Raja Ampat, a Fascinating Marine Paradise in West Papua


The territory within the islands of the Four Kings is enormous, covering 9.8 million acres of land and sea, home to 540 types of corals, more than 1,000 types of coral fish and 700 types of mollusks. This makes it the most diverse living library for world’s coral reef and underwater biota. According to a report developed by The Nature Conservancy and Conservation International, around 75 percent of the world’s species live here. When divers first arrive here their excitement is palpable. It’s common to hear people praise God as they take in the remarkable scenery. Others prefer to remain in silence taking in the overwhelming sight of so many islands with crystal clear water that softly brushes over the white sandy beaches.

Get Around

Commonly, divers will join a tour and live in a diving resort during their stay in the Raja Ampat Islands. To access diving spots, please contact and use the professional diving organizers, who can be conveniently found in Sorong. You may rent a small boat if you wish to stop and make personal discoveries along the line of the beaches. You can also trek around the islands to find hidden beauties, like waterfalls and ancient caves.

Get There

If you are flying from Jakarta, you can take a six hour flight to Sorong with a stopover in Manado. Alternatively, you can join a diving tour in Bali and fly from there. Flying from Jakarta/Bali to Sorong, with connecting flights in Makassar or Manado are offered by various airlines.

There are also daily ferries available between Sorong and Waisai, capital of the Raja Ampat district on the island of Waigeo. The journey takes between 1.5-2 hours. There are also speedboats for rent  at Sorong.

Experience Raja Ampat

Wayag Island, Home to Pristine Beaches

Wayag Island is one of the islands within the Raja Ampat district in the province of West Papua. The island is known for its beautiful atolls and amazing underwater life covering a total area of 155,000 hectares, about 383,013.3 acres. Here, you find pristine beaches with unique Karst islands that look like mushrooms sprouting out from the sea. Along these beaches, tourists can see fairy tale panorama, more captivating than Leonardo DiCaprio’s getaway in “The Beach”. The crystal clear waters around Wayag Island appear like unreal windows to various types of flora and fauna that live underwater.

Wayag Island never ceases to amaze. Divers, especially, have been overwhelmed not only by the rich underwater displays, but also by the panoramic beauty of the island as they climb up to its highest platform and observe coves and atolls around. It is a dream come true, truly a dream fulfilled. The island is 10 km north of the equator. Liveaboards are the best choice for travelers with a love for adventure and romance. Social contacts with other travelers will only be a call away. Dive briefings are enriching, so that just being there with other divers and the exotic looking staff, you will feel as if you are already drawn into the depths of Wayag’s surreal beauty.

Get Around

How to get around in Wayag Island actually depends on where you are staying. So, plan your trip carefully and decide where to stay. If you choose to stay in one of the resorts on one of the Raja Ampat Islands, you will  need a boat to visit Wayag Island. But if you choose a liveaboard package, you just need to sit back and enjoy the breeze in your cabin and let the schooner pass the beautiful islands.

Liveaboard packages are a comfortable alternative, and you can find these boats in Sorong, or as far away as Bali which is their  marketing hub and port for businesses offering dive packages. Some of the liveaboards are very luxurious, and some are unique and quite fantastic. The facilities are inclusive. Many agree that liveaboards are indeed the best alternative considering time and convenience. At around US$ 300 a day, this is actually good value for money. Liveaboards usually run 10 day cruises out of the port of Sorong, in West Papua.

It will not take a long time to travel around the unique beaches of Wayag Island. But it takes very good physical condition to enjoy the beautiful panorama from the top of an atoll, as you must climb the atoll’s steep walls for about 30 minutes.

A dinghy is probably the best means to go island hopping in a day. It is a beautiful interruption between your diving, sleeping and eating routine on your vacation in the Raja Ampat Islands. When hiring a speedboat as alternative, observe the surrounding islands and stop at the clear water to cool yourself after a long hour of the fast seafaring trip. Taking a speedboat is convenient as you can decide your own program.
Get There

Wayag Island is located in the West Waigeo area of the Raja Ampat Islands, northwest of the large island of Papua. Several connecting flights are needed to reach Papua. Then you must sail to Raja Ampat by boat.

First, fly to Sorong’s Domine Eduard Osok Airport, in West Papua. Sorong is the entry point and nearest city to Raja Ampat. There are several airlines to choose from Jakarta or Makassar to Sorong.

