approximately 2 hours ride from Sorong town (the entrance gate to Raja Ampat islands). A lot of tourists contact me by email to do land tour before or after their trip in Raja Ampat. So, I highly recommend it as the rainforest tour destination for them.

Golden Myna (Mino anais)
Golden Myna
Trip to Rainforest of Sorong
Before leaving for the lowland forest, we bought food in the traditional market of Sorong. I bought a lot of smoked fish, fruits, bread, vegetables, batteries for our torches or flashlight, and bottled waters. I prepared camping tents and two big plastic tarps. When everything was ready, we left Sorong city by a 4WD car. The road was good in the first part of the trip but later we saw unpaved road when we were outside of the town. One hour later the car was entering the northern coast of Sorong regency. We saw the sea and some coastal villages. Before arriving at our destination, our car was climbing very steep slopes. There was a place on the higher ground where most cars stop for the passengers to pee and take pictures of the beautiful scenery of the sea. We stopped there too. After that we continued our trip. This time the road condition was very bad and steeper. But our driver was skillful in controlling his car. Then the car was going down steep slopes again. We arrived safe and sound at the entrance path of the jungle. Local villagers worked as porters for us. They carried our food, and bags. We still had to walk for approximately one and a half hours to reach a jungle village near Klabolo stream. The land was flat so, it was an easy walk for us.
Tropical rainforest in Sorong regency of West Papua
We walked through the jungle which was the natural habitat of various species of butterflies, birds and tropical plants. We saw such butterflies as Taenaris catops, and Papilio ulysses. There were also birds that were flying over the canopy of the forest. Some of them which I could recognize were Blyth's hornbills, Sulphur Crested Cockatoo and Eclectus Parrot. We arrived in the village at 15.00 local time. I asked some women in the village to prepare food for us. Minutes later, we received a jar of hot water which we use to make some tea and ate it with some biscuits. While sitting and drinking tea in front of our guesthouse, we saw some birds flying in the sky. Some landed on the branches of the trees near us. I took out my spotting scope and mounted it on the tripod. We enjoyed our tea time with some birding activities. We saw Moustached Treeswift, Glossy Swift, Rainbow Lorikeet, Helmetted Friarbird, Pink-spotted Fruitdove, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Large Fig Parrot, and Sulphur Crested Cockatoo. The jungle village of Klabolo stream was small and peaceful. People were friendly. We spent one night in the village.

Watching Courtship Dance of Lesser Birds of Paradise
Lesser Birds of Paradise
I set my alarm clock at 4.30. When it rang, I immediately woke up and prepared myself for early morning jungle walk. This time we would go birdwatching. Our goal was to find Lesser Birds of Paradise. The French ladies and gentleman were also preparing themselves. I checked them one by one whether they had torch. Guided by some local villagers, we were leaving the village for the display trees of paradise birds. It was still dark and we slowly walked up steep slopes behind the village. We could hear the sounds of wallaby and deers running away from us as we made some noise while walking through the bush. We had some rain in the middle of the tour but we decided to continue our trip.
The path was slippery. Some of us tripped and fell to the ground. But it was OK, it was part of the adventure of nature walk. We arrived at around 06.00 at the display trees. Male paradise birds had started calling the female birds to attract them. It was a nice attraction. We were watching some Lesser Birds of Paradise (Paradisaea minor) performed courtship dance. When one female paradise bird was impressed with the dance, she would mate with the male paradise bird that gave the best performance. It was amazing. We watched paradise birds until around 09.00 and then walked back to the village again.

Hiking tour in Klaglass forest of Sorong regency
Hiking in the Forest
The lowland forest was located deeper inside the tropical jungle of Sorong regency. After brunch (combined breakfast and lunch), we left for Klaglass. More local villagers carried our logistical things. They brought mattrasses, tents, food, and water. Dense forest was waiting for us. We had to walk up some slopes but most of the ground was flat. There were a lot of small rivers which we had to cross. Sometimes we needed to walk on fallen trees to cross the rivers. We also saw sago trees, giant pandanus trees until we reached a river. We arrived at the bank of Klaglass river at around 17.00. Some young men villagers who walked ahead of us to carry our food and bags had arrived. They were clearing the bush and cutting small trees to make basecamps for us. We would stay in tents there for 3 days/ 2 nights to see the plants and animals of the forest.

Body Massage and Ginger Tea
Hairy white flowers in the jungle of Klasow valley
The ladies were complaining that they had pains in their leg muscles and body. One of them asked me if I could give her massage on her back. To relieve the pain, I gave body massage using sandalwood oil. I was very tired actually after the long walk from the village to this pristine forest but I felt that I must serve them well. I applied some drops of the oil on to my palms. I rubbed both of my palms to spread the oil and generate some heat. After that I began to massage the body of the lady starting from her shoulder. I moved down my hands to knead the muscles at the back of her body and further to the legs. Later, the other ladies asked the massage treatment too. Each of the ladies enjoyed the massage for around 30 minutes to 45 minutes. They said they liked the massage very much. Well, it's a bonus for them. I only hoped that after the massage they could sleep well and then could do the hiking trip the next morning.
I went to the kitchen to ask some hot water. We spent our tea time with some cakes besides the river. Dominique, one of the French ladies, asked me whether we had some ginger. I walked to the kitchen again to find the ginger. I returned with the ginger. She cut it into smaller slices and put it into the water. So, when all of us were enjoying sweet jasmine tea, she was enjoying hot ginger tea. Later the other ladies were interested in tasting the ginger tea. So, all of us drank ginger tea by the river that evening. The ladies still requested another massage session at night. As a result, I was so exhausted that night and fell asleep soon in my tent.

Bridal Veil Stink Horn Mushroom
Unique Mushrooms and Rich Bio-diversity
The humidity inside the  forest of Sorong or Tambrauw regency was very high. It became a favorite climate for the growth of mushrooms. We saw various kinds of mushrooms while we were walking in the forest. There were mushrooms that looked like coral reef and there was also a mushroom that was similar to a hard penis of man. It was so unique because it was covered by a net of veil. All of the French tourists stopped for a while to take some pictures of the mushrooms.
We had full day jungle walk in the lowland forest the next day. We saw orchid plants, birds, tropical trees with very big buttresses, unique creeping plants. At the end of the day, all of the French tourists were swimming in the river. I could not identify the names of the plants because there were a lot of them.

Pinon Imperial Pigeon
Back to the village
The next morning we walked back to the jungle village near a stream. Over all the rainforest tour was tiring but all of us could see wallaby (a kind of smaller kangaroo), we heard the sound of cassowary birds, we saw Birds of Paradise, we saw a lot of birds and butterflies. We still had one night walk in the jungle where we saw wallaby. This was a kind of kangaroo but smaller than the one in Australia. We saw some of them. The French tourists told me they would help promote this rainforest tour in Sorong to their friends hoping that more people who are interested in rainforest tour to visit us.

Female Eclectus Parrot (Eclectus roratus)
Eclectus Parrot
How to get there?
  • First, you need to fly from your country to Jakarta (the capital city of Indonesia)
  • Second, take a domestic flight (usually served by such airlines as Garuda, Sriwijaya, Batik, or Lion Air) to Sorong city.
  • I will meet you at the airport to organize your tour to the lowland forest and guide you during the trip.
You could take this jungle tour alone (as a private tour) or with some friends (as group tour). I will be happy to organizethe trip and guide you, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: or whatsapp message to: +6281332245180. I will prepare an itinerary and cost calculation for you.

Also read: Watching Birds of Paradise in Susnguakti Forest