If I had a bucket list up and running and worth talking about this amazing announcement involving Raja Ampat would be ticking off a lot of the items. I’ve never been one to have a relaxing, resort by the beach style holiday. I keep on saying to James “Next winter we are going off to some tropical island to be beach babes. Just relax, drink by the pool and catch up on reading. You know do the whole tourist thing.” Every winter we don’t do that. James ends up on an epic snow adventure, sleeping in a tent in the snow and I end up turning myself into a snow bunny and enjoying the downhill resort life style one day at a time.
Not this year! Not this month even. I’m really excited to announce that I’m off to explore the islands of Raja Ampat next week.
Raja ummm what?
That’s the exact question I asked myself when I looked at the itinerary. Where in the world is Raja Ampat?
So first things first I turned my attention to the Google machine-
Located off the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula on the island of New Guinea, in Indonesia‘s West Papua province, Raja Ampat, or the Four Kings, is an archipelago comprising over 1,500 small islands, cays, and shoals surrounding the four main islands of Misool, Salawati, Batanta, and Waigeo, and the smaller island of Kofiau. The Raja Ampat archipelago is the part of Coral Triangle which contains the richest marine biodiversity on earth.
The sparsely populated Raja Ampat Islands comprise 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.
The history of the Papua Region
The Papua region has been visited by global traders since the beginning of the 7th century. European nations kept a presence in the region in the 16th century in the pursuit of various spices.
Irian Jaya became part of the Dutch East Indies in 1828 as West Papua Nugini (or New Guinea), which was then known as West Irian. The region remained occupied by the Netherlands long after Indonesia claimed its independence in 1949. After West Irian’s long freedom struggle, the province eventually reverted to the lap of Indonesia in 1969.
Raja Ampat Archipelago in the 15th century was part of the reign of Tidore Sultanate, a great kingdom centered in Maluku Islands. To run its government, the Sultanate of Tidore appointed 4 local kings to rule in the the island of Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati and Misool which were the fourth largest island to this day. The term 4 Kings who rule the islands becomes the root of the name Raja Ampat.
The regency which celebrated its anniversary on 9th May is now a Regency in the province of West Papua expanded from Sorong regency in 2003.
Do’s & Don’ts – Some tips before visiting Indonesia
- Women should dress appropriately. Skimpy clothing in public area, save from beaches and pools, might warrant unwanted attention.
- Traditionally, when you greet someone, both hands are used when shaking, without grasping.
- Taking photographs of houses of worships is allowed, however permission should be asked first whenever possible, especially if you want to take pictures of the interior.
- Shoes must be taken off before entering a house or place of worship like mosques.