Raja Ampat Archipelago – Heaven on Earth

I was supposed to go to Indonesia and re-live my island life days in April but sadly plans changed.

Here’s a throwback to my first island adventure in Raja Ampat, West Papua that got me awe-inspired. Since then, I fell in love and went on another island trip in Indonesia which I will share on a different post.

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Raja Ampat archipelago is located on the tip of of Bird’s head peninsula on the island of New Guinea, West Papua.

The isolated archipelago has the richest marine biodiversity on earth as per the survey by Conservation International.

It is not only a prime diving location, it has amazing shallow garden of corals for snorkelers. Still need more reasons to visit this heaven on earth? Keep reading!

The tropical weather in Raja Ampat makes it an all year round destination. It is extremely affordable for the extraordinary experience you will get. It is so uncommercialized that you can truly feel the authenticity of island life.

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I was with a group and we got on the speed boat from Sorong to explore the uncommercialized gem.  It was about 2 hours boat ride. Everyone else remained inside the boat and prepped up by applying layers and layers of sunscreen every now and then. They offered it to me but I never took it. I didn’t feel the need to. I climbed to the roof of the speedboat and  that was my spot! Oh and I’m in a sport outfit because we were going to climb a rock formation!

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All I could see was a line between the sky and water surrounded by jungle covered rock formations, and bright reflection of the sun on the perfectly turquoise water. It was breezy and the waves were comforting. I spotted whales and dolphins from afar as we go on the 2 hours ride until we reach the island.

We got to an island for a quick stretch. There were a bunch of cute little kids with sparkly smiles, bright eyes and curly hair that greeted us with delight. We ate our packed lunch, fed loads of baby sharks and off we continued our journey to another island.

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Couple of hours into the island, I realize my skin was getting way too dark. Too tanned! At least I thought I was tanned.

 

We got to another island where we had to climb the stairs for a breathtaking view of the iconic image of Raja  Ampat Island.

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Like the view wasn’t enough, we got down and there were a bunch of coconuts around ready to be cracked! We drank some fresh coconut juice and ate the fruit to restore some electrolytes after being under the sun for hours!

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In the evening, as I was about to change and freshen up, I felt the burn from beneath my skin, and suddenly I was a tomato from head to toe. That’s when I realized that I was severely burnt!

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The next day, I applied layers of sunscreen but the damage was pretty much done. I also went out with a baseball jacket to cover my skin; it wasn’t the best idea.

I rock climbed the steep, slippery and muddy rock formation and got to see this stunning view. My vision was so blurry when I got to the top of the rock formation, The sun was striking and I was not hydrated enough. But in the end it was all well worth the struggle. The rock formations remind me of gummy bears. Don’t ask why!

 

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On our way back to our accommodation, the wind was blowing stronger than usual, thick clouds started to cover the sky and rain started to pour. The gentle waves got rough and I had to go inside the speedboat as the storm kept coming harder. We needed to get back to the island ASAP and all I could see over the horizon was an endless ocean. Soon enough, the weather calmed down and the colorful bright rainbow shone through the dark clouds.

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The next day was a swim/snorkel/dive day! I don’t know how to do either but I snorkeled because who could resist right!? It was too beautiful to not dive in. This is when I realize I need to take up a diving course to explore the beauty in the underworld.

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Thank you Raja Ampat community for being a great environmentalist and keeping the islands untouched and protected. I can still hear the people reminding us to not step or touch the corals repeatedly whenever we are in the water.

I highly recommend it before it becomes commercialized.

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How to get there: There isn’t any international flight that goes to Sorong, West Papua. So you will have to fly into one of these cities and take another flight to Sorong and then take a speedboat to Raja Ampat Archipelago.

  • Jakarta
  • Ambon
  • Makassar
  • Medan

I flew in from Jakarta with Xpress Air. It was the cheapest and shortest flight of 4 hours. Other airlines may take up to 7 hours.

Getting around: Since you will be on an island, the only way to go around is by renting a speedboat. I would recommend visiting with a small group so the cost can be divided. It would be too expensive for individual travelers.

Visa: You can read on the visa requirement from my post on Indonesia Visa.

PS: Don’t forget to apply layers of high SPF and waterproof sunscreen!

A Yemeni/Indonesian who knew nothing outside Jeddah, Saudi Arabia; now craving to explore other cultures, traditions, and way of life.

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