Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Raja Ampat : Indonesia's island best for diving

Raja Ampat is the Islands District and have the best coral reef areas in Indonesia. According to research, approximately 500 types of coral reefs and more than 540 species of hard corals (75% from total species in the world), stored more than 1000 species of reef fish, 700 species of molluscs, as well as the highest record for gonodactyloid stomatopod crustaceans. New seven species of coral reef was founded, spread from another hundreds of coral reefs  and  never been found in other areas. The waters of Raja Ampat Islands is one of the 10 best diving site around the world.

The archipelago of Raja Ampat consists of four small islands, namely Waigeo , Batanta, Salawati and Misool. The Raja Ampat region have been preserved for thousands years ago and preserved so many variety of marine life. The beaches also had pristine waters that you can't find in other area. Raja Ampat is very famous among divers and be one of the best triangle coral reefs around the world, so this is not surprisingly, if this region is rich with coral reefs and species of fish were so unique and rare. Raja Ampat is like an unpolished gem, and once you come to this place, forever , you will never forget its beauty.

How to get there ?

Transportation modes to Raja Ampat currently is not much as another tourist objects in Indonesia. Unlike the island of Bali which provides flights with dozen times to various major cities in Indonesia and abroad, or the famous city of Manado Bunaken Marine Park which provides more than ten flights connecting Manado and Jakarta. The most popular route to Raja Ampat is through the town of Sorong, one of the largest cities in the West Papua provinces. You can begin your journey from Jakarta to Sorong using aircraft for approximately seven hours of travel after some transit in Makassar.

Trip to Sorong can be reached from several major cities in Indonesia and some other cities in southeast Asia such as Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, and Davao in Philippines. Several airlines providing flights between Jakarta and Sorong, but they require to transite through Makassar or Manado. The airlines include Lion Air, Merpati Nusantara Airlines, and Garuda Indonesia. Ticket prices ranged from Rp 1.200.000 valid until Rp 3.500.000 depending on class selection and availability of tickets. Meanwhile, foreign airlines serving flights to Sorong, which is also do some transit in Manado, among others, Silk Air and Cebu Pacific Air with ticket prices ranging from  $ 450 in numbers.

From Sorong city you have to continue your trip towards to Waisai, the capital of Raja Ampat. This trip can be done by using a fast boat that can be rented at the rates of about Rp 2.000.000 per vessel per trip. In one trip, the vessel may contain more than ten people. Travel time takes about one and a half hours to reach Waisai. From Waisai, tourists can choose to stay on the island or hire small boats to get to the other islands..

What to see ?

In this place , there are so much activities to fully your days with an exotic panoramas and sea views , such as  :
-Spectacular diving and snorkling
-Sensational kayaking in the shallow bays, especially in the mangrove forests
-Slow afternoon cruise with one of the tenders - get up-close-and-personal with the stunning land scenery
-Bird spotting - find the illusive Bird of Paradise from the water.
-Fishing - unexplored fly-fishing for bonefish or deep water trolling for marlin and sailfish .
-Dive in Wreck diving in the area is superb as well. The wrecks here haven't been plundered as in Truk Lagoon, PNG, the Solomons, Vanuatu and other well-known wreck diving areas. Most of these WWII wrecks were not seen by humans again until the day and therefore completely intact. Over 50 years of marine life growing on and around them has turned them in beautiful gardens. By special arrangement, Papua Diving can schedule to dive wrecks in the Manokwari area (on the east side of the bird's head). Although there are plenty of wrecks all around the area, the wrecks in Manokwari are in shallow, clear water with plenty of coral growth and sea life surrounding them. For further information about diving site , please visit this link .

Where to stay ?

