Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Raja Ampat Guided Snorkeling Tours

guided snorkeling tour in Indonesia
Snorkeling in Kabui Bay of Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat has become my favorite destination when I guide visitors on various snorkeling tours in the regency. I usually go to the archipelago with some tourists and stay in one of the resorts or homestays. From that place, we will visit islands where coral reefs are in very good condition to enjoy snorkeling, sightseeing and even birdwatching. We usually spend between 3 to 5 days to see a lot of species of tropical fish and other marine animals. Some of them were Pink-Anemonefish, Striped Surgeonfish, Butterflyfish, Sweetlips, Blacktip Shark, Moorish Idol, Three-spots Dascyllus, Sweetlips, and grouper.
A special trip by motorized boat could also be arranged for visitors who want to enjoy sightseeing in Kabui bay, Piaynemo or Wayag, Sandbank, and Mansuar, Friwen wall, and the passage between Waigeo and Gam island.
tropical fish and underwater marine life in Indonesia
Marine Life in Raja Ampat
Visitors need to bring their own masks, snorkel and fins if they want to enjoy the beautiful underwater scenery of Raja Ampat.
The marine tours are usually carried out by speed boat or motorized wooden boat to islands that are located within one or two hours trips from the resort or guesthouse where we stay.
Marine Environment in Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat reef and Fish
The number of participants of the tours are from 1 or 2 to 6 or 8 people. Sometimes I guide more tourists. For safety reason, tourists are advised to wear snorkeling jackets that we provide. Snorkelers will be able to keep afloat on the coral reef that is a fragile environment.
In addition to snorkeling, freediving, and sightseeing, your trip to these islands can be combined with birdwatching. Birds such as Red Bird of Paradise, and Wilson's Bird of Paradise are important targets. There are also other interesting birds which visitors can see during the tour including Eclectus Parrot, Sulphur-crested Cockatoo, Palm Cockatoo, Eastern Osprey, and Brahminy Kite, Pied Imperial Pigeon, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Red-cheeked Parrot, Hooded Butcherbird, Beach Kingfisher, Coconut Lorikeet and a lot more. Most birdwatchers bring their own binoculars.

Getting to Raja Ampat

You need to take international flight from your country to Jakarta (the capital of Indonesia). After that you could continue your trip to Sorong city. Most Domestic airlines in Indonesia such as Garuda, Sriwijaya, Nam Air, Batik Air and Lion Air provide regular flights to Sorong.
Alternative route: You could fly to Singapore. After that, by Silk Air you could fly to Manado city (the capital of the Province of North Sulawesi). There are regular flights by one of the above airlines to Sorong city. I could organize your trip from Sorong to Raja Ampat islands.
If you are interested in visiting Raja Ampat and want me to organize your trip, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.
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Raja Ampat Reef

Raja Ampat islands have been famous internationally because their marine biodiversity is the highest in the world. From my personal observations when I run snorkeling tours in the archipelago with foreign tourists, I could say that high density of fish and other marine animals can be seen in coral reef area whose sea current is strong. Such reefs are located in Yenbuba strait, Cape Kri, and in a small island near the entrance site of Kabui bay.
Raja Ampat seascape
Beautiful Raja Ampat
When I organize the snorkeling tour, I also bring visitors to beaches that are calm but also have got high marine life such as South-West Mansuar, Cape Kri, Five Rocks, and Isanak beach in Waigeo island. Uninhabited islands often have got more coral reef in pristine condition.
Here, we could see tropical fish and other marine creatures including lobster, burrowing clam, sea star, sea urchin, christmas tree worm, and etc. Bigger fish such as trevally, parrotfish, black tip reef shark can be seen in drop off areas.
Swimming, snorkeling and freediving at this steep reef slope or wall may look  scarry but for experienced snorkelers and freedivers, this area is the place where more fish and better reef can be seen easily.
Coral reef is similar to tropical rainforest. It is the natural habitat of a lot of species of marine creatures from tiny pygmy seahorse to giant trevally. It is the source of food for a lot of people and it is an important natural resource for researches in marine science. Because of this important status, we need to preserve it forever.
Visitors who enjoy snorkeling and freediving over the coral reef must not stand on the corals.
I usually combine this coral reef snorkeling trip with hiking, birding and rainforest tour. My email is: peace4wp@gmail.com. You could also contact me by whatsapp message to my number: +6281332245180.

