25 Photos that make you want to visit Raja Ampat

25 Photos that make you want to visit Raja Ampat

25 Photos that make you want to visit Raja Ampat

Is Raja Ampat already on you bucket list? You certainly have already seen pictures of this beautiful island scenery. If you are a scuba diver, you may have read about the amazing dive sites in Raja Ampat in magazines or the internet. If you like to avoid the big tourist masses and travel off the beaten track, then Raja Ampat might be something for your bucket list. But be aware, the trip from Europe to Raja Ampat is long and tiring.

Raja Ampat is located in the far east of Indonesia in West Papua. This part of Indonesia is not comparable to Bali or Java. Mass tourism has not yet advanced this far and the people and their culture are very different from the rest of Indonesia.

For a year we already live and work on the small island of Pulau Pef, in the middle of the beautiful islands of Raja Ampat. During the last 12 months we have experienced unforgettable moments have seen the beautiful landscapes and learned a lot about the culture and people of West Papua. With 25 photos we like to show you the beauty of this part of the world. Beware! You might get itchy feet, like to pack your suitcase and hop onto the next plane to travel to Raja Ampat immediately.

The beautiful landscape of Raja Ampat in West Papua

The landscape of Raja Ampat is dominated by rocky islands of limestone. The most impressive views you can get from the air or from vantage points high up on hills. On Pulau Pef we have a small hill with a platform on 42 meters. From the platform, we have a fantastic, panoramic view over the entire 360 degrees. Towards the west, we can see the beach with the bungalows and in the other directions, the interior of the island with the dense, lush jungle.

The view from the mountain of Pulau Pef is breathtakingly beautiful

The view from the mountain of Pulau Pef is breathtakingly beautiful

All our guests fly into Sorong, the closest city with an airport. It’s only a small local airport and there is not a lot of tourist infrastructure in Sorong. From Sorong our transfer boat brings the guests to Pulau Pef. It’s a three to four hour boat ride. The first two hours are over the open ocean but the last third of the trip is a beautiful drive along rugged limestone coast, small villages and secluded beaches. Shortly before Pef, we reach the passage. This is a narrow sea gate between the islands of Waigeo and Gam. Driving through the passage feels more like cruising on a river than being on the ocean. It’s a beautiful landscape and a great introduction to the area of Raja Ampat.

The villages in Raja Ampat are simple and the inhabitants mostly live from fishing

The villages in Raja Ampat are simple and the inhabitants mostly live from fishing

On the way from the passage to Pulau Pef, we pass another breathtaking natural wonder. The Hidden Bay. Only one very narrow and shallow entrance leads into the Hidden Bay. A mystical and hidden world of waterways, caves and rock islands. A cruise through this wonderful landscape is incredibly impressive. The area is huge and you can easily get lost if you do not know your way.

The sea is like a mirror in the Hidden Bay

The sea is like a mirror in the Hidden Bay

Impressive limestone landscape in the Hidden Bay

Impressive limestone landscape in the Hidden Bay

The archipelago Fam provides a great opportunity to see the typical landscape of Raja Ampat from a bird‘s eye view. It’s about an hour boat ride from Pulau Pef and we usually visit Fam on a day trip with three dives. During the lunch break we drive to a beautiful lagoon, from where a staircase leads up a hill. High above the beautiful Star Lagoon there are two observation decks. The views are simply stunning. We have been here many times already but every time we are overwhelmed by the beauty of the landscape.

The view from the platform on Penemu island is overwhelming

The view from the platform on Penemu island is overwhelming

Further north of Raja Ampat, in Wayag, there is another platform with a beautiful view over the landscape of Raja Ampat.

You can read more about the day trip to Fam on: Daytrip in Raja Ampat

The mangroves provide a protected habitat for young and small animals

The mangroves provide an optimal habitat for young animals and all sorts of small creatures. In Raja Ampat mangroves are everywhere. It’s fascinating how the mangrove trees with their long roots can survive in salt water. It’s a unique experience to paddle through a tunnel of mangroves, snorkel into a thicket of mangrove roots or admire the roots and trees from below the water surface while scuba diving into the mangroves.

Paddling through the mangroves in a kayak is awesome

Paddling through the mangroves in a kayak is awesome

When scuba diving and snorkelling, we can also watch the countless small juvenile fish, which hide between the mangroves. The juveniles have the shape and color of the adult animals, they are simply much smaller. The Hidden Bay and Passage are lined with mangroves and we have plenty of time to spend observing this special environment. Here we can see how the rainforest meets the ocean.

