Crystal clear water, pristine beaches and picturesque landscapes no matter what you’re looking at. Move aside Bali, it’s Raja Ampat’s time to shine. ?
Home to over 1,500 islands and islets scattered around West Papua in northeast of Indonesia, Raja Ampat is the country’s best kept secret. The region offers a phenomenal marine ecosystem including its diverse coral reef systems, making it a paradise for divers.
Credit: PTorrodellas on Flickr
1. The seaCredit: Tony Shih on Flickr
*cues Under the Sea song* ?Nestled in the heart of Coral Triangle, Raja Ampat is considered as THE
Mecca of Diving. The region is home to 75% of all known coral species and over a thousand reef fish. If you’re lucky, you get to spot whales and dolphins as well! Be it diving or snorkelling, you’ll be amazed by the magnificence of the underwater world.
If swimming with the fishes has always been your dream, this is the perfect place to make it come true!
Credit: Ratha Grimes on Flickr#HHWT Tip:
Most diving spots here in Raja Ampat are not recommended for beginners and inexperienced divers. Go for snorkelling instead! With the super clear water, spotting a sea creature would be easy.
2. Be a part of the communityCredit: Indira Pranabudi
Homestays at Raja Ampat are one-of-a-kind. You don’t need to stay with a family there, but you will be their guests during the duration of your stay. Most homestays are built from palm thatch and timber, so don’t expect en suite bathrooms with flushing toilets or a bug-free place.
Credit: Ampersand Travel
The good thing is, food will be prepared and delivered to you if the homestay you choose doesn’t come with a kitchen. Even if it does, you can still request the facilities to prepare food for you. If it’s too much of an adventure for you, though, fret not! There are comfortable resorts available.
3. Or be a part of the seaCredit: Ratha Grimes on Flickr
Staying in a liveaboard can be tricky as there is less room to move about, and you’d probably have a hard time getting a proper shut-eye due to the constant ebb and flow. However, it’s the best option if you’re in Raja Ampat solely for diving as it takes you places, literally.
4. Go island-hoppingCredit: Dennis Keller on Flickr
Raja Ampat is made up of miniscule islands which are minutes away from one another, and each of them is distinctly different, so be sure to hop on a boat and visit as many as you can. You’ll notice the stark differences between islands inhibited by the locals and the ones with tourism establishments.
5. Go bird watchingCredit: Globe Trotting on Flickr
If you think Raja Ampat is all about water activities, think again. Raja Ampat is also known for its tropical wildlife. From hornbills to birds of paradise, this is the place to be for bird lovers. Even without visual enhancement devices like binoculars, you will still be able to spot the birds with the naked eye.
Credit: prilfish on Flickr
6. Have the beach to yourselfCredit: Adam Howarth on Flickr
Going to a place that’s less popular than others means there would be less crowd. In Raja Ampat’s case, the place is so vacant that you can have the whole beach to yourself!
7. Befriend the localsCredit: David on Flickr
Being a place with hardly any tourists, the local communities are very welcoming at the sight of new faces. Kids, especially, get all excited and stick themselves to tourists like a gum. Take this chance to learn their culture, and perhaps language as well.
Just FYI, while the locals do understand Bahasa Indonesian, most of them use the native pidgin, which is one of the many Papuan language in their daily conversation.
8. Learn to live without electricityCredit: Adam Howarth on Flickr
Can’t remember what life was like before technology took over? Here in Raja Ampat, go back in time when life didn’t revolve around gadgets and people weren’t always in a rush.
Electricity is limited in Raja Ampat while WiFi is unthinkable. Put your gadgets aside for several days and you’ll be amazed at how much the nature has to offer. Just like the calm sea, your mind will be a lot more relaxed.
If you really
can’t live without your gadgets, best to bring enough fully charged power banks. ?
9. Witness the spectacular sunset
Pristine sea, clear blue sky, peaceful beach, birds chirping in the distance… You know the best way to end such a perfect day? A view like this:
Credit: Adam Howarth on Flickr
Want to have that perfect sunset view right in your bedroom? Check out these stays:
- Nyandetor Homestay, Friwen Island
- Tapor Aikos Homestay, Gam Island
- Yengkewe Homestay, Waigeo Island
- Papua Paradise Eco Resort, Birie Island
Meals in Raja Ampat often includes fish and fresh produce that’s currently in season. If you choose to stay at a homestay, meals will be provided three times a day and the cost is included in the room rates.
Though it’s unlikely to find halal food in the islands, especially in the northern area which is predominated by Christianity, Waisai and Sorong are places you can find one. Else, bring over your own food stock when heading here!
Credit: qmatography on Instagram
Although Raja Ampat is not simply a plane ride away (three, in fact, plus a boat ride), the majestic panorama of the entire place is no doubt worth every effort. It’s the perfect place to forget about your worries and de-stress, away from car honks and polluted air.
Anyone has ever been here? Tell us your experience!