For sea transportation, ships calling on Port Sorong are the Dorolonda, Labobar, Gunung Dempo, Sinabung, and the Tatamailau. Upon your arrival in Sorong, you can take a fast boat from the Sorong Fishery Port to Waisai, the capital city of the Raja Ampat district. The journey takes around two to four hours. Then from Waisai you must take a longboat to Wayag which takes some six to eight hours. Rental of this longboat is about Rp 6 million (about US$ 550) per day.

Alternatively, you can hire a speedboat to take you straight from Sorong to Wayag for a five-hour journey. This will cost about Rp 9 million (about US$ 750) a day.

Misool Island, a Tropical Hideaway in the Raja Ampat Archipelago

Misool Island is a remote, tropical hideaway, one of four largest islands in the Raja Ampat archipelago, world renowned dive destination in the province of West Papua. Located off the west coast of the main island of Papua, directly bordering the Seram Sea, the waters are a veritable traffic lane for many large sea creatures, including whales.

The crystal clear turquoise sea-waters allow spectacular views of Misool’s sub-surface colorful treasures even when still aboard your boat. The sea gardens of Raja Ampat hold 75 percent of all known species of corals and ornamental fish in the world, and boast the highest level of marine biodiversity on the planet.

On land, the wild territory of Misool is one of the most visually breath-taking and captivating sites in Raja Ampat. The island is heavily forested, and at first sight reveals nothing but a thick green carpet of dense forests and mangrove swamps. To the east and west of the island, a maze of limestone pinnacles jut sharply out of the blue sea, carved and eroded by the waves and carpeted luxuriantly in vegetation.

The rare beaches on Misool are pure white sand, fringed with coconut trees leading out to the stunningly turquoise waters. Aside from the enchanting panoramic scenery and wealth of marine life, Misool is also home to ancient cultural sites. A number of petroglyphs can be found on walls of caves throughout the island, dating back approximately 5,000 years.

Get There

To get to Misool Island, first fly to Sorong Airport in West Papua, Indonesia. This is a domestic airport with available flights from Jakarta, Makassar, Surabaya, Manado, Ambon. From Sorong, a private speedboat will take you to the Resort. Boats depart on a pre-arranged schedule by the resort, usually at 7:30 am on alternating Sunday mornings.

The trip takes between 4-5 hours but will seem like no time at all as you journey through some of the most mesmerizing sceneries you have ever seen or ever will see. Transfer fees from Sorong to Misool are included in the resort’s package price.

Kofiau Island, World’s Coral Diversity

Kofiau Island is the smaller and least visited amongst the major islands in Raja Ampat, the world’s coral diversity bull’s eye. This island is comprised primarily of raised coral limestone and some volcanic hills covered in low lush rainforest, all offering a wealth of nature & beautiful scenery. If you ever wanted to go where few others have been, head this way.

Swimming and sunbathing on the beaches, snorkeling, diving and underwater photography in marine-rich coral reefs. Take care not to damage the coral anywhere in these areas which are more likely no-take zones. Exploration by dingy, shore hiking, beachcombing.

Take an adventurous hike to an inland lake opposite Deer Village. Hopefully if you’re lucky, somewhere along the way you may witness the dance of the dazzling red bird of paradise, or glimpse a slithering Kofiau Green-tree python, or catch the flapping of passing hornbills, or hear shrieks of the crested cockatoo. To the southwest of Kofiau Proper lie a group of flat sandy islands, including Walo where a couple of recognized dive spots await your exploration. There may even be more.

Get There

It takes six hours by flight from Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia to Sorong in North West Papua. You may also fly to Sorong from Bali. At Sorong, join a tour by pinisi boat from there to Kofiau, or charter a boat or yacht from the Papua Diving Resort. Scheduled trips with full service (most on live-aboards) are organized for visiting the area.

Sawinggirai Village, a Home to the Beautiful Cenderawasih

Sawinggrai village is located in the Meos Mansar district, Raja Ampat, West Papua province. It is among the most recognized village besides Arborek in the same district. This village has 36 families and it is prominent for the Cenderawasih, the Bird of Paradise, the icon of Papua raised in this village. The Red Bird of Paradise is the special icon of the village of Sawinggrai.

There are four species of Cenderawasih reared in this village, namely the Red Bird of Paradise, the Wilson’s Bird of Paradise, the Lesser Bird of Paradise, and the Greater Bird of Paradise. Some of the birds are able to perform movements that resemble a unique dance.

