The Top 12 Things to See and Do in Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat is undoubtedly the best tropical paradise inAsia. The Raja Ampat archipelago is made up of four main islands, and thousands of smaller ones. It is located in the Pacific waters not far from the Bird’s Head Peninsula to the East of Indonesia. The archipelago is known all over the world for its exotic dive sites.
Raja Ampat offers one of the richest marine life diversity in the world. It has thousands of marine species of different corals. In fact, the archipelago is home to over 75% of the world’s coral species. These support an unbelievably large spectrum of water creatures. Among the exotic creatures that you will see here are the unicorn fish, walking sharks, pygmy seahorses and manta rays.
Raja Ampat’s allure is made more appealing by World War II-era shipwrecks that include a Japanese sea vessel.
As a choice destination for tourists from all over the world, Raja Ampat has a lot to offer. Here the top 12 things to see and do in
1. Waisai, the Paradise Gateway
The first place you would like to stop is Waisai. It is strategically located to act as the launching point for your incursions into the over 1,000 islands. It has busy ports with boats constantly moving back and forth. As such, you do not have to worry about transport. Waisai offers a tropical paradise with its rich marine life and numerous spots for sightseeing and water sports. Of these, diving seems to be a favorite for most tourists in Waisai.
2. The Joys of Pianemo Island
Pianemo Island is the ideal stop for sightseeing. It is surrounded by clear blue waters that offer a serene atmosphere conducive for exploration. The viewing deck atop a hilltop provides an unrestricted view of the ocean and islands below. The scenery is simply breathtaking. In addition, cliff jumpers will be happy to note that the activity is very much alive in Pianemo Island. Swimming is another favorite activity. With the crystal clear
water, these are activities that you will enjoy taking part in.
3. Diving Lessons
Raja Ampat offers some of the best diving classes for both the advanced divers and beginners. The landscape is one of the best for this purpose. What is more, you will be given a legit certification. Both SSI and PADI offer diving courses in Raja Ampat. These are two of the largest diving certification firms in the world. This means that you will be in very competent hands as you take your diving course. You will also get the opportunity to enjoy Raja Ampat’s underwater beauty as you take your course.
4. The Beautiful Flora and Fauna in the Forest
The pleasures of Raja Ampat are not confined to just the waters. The archipelago also offers beautiful plants and animals in its forests. It is home to exotic birds and rare plants, among its many endemic species. The forests are a favorite with tourists who love bird watching.
5. Trekking in Raja Ampat
The Warimak and the Waifoi communities, with the support of Non-Governmental Organizations, developed the trekking routes. The routes go through the wildlife-rich Waigeo rainforest, and onto the villages of Warimak and Waifoi. These two villages lie on the shores of northern Mayalibit Bay.
Other villages that you will come across during the trek include Ambel Maya Village. This village hosts the original inhabitants of Waigeo and the islands nearby. It is from this village that Mayalibit Bay gets its name. In fact, you may even get the opportunity to visit their cultural sites.
The trekking trips start and end in Waisai. You can arrange for pickups from some homestays. With some treks lasting as long as 5 days and 4 nights, this is an experience you will not forget easily. You need to have a moderate level of fitness to withstand the rough terrain and high humidity. However, you can also make arrangements for shorter treks of 2 days and 1 night.
6. The Beauty of Sunsets and Sunrises
You can watch the sunrise and sunsets from a variety of choice spots. You may decide to do so from one of the many hills, or just be content doing so from the comfort of your lodge. Whatever the location, you will be thrilled by the awesome sight that the tropical sunrise/sunset that Raja Ampat offers.
7. The Resources of the Raja Ampat Homestays
A major boost for the tourists comes from the homestays. They offer the resources, training, and experience required to explore the man joys of the archipelago. Of note is the fact that they are cheaper than the live-aboard boats and the foreign-owned resorts. They are therefore ideal if you are operating on a budget. In addition, they are recommended if you would
like to interact more with the local community.
Some of the homestays have their own compressors equipment for your excursions. These include Yenkoranu Homestay, Yendebabo Homestay, Corepen Homestay, Wobbegong Dive Adventures, Lumba Lumba Guesthouse, Daroyen Village, Kordiris Homestay and Koranu Fyak Bungalows amongst others.
8. The Wayag Archipelago
Within the Raja Ampat archipelago lies the islands of Wayag. Renowned for their natural beauty, these islands readily take the crown as the most beautiful spot in Raja Ampat. Of particular note are the many karst-like protrusions. Tourists hike to these protrusions to get the fabulous view of the sea and the many islands. Viewed from these heights, the islands seem to be in perfect harmony with the stunning clear blue waters. It is a must-visit place for the discerning traveler.
9. MarineLife at Manta Ridge and Misool Island
The marine wildlife has an almost sacred status. They are highly respected. This has enabled the harmonious co-existence between man and nature. It has brought about the kind of environment that many tourists find attractive. For example, you are guaranteed to have very close encounters with dolphins and other fish at both the Manta Ridge and Misool Islands. Other sea creatures like turtles and manta rays are also a very common sight.
10. TheWelcoming Village Folk
Your trip will not be complete until you sample the friendly reception of the villagers. Make it a point to go through several villages for this experience. Arrangements can be made with experienced local guides to help you in this area. You will get an opportunity to see the authentic traditional lifestyle of the locals as they go about their daily lives. What’s more, the villagers are cheerful, welcoming and very respectful to visitors.
While you are at it, you can take the opportunity to enjoy authentic local foods. The range of cuisine available is mouthwatering. You can choose from fresh food from the sea, porridge made from sago and soup made from marine animals. In addition, you may request for spicy grilled fish amongst other tasty Indonesian local foods.
11. Snorkeling the Raja Ampat Way
Raja Ampat has a reputation as one of the best places for underwater photography and diving. However, snorkeling is its number one activity. With rich marine life just a few meters into the water, snorkeling has developed as a favorite pastime for many travelers to these exotic islands. Actually, some homestays have made it easier by offering snorkeling equipment for hire. Many places of accommodation have snorkeling available just next to the facility.
Visitors are encouraged to observe safety measures when they are snorkeling. The currents tend to be very strong when the tides are up. Conditions sometimes change quite fast. You should, therefore, ensure that you have your fins on, and do not swim far from the shore. Also, be careful not to handle marine life. Some species can deliver bad stings that can lead to an infection. These include the lionfish, cone shells and the blue ring octopus. The good news is that these will not bother you if you leave them alone. So, just look, but do not touch!
12. Buy Authentic Souvenirs on Offer
Raja Ampat has a very vibrant local culture. There are many places where you can shop for souvenirs of this culture. This gives you the opportunity to carry home authentic pieces of this culture with you. More importantly, the local population benefits when you spend your money on their handicrafts. You sustain their livelihoods, and they are encouraged to make the tourism experience more worthwhile for the visitors. So make sure you visit one of the many shops for plates, bags, beauty accessories and other authentic souvenirs.
There you have it! You can only enjoy the thousands of pleasures on offer by visiting Raj Ampat. Remembers, Indonesia is in the tropics. As such, you need to invest in good sunscreen so that you can protect yourself against sunburn. Also, keep your body well hydrated as you go about the various activities. Drink lots of water to avoid dehydration.
For any queries regarding Raja Ampat or other tourist spots in Indonesia, do not hesitate to get in touch with us. We will be more than happy to help you.