Sunday, March 24, 2024

Snorkeling and Watching Birds in Waigeo of Raja Ampat

The Waigeo island is a great place for visitors who are interested in seeing both the marine and rainforest environments. The coral reef is the habitat of anemonefish, parrotfish, butterflyfish, grouper, trevally, wobbegong and a lot more. Beautiful coral reef could be seen along the coastal area especially in the southern region where there are beach resorts and homestays. 

coral reef and rainforest
Raja Ampat has got beautiful marine and rainforest environments
The nearby islands such as Lesser Urai, Urai, Gam, Friwenbonda and Mioskon have got beautiful  coral reef that is rich of marine animals. Soft corals can be seen along the Friwenwall. The house reef at the homestay and beach resorts along the coast of South Waigeo and Gam Island is also in very good condition. 
coral reef and tropical fish
Reef fish at southern coast of Waigeo island

anemonefish in the waters of Waigeo island
Snorkeling Photo: Anemonefish in the waters of Waigeo island
For birdwatchers, birding activity could be seen almost everywhere. My favorite is still along the roads of Waigeo both near the beach and in the forest. There, we could watch Spice Imperial Pigeon, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Pied Imperial Pigeon, Eclectus Parrot, Great-billed Parrot, Red-cheeked Parrot, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Beach Kingfisher, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Hook-billed Kingfisher, Red Bird of Paradise, Wilson's Bird of Paradise, Glossy-mantled Manucode, Torresian Crow, Helmetted Friarbird, Hooded Butcherbird, and etc. 

Extended Tour in Sorong City

After enjoying snorkeling and birdwatching in Raja Ampat, you could extend your tour in Sorong city by visiting interesting places such as Mangrove forest, Buddhist Temple, Doom island, traditional market and hill forest. This extended trip lasts for around 1 to 2 days. 

Interesting places to see in Sorong, Palua Barat Daya
Sorong City Tour

For visitors who are interested in taking a few days trip in mainland West Papua, a trip to see wildlife in the forest of Tambrauw regency can be organized. 

Traveling to Raja Ampat

Those who want to go to Raja Ampat need to fly from their country to Sorong city. Here is the flight routes from major cities in Indonesia served by Garuda, Lion Air, and Batik Air. 


Minahasa highland is a region in the Province of North Sulawesi. It is a great destination for visitors who love hiking and birdwatching. The forest, agricultural land, and paddy fields of Minahasa is the habitat of a lot of species of birds such as Warbling White-eye, Sulawesi Blue Flycatcher, Sulawesi Cuckoo-dove, White-faced Cuckoo Dove, Crimson Sunbird, Sulawesi Pygmy Woodpecker, Black-faced Munia, Collared Kingfisher, Sulawesi Hanging Parrot, Sahul Sunbird, Chestnut Munia, Scaly-breasted Munia, Sooty-headed Bulbul, Pale Blue Monarch, Eurasian Treesparrow, Slender-billed Crow, Cattle Egret, Little Egret, Gray-sided Flowerpecker, Yellow-sided Flowerpecker, Sahul Sunbird, Brown-throated Sunbird, White-browed Crake, Eastern Yellow Wagtail, Purple Needletail, White-breasted Woodswallow, and a lot more. 

Birds of Sonder
Zebra Dove, Black-naped Oriole, Black-crowned White-eye, Brown-throated Sunbird, Sahul Sunbird, Sulawesi Cuckoo-dove, White-breasted Woodswallow, Sooty-headed Bulbul

Birding tour in Minahasa highland could be done all year round. The town of Tomohon and subdistrict town of Sonder is a highly recommended destination. It is surrounded by mountains, hill, wetland (paddy fields) and water streams. Ecologically, Sonder is a highly recommended destination for birding, and butterflywatching. 

butterflies of Minahasa highland
Blanchard's Ghost, Meyer's Jay, Blanchard's Wood Nymph, The Clipper, Lime Swallowtail, Gigon Swallowtail, Sacred Tabby butterflies

A visitor needs to bring a good pair of binoculars such as the ones with the size of 8×42 mm, 10× 42 mm or 10×50 mm. Usually birdwatchers buy the ones that are manufactured by Zeiss, Vortex, Swarovski, Nikon, Leica and etc. Nowadays more brands from Chinese manufacturers are available in the market with more affordable prices.

Farm Tour

While doing the walking tour through agricultural land of Minahasa to watch birds, visitors will be able to see various kinds of crops that farmers grow such as rice, corn, sweet potato, banana, taro, cassava, papaya, rambutan, durian, tomato, chilli, spring onion, aubergine, kangkung, cabbage, carrot, and etc. 

