West Papua has many attractive places to visit, some of which are lesser known than others. Doom island, located just off the coast of Sorong is one of many. It is a worthwhile destination, especially those interested in the history of West Papua.
The exact location of the island is about 3 kilometres east of the mainland and can be reached in just 10 to 15 minutes on a boat. Visitors usually come to the island after taking the flight to Sorong, after which they make their way through the busy city centre to a small port here boats are docked, ready to take them to the island.
The island is not very large and only measures 5 km2 and is surprisingly heavily populated, mostly by outsiders. One of the main draws of the island is the scenery. Despite its sinister-sounding moniker to English speakers the island’s name actually translates to “the island where many fruit trees grow” in the local language.
The island’s main attraction is its historical value. It has been used as a settlement since before the colonial era. Prior to the arrival of Europeans, the island was part of the Tidore Sultanate. The first Dutch settlers came to the island in the 1800s. In 1935, the island served as the capital of the Sorong government and an economic centre. By then it was already established as a city, with all the necessary supporting infrastructure such as electricity, and other supporting facilities. This is why the island appears relatively advanced compared to others in the area. Even today, the island is known for being visibly brighter than its surrounding areas at night, no doubt due to the long-established electricity grid powering the island’s lights.
The Dutch were not the only ones who dwelt on the island at one time. The Japanese, who ruled Indonesia after the Dutch during the World War II period, had a sizeable military presence on the island during the war and built supporting infrastructure. They dug out caves and built many bunkers for defensive purposes all over the island, based on their military strategy. During this time, the island saw frequent attacks by the Allied forces of the United States and Australia.
This history has shaped the island ever since. This is visible from the infrastructure, particularly the houses. These were designed very differently from those in the rest of West Papua. A few buildings left behind include government offices and places of worship. These structures were well-built, and the fact that many are still being used today is testament to their solid design.
Of course, many visitors will be looking for ways to relax and enjoy their time on the island. They can enjoy the white beaches with surrounding coral reefs. The waves around the island are gentle, making the waters ideal for swimming. Those who want to see the sights can hire pedicabs to take them on a scenic trip around the island.
Overall, Doom Island is certainly an interesting destination, especially for those who want a different atmosphere from the typical attractions in West Papua.