Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Traveling to Raja Ampat Islands

Raja Ampat is an important destination for tourists who like tropical islands. They could enjoy swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, freediving, see beautiful seascape of karst islets like Wayag, Piaynemo, Fish Lagoon, Kofiau, and Misool. It is also a highly recommended travel destination for people who like to explore rainforest and see its wildlife. 

Kabui bay in Waigeo island of Raja Ampat
Kabui bay
Getting to Raja Ampat
It is easy to travel to Raja Ampat. First, you need to fly from your country to Jakarta (the capital of Indonesia). After that, you need to take a domestic flight by flying to Sorong city. Airlines such as Garuda, Sriwijaya, and Batik provide regular flights to Sorong.
Arriving at the airport, you need to go by airport taxi to Pelabuhan Rakyat (People's harbor). The cost per taxi is 100,000 rupiahs. Remember, the price is not per passenger but per taxi. You need to spend around 10,000 to 15,000 rupiahs (depending on the number of passengers in the taxi) for entrance fee to the harbor. At the passenger terminal, you could buy tickets there. The price is 100,000 per passenger for regular seat and around 210,000 rupiahs for VIP. It takes around 2 hours to reach Waisai harbor of Raja Ampat.
There are hotels and simple lodges in Waisai town (the capital of Raja Ampat) which you could choose to stay during your holiday in the islands. However, most tourists prefer to stay in beach resorts and homestays in southern area of Waigeo island or in other islands such as Gam, Mansuar, Kri, Arborek of the regency. One that I recommend is Raflow beach resort. It is located in southern coast of Waigeo. The beach resort has got beautiful house reef. 
Observing Marine Life
White sandy beach in Waigeo island
White sandy beach in Raja Ampat
You could enjoy swimming and snorkeling over the coral reef to see a lot of species of fish such as butterflyfish, damselfish, parrotfish, wrasse, moorish idol, blenny,  anemonefish, and even the unique scorpionfish, and even the tasselled wobbegong. There are also Christmas Tree Worms, Sea Stars and Burrowing Clams. Make sure you bring a good underwater camera that can take pictures of the marine life. I personally use Fujifilm XQ2  with waterproof case and Nikon AW130.
Watching Tropical Birds
If you like to watch birds, you can do it in Raflow Resort. The trees around the Raflow resort are frequently visited by Beautiful Fruit Dove, Palm Cockatoo, Sulphur-creasted Cockatoo, Eclectus Parrot, Pinon Imperial Pigeon, Claret-breasted Fruit Dove, Willie Wagtail, Red Bird of Paradise, Spangled Drongo, Beach Kingfisher, Brahminy Kite, Mimic Meliphaga, Puff-back Meliphaga, Blyth's Hornbill, Lesser-crested Tern, Sooty Tern, Eastern Reef Egret, Wimbrel. 
Red Bird of Paradise (Paradisaea rubra)
Red Bird of Paradise
A good pair of binoculars such as the Nikon Monarch 7 10×42, Leica Noctivid, Swarovski EL 50, can greatly enhance the birdwatching experience. I often guide tourists to watch birds in Raja Ampat. I bring my Visionking 20-60×60 spotting scope to watch birds that sit in the branches of high trees. 
Visiting karst islets in Piaynemo, Wayag, Kabui is also a nice thing to do. You could ask other guests who also stay in the Raflow resort to take the tour so that the cost can be shared.
If you are interested in traveling to Raja Ampat and want me to be your guide and arrange your tour, please, contact me (Charles Roring) by email to: peace4wp@gmail.com or by whatsapp to: +6281332245180.

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