Where is Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat is a regency in West Papua province of Indonesia
Location of Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat is a group of large and small islands in the western most region of West Papua province of Indonesia. There are more than 1,500 big and small islands as well as karst islets in the archipelago. Four big islands consist of Waigeo, Misool, Salawati and Batanta. Raja Ampat is considered as the center of marine biodiversity in the world because its waters and coral reef environment have got the highest number of fish species. The archipelago has got groups of karst islets that exhibit magnificent view of marine landscape. Some of them include Wayag, Piaynemo (Fam islands), Kofiau, Kabui bay and Fish Lagoon. Every year tens of thousands of visitors go to Raja Ampat to enjoy swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, free diving, scuba diving and sightseeing. In addition to marine tours, Raja Ampat islands attract significant number of birders who travel to the regency to watch the endemic Wilson's Bird of Paradise (Diphyllodes respublica) and Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra).

How to go to Raja Ampat?
Raja Ampat is a highly recommended destination for marine tourism
Raja Ampat islands
Visitors who want to go to Raja Ampat need to fly to one of the major cities in Indonesia such as Jakarta, Denpasar, Makassar and Manado.
There is direct flight service by Garuda that connects Jakarta and Sorong city (the main gate to Raja Ampat). Regular flights between these cities are also offered by Sriwijaya, Batik, Nam, and Lion via Makassar city.
Tourists who land in Denpasar Bali can continue their trip to Raja Ampat by flying to Makassar and then to Sorong. Asian tourists can fly to Singapore and then fly to Manado by Silk Air. Regular direct flights to Sorong city are available from Manado by Garuda, Lion Air and Nam Air.
Besides going by airplanes, visitors can also go by ships to Sorong city. PELNI passenger ships connects Sorong and major coastal cities in West Papua as well as in Maluku, Sulawesi and Java islands.

Snorkeling freediving and birding Tours
I offer snorkeling and free diving tours for visitors who are interested in exploring the islands of Raja Ampat. The usual duration is 3 to 5 days. The tours will be combined with hiking and birdwatching tours to find such birds as palm cockatoo, pinon imperial pigeon, pink-spotted fruit dove, sulphur crested cockatoo, eclectus parrot and rufous-bellied kookburra. Please, bring your own snorkeling mask and fins as well as binoculars if you want to take the tour.
If you are interested in traveling to Raja Ampat and need a guide, I can be your guide and organize your tours from airport or hotel in Sorong city to Raja Ampat islands. Please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp: +6281332245180.

Also read: Snorkeling Tours in Raja Ampat

Travel to Raja Ampat Archipelago in Easter Region of Indonesia

Every year the number of visitors who travel to Raja Ampat increases. People go there to see beautiful landscape of the islands, do snorkeling or scubadiving over pristine coral reef and walk inside the forest to watch birds of paradise. There are hundreds of islands in Raja Ampat from the big four: Waigeo, Salawati, Misool and Batanta to the famous Kri, Mansuar, Gam and Arborek. There are also beautiful karsts such as Piaynemo, Wayag and Fish Lagoon.
Drone picture of Raja Ampat
Islands in Raja Ampat
Diving and Snorkeling
Liveaboard diving boats offer diving and sightseeing tour package for visitors who are interested in exploring the remote islands of Raja Ampat. This kind of service is similar to a small floating hotels that provide a relatively comfortable accommodation close to nature. Most of the diving boats are built using wooden materials with designs that have been adapted from the Phinisi sail boat. The cost of traveling with liveaboard boats is expensive.

Staying in Local Guesthouses or beach resorts and Exploring Raja Ampat using small boats

There is also a more affordable way which tourists can choose if they want to explore Raja Ampat. There are tens of guesthouses and beach resorts operating in most of the big islands in Raja Ampat. Visitors can go there and stay at one of them. To enjoy snorkeling, visitors can explore the house reef in front of the guesthouse or hire a boat that can bring them to coral reef areas in other islands. My favorite choice is Isanak beach. It is located in the eastern region of Raja Ampat. I used to guide tourists on snorkeling tour to coral reef areas in Sawondarek, Yenbuba Strait, Five Rocks, West Mansuar, Mamiaef, Kabui, Friwen, and Arborek. They were very good places for snorkeling.

