Raja Ampat is located in West Papua, and even if it is part of Indonesia, it does not share most of the tradition, religion, race and culture, which is much more similar to Papua New Guinea’s.
How to get to Raja Ampat
Getting to Raja Ampat is not without effort. First you have to get to Jakarta/Bali and then fly to Sulawesi island (Makasar/Manado). From there it is another 2 hour flight to Sorong. From Sorong there is a 2 hours daily ferry heading to Waisai, the capital of Raja Ampat, at 15:00pm. You will have to sleep there as most of the homestays will pick you up the next morning. There are beautiful beaches 20 minutes away by taxi to spend the afternoon.
Where to stay in Raja Ampat
Stay Raja Ampat, is an online platform that promotes local homestays around the area. Your choice should be based on your goal on the islands as the archipelago is very vast. If you want to dive you should stay around Kri or Mansuar island which attracts most of the underwater life. If your aim is to climb Wayag hills you should stay in north Raja Ampat, as the trips from there are much shorter and therefore cheaper (it is still expensive to get there, so the best option is finding other travelers to share expenses).
To get to Wayag hills, you have to book a homestay in north Raja Ampat, and tell them you want to do the Wayag tour. They will pick you up in Waisai, and take you to their homestay in a 4/5 hours ride through most of the islands with a stop in one remote snorkeling spot. The next morning you will head to Wayag, in a 3 hours open sea ride. Be ready for the most fascinating day of your life.
How much time do you need there
If you want to get to the hills either Wayag or Piangiemo, and also dive in the best spot in the world, you will need 6/7 days.
The best time to visit Raja Ampat
June July and August are all the rainy and windy season, because of the monsoon, and sailing will not be as pleasant when covering vast areas of sea. If your aim is to dive, any season is good, as underwater conditions are as good as any other month and sun will still be on and off.
If you want to go remote on already the most remote destination of Indonesia, Misool island is your best bet. Solo climbing, discovering new beaches and feeling like Indiana Jones is what it will be.No tourists means no tourist traps 😉
Why should Raja Ampat be on your bucket list
If you want to go wild, enjoy the beach, being underneath the water, and beautiful panoramic views with green and blues like you have never seen, Raja Ampat will not let you down. Combining north Sulawesi, inner Papua or Molukas will round your trip.
I was obsessed with Raja Ampat, way before heading there. The breathtaking pictures I have seen and the little information made me dream of traveling there. Last year I did it, and September was my only choice. Despite being the end of the windy season we rented a boat and headed to remote Wayag in a 3 day adventure, crossing no other boat on the way. During the open ocean last bit, the sea got very rough, reaching a no comeback point, when the only option was getting to the little islands side safe. This 5 meter wood boat fought spectacularly and I had to admit I wasn’t sure it would make it. Joking was our only weapon to raise tripulations vibes. But we finally got there, and mother Earth gave us the clearest skies I have never seen, to see the most beautiful view I will ever see.