Having already dived Komodo Islands and Alor (Indonesia) I honestly thought that I wouldn’t be able to find any better diving locations. But my my taste buds were wet having read an article about ‘the discovery of unknown species’ and to my surprise, the hidden skulls on the islands surrounding Raja Ampat. After gathering all the information I could find, we finally bought tickets to Sorong in West Papua!
Flying to Indonesia isn’t the most soothing flight you’ll ever take (especially if you’re a plane scare like myself) and getting to Sorong required a changeover in Makassar in Sulawesi where it’s recommended you stop for a couple of days before you finish your journey. You have to know, flying in Indonesia is not always the smoothest (plus I’m a little scaredy-cat when it comes to planes) and getting to Sorong needed a change of planes in Makassar. We stayed in Makassar in Sulawesi for a two day stop-over until we continued our journey.
A friend whom I met out there traveled from Gam Island to the Fam Islands where many famous Raja Ampat photos are taken. It’s good to gain some perspective on this too because it takes more than three hours by speedboat on a good day – though the two locations appear close neighbors on a map.
Though it is home to the most solitary and idyllic, private beaches I’ve ever sunned my bare white ass on, it’s difficult for me to even compare it to other paradise locations I’ve seen around the world. Even as remote as you can go like Koh Kradan in Thailand for instance only require about a third of the funds and effort it took for me to travel all the way to Raja Ampat. Imagine 24 hours in transit and about 100USD per day, because lets face it, you’re going to be diving.
I summarise my experience of Raja Ampat as one-of-a kind. You absolutely have to come and visit but only if the time and the money is right for you. It’s been five days and I have to say I can’t see myself returning but that said – I have no regrets coming in the first place as I’m sure you won’t!