Raja Ampat — Indonesia’s Untouched Wilderness
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Raja Ampat — Indonesia’s Untouched Wilderness

March 18, 2022 Share

Raja Ampat, it is spoken in a whisper then it’s gone. The reason is simple — it’s one of the last unspoiled nature preserves in the world.

Located in western Indonesia near Papua New Guinea, these emerald islands stand out in the crystal blue waters of the Pacific Ocean. The true secret, however, lies beneath the waves.

The islands of Raja Ampat.
Raja Ampat’s jungle coloured islands are surrounded by coral seas. Credit: Sutirta Budiman

Raja Ampat is located in the Coral Triangle, one of the world’s marine biodiversity hotspots. Untouched miles of coral reefs, home to shoals of vibrant tropical fish, line the shores of the islands.

The Indonesian government has worked hard to keep this paradise untouched by man, a marine preserve encompasses the region and fishing is absolutely prohibited. Boats with rangers looking for poachers cruise the area regularly.

So how can you visit Raja Ampat? The journey will take you out of the tourist areas of Indonesia, far from Bali indeed. However, just because you’re far from the beaten path doesn’t mean you will have to rough it — the best way is to sail on a luxury cruise through Raja Ampat’s 1,500 islands and cays.

A sea turtle near Raja Ampat.
Raja Ampat is home to incredibly diverse marine life. Credit: Kris-Mikael Krister

Hiring a yacht in Sorong, the capital of West Papua, is relatively easy and allows you to create a bespoke trip through Raja Ampat. Although there are other ways to book a yacht, highly recommended is Simpson Yacht Charter. The company can help you charter several yachts ranging from approximately $2000 to $21,000 per day including various expenses.

I diver surrounded by fish in Raja Ampat.
Diving in Raja Ampat is second to none. Credit: Alex Rose

If you are a scuba diver, make sure your yacht crew has the right equipment and guides or else bring and hire your own. Raja Ampat is a diver’s playground — you will want to make the most of your trip by diving as much as possible. The islands are home to manta rays, giant clams, sharks and stunning coral reefs at more than 200 dive sites. 

For those less inclined towards underwater adventure, your yacht stops along beautiful white sand beaches and jungle-covered islands. Birdwatching while jungle-trekking is particularly popular — Raja Ampat is home to several species of the beautiful birds of paradise.

The coastline of Raja Ampat.
Credit: Danang Himawan

If yachting isn’t for you, there are some hotels within Raja Ampat. These are required to be extremely sustainable and environmentally friendly so they do not negatively affect the marine preserve.

Start with the Raja Ampat Biodiversity Nature Resort, a friendly, beach bungalow-style Eco-resort that caters to all needs with the environment in mind.

The islands of Raja Ampat from the air.
Yachting through the islands of Raja Ampat is highly recommended. Credit: Danang Himawan

From here guests can book diving and other activities to truly experience the beauty of the marine reserve.

Whether you’re yachting around Raja Ampat’s serene islands or staying in one of the few ecolodges in the area, travellers can rest assured that they are helping to preserve this marine park for generations to come.

This area has been officially protected by the government of Indonesia, with tourism in mind, so why not go and explore one of the world’s last untouched biodiversity hotspots?

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Author: Matthew Dooley
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