If there is a place you must visit before you die, make sure you include Raja Ampat on your list. There are many reasons why this place is so popular, both among divers and non-divers. Do you want to know?
Raja Ampat, in the province of West Papua, Indonesia, is a group of islands that consists of four major islands: Waigeo, Misool, Batanta and Salawati. It is known as the world’s best diving site which is also rich in marine biodiversity. Be prepared to get stunned by how many species of fish, coral reefs and other underwater creatures you can see below the ocean.
Yes, there are more than 1.300 fish species and 603 hard coral reefs, which is representing 75 percent of the total coral reefs in the world, in the beautiful waters. In addition to fish and reefs, there are other magnificent species you can see, from crayfish to snails. Besides its fascinating underwater species, its land is also home to a lot of exotic animals. Many unique species of birds and mammals are seen here, from bandikut (Echymipera kalubu), a spotted cuscus (Phalanger maculatus), striped opossum (Dactylopsila trivirgata), to bats and the tree rat. No wonder this place is one of the most popular eco-tourist destinations in the world.
To reach this wonderful island, you can fly to Sorong from Jakarta or Denpasar via Makassar and Manado as there is no direct flight to Sorong (there are many airlines serving flights to Sorong from Makassar and Manado). From the city of Sorong, you can reach Raja Ampat by boat from a local port. There are some choices, from Marina Express Ferry to The Ave Maria boat or you can charter a speed boat.
Make sure you know that this group of islands is a Wildlife Reserve protected by the law of the Republic of Indonesia. Hence, local people as well as tourists are encouraged to preserve this island, by not littering carelessly, not disturbing and taking any living things as souvenirs.
Before you go to the diving sites, you must obtain a permission from a local police. Make sure you have passport with three copies of passport page with Indonesian visa. You can ask for help from the diving organizers.
There are various tour packages to this enchanting island, from high price to budget. For non divers who want to enjoy the natural beauty of this paradise, you have nothing to worry about as there are also tour packages arranged for non-divers.
No need to say, there are a lot of things you can do here. The islands in the group are stunning. One of the most popular islands is Misool island. Diving in Misool island will really gives you the unforgettable experience as you can see so many critters and unique species such as ghost pipefish and pygmy seahorses. One of the most favorite sites in this island is the slopping wall called Kaleidoscope, which is completely covered in colorful soft corals and gorgonian sea fans.
No wonder, diving in Misool island is a must for you while visiting the archipelago as you can explore the natural underwater beauty and make sure you know how to take pictures underwater. There is also a resort that really gives you a relaxing atmosphere. Hope you enjoy diving in Misool island while visiting the divers’ paradise.