Located in the northwest tip of “Bird's Head” Peninsula on the island of New Guinea, in Indonesia's West Papua province, Raja Ampat (literally means Four Kings), is an archipelago that comprising over 1,500 small islands, cays and shoals surrounding the four main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta, Waigeo, and the smaller island of Kofiau.
Raja Ampat is new regency which separated from Sorong in 2004. It encompasses more than 40,000 km² of land and sea, which also contains Cenderawasih Bay, the largest marine national park in Indonesia.
The main occupation for local people here is fisherman. They live in a small colony of tribes that spreads around the area. Even strongly dominated with traditional culture, they are very welcome to newcomer.
Supported with oceanic natural resource around, Raja Ampat is significantly potential tourism object. Raja Ampat is also frequently placed as top ten popular diving place, moreover it’s also becomes number one in top underwater biodiversity place.
According to Marine Surveys of International Conservation International, it is reported that the marine life in Raja Ampat area has the highest diversity recorded on Earth. This area diversity is considerably greater than any other area sampled in the well-known ‘Coral Triangle’, that composed of Indonesia, Philippines and Papua New Guinea. This Coral Triangle is the heart of the world's coral reef biodiversity, this fact makes Raja Ampat as the richest coral reef ecosystems in the world.
The massive coral colonies along with relatively high sea surface temperatures in this area, makes the reefs be relatively resistant to threats - like coral bleaching and coral disease, which now jeopardize the survival of other coral ecosystems around the world. This Raja Ampat islands are remote and relatively undisturbed area.
The high marine diversity in Raja Ampat is strongly influenced by its position between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, in which coral and fish larvas are more easily shared between the two oceans. Raja Ampat's coral diversity, resilience, and role as larval source make it as a global priority for marine protection.
With 1,309 fish species, 537 coral species, a remarkable 96% of all scleractinia in the world that recorded from Indonesia are likely to occur in these islands, and 699 mollusk species, the variety of marine life in Raja Ampat is staggering. Some areas in Raja Ampat regency boast enormous regular sightings of sharks, such as wobbegongs.
Spend Your Honeymoon with your Viance in Raja-Ampat
Raja Ampat is one of the best natural destination for snorkeling and diving. Underwater enthusiasts flock to this region because of its world’s best marine sights.
Once they took their flight to the "bird head" / peninsula of Papua island, everything changed as they embarked on a diving tour. In the Raja Ampat islands, divers can explore vertical underwater walls. The thrill of drift diving is another great challenge. These are some awesome experiences that you will find in Raja Ampat.
In Raja Ampat there are also some great activities to fully enjoy your days with, such as:
• Spectacular diving and snorkeling
• Bird spotting – find the illusive Bird of Paradise from the water
• Fishing - unexplored fly-fishing for bonefish or deep water trolling for marlin and sailfish
• Sensational kayaking in the shallow bays, especially in the mangrove forests
• Wreck diving in this area is superb as well. There are many wrecks here that haven't been plundered such as in Truk Lagoon, Papua New Guinea, the Solomons, Vanuatu and other well- known wreck diving areas.
Most of these World War II - wrecks were not seen by humans again until now and therefore completely intact. Over 50 years, marine life growing on and around them, that has turned them like beautiful gardens. By special arrangement of local government, divers can schedule to dive wrecks in the Manokwari area (east side of the 'bird's head'). Although there are plenty of wrecks all around the area, the wrecks in Manokwari are in shallowly clear water with plenty of coral growth and sea life surrounding them.
How to get there ?
The easiest way to get to Raja Ampat is to fly to Sorong via Jakarta. Domestic travelers can also fly via Makassar or Manado.
From Jakarta or Bali: Merpati, Express Air, Batavia Air and Lion/Wings operate daily flights from Jakarta to Sorong (with stopovers in Ujung Pandang/Makassar and/or Manado)
After landed on Sorong, then rent a boat to Raja Ampat Islands.
Best Season to visit :
May to October every year.