Hiking and Birding

Tourists who like rainforest can explore Raja Ampat to see Palm Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Violet-necked Lory, Great-billed Parrot, Eclectus Parrot, Beach Kingfisher, Hooked Bill Kingfisher, Red Bird of Paradise, and Wilson's Bird of Paradise. To enjoy birding and wildlife watching, tourists need to bring their own binoculars and spotting scope. A good hiking boots is also needed especially if the birding activity is done in the forest. I like birding in Raja Ampat because I can see both coastal birds and rainforest birds. For identifying bird, I highly recommend that tourists buy a field guide book: Birds of New Guinea written by Thane K. Pratt, Bruce Beehler.
Beach Kingfisher (Todiramphus saurophagus)
Beach Kingfisher
There are a lot of species of trees, shrubs, creeping plants, and other vegetation that we can see in Raja Ampat. There are also insects, reptiles and mammals which we can photograph. Rainforest is an interesting site to explore. There are orchid flower plants that grow in the forest including the Tiger orchid or also called Queen of the Orchids (Grammatophyllum spesiosum).
Tiger Orchid(Grammatophyllum spesiosum)
Tiger Orchid
Traveling to uninhabited islands
I offer customized tour for visitors who like adventure. I can organize tour to uninhabited islands whose beaches are in very good condition and ideal for snorkeling. Camping in these uninhabited islands can also be organized. The coral reef is very good. It is located in a place where visitors do not go because of the lack of transportation and information about it on the internet. We could enjoy swimming, camping and snorkeling as well as hiking, birding and wildlife watching. There are some coastal villages which we can visit too.

How to go to Raja Ampat
  • Fly from your country to Jakarta (the capital of Indonesia)
  • Fly from Jakarta to Sorong city. Batik Air and Lion Air operate Airbus 320 on a regular flights to Sorong. Garuda operates Boeing 737 and Bombardier CRJ 1000. Usually, the planes leave Jakarta at night and land in Sorong city early in the morning.
  • I can meet you at the airport and organize your trip to Raja Ampat


If you plan to travel to Raja Ampat and want me to organize your trip and guide you around the islands, please, contact me by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp: +6281332245180.

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One Day Tour to Mansinam Island

tropical island of Mansinam
Mansinam island
After the Hiking and Caving Tour in Table Mountain, the next morning, we continued our trip to Mansinam island. We bought mineral water, biscuits and a bunch of bananas fruits at a shop near the Ketapang boat station of Manokwari. We went by water taxi crossing the blue sea of Dorey bay to the white sandy beach of the small tropical island. There was a concrete path that led us to the southern area of the island. We just followed it. Along the way, we could see coconut, catappa and barringtonia trees on both sides of the path. As we left the village, the forest at the back of the island looked more pristine. We continued walking until we saw a narrow path that was leading us to the beach. We just followed it. We arrived at the beach. There were some fishing boats at sea. We also saw butterflies and wild flowers. We were not too far from the city but we were close to nature.
dog at the beach
a dog at Mansinam island
We found a rock at the beach. We sat there under the shades of the trees to enjoy the surrounding scenery of this beautiful tropical island.
The southern underwater area of Mansinam island is covered by coral reef. It is a good snorkeling and diving site.
It was a busy day for local people. They were catching fish, collecting firewood and transporting school children to the city. There was a dog that was trying his luck on catching fish at the beach. He tried many times but he failed. Perhaps, he needed more practice. I thought wild dogs prefer to hunt animals in the forest. It was a new sighting for me to see dog trying to catch fish. It was a nice experience traveling to Mansinam island. At around 15.00, we returned to Billy Jaya hotel. We were really excited with the trip.
Besides organising and guiding tourists in Manokwari, I also organize snorkeling and birding tours in Raja Ampat especially to Waigeo, Mansuar, Kri, Arborek and Pianemo islands. -written by Charles Roring
Also read:
Snorkeling Tour in Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat Snorkeling and Birding
Visiting Fish Lagoon of Raja Ampat