1. Misool eco resort
this is the naturalist resort with modern facility , built from reclaimed tropical hardwood. Misool Eco Resort offers two levels of accommodation. Eight Water of Cottages are located in the North Lagoon, built on stilts over the water. They're just steps from the Dive Centre and restaurant. Stairs lead from your private veranda down into the placid lagoon, and the House Reef is about 100 fin-kicks away. aAnd also have one deluxe villa, Villa Tabisasu, located on the eastern edge of the North Lagoon.
info : www.misoolecoresort.com

2.Kri eco resort and Sorido bay resort
The western style look resort (sorido),  Western style comforts in a traditional Papuan setting. Located on a beautiful deep lagoon and white sand beach on Kri Island, the dive resort is central to the most spectacular dive sites in the Raja Ampat.
  Kri Eco Resort is an Indonesian style resort and currently has 6 over-water guest bungalows. Most of the buildings contain two rooms and at least one sitting area.
info : www.papua-diving.com

3. Raja Ampat Dive Lodge
Raja Ampat Dive Lodge is located at the heart of the most spectacular diving in northern Raja Ampat. Mere minutes from the famous Manta aggregation sites and the fish-filled dives at the western edge of the Dampier Strait, our intimate lodge is the prefect place to experience the most bio-diverse reefs in the world
info : www.rajaampat-liveaboard.com


Currently in Saonek Monde being built three resorts on the island of Batbitiem Nyandebabo, Waiwo, and South Waigeo. During unfinished, you can stay at several places below.
First is Sorido Bay Resort is famous for its coral reefs. Then there is the Kri Eco Resort, a traditional resort built on the water. Another option is to camp on the island or a house boat that provided a lot of travel agents.Although Raja Ampat is not very crowded, but  there are already hotels and rented houses in Saonek, Mansuar, and islands Yenwaupnor.

If you are flying from Jakarta it will take 7 hour flight to Sorong and stopped in Manado. You can also dive in Bali tour and fly from there. Sorong like any other big city. You can get almost everything here. Although, the price is more expensive because its a remote location. Only the tourists who buy package from  travel agencies are ussually the most audience in Raja Ampat maritime tourism. You do not need advanced diving dive tour to follow this, because the travel agent providing tours for non professional divers or trained divers. There are 8 airlines open up the flight schedule. Several national and foreign airlines provided flights from Jakarta or Bali to Sorong connected with aviation in Makassar or Manado.

Getting around.
Usually, many divers would join the tours and stay at the resort for divers while visiting Raja Ampat Islands. To access the dive sites,  you can contact the travel agency that can be found in Sorong. Some travel agents also offer options such as boat tour around Raja Ampat, or diving in Raja Ampat. From Sorong, there are two types of boats, long boat and  speed boat. Using a speed boat can carry 15 passengers with travel time 1 hour 40 minutes, cost price of 2 million rupiah. While the long boat carrying 10 passengers and takes about 2-3 hours, the cost price of 1.2 million rupiah. Please be aware that prices may change at any time. You can rent a small boat if you want to explore this island more freely. The islands at Raja Ampat has 4 major islands, is mountainous and hundreds of small islands around it which you can explore.In addition, this region also had a lot of coral, which is a beautiful natural phenomenon. There are a variety of unique fauna as bald paradise, paradise red, maleo Waigeo, rat-rat. For this type of flora then you can see orchids, palms, and many others. Try to do activities of trekking around the island to discover the hidden beauty such as waterfalls and ancient caves.

Food provided by the diving operators, ranging from international to traditional food menu is made directly by the local community. Usually available a variety of seafood. Try you taste the fish soup which is a typical food of yellow island.

Many divers say that the best souvenirs from the Raja Ampat is the story of your experience when visiting the Raja Ampat. Surely this is a good places catch a lot of photograph to shows. However, you can buy statue of Asmat tribe as souvenirs , the traditional cloth, flute, or traditional drum. The goods are usually sold in souvenir shops in various cities in Papua. This trick will lighten your burden for too much stuff of souvenirs from Raja Ampat. You can also buy handicrafts woven in Arborek if you have more leisure when visited the village in Raja Ampat.

Best time.
October or November is a good time to visit Raja Ampat because the sea would be so calm and perfect to get some videos or photograph. Every year, Raja Ampat is typically held maritime festival, held between the months of May or October.

Bring your underwater camera. Use your skills for underwater photography , meanwhile for taking underwater pictures is not easy, but also a regret if it passed. Also bring sun block anyway, sunscreen, hats, and shirts which are comfortable for beach weather. Should also prepare insect repellent and anti malarial drugs.

See the beauty of  Indonesia .....


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