Far away from skyscrapers, traffic and our modern cities in the regency of West Papua, there is a little wonderland. It’s well known amongst divers and as one of the last paradises on earth.
Raja Ampat means “4 Kings”, which are the big islands Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati, and Misool. Together with more than 1.500 small islands, they form an archipelago between the Indian and the Pacific Ocean. Famous for stunning landscape, fascinating underwater life and wonderful people this region attracts thousands of tourists every year.
If you’re still wondering if it’s worth a visit, find out why Raja Ampat should be on EVERYONE’s bucket list!
1. Highest Underwater Biodiversity Worldwide
Yes! Raja Ampat has the highest underwater biodiversity WORLDWIDE.
Its location in the heart of the Coral Triangle makes it an interesting spot for underwater mammals, fishes, sharks, and corals of all kinds. It is home to over 1.500 fishes and over 500 reef-building corals.
On a single dive Marine Life Expert Gerry Allen once recorded 374 different fish species – a world record!
Responsible for this are currents from several oceans that meet in this area. They create a massive amount of plankton and other nutrients – heaven for fishes and corals.
Whales, sharks, manta rays, dugongs, crabs, lobster, turtles, octopus, fishes in all variations and colors, anemones, corals…the list could go on forever.
And it’s not only the diversity, but it’s also the abundance of fish you will encounter once you’re in the water. It’ll leave you speechless with no clue where to look first. You’ll be surrounded by colors in all variations, pulsating life, and beauty in its perfection.
Some species can only be found in Raja Ampat: the Wobbegong, also known as the carpet shark or the Epaulette shark, a shark which is able to walk.
You don’t have to go diving to enjoy the underwater world. Sometimes snorkelers even get luckier and have amazing encounters while in the water.
2. Extraordinary animals on land
Not only below but also above the water you’ll find amazing creatures and unique species.
Deep jungle and green mountains are home to many birds and mammals you won’t find anywhere else.
One of them is the Cuscus, a cute little mammal of the marsupial family. It lives only in some parts of Australia and New Guinea. The Cuscus is very shy and hides up in the trees. It usually sleeps in the daytime and hunts at night.
Birds-Lovers will find heaven with over 250 different species recorded. Cockatoos, eagles, kingfisher, parrots and even the famous birds-of-paradise are amongst them. Depending on which island you are, you’re able to see the Wilson’s or red birds-of-paradise.
That is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
3. Breathtaking Landscapes
What is Raja Ampat without the “Mushroom Islands”?
Everyone knows the famous rocky little mountains covered in green trees sticking out of the clear turquoise water like tiny little mushroom hats.
This scenery is by far one of the most beautiful things you’ll ever see – don’t leave Raja Ampat without a picture of that!
The Piaynemo Islands in the West of Raja Ampat are a great spot for visitors. There are various viewpoints but the most popular one is Telaga Bintang. It’ll give you a fantastic view over the little islands in front of it.
The Wayag Islands in the North of Raja Ampat are less visited and a bit more complicated to reach. But it’s definitely worth it. The view from up there is as phenomenal as in Piaynemo Islands – if not even better!
4. Amazing sunsets & a stunning night sky
Let’s be honest: will we ever be tired of watching sunsets?
If you think you’ve seen the most beautiful ones already, come to Raja Ampat. Every evening will be another surprise on what nature has to offer. Golden skies and deep red and violet clouds will get you in the right mood for the evening.
The sky will leave you speechless, not only at sunset time. If you have a clear night without clouds and moon, you’ll be able to see the most perfect sky you’ve ever seen! Millions of stars and sometimes the Milky Way will become visible. Even better if you don’t have any disturbing lights around you!
How many shooting stars can you count?
5. Friendly locals and a laid-back lifestyle
One thing you’ll notice in Raja Ampat is the sunny and cheerful personality of its people.
Wherever you go you’ll see people smile, laugh or trying to communicate with you – even without speaking any English. Their welcoming character is heartwarming and will make your stay unforgettable.
Even if people from the villages usually don’t own much, they have the ability to let go and fully enjoy life with its precious moments. You will enjoy being with them and getting to know their simple way of life.
There are many things we can learn from them and one of them is not thinking about tomorrow and enjoy what is – this only moment.
Find more information about Raja Ampat here:
If you are looking for a hotel in Sorong for your trip to West Papua, read also 4 great hotels to stay in Sorong!
What is your main reason to come to Raja Ampat?