Agricultural commodity of Sonder, North Sulawesi
Some of the agricultural produce from Minahasa highland of North Sulawesi

Visitors can buy some of the agricultural produce directly from the farmers or local market and try cooking local cuisines at the homestay or lodge where they stay.

paddy fields in Minahasa
Paddy fields in Subdistrict Sonder of Minahasa regency

Minahasan farmers sell their agricultural produce to towns and cities in the Province of North Sulawesi, to eastern region of Indonesia such as Manado, Bitung, Ternate, Sorong, Manokwari, Jayapura, Ambon, Balikpapan. 

Visitors who are interested in taking this hiking and birding tour in Minahasa needs to fly from their country to Manado city. There are daily flights between Manado and major cities in Indonesia such as Jakarta, Surabaya, Denpasar, Makassar, Balikpapan, and Sorong served by Garuda, Citilink, TransNusa, Lion Air, Batik Air. 

There are also direct flights between Manado city and Singapore served by Scoot Air; and between Manado and Guangzhou served by China Southern Airlines.

highland destination holiday in Indonesia
Flight routes to Manado city

Arriving in Manado city, the trip to Subdistrict town of Sonder could be done by car. There are homestay in Sonder. Visitors could find accommodation in Tomohon town by using or

Hiking, farmland tour and birdwatching in Minahasa highland
Land Route from Manado city to the town of Tomohon and Subdistrict town of Sonder

Visitors could combine the trip to the highland of Minahasa with snorkeling and scuba diving tour in Bunaken, Siladen, Mantehage, and Lembeh Strait of the same North Sulawesi region. 


If you are interested in taking hiking and birding tour in Minahasa highland of Indonesia and want me to organize your tour, please, contact me by whatsapp to: +6281332245180 or by email to:

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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Rainforest Tour in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat is a great destination for snorkelers and scuba divers. It is also a great site for rainforest wildlife watching tour. As a guide I have run bird tours in Waigeo island for around 7 years now. Usually I combine it with snorkeling trips. With this type of tour, participants will be able to see the wealth of biodiversity of Raja Ampat both in coral reef and rainforest. 

The best time to enjoy birding and wildlife watching is in the mornings and late afternoons before sunset. To watch Red Bird of Paradise and Wilson's Bird of Paradise, we have to wake up early in the mornings. First, we will make preparations and then after that, we will go to the lek of birds of paradise on foot. When we reach the birdwatching site, the light of the sun begins to hit the canopy of the forest. This is the moment when male Red Birds of Paradise begin to call their female mating partners. Several male Red Birds of Paradise compete to perform courtship dance in order to wind the heart of their female mating partner. Their dancing style is unique. A male bird of paradise often dances in an upside-down position. Similar to 69 tantric pose that allows the smooth flow of love energy.

The tantric 69 upside-down pose of the Red Bird of Paradise during courtship dance performance for the smooth flow of love energy

The duration of the dancing performance and mating of birds of paradise is around 3 hours if the weather is good. 

Wilson's Bird of Paradise (Diphyllodes respublica) is also active around the same time as the Wilson's Bird of Paradise. The following video shows how the male bird was picking up debris from his display ground as a preparation to attract his female counterpart to that site. When the female Wilson's Bird of Paradie shows up, he will show his beautiful feather and plays his curly tailed antennas for mating with his female partner. 

In addition to watching birds of paradise, we also do general birding and wildlife watching walks to see various kinds of animals from tropical birds to reptiles, insects and mammals. 

wildlife tour in Indonesia
Coconut Crab in Raja Ampat

During my previous tours with tourists in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat, we saw birds such as Eclectus Parrot, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Hooded Butcherbird, Pied Imperial Pigeon, Great-billed Parrot, Palm Cockatoo, Willie Wagtail, Papuan Frogmouth and a lot more. 

If you are interested in taking a wildlife watching and snorkeling tour with me as your guide in Raja Ampat, please, contact me by email to: or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Snorkeling, Sightseeing, Birdwatching and Wildlife Watching Trip in Raja Ampat

Last week, I guided 2 British visitors for 1 week rainforest and marine tours in Raja Ampat regency. I met them at a guesthouse in Sorong city and organized their transfer to Waigeo island by fast ferry boat. It took around 2 hours to reach the harbor of Waisai. We continued our trip by car to a beach resort in the south of Waigeo.
tour package for raja ampat ialands
Tour in Raja Ampat with 2 British Visitors

Along the way, we stopped several times to enjoy birdwatching. Birds such as Pacific Swallow, White-breasted Woodswallow, Brahminy Kite, Gurneys Eagle, Eclectus Parrot, Moustached Treeswift, and Pied Imperial Pigeon were what we saw. 

We stayed in Raja Ampat Dive Resort (RADR) in Saporkren. In the first day of the tour, we spent most of our time inside the resort. There were a lot of green trees that surrounded the cottages. A lot of birds like to land on the trees for eating their fruits or for taking a rest before continuing their flight into the forest behind the hill. I brought a pair of 10×50 binoculars that I installed on top of my tripod. This is a good alternative for the more expensive spotting scope & tripod device. During the afternoon birdwatching session from the jetty, we were able to watch Beach Kingfisher, Helmetted Friarbird, Common Sandpiper, Pacific Reef Heron and a lot more. 

