South Moluccas: Traveling to Ora Beach

Ora Beach, a hidden paradise located in North of Seram Island. A secluded beach with only private eco-resort and surrounded by giant limestone hills, truly an excellent place to find serenity. Moreover, the house reef in front of the resort is still maintained very well. Healthy bunch of corals, even when the tide is low, the corals are visible. This place is very suitable for honeymooners.

I really wanted to go to Ora Beach for a long time. The reason is the exotic landscape I've seen in google. I went to Amahai first and stay for a night hoping to get early car to Sawai. The difficulty in reaching Ora Beach is no public transportation with exact schedule. The driver will wait until the car is fully seated then depart. I got my car departed on 12 a.m. and reached Sawai on 4 p.m. Along the way I saw forest around me. I was glad that most of Seram Island is still covered by rain forest. The status of national park, named Manusela, has protected the territory. If you're a mountain lovers, try to reach the summit of Mount Binaiya (3,027 meters about sea level). I chose to stay in Sawai for my first night because it's cheaper. I stayed in Lisar Bahari owned by Pak Ali. The cottage is above the water, simple with wooden-made stilt house. It's possible to snorkel in front of the cottage. Coral is okay, visibility not so good at that time.

The second day we moved to Ora Eco-Resort. Took around 20 minutes by fisherman boat down the amazing limestone hills to Ora Beach. Incredible landscape makes me shiver of God's creation. You can go for snorkeling along the limestone hills. We arrived in Ora Beach and the first thing I saw and amazed was the crystal glassy clear water! Corals are everywhere, I think this is one of the clearest water I've ever seen in my life. I couldn't resist anymore to jump to the water and swim. The corals are healthy, good visibility, it's much more better than Sawai. Small reef fishes everywhere. I didn't see many big fishes around. Dominated with hard corals but still, there are some soft corals around.

Getting to Ora Beach

Not easy to reach this hidden paradise. Long long way from the capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta. Take flight to Ambon as the starting city to Ora Beach. From Ambon City you may rent a car or take taxi to Tulehu Port (Rp 150,000). If you're in Ambon City, take angkot to Waii or Tulehu (Rp 10,000). From the port, there's an express boat (Rp 110,000) connecting Ambon and Seram, twice a day.
The schedule is : Ambon (Tulehu)-Masohi (Amahai) : 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
                          Masohi (Amahai)-Ambon (Tulehu) : 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Crossing the sea will take around one and a half hour. From Amahai take angkot (Rp 15,000) or ojek (Rp 25,000) to Binaiya Station. Try to ask around to find car to Saleman or Sawai. If you want to go directly to Ora Beach then take car to Saleman (Rp 75,000-100,000) around 2.5 hours. From Saleman take fisherman boat around 10 minutes (Rp 50,000/person), speedboat cost Rp 250,000/boat/way to Ora Beach. Same thing if you want to go to Sawai first, 3.5 hours long by car (Rp 100,000). From Sawai to Ora Beach take fisherman boat (Rp 50,000/person or Rp 100,000/boat)

Where to Stay? Ora Eco-Resort or Lisar Bahari?

Lisar Bahari in Sawai Village
Lisar Bahari  Pros:
- Price is cheaper. Room+3x meals : Rp 250,000/person. Room only Rp 200,000/room
- Delicious food and big size meals.
- In a village so you can meet locals, kids, also do trekking.

the room
Lisar Bahari Cons:
- Corals are not so good
- I got an inconvenient experience at that time.Upon my arrival, I asked about the room price. Pak Ali, the owner told me Rp 250,000. He told me to choose any room I wanted. I thought it's per room price. When I checked out and paid, he told me the price is Rp 250,000/person because I took more expensive room and food. I'm pretty upset about this thing because he didn't say clearly about the price per room or per person. So next time make sure you ask which room costs Rp 200,000/room and which room costs Rp 250,000/person

Sea Ville Ora Eco Resort
land room not maintained well

Ora-Eco Resort Pros:
- Beautiful secluded resort, surrounded with amazing nature and also tranquility.

- Well taken-cared corals.

Ora Eco Resort Cons:
- Pricey. Especially the food price which costs Rp 250,000/person (3x meals, 2x coffee break) the food is limited, one of the guest didn't get a plate. Nobody was assigned to look after the dining hall so when the guest needed something, non of the resort employees were there.
- Not so warm employees and not so good in service.
- Room facility is not maintained well. No lock at my toilet door, fan's not working well, broken shower.  They should have maintained and fixed the broken things. Room price is Rp 400,000 (land) Rp 500,000 (stilted house on land) and Rp 700,000 (sea ville).

Activities to Do
-Snorkeling around limestone hills, snorkeling to Tujuh Island. Boat to go there about Rp 1,000,000 for a day trip. Can fit to 10 people.
-Bird-watching and trekking in the conservation area.
-Watching bats flying out during sunset time.

Tips in Traveling to Ora Beach

I personally thought it's better to stay in Ora Eco-Resort although in the cheapest room because the landscape, corals, everything are too good to be true. But the management really need to improve the service or else the unsatisfied customers will stay only one or two nights and they're gone. My suggestion is, going to Ora Beach is considered as luxurious travel. Backpacking is not suitable for this place because no hitchhiking available (I rarely see other cars passing through),  accommodation is too expensive, at least you need to spent Rp 1,000,000 to come to this place. I think to reduce the expense, you can stay in villagers house in Saleman, and visit Ora. But it's a waste not to stay in such a beautiful place, so prepared your budget at least Rp 1,000,000 not including the flight. Travel in minimum 4-6 people so you can rent cars and don't have to wait for the public cars. If you need a budget pace to stay in Masohi, there's one cheap hostel in front of Binaiya Station,"Raudatul" price is ony Rp 75,000/night. It's better to book the accommodation in Lisar or Ora Eco-Resort. Contact Person for Lisar Bahari is Pak Ali +6282111181137. Contact person for Ora-Eco Resort is Alvin +628111909404. Call them and they can manage your transportation starting from Masohi. The corals are pretty shallow so please watch your step and fins. Don't step the corals, don't break the corals. Happy traveling.

Traveled in 8-10 October 2013 with Daniele, thanks alot!

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