One of the popular destinations in West Papua is Raja Ampat, a heavenly archipelago situated off the northwest tip of the island’s Bird’s Head Peninsula. Many have claimed that it looks like a beautiful painting coming alive, especially considering how its open sea is neatly lined with coral islands. What’s more is the blue sky combined with the mesmerizing wave ripples, while fresh air blows boisterously among its green tropical forests. Does all of this sound too good to be true? Read on to find out why this real-life paradise on earth is one not-to-be-missed gem of West Papua tourist destinations.
Behind Its Name
Like any other place on earth, Raja Ampat has its fair share of a fascinating story that makes up the beauty it possesses today. For instance, the name ‘Raja Ampat’ comprises the local words raja (king) and ampat (four), noting its origin from a local West Papua mythology of Alyab and Boki Deni.
One day, the husband and wife found seven eggs on the banks of the Sungai Wawage or Kali Raja, which is now known as part of Wawiyai Village, Tiplol Mayalibit District of Raja Ampat Regency. Alyab initially wanted to consume the eggs, but his wife stopped him and convinced him to keep them.
To their surprise, six of those eggs hatched into four boys and two women. Unfortunately, the last one didn’t hatch and turned to stone, which can still be found at Kali Raja.
The four boys would later become the kings that occupied four of Raja Ampat’s biggest islands: Giwar, Tusan, Mustari, and Kilimuri—hence the name Raja Ampat as we know it today. The two girls were named Sem and Pin Tike.
This family lived together in Kali Raja until a big fight one day caused them to part ways. Giwar remained in Kali Raja and became King of Waigeo. Tusan, Mustari, and Kilimuri each moved to and ruled Salawati Region, Misool Island, and Seram Island consecutively. Their sisters’ fate was not so good: Sem incarnated into a spirit, while Pin Tike was believed to get pregnant out of wedlock.
Places to Visit in Raja Ampat
While Raja Ampat is widely regarded as a West Papua paradise among adventure enthusiasts, it’s also a sacred place that must be protected from damage and destruction. Its authentic beauty is the result of such mindset, as seen from these West Papua tourist destinations:
There are many reasons why this island on Raja Ampat is super hyped. Nature lovers will adore this island, thanks to its two peaks with challenging terrains. Lines of green coral clad in the middle of the blue sea make this location ten times more beautiful. People who have climbed them say that you’ll need approximately 2 hours to reach the top. However, stepping onto the top is guaranteed to be worth it since the scenery below is said to be like none other!
As one of Raja Ampat’s four largest islands, Misool’s fantastic landscape is paired with its wondrous underwater world, decorated by natural small rock hills and coral reefs. Its blue water is claimed to be as visibly deep as 25 meters down, thanks to how clear everything is. Hence, the most popular activities here include snorkeling and scuba diving.
Other than coral clusters and underwater beauty, Raja Ampat’s ground also stores must-visit destinations, such as Sauwandarek Village. This tourist village is located in Meos Mansar District, and the locals are widely known to be super warm and friendly. There are various types of marine life here: blue ring octopus, mandarin fish, mini seahorse, mantis shrimp, and more.
After a full day of activities, you can head to Friwen Beach for pleasant relaxation. Its extraordinary beauty comes from the white sand and shady trees, while the waves are very calm on low tide. Children will absolutely love playing water or swimming here! There are also safe swings and ropes where people can jump from the top of the trees. If you want a perfect picture for your collection, wait patiently until the seawater turns gradation in light and dark blue.
To reach the islands in Raja Ampat, we must first set foot in the city of Sorong. Usually, tourists book flights to get here before boarding a fast boat that sails twice a day to Waisai, Raja Ampat district’s capital. The trip will take around 2-3 hours from the port of Sorong to the port of Waisai.
Various studies have been conducted on Raja Ampat’s flora and fauna’s richness and the preservation of its marine environment. It’s not surprising that Raja Ampat is considered the most beautiful underwater paradise in the world. What do you think? Are you interested in visiting this West Papua gem one day?