Tag Archives: Southeast Asia

Raja Ampat, Papua Indonesia

The sparsely populated Raja Ampat islands comprise of around 1000 islands just off Sorong. With their sublime scenery of steep, jungle-covered islands, scorching white-sand beaches, hidden lagoons, spooky caves, weird mushroom-shaped islets and pellucid luminous turquoise waters, Raja Ampat has to be one of the most beautiful island chains in Southeast Asia.

Pure, unadulterated beauty isn’t just what draws people here, though. Raja Ampat has good birdwatching with a couple of species of birds of paradise present and what many call the best diving in the world. Little known until the last few years, Raja Ampat’s diversity of marine life and its huge, largely pristine coral-reef systems are a diver’s dream come true – and fantastic for snorkellers too. It’s like swimming in a tropical aquarium. In fact, the waters are so clear and fish so numerous that you hardly even need don a mask. We saw six sharks swimming around below us merely by peering out the window of an over-water hut! So great is the quantity and variety of marine life here that scientists have described Raja Ampat as a biological hot spot and believe that the reef systems here act to restock reefs throughout the South Pacific and Indian Oceans.

The four biggest islands are Waigeo (with the small but fast-growing regional capital, Waisai), Batanta, Salawati and Misool. The Dampier Strait between Waigeo and Batanta has many outstanding dive sites, so most accommodation options are on Waigeo, Batanta or three smaller islands between them: Kri, Gam and Mansuar.

Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/indonesia/raja-ampat-islands#ixzz3pM3Vu1hy