Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Raja Ampat in July

July is the month where a lot of travelers want to go to Raja Ampat to spend their vacation. As a matter of fact the sea is full of waves particularly in south and central regions of the archipelago. I used to guide a Dutch lady in July. We went to southern region of Waigeo and stayed at a homestay near the entrance area to Kabui bay. Although the sea was quite protected, we could still experience waves. Snorkeling was possible only in the morning. Sometimes,  We did a tour by a motorized wooden boat around Kabui bay. The waves were quite strong. We used outrigger boat. We went to karst in the bay to see the scenery and enjoyed some birdwatching. Waves hit us from the bow when we were heading back to the homestay. All our clothing was wet. The boat crews was busy taking out water from inside the hull using a small water dipper.
Orange-skunk anemonefish, Three-spots Dascyllus and damselfish
Orange-skunk Anemonefish
Although the wind and the waves were quite strong at the beach, when I did freediving at a depth of 2 to 5 meters, the visibility was quite good. I could still make pictures of coral reef and marine life. I used a small action camera Brica B-Pro 5 Alpha Edition. It was not the best camera for underwater photography but it was good enough for snorkelers who want to have an affordable underwater photographic device.
Karst in Kabui bay of Gam island
Karst inside Kabui bay of Raja Ampat
In July, Raja Ampat is more suitable for wildlife/ birdwatching tour
For those who want to explore the tropical rainforest in Raja Ampat, July is a perfect month. Orchids, tropical plants, reptiles, mammals, birds and insects can be seen while we walk in the jungle. As a tour guide, I organize birdwatching tour to Raja Ampat all year round, even in late June, July and September when the waves are big. There are a lot of birds that we can watch including Palm Cockatoo, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Great-billed Parrot, Violet-necked Lory, Red-cheeked Parrot, Spice Imperial Pigeon, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Pied Imperial Pigeon, Hooded Butcherbird, Beach Kingfisher, Rufous-bellied Kookaburra, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Willie Wagtail, Torresian Crow, Pacific Swallow, White-breasted Woodswallow, Wimbrel, Brahminy Kite, White-belly Sea Eagle, and a lot more.
Birdwatching activity can be done using binoculars, and spotting scope.
North coast of Wageo island Photo by Charles Roring
North coast of Wageo
Which places you could visit in July?
You could visit places in Raja Ampat that are not directly exposed to sea current and waves that come from south-east or south-west directions. So, doing land tours in Waigeo, Salawati or Batanta will be ok. However, transport vehicles are not always available especially for big boats that go to Salawati and Batanta. Regular passenger ferry go to Misool, and Waigeo. There are also ships that go to Kofiau. Coastal villages in northern region of Waigeo have got calm waters in July, August and September. It is a suitable place for swimming, fishing, and wildlife watching in the forest.
After your trip to Raja Ampat, you could extend your holiday in Sorong city to explore its mangrove forest, rainforest to watch wildlife, city life, traditional market. 
The spread of Covid-19 around the world is still going on. If the threat of this virus has stopped and tourism activities can be continued again, anyone will be allowed to visit Raja Ampat again.
If you are interested in traveling to Raja Ampat and want me to organize your tour and accompany you, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by e-mail to: or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180

Also read:
Raja Ampat Birds
Snorkeling and Watching Birds of Paradise in Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat beach

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Raja Ampat Archipelago Region

The regency of Raja Ampat archipelago is located in Papua Barat province in the Republic of Indonesia. There are 4 big islands, i.e. Waigeo, Salawati, Misool and Batanta as well as hundreds of smaller tropical islands. Because the islands are located close to equator, it receives sunlight all year round. Ocean Current that flows between the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean through seas in Indonesia have become an ideal environment for marine life to thrive in Raja Ampat.
Coral reef in Mioskon island photo: Charles Roring
Coral reef in Raja Ampat
Every year thousands of visitors from Europe, the North America, Asia, and Australia go to Raja Ampat to enjoy sightseeing, swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving. Significant number of visitors go there to explore the biodiversity of its rainforest.
Where to stay? Most of the homestays, guesthouses and beach resorts can be found in Google Map.
When visitors go to Raja Ampat to enjoy their vacations, they will need comfortable accommodation. There are tens of guesthouses locally called "homestay." Some in Kri island include: Yenkorano, Mangkurkodon, Turtle homestay.  In Waigeo island, near Waisai town, there are Kakatua Hostel, Yendebabo, Mamatua Homestay, Wapnansan Homestay, Mandos Guesthouse, and Yengkawe, and Yensner. West off Waigeo - in YefMo island, there is Sea Fans Homestay
In Gam Island, there are Yensrai Homestay, Monkairi Homestay, Yenros Homestay, Yenanas Paradise Homestay, Monkairi Homestay.
For beach resorts, along the coast of Waigeo, there are Raja Ampat Dive Resort, Scuba Republic Beach Bungalow, Hamu Eco, Gurara Dive Resort, Waiwo Dive Resort, Waigeo Villa, TPK 48, Korpak Villa and Resort, Coral Paradise Resort.  In Urai island, there is Raja Ampat Doberai Eco Resort. It is not far from Raja Ampat Biodiversity Ecoresort in Gam island.

