Raja Ampat is the number one destination for heavenly marine tourist destinations. Raja Ampat even becomes one of the best international diving sites in the world. Since Raja Ampat has 610 islands, it becomes a source of hidden gems. That is because there are only 400 islands have been explored, leaving the rest completely untouched. From 610 islands, only 35 of them habituated by local people. That explains why sometimes there are no phone signals around the tourist destinations. You can reach all the destinations you wish to visit in Raja Ampat by riding boats. Here are our 15 Must-visits of Raja Ampat.
1. Misool Island
Number one on our list, Misool island in Raja Ampat is among the biggest islands of the archipelago. This inhabited island is famous for its untouched beauty, located on the edge south of Raja Ampat. With a small boat from the locals, you can explore every edge of the island. Due to its virginity, the coast became a house for corals and reefs where they can flourish. It also stores ancient archeological treasures. No wonder the island is currently undergoing a research and development process to become a Geopark.
Another famous destination in Raja Ampat which inside everyone elses’ bucket lists, is the Piaynemo island. This iconic destination currently holds the title of the National Geopark from the Ministery of Marine. That means the destination is rich in three aspects, Geodiversity, Biodiversity, and Cultural diversity. The most famous spot on this island is the Piaynemo peak, where you can see all the other islands. The best time to visit is past mid-day where the sun is not as searing. You can reach this beauty from the Waisai harbor, or even from Sorong.
3. Wayag Island
Number three on our list is Wayag Island. Known as the furthest island in Raja Ampat. It can take six to seven hours of boat rides. Upon visiting, consider staying overnight to enjoy and explore more on this side. For example, climbing the karst hill of Wayag which can take a lot of effort. But don’t worry, some people will rent out climbing gears for you. However, the reward is so worth it. You can see a landscape of limestone ocean and surrounding small islands. If you opt not to climb, you can stay on a beautiful white sandy beach. Since the beach has a shallow shore, many people enjoy swimming and snorkel. You can even see tame sharks swimming which can be an unforgettable experience.
4. Cape Kri
Cape Kri becomes the most famous popular diving site in Raja Ampat. Located in Kri Island, you can find 374 different marine species here. Moreover, this is also the best diving site for those at an advanced level. In the depth of 38 meters, you can find an ancient anchor stuck in a coral. It now becomes a home for many fishes. However, the things which make Cape Kri famous are the Hawksbill and the sharks. There are also seahorses and giant fish. Overall, Cape Kri offers excellent marine diversity.
5. Friwen beach
Friwen beach is located in South Waigeo, West Papua. This is another untouched destination with crystal clear water and a white sandy beach. What makes it special is the gradation of the ocean’s color, which consisted of limestone and deep blue. The water is so clear you can see the coral reefs without goggles. There is a shallow area where you don’t have to dive in to snorkel. However, if you are looking for a challenging spot, Friwen offers a diving spot as deep as 20 meters. Around the coastlines, you can try local delicacies such as the sweet friend banana with special sambals and refreshments.
6. The Pencils stone
It’s not complete when you are not visiting the pencil stone in Kabui. This giant karst stone surrounded by a limestone ocean is a must-visit. Reaching 10 meters tall, the karst has a unique form that draws even more attention. The locals then build a small harbor so the boats can stop to visit. To reach the stone, you have to rent out a boat then drive from Kabui for an hour.
7. Stars Lagoon
Stars Lagoon or in Indonesian means Telaga Bintang, is a star-shaped lagoon located in Piaynemo. Though to see this beauty you will need to hike, it is not gonna be as hard as hiking in Piaynemo. The trekking trail is shorter and therefore easier. From the top, you will see the lagoon with distinctive colors compared to the ocean. To reach this destination, it takes an hour boat drive from Waisai.
8. Arborek Island
Arborek Island is another exotic must-visit in Raja Ampat. Located in Meosmansar, Arborek means a thorn in Biak language. Most of the local people either work as fishermen or in the tourism field. A long time ago, Arborek people were known as one of the best sailors, they’re often called the Papuan Vikings. Now, the Island is famous to snorkel and dive with colorful coral reefs. However, you can get in touch with local people and their traditions, such as boat-making traditions.
Another village worth visiting in Raja Ampat is Sawinggrai Village in Meos Mansa District. To reach this village, it will take two to four hours of boat driving from Waisai, which only cost Rp.100,000. You can also rent a fast boat from Sorong, however, it can cost Rp.500,000. The moment you step foot on the island, you will be warmly welcomed by a traditional dance performed by the locals. The dance is called Makakero, to welcome important visitors. They also bring you a bowl of water and flowers to dip your feet in, as a symbol of welcome. Other than the locals, there is another thing that brings people here. That is to see the magical Cendrawasih bird. The bird becomes the state icon, known for its beauty. To help you meet the birds, the locals have created a map to guide the visitors.
10. Suwanderek Village
Suwanderek Village is another destination where the Papuan Birds live, such as the endangered Maelo Waigeo. To reach this village, you will have to ride a boat to Waisai first from Sorong and then ride a boat for 4 hours. The ocean surrounding the village also owns some majestic marine species, such as mantis prawns, mandarin fish, seahorses, and blue ring octopuses. If you are lucky, you can even find the tuna fish and barracuda species here.
11. Pasir Timbul
Pasir Timbul in Raja Ampat is a unique destination that only appears three times a day! How is that so? This small sandy island appears to the surface when the tide is low. There are certain times, which starts at 6 AM, then at 11 AM and lastly at 3 PM. They also only appear for 30 minutes before the tide is getting higher. Surrounding this small island is a tosca blue ocean. This is a good option to snorkel and dive.
12. Batanta Waterfall
Not only countless exotic beaches and diving sites, but Raja Ampat also offers a different destination which is this exotic waterfall. Batanta Waterfall is as high as 10 meters, combined with a cave behind the waterfall. Just like something out of the fairytale, making it very attractive to the tourists. However, you will have to go through a deep forest for 2 hours walking. It is not easy, but it is worth the effort. Located in Batanta, the waterfall is a must-visit.
13. Sapokren Forest Park
Other than an exotic hidden waterfall, Raja Ampat also offers a lush forest to explore. One of them is Saporkren forest located in South Waigeo. This destination gives a magical sensation with lush greenery and tall trees. There is a surprise waiting for you. Sapokren forest park has a rare species of Red Cendrawasih and Wilson Cendrawasih. These two are very rare and endangered species. The best time to come and visit is between 6 AM to 3 PM every day. Don’t forget to carry a binocular to ensure the best experience of Bird watching!
14. Rufas Island
Rufas Island offers another magical lagoon that you can enjoy from the top of Karst hill. Just like the Sapokren forest park, Rufas Island is still located in the Waigeo district. From the shore, you can see different colors of the ocean due to the algae species and coral reefs. Meanwhile, the sands are clean white without any trash. The beach is surrounded by tall pine trees, giving a serene ambiance. You can just enjoy a day on the shore while snorkel and swim around, or hike to the top of the hill. To hike the karst, you will need solid shoes to prevent you from slipping. From the top, the landscape of the lagoon in limestone and deep ocean in blue create an unforgettable view.
15. Keruwo Beach
This deserted island is one of the few untouched islands waiting to be explored. Located in Saukabu, this island is rarely visited by most people. Only those who own private boat can get this far and reach Keruwo Beach. This is a hidden diving spot where you can swim with tame sharks and enjoy the rich marine diversity.
Read more:15 Hidden Gems in Sumba: Untouched Beaches, Waterfalls, Hills.