Raja Ampat is a world-famous divers’ paradise, but you don’t need your scuba equipment to enjoy its charm and beauty. Whether or not you can twist and reverse underwater, this archipelago in Indonesia is a tropical paradise worth visiting. From birding to culture, discover the top things to do in Raja Ampat for non-divers.
Raja Ampat is as beautiful above the surface as it is under. Translucent, sparkling ocean, scattered small islands, lush tropical greeneries, secluded lagoons, those alone are enough to crown Raja Ampat a paradise. The archipelago offers 360-degree beauty virtually everywhere, but among the most popular sightseeing spots are Pianemo and Wayag, overlooking the vast blue ocean and small islands with lush greeneries.
Raja Ampat’s wonderful landscape offers countless hiking opportunities through the hills and jungles. Not only will you be pleasantly soaked in the warm tropical sunlight, the view will take more breath away than the hike. Also, if you’re excited about wildlife, get ready to encounter various exotic species along the way, from reptiles to birds.
Beyond the lively underwater scene, Raja Ampat is also home to various exotic and endemic species, including some birds of paradise with their vibrant colors and graceful build. Popular spots for birding include Waigeo, Gam, Kri, Mansuar, and Urai, but Raja Ampat is basically a large, rather untouched habitat for birds – so it shouldn’t be hard to spot one or two pigeons or lories without even trying.
Being a string of islands, fresh seafood will always be on the menu in Raja Ampat. Even casual, grilled seafood can taste marvelously different with the many, delicious variations of spicy condiments used in local recipes. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try the traditional papeda (sago starch porridge), served with the savory, spicy yellow fish soup so loved by locals.
Raja Ampat comprises more than 1,500 small islands and you’ll never see enough of it. If you’re travelling with a group (or can form one on the spot), chartering a live-aboard or joining a boat tour can make it much easier to craft your own island-hopping adventure. Between visits to remote, untouched islands, you can also explore countless beaches, relax on the boat, and even sleep under the stars in the middle of the sea.
Diving isn’t the only way to enjoy Raja Ampat’s vibrant marine biodiversity. The underwater scene is beautiful at every depth, so you can choose how deep to go. Snorkeling in the clear water can grant you a breathtaking view of the famed, captivating corals, and rubbing shoulders with exotic fish, turtles, manta rays, and others is a real possibility while swimming.
More than just breathtaking scenery, Raja Ampat is also about the people and their diverse, fascinating culture. Explore the villages to see a glimpse of the indigenous culture, the language, traditional customs, crafts, and more. Don’t forget to say hi to the locals you encounter, the people of Raja Ampat are as friendly as they come!
Raja Ampat may be a remote and relatively untouched archipelago, but it has a great selection of modern luxuries, from waterfront restaurants to luxury resorts with spa and stylish poolside daybeds. Find a good place to stay, and you should be more than content with the tranquil atmosphere, tropical breeze, and wonderful view of the island paradise.
In many parts of the Raja Ampat archipelago, the ocean can be almost perfectly still, making a good spot for sea kayaking or stand-up paddling. You can set your own pace and traverse the small islands, enjoying the tropical charms without worrying about the current. On the other hand, some spots are lively enough for surfing and other watersports.
Raja Ampat is an unforgettable and outstanding destination like no other, but luckily you can bring a part of its charms and beauty home. From keychains and traditional fabrics, to traditional musical instruments and wood carvings, don’t go home without Raja Ampat’s authentic souvenirs.