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How to Get to Raja Ampat Islands, the Diving Paradise in Eastern Indonesia

If you’re a diver you may have heard about Raja Ampat, or this place may even be your dream destination to explore. The lush, pristine and clear water is definitely something a diver will dream about. Even better, Raja Ampat lies in the Coral Triangle with 40,000 square kilometers of marine territory, make this place an arguably a diving paradise with unmatched beauty. Since it is located in a remote area, not many people know how to get to Raja Ampat Islands. However, this isolation is what makes this place remain pristine and protected.

With its increasing fame, many people are now making Raja Ampat as one of their bucket lists. The tourism is developing and Raja Ampat has evolved in the last few years. You can easily find accommodation such as Raja Ampat hotel here. Fortunately, many of these lodgings use a more eco-friendly approach which keeps the sustainability of Raja Ampat environment.

As a magnet for experienced as well as beginner divers, many Raja Ampat Dive Resort are now available in this diving paradise. They cater the needs of divers by providing diving equipment, diving package, as well as a diving guide. The well-known beauty of Raja Ampat even attracts those non-divers to visit and discover this stunning place with their own eyes.

The Diving Paradise

Raja Ampat consists of 4 main islands and more than 1,500 small islands, cays, and shoals. Lush green forests cover these islands and many unique animals live in it. Meanwhile, 600 species of corals and 1,074 species of fish live under the water of Raja Ampat Islands. The green lush forest, blue clear waters, brightly colored coral reefs and rainbow of colors of fishes swimming around create a kaleidoscope of stunning colors.

You will meet schools of fusiliers and jacks duck swimming around, parrot fish around the coral, or pygmy seahorses that hide among the coral. You can also see reef sharks or manta rays slowly swimming through the sea. It is certainly a magical experience that you won’t see in everyday life. And that is why Raja Ampat has become the dream destination for divers. Meanwhile, those who have visited this place will always dream about when they can return.

There are many great diving spots here in Raja Ampat that you should visit.

  • Blue Magic– One of the most famous Raja Ampat dive spots. It starts at about 7 meters and goes down to 30 meters. You can see manta rays, large schools of fish, sharks, and pygmy seahorses.
  • Mioskun– There is an amazing coral reef that goes all the way down to 25 meters deep. The weak currents making this spot a great place for a beginner to intermediate divers. You will also get to see giant clams, yellow snappers, groupers, morays, seahorses, and wobbegong sharks.
  • Arborek Jetty– This jetty is densely packed with schools of fish. There are so many fish that, at times, they will swim so close they touch your skin. Freediving or snorkeling work well here too as it only goes down to about 10 meters.
  • Sardine Reef– This is the site of a large, ovular, underwater pinnacle that has a reef at the top and gently sloping sides down to a sand bed. The current flows down both the north and south sides of the flanks. There are lots of sharks at this location, including black-tipped reef sharks, grey reef sharks, and white tipped reef sharks. There are also large schools of sardines, damsels, butterfly fish, fusiliers, sweet lips, and snappers. Large predators are also in the area and consist of Spanish mackerel, barracuda, and giant trevallies.
  • Melissa’s Garden– If you are hoping to see the wobbegong shark on your trip, then this is the place to dive. Melissa’s Garden is located in the Jet Fam Islands, which is on the west side of Bantanta Island. You can also see maroon clownfish, manta rays, and great barracuda at this location.
  • Cape Kri– Cape Kri has an incredible array of species that are visible on one dive, so much so that it holds the world record! Think of a wide variety of schools of fish, many types of sharks, smaller flora and fauna for macro enthusiasts, and a huge range of coral types to appease any type of diver.
  • Keruo Channel– The Keuro Channel runs between sheer cliff faces on both sides You can do the dive in either direction depending on the way the current is flowing. Try to stay at 25 meters and float along as you see nudibranchs and sponges on the sides of the cliff. There are also some beautiful reefs to check out as well.

How to Get To Raja Ampat Islands

Basically, there are no direct flights to Raja Ampat. You have to go to Sorong Indonesia first before continuing your journey to Raja Ampat. There are several airports in Indonesia that cater direct flights to Sorong.

  • Makassar to Sorong: There are 3 flights available, namely Sriwijaya Air, Batik Air, and Garuda Indonesia. It takes approximately 2 hours 10 minutes to go to Sorong.
  • Jakarta (CGK) to Sorong: Batik Air and Garuda Indonesia serve flight to Sorong in a direct flight. It takes about 4 hours and 15 minutes to get to Sorong.
  • Surabaya to Sorong: Batik Air serves direct flight to Sorong and it takes around 3 hours and 15 minutes.
  • Manado to Sorong: Lion Air and Nam Air serve direct flight to Sorong and it takes only around 1 hour 25 minutes.

Sorong to Waisai in Raja Ampat

Once you arrive at Sorong Indonesia, now you can continue your journey to Waisai. There are two options on how to get to Raja Ampat from here.

  • By Plane

Waisai has a small airport called Marinda Airport. However, only a small plane with limited capacity can land here and it is organized by Susi Air Airline. The plane operates twice a week only on Tuesday and Thursday.

  • By Ferry

It will be safer to continue to Waisai by ferry since they operate every day. There are three ferry companies you can choose from, Bahari Express, Marina Express, and PT. Fajar. They usually depart from Sorong Port at 9 am and 2 pm every day. However, you should always recheck the schedule with the officer since the ferry can be delayed or suddenly canceled.

If you think you want to arrive faster, you can rent a speedboat to Waisai. However, it will cost a lot more expensive and the ride is really bumpy. Don’t go to Waisai by speedboat if you easily get seasick.

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