Piaynemo Karst in Fam islands
Piaynemo Karst in Raja Ampat
Marine Life
Raja Ampat Archipelago has been famous around the world as the region that has got the richest marine biodiversity in the world. According to Wikipedia, there are 1,508 species of fish, 537 coral species, and 699 mollusk species. As more exploration of the sea of Raja Ampat is being conducted, more species of marines creatures may be found in the future. This wealth of marine biodiversity attracts thousands of recreational divers, students, and scientists to see, study and admire its beauty.
table coral in Mansuar island
A huge table coral in Mansuar island where other corals grow on it
Snorkeling and scuba diving is the main activity which tourists like to do when they go to Raja Ampat. There are hundreds of dive sites which they can explore.
Snorkeling in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat, Indonesia
Snorkeling in Raja Ampat

Tropical rainforest that covers Raja Ampat islands are the natural habitat of a lot of species of plants, birds, insects, mammals, and reptiles. These are important attraction for visitors who like to explore the biodiversity of forest. In general green vegetation in the islands of Raja Ampat is devided into 4 types, i.e. mangrove forest, coastal forest, pseudo montane forest, and montane forest. Pseudo montane forest can be seen mostly in the slopes of most of the small islands of Raja Ampat. Since the top soil of the ground insvery thin, and the beneath it is mostly hard rocks or fossils of corals, the forest is not dense and the diameter of the trees are not big. This is different if we go deeper into the interior region of Salawati, and the mountainous regions of Waigeo, Misool and Batanta where soil layer is thicker. The trees are usually big and dense. This dense tropical rainforest that is rich in wildlife is included the zones of conservation area or nature reserve.
Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra) in Waigeo island
Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra)

Rainforest tours to Raja Ampat has been increasingly more popular especially among birdwatchers and wildlife photographers. Most of them take the tours to watch Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra) and Wilson's Bird of Paradise (Diphyllodes respublica) as well as a lot of other tropical birds that are endemic to West Papua region.
Wilson's Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus respublica)
Wilson's Bird of Paradise (Diphyllodes respublica)
What to bring?

  • Sunglasses, clothing for swimming, snorkeling or beach walk or hiking in the forest will be needed for traveling in Raja Ampat. Visitors who like marine sport activities will need snorkeling mask, snorkel and fins. For those who like to explore rainforest and observe wildlife, hiking shoes, binoculars and zoom cameras will be needed for such activities.
  • Anti insect and sunblock lotions or oils.
  • Traveling around hundreds of tropical islands is fun but can be challenging because of sunny weather. While doing snorkeling or sightseeing excursions by boats or on foot, visitors need to bring bottled water, biscuits or dietary supplements. Vitamin C, B6 and E are important for enhancing one's immune system.

How to get to Raja Ampat?
  • If you live in, for example, Holland or Germany, you need to fly from your country to Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. 
  • Continue your trip to Sorong city by taking a domestic flight provided by Garuda, Batik Air, Sriwijaya Air.
  • I could meet you and organize your trip to Raja Ampat.
Raja Ampat islands are in the Republic of Indonesia
Raja Ampat is a regency in Indonesia
Please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: or whatsapp to: +6281332245180 if you want me to organize your trip to Raja Ampat and guide you to enjoy sightseeing, snorkeling and birdwatching/ rainforest tours.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Raja Ampat Reef Fish

