If your idea of a vacation consists of tropical beaches, untouched sea life, reefs to be explored and scenic dive spots, then you should head to the Raja Ampat islands for your next vacation. We’re talking about pristine white beaches, beautiful lagoons and breathtakingly beautiful sea life.
Perhaps the best part about vacationing here is that it’s not a highly commercialised tourist destination like Bali. If you’re looking for a place that offers you scenic beauty and a unique experience, without being too crowded, then this island chain is the right choice for you.
If you’re considering going to the islands, then read this quick guide for some useful tips on planning your vacation.
There are over 1000 islands making up the area, located off the coast of West Papua, Indonesia.
Best Time of the Year to Visit
The best time of the year to visit the archipelago is from November through to March. This is when the sea is calm and the sun is bright, making it the perfect time for snorkelling, scuba diving and other water activities. Although the region is considered a round-the-year destination, it can rain heavily during the months of May to October, hampering outdoor activities.
When visiting, be sure to stay at one of the Raja Ampat dive lodges for a truly unique experience. Since it isn’t a mainstream tourist destination like Bali, your options can be limited. But the dive lodges offer the best stay as they are located close to dive spots and snorkeling destinations.
Things to Do
With over 200 diving spots, it should come as no surprise that diving and snorkelling are the most popular tourist activities. You can enquire about the various diving spots at the Raja Ampat dive lodges. With water this clear, you can see the wonderful life underwater without having to buy expensive diving lessons, and rent expensive equipment.
Most diving spots are only apt for well experienced divers, although there are a few spots that are appropriate for amateurs as well.
The islands boast a very rich biodiversity, from birds in the sky to tropical trees and lush greenery on land and colourful fish and coral reefs underwater. There is certainly no scarcity when it comes to Mother Nature’s treasures.
Apart from diving and snorkelling, a visit to one of the many islands is a must. It gives you the opportunity experience the rich local culture and interact with the friendly locals.
You can also go on long walks on the beach and explore reefs that can be accessed from the beach. And let’s not forget all the beautifully picturesque locations that will make the best photo spots. If you love photography, then the archipelago will delight you with its beauty, colours and sheer magnificence.
Things to Remember
- The islands are not a tourist destination like Bali. So, expect to have a very rustic experience. It is not a luxurious vacation spot with spas and opulent resorts, but there’s something magical and quaint about the Raja Ampat dive lodges and the simple way of life. It’s the best place to unwind from a hectic life, take some time to connect with nature and recharge yourself.
- Make sure you have the local currency in hand when you reach your destination. Since it’s a very remote location, relying solely on your credit cards is not a feasible option.
- Be sensitive to the local culture. If you’re entering a village, make sure you are dressed modestly. You will find signs requesting you to not walk around in bikinis or other such outfits. Show respect to the locals by following these instructions.
- When engaging in diving and snorkelling activities, make sure you’ve hired professional diving instructors and experts to guide you. Use proper equipment and take all the necessary safety precautions.
- The nearest airport is Sorong. From Sorong you will have to take a taxi to the harbour. And from the harbour, a two-hour express ferry ride will take you to Waisai. Most hotels will organise a boat ride for your transfer from Waisai to the lodge.
If you want to explore the sea life in all its glory, be dazzled by the beautiful beaches and enjoy your time under the golden sun, then Raja Ampat best resort is the perfect vacation spot for you.
This is a tempting destination for those of us who long to break off from the monotony of our everyday lives, to take a sabbatical from the technology-driven lives that we lead and just go and be one with nature.
If you love water and enjoy diving and just chilling at the beach, then Raja Ampat is paradise on earth for you.