The mystical charm of Indonesia has always mesmerized travelers from all corners of the world. The strange yet beautiful places of this small island country is a must to see for those who are not looking for the mundane getaways for their vacations and rather searching for a place that would be refreshing and rejuvenating. So, why not plan a trip to a place that would satisfy the wanderer and seeker in you? Raja Ampat or Four Kings as it is known locally is an archipelago consisting of 1500 tiny islands. Located on the West Papua province, this archipelago is teeming with natural wonders.
The rich flora and fauna, world-class diving, amazing landscapes, isolated golden beaches, friendly locals and spectacular coral reefs are the perfect holiday destination. You can immerse yourself in the nature’s most treasured island as well as the most exciting marine life that you can experience anywhere in the world. While packing for a visit, do not forget to pack in lots of sun protection lotion, beach gears and you underwater glasses because you will be doing a lot of underwater activities here. Let’s check out how to make this trip worth remembering with a few quick tips.
Things to do
Now that you are on the island after a long hectic journey, you are in the lap of nature enjoying breathtaking lush greenery everywhere. So, breath in the fresh air and leave your stress behind to indulge into some self-pleasuring activities.
This beautiful archipelago with its dotted islands is home to exotic wildlife and marine life. The name Four Kings is given because of its four major islands that include Waigeo, Misool, Salawati, and Batanta. Misool is famous for its ancient rock paintings. These islands are said to be the diver’s paradise. Most of the tourists that flock here come for various marine sports that include deep diving.
Explore the underwater world
Raja Ampat is one of the most sought after destinations for scuba divers. There are some amazing diving locations in these islands where you can get up close with the exotic and enigmatic marine life of the tropical waters. You can see manta rays, sharks, turtles and species that are unique to this location.
The diverse marine life in this area is one of the major attractions that you can’t give a miss. There are over 1200 species of fish. If you want to dive at one of Raja Ampats least dived area then visit the hidden gem of Kofiau Island. Here you will experience 284 species on one single dive. Isn’t that amazing? Well, to sum it up it is a world record too.
If you want to get most out of your Raja Ampat diving then a liveaboard is a great way to explore the area and underwater world. It is a wonderful way to see a great diversity of dive sites and at the same time explore the beautiful nature if the various islands. Divezone did a review of the best liveaboards in Raja Ampat which they divided in cheap and luxurious liveaboards.
Meet the locals and let them guide you
Not only the underwater scene of Raja Ampat is magical, also the world above the water is stunning. Meet the friendly locals, hike through ancient jungle to discover pristine waterfalls or set up camp for a night under the stars on untouched beaches.
As human influence have been limited due to its secluded location many local people still live the traditional way. Let one of the local guides take you on a journey through their culture or show you the hidden gems of the island.
Try the Papuan style food and stay at a Papuan homestay to experience the real feel and charm of the place. This is also a cheap alternative to the luxury hotels. Check the website Stay Raja Ampat for an overview of homestays. Most owners will also be able to connect you with guides or tourist operations for jungle or village excursions in the area.
You can just explore the islands on your own and walk around the local market and watch their simple yet distinguished lifestyle that is ancient yet creative. This will give you an opportunity to mingle with the local people and take a peek into their daily life and activities.
Trek the Arfak Mountains
Do a hike in the pristine jungle of the Arfak mountains with mountain peaks that reach up to 2900 meters. If you are a nature lover, this is the place to be! The mountains are covered with lush jungle and inhabited by hospitable locals. It is definitely birds paradise, where you can also spot the tree kangaroos or the world’s biggest butterfly.
The Arfak Mountains contain the world’s most rare and endemic flora and fauna. You can spend the night at the Arfak guesthouse in the middle of the jungle, close to the village of Mokwam, or at one of the other guesthouses in the area.
How to get to Raja Ampat
Since the island of Raja Ampat is politically divided between Indonesia and Papua New Guinea it is best convenient to travel via Indonesia, which has a fully operational international airport. So, if you are traveling from another country then the best and only way to get to this tropical paradise is by air.
Once you fly down to the Sorong Airport in Indonesia, it is not very difficult from then onwards. You can get ample flight options from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Bali and Jakarta. From Sorong you will have three major options to choose from to get to the island of Raja Ampat.
Public Ferries – This is the most convenient as well as economical way to get to the island. You can choose from an express boat or a slow boat that will take you to Waisai. The express boat takes around 2 hours and cost +/- IDR 130.000 and the slow boat takes around 4 hours and cost IDR 140.000 to get to the island. Both boats leave around 2 pm, but can be delayed easily.
Speedboats – These boats are really fun. For all you adventurers, speedboats are a great way to travel from Sorong to Waisai. However, you need to travel light if you are opting for this mode of transportation for obvious reasons of course. They also cost way more.
Flights to Waisai from Sorong – This would not be a good option if you haven’t planned it well. The flights are not frequent and are not available every day. You can get a flight on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from Sorong at 9 am.
Indonesia with its spectacular natural beauty beckons the visitors from both near and far. If you are looking for a holiday of a lifetime in a tropical paradise then Raja Ampat in the Papuan Archipelago is the best escapade from the bustling world. With numerous natural bounties, wondrous vistas and adventure diving, this place can gift you with plenty of cherishable moments to cherish throughout your life.
What are your best tips for Raja Ampat?