The roots of the mangrove trees look like artwork

The roots of the mangrove trees look like artwork

The people of Raja Ampat in West Papua

The population of Raja Ampat lives mostly from fishing and since a few years, more and more are earning a living in the tourism industry. Raja Ampat has only been on the radar of tourists since a few years. The tourism industry is growing but is still relatively small. The locals are still very shy and reluctant towards western tourists. The education level is quite poor and most locals do not speak English or only some basic phrases.

Fresh local produce is on offer at the market in Sorong

Fresh local produce is on offer at the market in Sorong

The inhabitants of Raja Ampat are poor and the standard of living is low. Nevertheless the locals are happy and we are highly impressed with their joy and serenity. Most of our staff in the resort comes from the surrounding villages. During the last 12 months we have experienced wonderful moments together and learned a lot about their ways of life and culture.

The people of Raja Ampat are very musical and instruments are often self-made

The people of Raja Ampat are very musical and instruments are often self-made

The children from the neighbouring village are wonderful and are bursting with energy and drive. At the beginning they are very shy and reserved but quickly they gain confidence and start to play with you. If you start taking pictures and show them the results, there is no way back. They always want to see more pictures of them in different poses. The laughter looking at the photographs is huge and incredibly contagious.

The kids of Raja Ampat are full of energy

The kids of Raja Ampat are full of energy

Shy Papuan girl from the neighbouring village Kabui

Shy Papuan girl from the neighbouring village Kabui

The wildlife of Raja Ampat in West Papua

The wildlife of Raja Ampat is strongly related to the one of northern Australia. Many of the birds that we see in Raja Ampat, we have already spotted in Northern Australia. In the jungle surrounding our resort there are plenty of birds but they are usually very shy. Often we hear them but we do not always see them. There are parrots, herons, eagles, kingfishers and many more, which we can observe regularly.

Happy duck family in Raja Ampa

Happy duck family in Raja Ampa

There are no monkeys because we are east of the Wallace Line. But there are marsupials like the couscous. They are very shy and so far I’ve only seen one on a cruise through the Hidden Bay. The coconut crabs are good climbers and they can be quite large. Their pincers are impressive and vigorous. Do not get too close with your fingers when taking pictures.

The coconut crabs have very strong pincers

The coconut crabs have very strong pincers

Close to our kitchen monitor lizardslike to hang out, sunbath and wait for some food scraps. Sometimes we see snakes but they are usually very shy and hide in the undergrowth.

Monitor lizards are regular visitors around the kitchen

Monitor lizards are regular visitors around the kitchen

The wonderful underwater world of Raja Ampat

Most of the visitors come to Raja Ampat not because of the beautiful landscape on land. They visit Raja Ampat because of the magnificent underwater world. The biodiversity at the dive sites is higher than in most other places on our planet. Raja Ampat is in the area where the Indian Ocean and the Pacific meet. There is a huge amount of nutrients in the water and that’s the reason for the incredible rich coral reefs and the enormous biodiversity.

Shoal of fish in the clear waters of Raja Ampat

Shoal of fish in the clear waters of Raja Ampat

The dive sites in Raja Ampat have only been discovered recently and so the masses of divers have not arrived yet. The coral reefs are in pristine condition and there is still a lot of fish around.

Pristine coral reefs in Raja Ampat

Pristine coral reefs in Raja Ampat

At the dive sites in Raja Ampatyou can find almost everything from the smallest pygmy seahorses to giant manta rays. There is a huge variety of hard and soft corals, fish, snails, crustaceans and other sea creatures. The biodiversity is greater than in most other dive destinations.

Group of batfish at the house reef of Pulau Pef

Group of batfish at the house reef of Pulau Pef

You can find more information and pictures of the wonderful underwater world of Raja Ampat in these blog posts:

Wonderful sunsets in Raja Ampat

The sunsets are always beautiful in Raja Ampat. But then there are some days where the sunsets are absolutely breathtaking and cheesy.

Beautiful sunset in Raja Ampat

Beautiful sunset in Raja Ampat

When the sky over Raja Ampat burns

When the sky over Raja Ampat burns

Dramatic sky over Raja Ampat

Dramatic sky over Raja Ampat

Life on the resort island in Raja Ampat

Our life on the island revolves primarily around our guests. We work in a small resort with a maximum of 18 guests. Our private life is of secondary importance and the attendance time is very long. Luckily I am in the water for scuba diving regularly. Every now and then I run diving courses and that is always a welcome change.

