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Raja Ampat

What can I expect from Raja Ampat?

Did you know that Raja Ampat means “The four kings”? Consisting of a multitude of islets covered with jungle, it is an archipelago located in West Papua (also call Papoua Barat in indonesian), in the coral triangle of the Indo-Pacific zone.

Nature is still relatively preserved, because these islands are distant and isolated, still not too popular (even if it is less and less true). The archipelago of Raja Ampat is exceptional, for its beauty and its biodiversity, on land as at sea.

But tourism development in the region is accelerating and has negative consequences for the environment. Presented as a “dream destination” to the tourists we are, Raja Ampat is first and foremost a natural treasure, which must be preserved and protected.

Things to See and Do in Raja Ampat

Snorkeling
Seeing the birds of paradise
Diving
Private Lagoon in Fam
Piaynemo
Village of Arborek
Swimming with mantas
Seeing a ``Kalabia`` (walking shark)

“Typical bungalow”

“Private lagoon of Rufas Homestay in Fam”

Typical Costs When Travelling

Accommodation – Unless you come on a cruise, you will do as we did, that is to say, go to homestays. Most often, it is simple wooden huts and palm leaves, in local style, with very rustic comfort: a mattress on the floor, a mosquito net, shared sanitary. For these very simple accommodations, the tarifs start from 300,000 rupiah to 800,000 rupiah per person per night on a full board, i.e. with three meals included (between 15 to 50 euros).

Food – If you stay in homestays, you will always have the 3 meals included. Breakfast, lunch and dinner (sometimes afternoon snacks) are prepared by the locals in the homestay. You will mostly eat rice, fish, noodles, vegetables, chicken and plenty of fruits.

Transportation – There are no regular connections between the different islands, except for the Sorong-Waisai ferry which connects to the large island of Waigeo.The best thing is to ask the people in your homestay if they can take you somewhere with their boat. But remember, you have to know exactly what you want. Fuel is expensive, and prices are sometimes a bit “customer-led”. Independent travellers, get together and share boats ! The islands look close together on the map, but in reality, navigation takes time. Local boats are slow, and even speed boats are not always that “speed”. Depending on the distance between two islands, the transportation cost can be around 20-100 euros per boat.

Suggested daily budget – 20-30 EUR / 22-32 USD (Note: This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying in a homestays, without counting the diving prices. Using the budget tips below, you can always lower this number. However, if you stay in fancier accommodation or make a lot of activities, expect this to be higher!)

Money Saving Tips

1
Sleep in homestays with shared toilets and bathrooms It can be weird at first, but after 1 or 2 days, you will be like a real local ! And you can save a lot of money by not having a private bathroom in your bungalow.
2
Share boats The price to go somewhere is always per boat. The best thing is to ask to other people if they are going at the same place as you or if they want to do the same activity as you. The more you are on a boat, the less expensive it is ! Independent travellers, get together and share boats !
3
Negociate the prices For many Indonesians, bargaining is a way of life and getting a fair or cheap price is regarded as a challenge. When you are told a price, always try to negociate a little bit.
4
Bring your own snorkeling equipment As snorkeling is pretty much all this is about in those islands, bringing your own snorkeling equipment is a great idea. That way, you avoid to rent it and to have a damaged equipment.

OUR TRAVEL ESSENTIALS

Here are a selection of our travel essentials !

What can I expect from Raja Ampat?

Raja Ampat is lucky to be a sunny destination all year round. There are still “wet” periods, but the good news is that the weather can change quickly in Raja Ampat. It never rains very long and is often very localized. If it’s raining on an island, it does not mean that is is rainning on the island right next to it. The air temperature is stable (around 32/33 degrees), the water temperature is constant, around 29/30 degrees. We’re at the equator, so basically it’s always hot and humid. The climate is truly equatorial all year round, with no major seasonal variations.

Raja Ampat, as elsewhere in Indonesia, is a mixture of indigenous cultures and descendants of successive waves of migration from outside the region that began in ancient times and continue today. In the islands where most of the host families live, the culture is mainly Papuan and Christian. The people are among the friendliest and most welcoming you will meet. Always with a friendly attitude and a smile on the lips. You’ll have the best holidays if you take a similar approach!

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We are Elsa & Cyril, a French couple who left behind the French Art de Vivre to travel the world and chase our own dreams. Find out the rest of our story here !