Welcome to Raja Ampat! One of the world’s most biodiverse dive sites and one of the final remaining aquatic paradises in the entire world. Located off the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula on the island of New Guinea, in Indonesia’s West Papua province, Raja Ampat, or the Four Kings, is an archipelago comprising over 1,500 small islands, cays, and shoals surrounding the four main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta, and Waigeo, and the smaller island of Kofiau. The Raja Ampat archipelago straddles the Equator and forms part of Coral Triangle which contains the richest marine biodiversity on earth.
Now, for those of you who are interested in visiting Raja Ampat and have been researching about this gem of a place, you may wonder why it costs rather on the more expensive side to reach. The reason being Raja Ampat is under government’s policy to keep this place exclusive and as a way of limiting how many people are coming to Raja Ampat that it is not overrun with people, so the marine life can continue to thrive and multiply as it is here.
During certain times of the year, you can catch a glimpse of many majestic sea creatures, such as the black tip sharks, sperm whales, dolphins, mantarays, stingrays and even crocodiles, if you’re really unlucky. You can also spot smaller marine life, like school of fish and you can see sea turtles go by. It is literally brimming with every single kind of fish and aquatic animals that you can ever dream of right out there. Another amazing thing is, that because of the fact that there’s very few people here, relative to your average dive sites, the coral is in such a great shape and the animals are not, by any means, hostile or scared of humans, which is very uncommon. You will know this if you’re a diver, that in most places, they’ve learned to fear divers.
Speaking of corals, here you can see the coral that looked like it did in cartoons. For example, when you watched Disney’s The Little Mermaid and you saw all the colours, like the purples, the blues, the greens, the teals and all the the coloured corals, unlike other dive sites, which are sadly, really dead looking coral. Beside seeing what’s under the sea, you can also hop to the Fam Islands, which are a group of islands in the Raja Ampat Archipelago and one of the most iconic sites to check out in Raja Ampat. They’ve got extraordinary view of the lagoons and the jagged limestone cliffs.
So, if Raja Ampat is in your bucket list, you have to be willing to spend some serious money and spend some serious time to get there. It definitely make a bit of a dent in your wallet, but it is going to be worth every penny because it is absolutely a dive heaven.
Pic : By Papua Paradise