Raja Ampat offers amazing diving and so much more!
Scuba diving is one of the top reasons why people visit Indonesia’s Raja Ampat region. If you’re not yet a diver, the reefs and marine life of Raja Ampat would convince you to take the plunge. In order to maximize your experience while visiting Raja Ampat we strongly encourage booking a dive liveaboard or charter boat. Traveling by sea allows you to explore deeper into the islands. If staying at a resort you may be limited to diving sites or exploring islands within a small perimeter. Check out our list of Raja Ampat Dive Liveaboards.
Top 10 Non-Diving Things to Do in Raja Ampat
#1. Pianemo Lookout
Sometimes spelled Piaynemo or Penemu, this picturesque lookout can be seen above. A short hike up and you arrive to the landing for a panoramic view of the rock islands and magnificent water colors. This is one of the most recognizable images in Raja Ampat.
#2 Jellyfish Lake
Two jellyfish lakes can be found in the Misool area of Raja Ampat. They are saltwater lakes fed by fissures connecting back to the ocean. This is one of only a handful of locations around the world where you will find a jellyfish lake. Despite the Palau Jellyfish Lake being the most well known, the Misool jellyfish lakes are home to hundreds of stingless jellyfish. Whenever given the chance, we strongly recommend a visit.
#3. Visit Arborek Island
Arborek Island is home to one of our favorite dive sites, the Jetty. In addition to the diving and snorkeling there are beautiful white sand beaches and the village is home to a thriving souvenir market. The village women can be found making naturally dyed woven bags, baskets, hats and more. If you’re lucky you might be able to catch a cultural experience with Papuan Music and Dance. In fact, group dance classes can be arranged as well.
#4. Bird Watching
Ornithologists flock to West Papua for the biodiversity and number of endemic species here. In particular, you can see cockatoo, seabirds and of course the Bird of Paradise (both the Red Bird of Paradise and Wilson’s Bird of Paradise). If this is on the top of your list, ask your cruise director about planning an early morning trip for the best chance to see them.
The primary purpose of your vacation may be diving, but many spots are best experienced without a tank strapped to your back. In particular, the blue water mangroves are one of our favorite spots for snorkeling in Raja Ampat. Mangroves are a crucial part of the ecosystem acting as a nursery for juvenile species and protecting the shoreline from erosion. Usually, mangroves have silty bottom and the visibility is quite poor. In this case, the blue water mangroves have crystal clear waters and the bottom is lined with both hard and soft coral. Juvenile sharks and fish take protection in the intertwined root system of the mangroves. Archerfish, which are known for shooting a fine stream of water at insects above the surface, are quite common in the mangroves.
#6. Pasir Timbul
Pasir Timbul (meaning “emerging sand”) is a small sandbar beach not far from Arborek. When driving up by tender the water color changes from a midnight blue to inviting shades of turquoise and seafoam. Because it is a tidal sandbar, you have to time your visit just right and you will be rewarded with one of the most spectacular sandbar beaches in the world. Especially the sand which is like powder and the surrounding waters which are crystal clear. Be sure to pack a pair of water shoes and a wet bag in the event you need to wade in to the sandbar.
#7. Telaga Bintang
Telaga Bintang is another lookout hike and much less trafficked. Because the hike can be a bit more difficult, we recommend only doing this with proper footwear. Once you reach the top you will be rewarded with a view of the star shaped lagoon.
#8. Nature Hike to Batanta Waterfalls
Batanta is one of the four main islands of Raja Ampat and a popular spot for nature hikes. As a result, you can often find English speaking guides to lead you to Batanta waterfalls. If you have an early flight out the next day and need to skip some dives this can be a perfect excursion to soak up more off the topside beauty of Raja Ampat.
#9. Snorkel & Swim Through a Cave
Tomolol Cave is another off the beaten path excursion. The entrance to the cave is a lagoon surrounded by bright green foliage. The entrance of the cave has been carved out by the ocean over thousands of years. As you enter the cavern opens up with high ceilings lined with stalactite formations.
#10 Alyui Bay Pearl Farm
Visit the pearl farm at Alyui Bay. Take a tour of the farm and learn how they are produced and cultivated. And to answer your question, Yes! You are able to go shopping on your visit to the farm.
Whether you choose to travel by Raja Ampat dive liveaboard or book a stay at a resort, make sure you plan a visit to at least a few of these spots. You can find a variety of dive liveaboards covering all price points. Whichever you choose, we recommend joining an itinerary that is at least 8-nights (preferably longer). This way you can reach the more remote Misool Marine Reserve and have the time to enjoy both diving and topside excursions without feeling like you’ve missed out on something.