No restaurants and food stalls are available here, but you can find shops selling food supplies in Waisai or Sorong. If you wish to find more variety of food other than seafood on the menu, it is best to go to Sorong.

If you wish to see the birds dancing (usually in the morning or afternoon), avoid coming between December and February because the birds lay eggs during this period.

Get There

Sawinggrai Village is located in the Meos Mansar district, Raja Ampat. To reach this location, it is easier to start your journey from Sorong. There are several flights you can take from Jakarta or Makassar to Sorong.

For sea transportation, ships transiting in Port Sorong are the Dorolonda, Labobar, Gunung Dempo, Sinabung, and the Tatamailau. From Sorong, take a motorboat from the Sorong Fishery Port to Waisai, capital city of the Raja Ampat district. From Waisai, you can continue your journey by longboat to Sawinggrai.

To reach the Cenderawasih observation site, you must climb up Manjai Hill behind the village for about 30 minutes. While to reach the cultured fish-feeding site, you need to walk only about 100 meters to the pier.

The Enchanting Arborek Tourism Village of Raja Ampat

The village of Arborek is fast rising as a pioneer among the 18 beautiful villages in West Papua that have embarked on developing local regulations for community-based marine conservation, With recently claiming the 1st spot in 2015 Provincial village Competition for West Papua ,the village of Arborek has gained an outstanding reputation among both the local authority and international community. With the assistance of the national and local government, from research centers, and non-government organizations, the local people have succeeded in formulating local regulations.

With a population of only 197, interaction with locals is a stones throw away from a number of Homestay options available on this island. Finding underwater beauty is not so difficult here. Along the Arborek pier, divers can simply plunge into the water and instantly find a most intriguing illumination of the glittering of a gorgonian fan just below the surface. People in Arborek are hospitable and very industrious, creating exceptional handicrafts from sea pandan leaves to make the most of their time each day. Arborek is fascinating both underwater and in the village.

Known as the Arborek Tourism Village, the community is known for its handicraft in making hats and noken (string bags). Unlike most women in other villages who also give a hand to their husbands as fishermen, nearly all mothers in this village produce handicrafts for a living. Although they are convinced that catching lobsters and work in pearl agro-production are much more profitable, yet they feel that handicraft is more distinguished and more graceful work for women. This is a village worth visiting. Only one and half hours from Waisai, Raja Ampat’s capital, the village of Arborek is awaiting visitors from around the world.

Get Around

This tourism village is not too extensive in terms of size. The land covers around a 7-hectare area, so that it will not take much time and energy to travel around the village. There are around 40 families living in the village. Should you stay in the village, walking is probably to only means to be familiar with your holiday destination.

For snorkeling, you don’t need to travel far because you can find interesting underwater world even by the Arborek pier. Walking down the village trails will give you the very opportunity you will not want to miss, as people and especially children will warmly greet and get acquainted with you. For diving, it will take about 15-20 minutes by motorized boat to the dive spots.
Get There

The Arborek Tourism Village is located in MeosMansar in the district of Raja Ampat, West Papua. To reach this location, it is easier to start your journey from Sorong. There are several flights that you can take from Jakarta, Bali orMakassar to Sorong.

For sea transportation, ships calling on the Port of Sorong are the Dorolonda, the Labobar, GunungDempo, Sinabung, and Tatamailau. From Sorong, you can take a motorboat from the Sorong Fishery Port to Waisai, capital city of the Raja Ampat district.

There is a boat from Sorong to Waisai. From Waisai, you can continue your less-than-two-hour journey by using a rented longboat. The longboat can be arranged via homestay or the local dive shop.

Sauwandarek Tourism Village

Sauwandarek Tourism Village is located in the western part of Waisai, the capital city of Raja Ampat district, West Papua province. This village is part of Meos Mansar district. Homes in this tourism village with 46 families or about 179 population have original leaf roofs.

In this village, women, particularly mothers, produce hats and bags made of sea pandan leaf. This village is famous for its beautiful corals. In addition, there is a salty lake locally called Telaga Yenauwyau, which is located behind the village.

Get There

To go to Sauwandarek Tourism Village, in Meos Mansar, Raja Ampat district, West Papua, you have to take air and land transportations. It is easier for you to take a flight to Sorong first. It is a gateway to Raja Ampat area.