Boat Trip to North of Raja Ampat

I visited Yenbekaki village of Raja Ampat last week. It was located in north-east region of Waigeo island. I went there with Rani and two villagers by a small wooden boat powered by two 15 HP outboard engines. We went there to see turtle conservation innitiatives at Warebar beach.
At Pasir Timbul (sandbar) of Raja Ampat
The weather was very nice. We made several stops along the way. First, at the Pasir Timbul (meaning: sandbar), Second: at Yenandau beach, Third: Warebar Beach, and Finally: Arrived at the beach of Yenbekaki. Although the weather was very hot, we really enjoyed the view, the fresh air and the crystal clear blue sea of Raja Ampat.
When we stopped at Yenandau beach, it was around 14.00. Rani took out cake for our lunch. There were also two packages of lunch wrapped in paper. The ingredients were rice, fried fish and some vegetables. Sitting at a big stone by the beach, we had our lunch. Yusuf, one of the villagers whom picked some green leaves which we used as our "plates." The sea was calm and the sun was brightly shining from above. It was a very beautiful beach. Minutes after lunch, we left the beach for Warebar beach.
Yenandau beach in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat
Children were playing at the beach when we arrived. They were happy to see us. When our boat landed on the beach, they welcomed us and helped us pushing the boat to the land. There was a small house at the beach which was used by villagers as a post for their Turtle Conservation Works. There are three rooms in it. There was a big table in front of the house facing the beach.
Children were helping us push the boat when we landed at Warebar beach
The sand was black. It was the location of turtle conservation works conducted by Yusup and his friends from Yenbekaki village. There were two plastic containers with with baby turtles in them. They planned to release them at night. We also checked the relocated nests. Eggs of the turtles were given labels about the species and time when their mothers landed on the beach to lay them. In the relocated nests, special net was installed to protect the eggs from predators such as soa-soa lizard, and dogs.
Relicated nests of Olive-ridley turtles and hawksbill turtles in Raja Ampat
Relocated and Protected Turtle Nests in Raja Ampat
We continued our boat trip to Yenbekaki village. The waves at the beach were quite big. We had to wait for the right moment to leave it. Still, one of us fell back into the bottom of the boat when a big wave hit us from the front. Everything back to normal again when we had reach deeper water. In around five minutes we landed at Yenbekaki village. Here, the sand had a cream whitish look. We brought our bags into Yusup's house and took a rest at the bench across from his house. Sweet hot coffee was brought to us. We drank the coffee and then decided to do a short walking tour around the village. The village was quite big. The houses were neatly arranged, some were decorated with flower plants or motif paintings. At the beach, we saw some people were building a wooden boat. They were happy to see us. Some children were playing at the beach.
We also had a long beach walk to see the beautiful scenery of Yenbekaki village. At night I and some villagers left the village for the Turtle Conservation Post by small motorized boat. At was only a short trip but we had to be very careful when entering the beach. The waves were big. We decided to enter it through Warebar river. The villager at the front of the boat used torch to find the entrance of the river.With the push from a big wave, we entered the river and slowly turned left to a big pool. We landed near the relocated nests. We still needed to walk for a few minutes to the post. I did not want to wait for long to see the release of the turtle. When everybody has arrived at the post, I asked them if it was ok to see them releasing the baby turtles. They said yes. 
Release of Baby Turtles at Warebar beach of Raja Ampat
Two big containers with baby turtles in them were released. Villagers released the turtles at night to prevent predators from attacking them. We still did night patrol to see whether there were mother turtles that landed on the beach to lay eggs but we did not see any. Back to the post, at the table in front of it, I enjoyed having good conversation with the villagers and a university student who was doing researches on turtles. This is written by Charles Roring
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Thursday, May 6, 2021

Snorkeling and Watching Birds of Paradise in Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat islands are important destination in Southeast Asia for marine tourism. Visitors who go there usually like to enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving in a lot of coral reef areas of the archipelago. The number of reef fish species is the highest in the world.
Scuba diving photo in Raja Ampay
Marine Life in Raja Ampat
Raja Ampat is also an important site for birding particularly for those who want to watch Wilson's Bird of Paradise (Diphyllodes respublica) and Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra) and a lot of other birds such as Pink-spotted Fruit Dove, Pacific Swallow, Hook-billed Kingfisher or Radjah Shelduck.
Wilson's Bird of Paradise (Diphyllodes respublica)
Wilson's Bird of Paradise

Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra)
Red Bird of Paradise
As a tourist guide, I offer private tours for visitors who want to enjoy snorkeling and birding in Raja Ampat. There are several sites that tourists can visit depending on how many days they want to stay in Raja Ampat. In general, visitors stay for 3 to 5 days. To join the trip, visitors need to bring their own masks, and fins for snorkeling, binoculars and camera for watching paradise birds.
The trip in Raja Ampat can be extended to the mainland of West Papua, if visitors want to watch more birds in the forest such as the Lesser Birds of Paradise, King Bird of Paradise and Twelve-wired Bird of Paradise.
For birding in Raja Ampat and mainland New Guinea, I highly recommend that visitors bring field guide book: Birds of New Guinea written by Thane K. Pratt and Bruce Beehler whereas for identifying fish after snorkeling, I recommend a book entitled: Reef Fish Identification-  TROPICAL PACIFIC by Gerald Allen, Roger Steene, Paul Humann and Ned Deloach.
To book your trip in Raja Ampat, please, contact me by e-mail to: peace4wp@gmail.com or send text message to my whatsapp number: +6281332245180.
ecotourism in Raja Ampat
Scenery of Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat Guided Snorkeling Tours

Snorkeling in Kabui Bay of Raja Ampat Raja Ampat has become my favorite destination when I guide visitors on various snorkeling tours in the...