Tips when travelling to Raja Ampat
Updated: Oct 17
Tips when travellig to Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat is not the first place you think of when travelling to Indonesia. However, this is a paradise of beauty and nature. It’s one of the top 10 destinations in the world for divers for a reason. The waters are full of coral, you have beautiful sandbanks and geological formations similar to the famous Halong Bay in Vietnam or Palawan in the Philipines but even better because you are alone!
Raja Ampat has more than 27000 islands, many of them with a jungle, pristine water and beautiful coral. We have previously been in the Maldives and Vietnam and this place is a bit of a mixture of Halong Bay (for the geological formations) and Maldives (under water). You can easily spend 1 month or more in Raja Ampat alone doing activities like bird watching, jungle exploration, diving, snorkeling, liverboards, etc. But since the destination is so beautiful it’s also famous for relaxing in a Maldives style setup but for a fraction of the price.
Next, we would like to tell you our Tips for travelling to Raja Ampat at Two Travelling after having spent a week relaxing and exploring the islands.
Tips when planning a trip to Raja Ampat
Pick the right time to go There are two main seasons in Raja Ampat: windy season and not windy season. During the windy season the sea will be more wavy and the liverboards don’t do any diving activities because of that. Moreover, there are not as many of the big animals underwater (from June to September). From the end of September things start to get better but it’s still out of the peak season. That means you can see more animals, expect less wind and especially less people. That’s when we travelled, so we could enjoy the views at Cape Kri and Piaynemo alone. We have created a compilation of diving and droning videos. The high season starts at the end of October until April / May and it’s basically when the big guys come (Manta Rays, whale sharks, whales, etc.). So it is extremely popular and sometimes we have been told to dive with more than 50 divers…
Best way to get there The way to Raja Ampat is not easy. Raja Ampat is in west papua but it’s part of Indonesia. That means it’s really far away from the main Indonesian Islands. The best way to get there is to catch a flight to Sorong and then from Sorong get a ferry to Waisai. Waisai is one of the main cities in Raja Ampat. If you then have a homestay or resort in another island you still need to get an extra speed boat, usually organized by your accommodation that will cost you between 500k idr and 2 million to divide between all the passengers. Many people get their flights canceled, or delayed hours or even 1 day when coming to Raja Ampat. Moreover, the direct flights are only from Jakarta or from Makassar. In our case the flight was delayed for 2h so we didn’t have time to catch the last boat to Waisai and we had to stay one night in Sorong. The problem is that the boat from Sorong to Waisai goes only at 9 AM or at 2 pm. We would therefore recommend taking a flight one day before going to Raja Ampat and then taking the first ferry in the morning at 9 AM. Our flight was supposed to land at 12.10 but we landed at 14h10. And we went as fast as we could with the organized taxi but we arrived at the ferry at 14h22 and we saw the ferry just departing. They waited for us for 20 minutes but they couldn’t wait for more…
Pick a nice accommodation Depending on your budget you can go to a homestay or a resort.
Our favorite: We have been at a resort that is a bit like a homestay and it was really good. We would really recommend it because they help you organize everything, the location is really nice with water under your little cabin, with a pier to a beautiful coral where we could see turtles under your home, black tip sharks, jackfishes, triggerfishes, banks of fishes, morays and even blue spotted rays. You basically don’t need to even snorkel when you’re there, although we snorkeled every day because it’s very beautiful to see all these creatures underwater.
If you want to experience more luxury: The guests staying at our hotel had previously stayed at the famous Papua dive resort and they really liked it. They said everything was excellent but it’s of course a bit more pricy so it depends on what kind of budget you have.
If you are more on a budget: you can stay at a Homestay. There are several options but we would recommend staying at a Homestay at Mansuar or Cape Kri since they are some of the best locations of Raja Ampat for snorkeling and diving.
Be careful when taking a grab from Sorong Harbor! The yellow cars are a huge mafia and if you order a grab close to the harbor (which costs 20k IDR instead of 150k IDR for a yellow car) they will get angry. They were very violent ant hey blocked the car of the grab from behind and from in front so that he could not take us into the city. They were grabbing (pun not intended) the driver violently and the driver was saying sorry many times in Indonesian. Then we had to walk for more than 15 minutes until a car stopped following us! It felt really dangerous. One of the yellow cars drivers looked into my eyes and said grab and did the sign of killing with the hand moving under the neck... So if you take a grab just do it far away from the Sorong port!