There are several flights that can take you to Sorong. For sea transportation, ships transiting in Port Sorong are Dorolonda, Labobar, Gunung Dempo, Sinabung, and Tatamailau. From Sorong, you can take a motorboat from Sorong Fishery Port to Waisai, the capital city of Raja Ampat district. From Waisai, you can continue your journey by using a rented longboat to Sauwandarek.

There are two alternative ships from Sorong to Waisai. First, using speed boat for about two hours, or second, using local government’s ship for four hours journey. After that, your journey by longboat from Waisai to Sauwandarek will take about four hours.

Patimburak Old Mosque

Patimburak Old Mosque was built during the Portuguese colonial era i.e., in 1870 by Imam Abuhari Kilian. Despite many renovations, this mosque is still standing strong and used as a worship house for muslims in Patimburak village.

It has unique architecture as it is a combination of a church and mosque with the same square form. You can walk around the mosque and see the life of the muslim community here. This simple mosque covers an area of not more than 200 square meters and is located in a village occupied by about 30 families.

Get There

You can walk around the mosque and see the life of the muslim community here. This simple mosque covers an area of not more than 200 square meters and is located in a village occupied by about 30 families.

This old mosque is located in Kokas district, Fak-Fak, West Papua. To go to Fak-Fak, flights and ships are available on certain days and their schedules frequently change every month. If you take a flight, it is easier to go to Sorong. From there, you can take airplanes to Torea airport in Fak-Fak for about 45 minutes.

For sea transportation, Ciremai (from Jakarta), Nggapulu, and Tatamailau are available to take you to Fak-Fak. Most flights and ships usually go to Fak-Fak via Sorong. To go to Patimburak Old Mosque, you can take an inter-city transportation from Fak-Fak bus station to Kokas for about two hours. From there, you can continue your journey by taking a rented longboat from Port Kokas for about one hour.

Wonderful Waigeo Island of Raja Ampat

Among the wonderful Raja Ampat Islands, Waigeo is the largest of the archipelago’s four main islands. Waigeo is also known as Amberi, or Waigiu, located in the West Papua province near the town of Sorong. The three other largest islands in this cluster are Salawati, Batanta and Misool. On Waigeo is the town of Wasai, capital of the Raja Ampat regency, located in the west of the island.

Waigeo is home to a wide range of attractions. It is also the easiest island to reach by public transport, though exploring its full diversity still remains a challenge. Waigeo Island offers diving, rock islands, scenic bays walled in by towering cliffs, a jungle interior offering good birdwatching, and the cheapest accommodation options in all of Raja Ampat. All in all, it’s the perfect place to start your exploration of the Raja Ampat cluster.

Waigeo has a wild and jungly interior, much of which is still largely unexplored and inaccessible. There is a large variety of animal species which have made their homes in these jungles. The world renowned crimson Bird-of-Paradise is found here, together with opossums, snakes, tortoises, frilled and giant monitor lizards, plumed herons, and honeyeaters.

One of the most popular attractions in Raja Ampat is the deep sea diving and snorkeling as this is a location with an astonishing amount of marine life. Dive in and swim among the colorful fish groups along the coral reefs. At a depth of approximately 30 meters along the Waiwo Beach, you may get the chance to see white tip reef sharks as well as the black tip reef sharks that are commonly spotted sleeping and sometimes patrolling the blue waters’ depths.

Aside from diving, Pulau Waigeo has also been bragged as a place for excellent underwater photography due to its bio-diversity and exotic sea creatures. The list of species spotted include a huge variety of nudibranch species, sea dragons, blue-striped flagtail pipefish, pygmy sea horses, green sea turtles, giant napoleon wrasse, and Indian lionfish. There is also an abundant growth of corals and sea fans here that serve as homes for large groups of small fish.

Get There

The easiest way to get to Raja Ampat is to fly to Sorong from Jakarta or Bali with transit in Makassar or fly by SilkAir from Singapore to Manado and on to Sorong. Domestic Travelers can also fly via Makassar or Manado. Regular flights from Manado to Sorong are offered by Lion Air. 

From the Jefman Airport in Sorong you can rent transportation to take you to the Sorong port where you will find several boat options available to take you to Waisai on Pulau Waigeo. The boat ride should take approximately 2-3 hours to reach Waigeo Island. From there you can hire a motorbike to take you to your homestay or hotel.

Source: indonesia.travel

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