20 May, 2024

By Abd. Wahab

Raja Ampat is a group of islands in West Papua, Indonesia. It is a dream destination for travelers and is often called heaven for underwater enthusiasts because it has biodiverse marine life with colorful coral reefs and clear blue water.  

But there’s more than what’s underwater: primary forests cover the islands, with many beautiful birds, including the famous Birds of Paradise. Also, you can meet the friendly local people and learn more about their rich culture. 

Whether you’re an adventure seeker, culture enthusiast, nature lover, or a seasoned traveler looking for a breathtaking landscape to escape, Raja Ampat is waiting for you. So, let me show you the things to do, how to get there, and the best time to visit.  

What to do in Raja Ampat  

Just visiting Raja Ampat is not enough. You need to experience its many amazing activities. Here are several activities you can do in Raja Ampat: 

1. Snorkeling in Raja Ampat 

snorkeling in raja ampat

Raja Ampat is no doubt one of the best snorkeling destinations in Indonesia. Located in the heart of the Coral Triangle, it is one of the most biodiverse marine life environments in the world.  

Snorkeling in Raja Ampat is totally magic. What makes it unique is that the beauty of its underwater lies in the shallows. So, you can see the incredible coral reefs, schools of colorful fish, and more marine creatures just by snorkeling on the surface.  

If you’re a beginner or non-diver but want to experience this underwater magic, you can always have this opportunity. All you need is a mask, fins, and a snorkel. 

2. Birdwatching the Birds of Paradise 

birdwatching the birds of paradise in raja ampat

If you’re a bird lover, birdwatching in Raja Ampat is one of the things you should do. Beyond the water’s surface, Raja Ampat is home to over 250 bird species. Some bird species you can find are the famous and rarest Bird of Paradise.  

If you’re a twitcher, two species of Birds of Paradise are endemic to Raja Ampat. They are the Red’s Birds of Paradise and the Wilson’s Birds of Paradise. To see them, you can take a path trekking through the forest on some islands, like Waigeo, Batanta, or Gam Island.  

3. Hiking to Piaynemo Viewpoint  

hiking to the beautiful piaynemo viewpoint

Exploring Raja Ampat is like stepping into a living postcard. The scenery is breathtaking, with the turquoise waters, lush green mountains, and limestone karst island cluster. 

To experience this view, try to challenge yourself by hiking to the Piaynemo viewpoint. But no worries because the trail is well-maintained and built with wooden stairs, making it accessible to most people.  

Also, it only takes about 15 minutes or around 320 steps on wooden stairs. Once you get to the top of the viewpoint, you will find the most beautiful and famous scenery in the archipelago. 

4. Village Visit and Culture Learning  

guests participate in the traditional dance with locals in raja ampat

Besides having a natural beauty underwater and on land, Raja Ampat is also home to friendly people with their cultural riches. Visiting a village in Raja Ampat is a great way to meet, learn, and befriend the local people. 

The locals are very kind-hearted and very welcoming. They will always greet you with their warm smile, or sometimes, they might even invite you to participate in a traditional dance performance. 

But the most important thing to know when you visit the village is to follow the island etiquette or protocol of the village visit. Dress modestly and respect the culture. 

5. Cave Expedition in Tomolol Cave 

cave expedition in tomolol cave

If you want to experience a new adventure in Raja Ampat, try to do a cave expedition in the Tomolol Cave. This mysterious cave is located on the east coast of Misool Island. 

The atmosphere inside the cave is different. It’s dark and quiet but beautiful. You can see the towering stalagmites and stalactites, and a hidden fresh natural pool. Also, at the top of the cave live some flying foxes. So, to experience this, you can do a short swim while looking at the top of the cave. 

6. Floating on the Stingless Jellyfish Lake 

swimming with stingless jellyfish in raja ampat

Swimming with stingless jellyfish is a rare experience. There are only a few places around the world where you can find them. One of which is the hidden lake in Raja Ampat.  

The sensation of swimming with thousands of jellyfish is unforgettable. It feels like floating in a living aquarium and can be incredibly calming.  

However, make sure you don’t harm the jellyfish when swimming with them. Learn more about the dos and don’ts of swimming with jellyfish before you go. 

7. Swimming with the Gentle Giants Whale Shark and Manta Ray 

swimming with whale shark in raja ampat

Another thing you shouldn’t skip when visiting Raja Ampat is an opportunity to swim with a Whale Shark or Manta Ray. This is not an ordinary vacation activity but a once-in-a-lifetime experience.  

Best Way to Explore Raja Ampat   

Raja Ampat suits a variety of travel styles. If you’re more into the land-based experience and want to stay in one place for a long time, staying in a resort or local homestay is the best option.  

But this place is an archipelago where most of the area is water. There are lots of islands around that are worth visiting. So, the best way to explore Raja Ampat is by cruising on a traditional Indonesian pinisi sailing ship. This floating hotel provides you with meals, accommodation, and guides, while at the same time, you’re getting more options and access to reach the remotest island where there are no tourists but natural beauty. 

Best Time to Visit Raja Ampat  

If you only want to travel around, you can always come at any time of the year. But, the best time to visit Raja Ampat is from October to January, during the dry season. 

Around that time, from October to January, you can get the best conditions for snorkeling or other underwater activities. Because that’s when the weather is drier, the water temperature is around 28 or 29 Celcius, and the water visibility is clear. So, you can experience the underwater beauty.

If you’re more into land-based activities, the best time to visit Raja Ampat is also during the dry season. With less rain, you can have a more comfortable way to explore the land by trekking the forest to see the Birds of Paradise or enjoying beach time. 

How to Get to Raja Ampat  

The easiest way to get to Raja Ampat is by taking a flight to Sorong from Makassar or Jakarta. After you arrive in Sorong, you can reach Waisai, either by plane or by cruising on a small boat. 

Plan Your Trip to Raja Ampat  

Raja Ampat offers endless opportunities for adventure and exploration. It’s where you can lose yourself in natural beauty while embarking on an unforgettable journey. 

If you dream of visiting Raja Ampat, we can help turn your dream into reality. Check out our available trips to Raja Ampat or contact us for more information.