Whenever you decide to visit a place full of life and full of colors, be sure to make a stop at Raja Ampat. Raja Ampat Archipelago in Indonesia is a paradise for looking to get away from life in a city. It is calm and quiet and has few crowds in many of the areas between its 1500 islands. It primarily attracts tourists because of its beautiful beaches and marine life, but the environment above the water is also worth the trip.
Travel alone, or with others, on the budget, or with lots of money; it is among the tops places you can pick for a vacation. You can visit the local wildlife, and try scuba diving and snorkeling as well as boating around the amazing islands. Read below to find out how you can make the most of this destination in Indonesia, and if possible, share your experiences about Indonesia in the comments.
What to do at Raja Ampat
Whether you want to spend time in nature, underwater, or on the beach, Raja Ampat has you covered all the way. What you have to keep in mind is that you should prioritize or plan for more than a few days. While planning for the number of days you want to stay, always check the forecast as the rain may bother your experience.
One of the first things you can do is discover the locals’ hospitality and learn about their legends. The people living on the islands are famous for their hospitality and their songs and dances to welcome travelers. If you enjoy this kind of activity, you can stay around the people and learn their way of life and even hear the story behind this place’s name.
The literal translation of the name means “Four Kings,” which comes from a tale of a woman who finds seven eggs, four of which are named after the four main islands. These four main islands of the so-called Raja Ampat are Salawati, Waigeo, Misool, and Batanta.
Visiting the Local Wildlife
After getting to know the people of these islands, you might want to go for some exploring. As mentioned, there are four main islands and hundreds of smaller islands. There are heritage sites as you go around, especially in the Misool islands, but what you must look for are the islands’ marvelous birds. It is not just the birds; as you move around, you will always find amazing creatures in the midst of the woods and near the numerous waterfalls.
Trekking in Raja Ampat
The same as finding amazing animals, you will always find great spots and viewpoints. If you want to walk in the greens, you should find a large enough island and go on adventuring. If you prefer trekking on the beach, there is no shortage of beaches either.
Boating Around the Islands
In the paradise of watersports, you might want to go around on a boat. You can go kayaking, get on a luxurious cruise, or get a liveaboard and take your house with you. If you are a determined traveler, you can find uninhabited islands. But if you plan to stay at one of these uninhabited islands, you need a permit from the local community.
Scuba Diving and Snorkeling
The number one reason for most travelers is the amazing experience and diving spots of Raja Ampat. You can go and find your perfect spot for diving or snorkeling at any location around the islands. The diversity of marine life near the islands is so much that you have the chance to see most of the underwater creatures in just one trip. The coral reefs are also an amazing attraction, making you bring your equipment to take the best pictures of your life.
One of the exciting aspects of diving in Raja Ampat is visiting the wreckage left from WW II. Some ships were destroyed by mistake, which are now part of the underwater world.
There are always courses for diving and snorkeling. There are also places to rent equipment. But keep in mind that the currents are not very suitable for beginners unless you have help. You are also always recommended to bring your own equipment.
How to Get to Raja Ampat
You can make the traveling experience easier by traveling most of your way by plane. You should get to the province of Papua and fly to the Dominique Edward Osok Airport. This airport is the central hub of transportation in Raja Ampat in Sorong city. From this place, you can get flights to other areas of Indonesia and vice-versa.
Right after reaching the islands in the west of Papua, you can decide which of the islands you want to visit. As soon as you decide, you can head to Sorong harbor and get a ferry to Waisai harbor or any other place in Raja Ampat.
Alternatively, you can also check to see if there are any flights to Waisai’s airport, which is in the capital of Raja Ampat.
Raja Ampat Permit
Before getting to the islands and beginning your adventure, you need to purchase a permit to visit Raja Ampat. To preserve the entire area as a vast marine biodiversity park, the permit is sold for gathering funds. Besides funding and preserving the area, the permit is also a means of discouraging the ordinary traveler from visiting. The price for this permit is Rp 1,000,000 and can be acquired at the airport or the harbors before heading to the islands.
- You better pay for the permit in the local currency to avoid any complications and scams.
- Keep in mind to acquire the permit at the tourism office to ensure you have a legitimate permit. Scammers may also attempt to sell you fake permits.
- Your passport is enough proof for identification as you attempt to get your permit.
- If you are going on a tour, your tour providers will acquire your permit, but it is always best to check them to avoid complications.
Accommodations in Raja Ampat
According to how much money you want to spend, you can take your pick of any place you want to stay. You can go for Homestays with reasonable prices, Resorts with higher prices and better facilities, or Liveaboards with flexible prices and ant range of facilities. The point is to find the one you believe to be more suitable for you and book that place before heading out.
All the Things you Need in Raja Ampat
Before you head out, you should know that you can always find guides to help you if it is your first time to Indonesia and Raja Ampat. You can also find the necessary equipment for any of the watersports you wish to try. But it is best to have someone with experience on your first trip. Or learn a thing or two before going diving. The ideal situation for Raja Ampat is going on a tour and having a guide and a group of other people with you.
If you are going alone, be sure to have some money in the Indonesian Rupiah’s local currency. Most of the transactions are done only with their currency, and therefore you need to exchange for most of the shops and areas you visit. If you do not want to exchange your money, you better check first with your booking. Other than that, keep in mind that bank access is very limited in the islands, and you may not find an ATM. Your credit card may be of little use to you here.
Other than money and your identifications, you might want to plan and bring sleeved clothes as well as sunscreen and mosquito repellents. Chances are, the necessary lotions and appropriate clothes can be acquired the same way you can find diving equipment, but it is always better to come prepared.