A magical place where one can literally get lost in nature, Raja Ampat or ‘The Four Kings’ is a group of islands that offers the richest marine biodiversity on the planet, beautiful caves, pristine beaches with crystal clear water, dramatic limestones, jaw-dropping waterfalls, hidden bays, sheltered blue lagoons, rainforest, and stunning view from one of the islands’ peak.
Raja Ampat is also home to the infamous Birds of Paradise, who graces bird watchers with their distinct beauty and dance every morning at sunrise; before leaving their home trees for food. Being part of the Coral Triangle, 75% of known coral species recorded are found in Raja Ampat and more than 1400 species of reef fish swim thru the waters of Raja Ampat along with Manta Rays, White Tip Reef Shark, Black Tip Reef Shark, and other marine creatures.
The four main islands of Raja Ampat are Misool, Salawati, Waigeo, and Batanta islands. These islands have their distinct charm that attracts discerning travelers who want a taste of cultural immersion, remote islands not frequented by many tourists, and the purest form of preserved culture.
Batanta Island is the smallest among the four islands. It is the perfect introduction to the group of islands in Raja Ampat as its beautiful rainforest and colorful reef are a sight to behold. The dense jungle interior of Batanta is teeming with birdlife, fruit bat, crocodile monitor, wild boar with available trails for trekking; while the pristine coastline and calm bays are a good dwelling for some marine life such as dugongs.
Misool is a densely forested island that offers white sand beaches with turquoise waters, mangrove swamps, caves, and a maze of limestone pinnacles. Be surprised by a lake full of jellyfish that do not sting, visit several lagoons in a stand-up paddleboard, be amazed by the petroglyphs in cave walls, or immerse in the local village where people are warm and welcoming.
If you’re dreaming of a remote island where peace and quiet exists, then you’ll find it in Salawati. Salawati Island is surrounded by lush green plants with pristine and calm waters and white sand beaches. Salawati is a refuge to wild animals, where they live freely without being disturbed. Diving and snorkeling are two common activities enjoyed by travelers here. A beach barbecue can also be arranged and enjoyed in this serene island.
Waigeo is the largest among the four main islands of Raja Ampat, this is where the capital is, Wasai. The island has the most number of population and is the easiest island to reach by public transportation. The island has a jungle interior and offers a variety of activity such as bird watching, deep sea diving, scenic bays with towering cliffs, and surfing.
Thrilling Activities in Raja Ampat
A never-ending life exploration can be done in Raja Ampat. Exciting activities that can’t be experienced in other parts of the world awaits the discerning traveler. Kayaking in the hidden mangroves, paddle boarding to a cave, trekking to a forest, diving and snorkeling to the crystal clear waters, surfing, wakeboarding, and bird watching (the birds of paradise) are few of the activities that leave travelers amazed.
The Local Culture
Papuans are hospitable, warm, and welcoming by nature. As you roam around the islands of Raja Ampat, you will see the contagious, warm smiles and welcoming attitude of the locals, especially the kids who never tire of plastering a smile to tourists. If you want to immerse to the local way of living, you can visit Arborek Village and be one with the locals. Be entertained by traditional welcome dances as you set foot on their village and let your heart skip a beat as they begin singing Papuan folk songs.
The Best Way To Experience Raja Ampat
Having a vast area to visit, the best way to explore Raja Ampat is by boat. Liveaboards is the best option in hopping from one island to another. Not only do travelers have a moving hotel with changing scenic views each day, but they also get to explore hard to reach areas and small islets scattered all over Raja Ampat.
Travelers can literally enjoy an island all to themselves since Raja Ampat have so much to offer and is too big to get crowded. This means enjoying the scenic views both under and above the water and exploring the rainforest. Indeed, Raja Ampat is for divers and nature lovers who seek to witness a different world where nature is untouched, local tribes are pleasantly welcoming people who chose to live in the modern world, and coexistence of humans and wildlife are highly respected.
How To Get To Raja Ampat
Sorong is the gateway to the majestic paradise of Raja Ampat. You can fly from Jakarta, Bali, Malaysia, or even Singapore going to Sorong Airport. Depending on the kind of transfer and itinerary you had, you can take a ferry from the port of Sorong to your island destination or from Sorong Airport, you will be transferred by a private vehicle to a speed boat which will bring you to the yacht charter you booked and your exploration to the islands begin.