Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Things to do in Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat is a very popular destination in Indonesia for marine tourism. Most people think that snorkeling and scuba diving are the only things that visitors can do while traveling to these beautiful tropical islands. As a matter of fact there are a lot of things that can be done when visiting the regency. Here are some of them:
Tour by Motorized Boat
There are hundreds of tropical islands which tourists can see in Raja Ampat. To explore these islands, we need to hire a motorized boat. It can be a small speed boat or an outriggered dug-out boat made traditionally by local people of Raja Ampat. In the south of Waigeo island, there are a lot of islands that can be visited using the motorized boat. 
boat tour tropical islands and snorkeling
Exploring Raja Ampat by motorized boat

  • Swimming and Snorkeling - Landing at the beach of these remote islands, we can start exploring its shallow water by swimming and snorkeling. Don't forget to bring an underwater camera to take pictures of the fish and the coral reef. 
  • Birdwatching - While taking the motorized boat to explore the remote island, we can also do birdwatching. I usually bring binoculars, and spotting scope, in addition to snorkeling gear. Coastal bird such as Beach Kingfisher, Spice Imperial Pigeon, White-breasted Woodswallow, or White-bellied Sea Eagle can be watched both by binoculars or by spotting scope.

Birding tour in Kabui bay of Waigeo island to see spice imperial pigeon
Birwatching in Karst
  • Visiting Karsts and Hiking to the viewpoint - Karsts in Kabui bay, Gam island, and Piaynemo are beautiful. There are several viewpoints in the karsts which tourists can visit to see the beautiful scenery of Raja Ampat. Going further to the south, we can explore the beautiful tropical islands of Misool and Kofiau.
  • See unique tropical plants and Insects - Nepenthes, orchids, pandanus, coconut, and mangrove trees are some of many plants which tourists can see while exploring the big and small islands of this regency. I used to see beautiful butterflies such as the Idea Durvillei, and jewel beetle when exploring karst in Raja Ampat.
  • Fishing - Most of the coral reef area in Raja Ampat is protected. But there are waters in the islands that can be accessed by people who want to enjoy fishing. Fishing in deep water is ok. After getting some catches, visitors can grill the fish at the beach resort or homestay where they stay.
Hiking in the forest
There are several big islands in Raja Ampat such as Batanta, Salawati, Misool and Waigeo. The famous one that tourists like to explore is Waigeo. The rainforest of Waigeo is the natural habitat of a lot of birds, insects, reptiles, and mammals. Some interesting animals that we can include Red Bird of Paradise, Wilson's Bird of Paradise, Cuscus Possum, and soa-soa lizards. The birding tour in Waigeo can be done on foot or by car.

Tour to Villages
There are a lot of coastal villages in Raja Ampat. If we travel by motorized boats, we can do tours tomsee villages to see and meet people who live mostly as fishermen and farmers.

Doing Art
There are still other things that we can do while visiting and staying in Raja Ampat such as drawing and making sketches of nature, reef, birds, and insects that we see. I often do this. I bring a sketch book with me with colored pencils, and brush pen. Because I work as a tourist guide, I have got a lot of opportunities to see remote islands  and meet interesting peoples of this beautiful archipelago. 

Volunteering Works
I often meet foreigners who want to spend a period of their time in Raja Ampat as volunteers. They can participate in beach clean-up activity, coral reef preservation, or even participate in more cultural encounters with local people. Last month, I was in north-east Waigeo. I accompanied 2 volunteers from the Netherlands who stayed with local people for around 1 week. They brought beads and yarns in various colours. Every day, they make necklace, bracelets. 
There are still a lot of activities which can be done by tourists or volunteers while visiting Raja Ampat. Here is my email address: peace4wp@gmail.com or whatsapp: +6281332245180. 
by Charles Roring

Monday, October 21, 2019

Dive Resort in Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat is a very popular destination for diving. Every year thousands of visitors go there to enjoy swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving and even freediving. They can stay in homestays, and beach resorts that provide diving excursions to various dive sites in Waigeo, Gam, Kri, Mansuar, Batanta, or even in Misool islands. Dive Resorts in Raja Ampat often have recreational dive packages which tourists can buy while enjoying their holiday in the archipelago. There are tens of dive resorts which tourists can choose if they want to stay in comfortable accommodations while exploring the wealth of Raja Ampat's marine biodiversity.
Vacation tour to Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Karst in Kabui bay

Friday, October 18, 2019

Coral Reef in Raja Ampat Archipelago

From late September to early October, I had an opportunity to visit important islands in Raja Ampat regency from Misool, and Kepulauan Sembian to Kofiau islands and north-east coast of Waigeo.
In general coral reef of this archipelago is still in very good condition. Raja Ampat has not suffered from massive bleaching on its corals like what happened in Okinawa and Great Barrier Reef. The regency is very far from big industrial cities of Indonesia such as Jakarta, Surabaya or Makassar. So, coral reef is still healthy and the density of marine life is very high.
Coral Reef and Fish in Warduwer beach of Waigeo island
That's why a lot of scuba divers and snorkelers as well as freedivers continue to come to visit Raja Ampat. Coral reef with big fish can be seen in north-east region of Waigeo. It is the one that directly faces the open sea or the Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately because of its remoteness, very few people go there.
The best months to explore the north-east reef of Waigeo island is from June to November. The sea is relatively calm.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Traveling to North East Coast of Waigeo Island

A visit to northeast region of Waigeo island
A Beach in North-east Coast of Waigeo island
There was a village in north eastern region of Waigeo island. I visited it 3 weeks ago. I accompanied Wally and Coby in our efforts to help local people build sanitation facilities at a black sand beach. There was a turtle conservation project at the beach. The villagers had built a small wooden house as their shelter while doing monitoring works on turtles that were landing and laying eggs. Unfortunately, the house did not have toilet and clean water facilities to support tourists who want to see turtles landing and laying eggs at the beach.