The next few days, we visited Piaynemo karst and explored the coral reef of Friwen Wall, Arborek, Yenbuba, Mioskon, Five Rocks, and Sand Bank. Raja Ampat was the paradise of marine life. There were a lot of species of fishes and marine creatures that we saw. 

Anemonefish at Friwen Wall
When snorkeling in Mioskon island, we saw Blue-spotted Stingray. There were cats at the beach. We gave them the leftovers of our lunch. Heavy rain fell on us while we were on the island. Trevally, parrotfish, wrasses are some of the many fishes which we saw in Mioskon. After that we continued our snorkeling tour to Five Rocks. This site does not have beautiful coral reef as what we saw in Mioskon but we saw Banded Sea Krait, Boxfish, blenny and Wobeggong there. 

Yenbuba strait is the site for Blacktip Reef Shark, turtles and a lot of big fishes. Swimmers and snorkelers need to be careful at this site because there are boats that cross this shallow strait. 

Coral reef in Friwen Wall
Tropical seafish of raja ampat
Various species of fishes in Arborek's jetty
Snorkeling in Friwenwall of Raja Ampat
with Gary and Esther in Sandbank of Raja Ampat

In Piaynemo, we did not go snorkeling. We only enjoyed the beautiful scenery of the karst. However, we watched birds in its top. There were White-bellied Cuckooshrike, Metallic Starling, Spice Imperial Pigeon, Beach Kingfisher and Brahminy Kite. 

If you are interested in taking a holiday in Raja Ampat and want me to guide you, and organize your trip, please contact me (Charles Roring) by whatsapp to: 6281332245180.

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Friday, September 30, 2022

Birdwatching, Snorkeling and Sightseeing in Sorong and Raja Ampat

I have just finished running a tour for two visitors who came from the Netherlands. They were Femke and Mathijs. We spent 1 week exploring the rainforest of Sorong and Raja Ampat to watch birds, mammals, insects and reptiles as well as various kinds of unique tropical plants. 

marine tour
Raja Ampat Marine Tour
In Raja Ampat, we did snorkeling, and sightseeing tour to see Piaynemo, Pasir Timbul (Sand Bank) and Friwen Wall. The sea current in the front waters of Arborek, between Gam and Mansuar island are quite strong.  That's why the coral reef in this area is the natural habitat of a lot of species of fish that like the current. However, we did not do snorkeling in the area where the current was strong. We went to Friwen-wall and enjoyed snorkeling there. After that we had our lunch at its beach which was on the other side of the islet. It was a nice experience because we can see colourful fish, and other marine animals of West Papua. Raja Ampat has got beautiful white sandy beach which is a good place for swimming and sunbathing. Sergeantfish, anemonefish, parrotfish, butterflyfish, are some of the many tropical fishes that Femke and Mathijs saw while snorkeling in Raja Ampat. 
birdwatching in West Papua
Sightseeing and Birdwatching in West Papua

During the birdwatching tour, we saw Lesser Birds of Paradise, Magnificent Riflebird, Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise, Glossy-mantled Manucode, Red Bird of Paradise, Wilson's Bird of Paradise as well as a lot of other birds including Palm Cockatoo, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Red-breasted Paradise Kingfisher, Azure Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Frilled Monarch, Yellow-faced Myna, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, and etc.

Please, contact me by email to: or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180 if you are interested in taking a rainforest wildlife watching, sightseeing and snorkeling tour in West Papua province of Indonesia. 

Monday, September 19, 2022

Coconut Crab in Raja Ampat

Around 2 weeks ago, I guided a Russian tourist on a 2-week birdwatching and wildlife watching trip to Raja Ampat, Klasow valley of Sorong and Arfak mountains. While in Sorong, we went hiking in southern forest of Waigeo to see birds.

We also took an opportunity to nearby islands to enjoy snorkeling and seeing coconut crab. There was an islet where coconut crab lived. Its name was Nyetreiram. We went there by a small speedboat after taking a snorkeling tour in Friwen. We arrived at the islet at around sunset time. The crabs had not come out of their hiding places. The owner of the islet cut open a dried coconut into pieces and spread then on several places on the islet. When it was getting dark, the crabs began to come out. We were invited to see them. 

coconut crab in Raja Ampat
Coconut Crab in Raja Ampat

They had not reach full sizes but were already bigger than other crab in nature. We took the opportunity to photographs them. 

We were not long at the island. Soon the weather changed. The wind blew fast and the sea surface became rough. We got into the boat and returned quickly to the beach resort where we stayed. Fortunately, we already reach the resort when sea storm hit the beach. 

It was a nice experience to see the Coconut Crab (Birgus largo) in Raja Ampat.