Typical bungalow in the resort in Raja Ampat

Typical bungalow in the resort in Raja Ampat

Spacious and stylish bungalows on Pulau Pef

Spacious and stylish bungalows on Pulau Pef

A very welcome change is it also if we have friends from Switzerland visiting us. My parents visited us for three weeks and our good friends Susanna and Peter dived with us for two weeks. The time together was absolutely awesome.

Scuba Diving with good friends is fun

Scuba Diving with good friends is fun

Jumping with my parents in Raja Ampat

Jumping with my parents in Raja Ampat

We hope you like the 25 photos of Raja Ampat. Would you like to see this beautiful landscape with your own eyes? The trip from Europe is a bit far, but maybe you’re already travelling in Asia.

Details about how you get to Raja Ampat, how much it costs and what you can do except diving, is what we are writing about in one of our next blog posts. Just visit www.swissnomads.com on a regular basis or like us our Facebook page, so you will not miss anything.

Do you want to visit Raja Ampat on a budget?

Raja Ampat is an expensive destination. After living in Raja Ampat for a year, we collected some useful information about how to travel the island paradise. And it is possible to visit Raja Ampat on a budget. It is not as cheap as other Southeast Asian backpacker destination but it doesn’t need to cost a fortune either. Check this out: Raja Ampat for backpacker

20 thoughts on “25 Photos that make you want to visit Raja Ampat

  1. Wow, I’d never heard of Raja Ampat before but it really looks like a paradise! Would love to see this side of Indonesia.

    • Hi Alice

      Raja Ampat is very famous among scuba divers. It’s one of the best places to dive worldwide. The marine life is just breathtaking and there is soooo much marine life and corals. We’ve not seen anything else until now.

      Cheers,
      Reni

  2. Whoa! OK, this is definitely a slice of paradise. I love it that there is some super cool diving here and MANGROVES! Very cool! Can I come live with you? ><

  3. This is the first time I’ve heard about Raja Ampat. And I haven’t been to Indonesia too. It looks beautiful though, especially that first photo. Like wow!

    • Hi Marge

      Thanks a lot. Raja Ampat is very remote and many people travelling to Indonesia fist go to Java or Bali. Hope you have the chance to visit once.

      Sunny greetings from Bali,
      Reni

  4. I am annoyed that I missed this Indonesian gem, it looks very off the beaten track and a world away from the usual tourist haunts of Bali !

    • Hi Richard

      Indonesia is so big, you may visit again. If you get the chance, to explore Raja Ampat is really worth if you like diving, snorkelling or kayaking.

      Cheers,
      Reni

  5. Wow! What a beautiful spot in the world. I have never heard of it- do you teach diving there as well?

    • Hi Elizabeth

      Yes, it’s a beautiful place on earth. Yes, we do dive courses on the island. Whereas many people come here as certified divers already. The conditions can be difficult and therefore not many people come to Raja Ampat do learn diving.

      Cheers,
      Reni

  6. Lots of awesome photos here from this remote paradise. There truly are some fantastic places left in the world we still have to explore. Bookmarked 🙂

    • Hi Dave

      Great. It’s an amazing place on planet earth. And yes, there is still so much to see. My list is getting longer every day.

      Cheers,
      Reni

  7. I must say that i haven’t heard of the island until now and boy am I sold! I’m quite spoiled with amazing beaches and limestone formations already, but I’ve never seen a mangrove forest with such clear water like that!

    • Hi Erica

      Well, yes, there are so many beautiful places on earth. Raja Ampat is indeed one special place and the mangroves just stunning. An unreal world.

      Cheers,
      Reni

  8. The headline couldn’t have been more befitting – it does indeed make me want to go there !

    Loving your blog! If interested, I also blog about travel 🙂

    • Hi Linda

      Thanks for your comment and great to hear that you love our blog. If you don’t want to miss a thing follow us on Facebook where you find news about our trips and new posts.

      Will definitely check out your blog too.

      Cheers and happy travels,
      Reni

  9. Hello there,
    Im planning to go to Raja Ampat this next September, but not quite sure yet because of the rainy season. Its being a bit tough to find weather informations about Raja Ampat. Is mid-September a good period to go?

    • Hi Rodolfo,

      September is still a bit unstable with possible rainfall and wind. Towards the end of September the weather starts to improve. If possible, aim for end of September.

      Sunny greetings,

      Marcel

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