RAJA AMPAT 7 good reasons why not to travel there

7 REASONS WHY NOT TO TRAVEL TO RAJA AMPAT

What to expect from diving? Extremely healthy reefs with frequent manta rays encounters, occasionally sharks, turtles, schooling fish & big pelagics, great macro life
Experience level? Beginners to advanced
Best time to dive in Raja Ampat? November – May, then the sea gets choppy & visibility poor, but it is still possible to go there! 
Best time to see manta rays? All year around – they live there
How to dive in Raja Ampat? Ideally by dive cruise, but there are also pleny of dive resorts
Water temperature? 26-28° Celsius
Visibility? Up to 40 meters
Currents? Mostly mild
Dive equipment needed? 3mm wetsuit is sufficient, reef hook recommended in case of stronger currents
What else should I know? Apart from Indonesien rupiah US$ is a widely accepted currency
 
RAJA AMPAT IS THE WET DREAM OF MANY DIVERS
 
The marine life diversity in West Papua is considerably greater than all other areas sampled in the coral triangle of Indonesia, Philippines and Papua New Guinea! Raja Ampat includes more than 1800 exotic islands surrounding the 4 main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta and Waigeo. Still, Raja Ampat is handled as an insider tip for scuba-hungry adventurer! Only 15 000 tourists come to Raja Ampat annually. The best way to discover the many amazing dive spots is by liveaboard. There are also plenty of dive resort choices around the Dampier Strait and Southern parts of Raja Ampat for an unforgettable dive holiday. Especially if you are travelling with a non-diver (do they still exist? :D), choosing a dive resort might be a good idea. 
However, there are several reasons of why not to travel to Raja Ampat! Here are our hottest insights into what to expect & our recommendations of how to handle the challenges:
 
1. HIGH SPEED INTERNET IS A MYTH
 
Do you still remember the times back in the 90s when you could see a page loading for minutes. Well, welcome to Raja Ampat! High speed internet doesn’t exist and most of the resorts would limit internet entirely to certain hours or certain areas only (e.g. available at the lobby only). Imagine if the resort has only 1 hour of internet per day! All visitors become internet-junkies waiting for the wifi to become visible again. 1 hour of silence. 1 hour of trying to upload images to instagram or facebook. The wifi is totally overloaded and nothing moves. Actually, this is the perfect time to have the beach for yourself.
Our recommendation:  buy your own local SIM card with data volume at the airport. Mostly you get around 2 GB for US$ 30 and this money is well spent.
 
2. ELECTRICITY IS SCARCE & AIR-CONDITION LIMITED
 
Being in a remote area as Raja Ampat means that fuel is limited, which is the essential source for power supply and electricity. We have noticed that many resorts do not offer air-condition at all. In fact there are only 2 resorts in whole Raja Ampat offering A-C cooled rooms to their guests. All the others offer fans in the rooms. Often electricity blacked out, especially when one generator needed fuel again or there was a generator switch. Do expect at least 2 times per day electricity shortfalls.
Our recommendation: take sufficient batteries with you so you can overcome any electricity shortfalls and loading issues, e.g. for your GoPro or phone
 
3. MOSCITOS ARE AN ISSUE
 
The good news is that Raja Ampat is not a malaria area! However, moscitos are an issue when it comes to travelling around Raja Ampat. Most resorts would offer moscito nets to cover the beds or other supplies like candles or oils to prevent them coming close.
Our recommendation: make sure to bring moscito protection yourself! There are many sprays nowadays!
 
4. SOME AIRPLANE CARRIERS ARE A NIGHTMARE
 
Beware of taking the cheap airplane carries like Lion Air! It is no secret that their business practice is to overbook flights. Indeed, it happened to us that the flight was full, when we came to the check-in counter. They offered us a flight 5 hours later only. This might not be an issue, if you have time to explore the country. However, if you have an international flight to catch, this can turn out into a sheer nightmare. Also, local airline companies do not offer any compensation for the extra hazzle or take over costs if you miss your international flight back at Jakarta.
Our recommendation: take a reliable airline like Garuda Airlines or Batik Air. Try to avoid Lion Air by all means.
 
5. THE CITY 'SORONG' IS A WASTE OF TIME
 
If you are travelling to Raja Ampat, Sorong is the hub. Most flights will get into Sorong, which grew from a small fisher village into a more touristy city. However, there is no real city center with nice sights and the few more upscale hotels are mostly in not very tourist friendly areas. It is simply a waste of time to spend some time in Sorong.
Our recommendation: if you wish to be on the safe side in terms of your luggage and flight arrival times in order not to miss your liveaboard, spend max. 1 night in Sorong! There are 3 good hotel choices:
 
 
6. TOURISM TAKES ITS TOLL ON THE ENVIRONMENT
 
Tourism brings great wealth to the areas! However, it takes its toll on the incredible reefs and the environment. Most of the resorts we work with support their local communities by giving them a job and professional future, but also financially with infrastructure donations like water filtration or power supply. Nowadays there are a handful of NGOs supporting the awareness and conservation of marine life together with the indigenous communities. Also the marine park fee is a way to fund the local communities and make sure the protected area will be well preserved.
Our recommendation: If you visit the villages of the locals, don’t just take images! Talk with them about what they need to survive. Often these people are the least to profit from the tourism. Buy their products. Support their children.
 
 
7. WHALES & SHARKS ARE RARE
 
Frequently we get the question about whales and sharks in Raja Ampat and the best places to see them. To be frank – Raja Ampat is all about the incredible intense reefs. It is a sheer highway with one school of fish chasing the other. Sharks do exist in Raja Ampat. However, it is not the main attraction of why to go there. Manta rays are frequently encountered though.
Occassionally, there are whale sightings in Raja Ampat including sperm or pilot whales, Bryde’s whale or blackfish whales. However, these encounters are lucky incidents!  
Our recommendation:  If you wish to see big schools of sharks and whales, we recommend looking into the Banda Sea in September and October each year! This is the perfect place to see hundreds of scalloped hammerhead sharks and frequent whale encounters.
 
We look forward to your insights! Leave us a comment!
Your dive buddy,
Sarah.
 
Planning your own trip to Raja Ampat ? Let me help you: service@divingspecials.com
posted by Dr. Sarah Schuebl, October 2018
here

1 comments so far