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Situated around the northwestern point of Bird's Head Peninsula in the island of New Guinea, at Indonesia's West Papua state, Raja Ampat, along with the Four Kings, is an archipelago comprising over 1,500 little islands, cays, and shoals surrounding the four chief islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta, along with Waigeo, along with the island of Kofiau. The Raja Ampat archipelago is the component of the Coral Triangle that includes the most abundant marine biodiversity in the world. The Majority of the archipelago is in the Southern Hemisphere, with a few Tiny islands northwest of Waigeo, for example, Sajang Island from the Northern Hemisphere. A few of the islands would be the northernmost areas of the Australian continent.
Location: West Papua province
Area: 40,000 km²
Nearest Airport: Raja Ampat is Domine Edward Osok Airport
How to reach: Flight to Jakarta, Flight to West Papua
Famous for: Scuba Diving, snorkeling, beaches
Months Open: All year
Best time to visit: October-April
What's Here: Misool, Piaynemo Raja Ampat, Kri, Gam
Sightseeing and more in Pianemo Island
Take a Diving Course
See the Wayag Archipelago
Swim with animals
Wander the villages
The title of Raja Ampat (Raja means king, and Ampat signifies four) stems from neighborhood mythology which informs a girl who sees seven eggs. Four of those seven become and hatch kings that occupy four of the most significant islands of Raja Ampat while another three turn into a rock, a female, and a ghost. The earliest documented sighting and landing by Europeans of this Ampat Islands was from the Portuguese navigator Jorge de Menezes along with his team in 1526, en route from Biak, the Bird's Head Peninsula, also Waigeo, to Halmahera (Ternate). Today Raja Ampat is a designated marine biodiversity park and entry is controlled through paid permit.
Waigeo is one of the four primary islands of the Raja Ampat archipelago. Waigeo Island is your ideal tropical paradise with lush jungles, scenic bays and beautiful beaches. The place is also known for deep sea diving and snorkeling to explore colorful fishes and coral reefs. The colorful marine environment results in brilliant underwater photographs. The jungles are home to a variety of bird species including the famous crimson bird of paradise, and many smaller forest animals like snakes, tortoises opossums and the world-famous giant monitor lizards.
Pianemo Islands are one of the most unique Indonesian islands that visitors must explore. Through remotely located, they will give you the chance to explore the karst topography of Indonesia full of hills and untouched landscapes. The unique flora and fauna of West Papua, not to mention the ever-present pristine blue sea surrounding this group of islands, make it a popular hiking destination for all visitors alike. Though smaller than Weigeo islands in size, it is nonetheless equally beautiful.
Wayag continues to be a favorite among the Indonesian islands for divers year after year. It's karst formations offshore that look like mushrooms sprouting out of clear blue water and beautiful atolls of islands. The island itself is picturesque with greenery all around. Climbing the highest peak on the island, Pindito is not an easy hike, but totally worth the effort as you then get a panoramic view of the beautiful coves, atolls, and islands all around you sprinkled on a blue carpet as far as your sight goes.
Eagle Rock is the most popular dive site where advanced divers can go to see marine life like manta rays, barracudas, reef sharks, and wobbegong sharks. But Wayag is not just for professional divers. Non-divers can also enjoy the beaches and explore the underwater scenery by snorkeling.
Diving remains one of the greatest attractions at Raja Ampat with its unmatched marine biodiversity that makes for amazing underwater landscapes to explore. There are over 1500 total islands in this archipelago that have numerous dive sites making it a diver’s mecca. Though beware that many of these sites are not suitable for beginners as the ocean currents can be strong and swift. It is usually advisable to go on a diving tour with reputed divers or diving school. While Waigeo islands are the most popular, most divers come here for days together to dive at multiple island sites.
For the non-divers, Raja Ampat offers snorkeling. It is another easy way for visitors to explore the underwater life at coral reef full of colorful fishes, mollusks and water plants. It is amazing how a whole new world lives just 10 or 20 feet down water. You can see a whole will see fishes like the striped lionfish, parrotfish, and colorful corals.
Raja Ampat’s forests are also an ecological wonder with many endemic species of plants and birds. Though situated very close to each other, each island has something unique to offer. Hiking is especially popular at Pianemo and Wayag, which are some of the most remote Indonesian islands.