Raja Ampat is scuba diving heaven and a seriously special place for those of us wanting to practice our mermaid skills snorkeling and trying to talk to the fish. But what about for those who don’t like wet salty hair? Thankfully there are plenty of fun, Facebook profile pic enviable activities for those of us who are more beach babes than mermaids. That’s the beauty of Raja Amapt’s islands, they are so diverse, rich in wildlife and easily accessible that you don’t have to be a scuba diver to enjoy yourself here.
Confession time- I’m not a huge salty hair kind of beach babe. Well I am in the style of sitting on the beach with a book and enjoying the chill out time kind of beach babe. Unlike James I don’t particularly enjoy the beach hair result that comes from a playful session in the sea and I’m a terrible swimmer. So when I happily agreed to come along and explore Raja Ampat as part of the #WonderfulIndonesia familirisation program I was a bit dubious as to what us non-divers could do. As we’ve previously written in Top 10 Things to do in Raja Ampat, a lot does revolve around water and being wet.
Explore one or two of the 1,500 islands
Raja Ampat has more islands on offer than you can ever explore in one day trip. Many of these islands are small, unnamed and play host to a variety of birds and bats. Any choice of half or full day boat trip will see you off exploring these islands.
Be a beach babe and explore all the beaches
Even if you hate swimming you can easily become a beach babe and explore the beaches. Depending on where you are staying and the time of day you can walk along a pristine, golden sanded beach and take a look at the coral and little fishes hanging around. For a few hours every day the coral reefs and sand flats emerge from the ocean and can be explored with ease and dry hair.
If you’re feeling up to an adventure why not head out and explore the Kri Floating Island. Located within 20-25mins of the main resorts you’ll find it easy to arrange even a half day trip out here. It’s a popular snorkel and scuba dive location.
Visit a village
Villages like Arborek have well and truly embraced eco-tourism. Thankfully Arborek is the main tourist village and is considered a pioneer in tourism development in the area. Arborek has a coffee shop, local hand made crafts for purchase, tables under the shade of trees for visitors to luncheon and a few small shops selling treats like coke and toothbrushes. You’ll find the small village brightly coloured and well developed for the tourist. With a population of approx 197 it is a pleasant place to stop at for an afternoon on your way to see the manta rays. As you walk around the town you might notice that the women here are busying creating souvenirs for you to buy.
For a less developed village ask your resort or guide for suggestions.
Take a hike-
It’s not very surprising that there is ample jungle trekking and wildlife observation available if you are that way inclined. If you’re up for an amazing adventure why not try an extended trek and overnight camp through the jungles of Batanta or the vast Waigeo interior. Almost every village has local guides who are happy to show you the hidden wonders of their island home. To organise a trek ask at your homestay or resort.
Raja Ampat is also famous for the abundance of bird life. Most famous is the Cendrawasih bird, more commonly known as the bird of paradise. Considered to be the most beautiful of all birds and the Papua mascot, this bird rarely touches the ground and prefers to land on branches to show off it’s beauty. Or so the story goes.
Unfortunately we didn’t have time to go exploring the islands on foot. It’s definitely on my to-do-list when I return!
Kayak around the islands
Again, another activity I had planned to do on my free morning but alas a city tour got in the way. The waters around the islands were so soft and so still it looked perfect for sea kayaking. On a side note Raja Ampat would be perfect for Stand Up Paddle Boarding.
Many home-stays and resorts will have kayaks available to hire by the hour. If you’re really keen on exploring the islands than check out Kayak4Conservation
There’s a lot to see and do in Raja Ampat, but at the same time, I don’t think that you could pick a better place to get away from it all. With no wifi, limited mobile phone coverage, the jungle’s dawn bird chorus and nothing but the calm passing of another day, you can happily find yourself lost in a tropical island paradise.
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