Raja Ampat is a very popular destination in Indonesia for marine tourism. Most people think that snorkeling and scuba diving are the only things that visitors can do while traveling to these beautiful tropical islands. As a matter of fact there are a lot of things that can be done when visiting the regency. Here are some of them:Tour by Motorized Boat
There are hundreds of tropical islands which tourists can see in Raja Ampat. To explore these islands, we need to hire a motorized boat. It can be a small speed boat or an outriggered dug-out boat made traditionally by local people of Raja Ampat. In the south of Waigeo island, there are a lot of islands that can be visited using the motorized boat.
|Exploring Raja Ampat by motorized boat|
Swimming and Snorkeling - Landing at the beach of these remote islands, we can start exploring its shallow water by swimming and snorkeling. Don't forget to bring an underwater camera to take pictures of the fish and the coral reef.
- Birdwatching - While taking the motorized boat to explore the remote island, we can also do birdwatching. I usually bring binoculars, and spotting scope, in addition to snorkeling gear. Coastal bird such as Beach Kingfisher, Spice Imperial Pigeon, White-breasted Woodswallow, or White-bellied Sea Eagle can be watched both by binoculars or by spotting scope.
|Birwatching in Karst|
- Visiting Karsts and Hiking to the viewpoint - Karsts in Kabui bay, Gam island, and Piaynemo are beautiful. There are several viewpoints in the karsts which tourists can visit to see the beautiful scenery of Raja Ampat. Going further to the south, we can explore the beautiful tropical islands of Misool and Kofiau.
- See unique tropical plants and Insects - Nepenthes, orchids, pandanus, coconut, and mangrove trees are some of many plants which tourists can see while exploring the big and small islands of this regency. I used to see beautiful butterflies such as the Idea Durvillei, and jewel beetle when exploring karst in Raja Ampat.
- Fishing - Most of the coral reef area in Raja Ampat is protected. But there are waters in the islands that can be accessed by people who want to enjoy fishing. Fishing in deep water is ok. After getting some catches, visitors can grill the fish at the beach resort or homestay where they stay.
Hiking in the forest
There are several big islands in Raja Ampat such as Batanta, Salawati, Misool and Waigeo. The famous one that tourists like to explore is Waigeo. The rainforest of Waigeo is the natural habitat of a lot of birds, insects, reptiles, and mammals. Some interesting animals that we can include Red Bird of Paradise, Wilson's Bird of Paradise, Cuscus Possum, and soa-soa lizards. The birding tour in Waigeo can be done on foot or by car.
Tour to Villages
There are a lot of coastal villages in Raja Ampat. If we travel by motorized boats, we can do tours tomsee villages to see and meet people who live mostly as fishermen and farmers.
There are still other things that we can do while visiting and staying in Raja Ampat such as drawing and making sketches of nature, reef, birds, and insects that we see. I often do this. I bring a sketch book with me with colored pencils, and brush pen. Because I work as a tourist guide, I have got a lot of opportunities to see remote islands and meet interesting peoples of this beautiful archipelago.
I often meet foreigners who want to spend a period of their time in Raja Ampat as volunteers. They can participate in beach clean-up activity, coral reef preservation, or even participate in more cultural encounters with local people. Last month, I was in north-east Waigeo. I accompanied 2 volunteers from the Netherlands who stayed with local people for around 1 week. They brought beads and yarns in various colours. Every day, they make necklace, bracelets.
There are still a lot of activities which can be done by tourists or volunteers while visiting Raja Ampat. Here is my email address: email@example.com or whatsapp: +6281332245180.
by Charles Roring