Raja Ampat archipelago region has got the highest marine biodiversity in the world. It is a must see destination for visitors who like to see various species of reef fish. When I go to the islands for guiding tourists, I always provide enough time to do snorkeling and freediving. I have got a Fujifilm XQ2 with its waterproof case that allows me to take pictures and videos of reef fish, and other marine creatures that live in coral reef. Sunlight in general can effectively reach 15 to 20 meters below the surface. These are depths where marine life is abundant.
Anemonefish in coral reef of Raja Ampat
False Clown Anemonefish (Amphiprion ocellaris) in coral reef of Waigeo island
Raja Ampat archipelago
Based on my personal observations of traveling and doing scuba diving or snorkeling in eastern and southern areas of Waigeo island especialy in Mamiaef, Waim, Saporkren, Kabui bay, Kri, Yenbuba Strait, Mansuar, Arborek, Piaynemo, abundant fish can be seen in coral reefs that are less exposed to human activities or in areas where there is current. Kofiau is another important group of islands where the wealth of marine biodiversity is well preserved. In Misool, marine protected areas are the place where reef fish thrive.
Latticed Butterflyfish (Chaetodon rafflesi) and Lemon Damsel (Pomacentrus moluccensis)  Photo: Charles Roring
Latticed Butterflyfish (Chaetodon rafflesi) and Lemon Damsel (Pomacentrus moluccensis)
Small-toothed whiptail (Pentapodus caninus)  Photo: Charles Roring
Small-toothed Whiptail in Raja Ampat
Dolphins, whales, Manta, Giant Trevally can be seen in area along the waters of Waigeo, Dampier Strait, near Arborek and between Mansuar and Gam islands. Tasseled Wobbegong and Black Tip Shark thrive in Yenbuba strait and most of the fore reef sites of most of Raja Ampat islands. For much smaller fish such as Striped Surgeonfish, Damselfish, Pink Anemonefish, Orange skunk Anemonefish, Butterflyfish, Blenny, Angelfish, Box Fish, Knifefish and Moorish Idol, they can be seen in most of the coral reef of the archipelago.
Moorish Idol and Butterflyfish from Waigeo island
Moorish Idol and Butterflyfish in coral reef of Waigeo island

Birdwatching and Snorkeling
I spent 5 days/ 4 nights doing birdwatching and snorkeling in Raja Ampat recently. I guided Michael - a tourist from the United States. It was a nice trip because we were able to see Red Bird of Paradise, Wilson's Bird of Paradise, Blyth's Hornbill, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Coconut Lorikeet, Red-cheeked Parrot, Eclectus Parrot, Palm Cockatoo, Common Paradise Kingfisher, Beach Kingfisher, Dusky Scrubfowl, Mimic Meliphaga, Claret-breasted Fruit Dove, Pied Imperial Pigeon, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Spice Imperial Pigeon, Hooded Butcherbird, Moustached Tree Swift, Pacific Swallow, White-breasted Woodswallow, Olive-backed Sunbird (now also called Sahul Sunbird), Tern, Lesser Frigatebird, Torresian Crow, Brahminy Kite, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Eastern Osprey, and etc.
Wilson's Bird of Paradise
Wilson's Bird of Paradise (Cicinnurus respublica)
I brought a 20-60×60 spotting scope, a good pair of binoculars, and a Canon 200D with Tamron 150-600mm telephoto lens. For snorkeling and freediving, I only brought a mask and a snorkel with my underwater camera. I didn't bring my swim fins to minimize the weight of my travel bag. This equipment greatly enhanced our birding experience. I also was able to take good photos both above and under water.
If you are interested in taking snorkeling and birding tour in Raja Ampat with me as your guide, please, contact me by email to: or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

Amazon online store has got some good books about Raja Ampat. Some of them include:

  • Diving Indonesia's Raja Ampat by Burt Jones and Maurine Shimlock
  • Diving & Snorkeling Guide to Raja Ampat and Northeast Indonesia by Tim Rock and Simon Pridmore.

Monday, March 2, 2020

Seafans Homestay

Seafans homestay is located in Yef Mo island in the Western region of Waigeo. It is a great place to stay for visitors who like secluded white sandy beach accommodation whose front waters is pristine coral reef. 
Wooden Bungalow in Seafan Homestay
Traditional Wooden Bungalow in Seafans Homestay
Dining in Seafan homestay
The Dining Area in Seafans Homestay directly faces the turquoise water and beautiful island
Guest room in Seafan homestay
Guest room at night
Shuttle boat between Waisai town and Seafan homestay
Seafans homestay operates several sizes of boat for snorkeling and sightseeing tours
Staying in Seafans homestay, guests could enjoy snorkeling, sightseeing and fishing activities. Tours to villages where participants can meet local people in their daily life could also be organized.
There are 3 sandbars that are close to the homestay. A lot of seabirds like to land on the sandbars. These are good places for watching sea birds. The nearby islands are also recommended place for watching Spice Imperial Pigeon, Eastern Osprey, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Beach Kingfisher and a lot of other tropical birds of Raja Ampat.

Rates (in rupiahs)
Shuttle boat between Waisai and Homestay:  Rp. 1,800,000

Homestay: 400,000/ person/ night,
For  couple: 700,000/person/night
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in the above prices.

Trips (in rupiahs)
- Wayag Rp. 5,000,000 (1 to 5 participants)
- Piaynemo Rp. 2,000,000 (1 to 5 participants)
- Snorkeling Rp. 300,000 to 1,000,000 depending on the distances

Please, contact Linder
Cell phone, text, whatsapp:  +62813 4349 9690