Relaxing raja ampat

Last Updated on August 24, 2023

Our wonderful hosts at our Raja Ampat homestay

Raja Ampat is an archipelago located in Eastern Indonesia.  Its eastern border butts up with Western Papua New Guinea.  We spent seven wonderful and relaxing days in July in Raja Ampat.  We met wonderful people, saw some jaw dropping sceneries, snorkeled in colorful coral reefs with rich marine life and even swam with devil rays. Unfortunately, we did not have a GoPro with us so that we could show you the colorful and plentiful the marine life is in Raja Ampat.

Here we describe our experience to help you plan your visit to Raja Ampat.

why do people go to raja ampat?

People go to Raja Ampat for different reasons. Three of the most common reasons are to see its natural beauty above the water, see its rich underwater marine life or to just have a relaxing time being away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Wayag’s iconic cone shaped islets and turquoise water

Wayag is the icon of Raja Ampat.  Chances are you will see a picture of a group of cone shaped islets surrounded by turquoise water if you Google Raja Ampat.  However, Wayag is in the northern part of Raja Ampat and takes over four hours (one way) to reach by boat from the largest settlement, the town of Wasai (pronounced way-sai).  Its beauty is just breathtaking (literally to get there).

The initial climb to the Wayag viewpoint

Not far from the iconic Wayag viewpoint is Shark Point. Shark Point is in front of the Wayag Ranger Outpost. Here juvenile black tipped sharks swim near the shore in knee deep water. They are skittish when approached but their shyness goes away when they are fed. Our homestay host chopped up some fish while we were wading in the water and threw the cut up fish in front of us. Immediately, the sharks just congregated trying to scrape up the meal.

Black tipped juvenile sharks at Shark Point, Wayag Ranger Outpost

Another beautiful place is Piaynemo which looks like a smaller version of Wayag.  Piaynemo is a little closer to Wasai than Wayag at about a two hours boat ride.  Adjacent to Piaynemo is Star Lagoon which is a body of water that is shaped like a star by the surrounding islets that frame it.  These places can get a little busy at times because it is more accessible.

Piaynemo viewing platform

The underwater scenery in Raja Ampat is just spectacular.  We snorkeled in the Great Barrier Reef by Cairns, Queensland, Australia and we can say without a doubt that the corals and fish are more colorful in Raja Ampat.  We also observed more variety of corals and fish here than in the Great Barrier Reef. 

Your choices of activities in Raja Ampat are either to go on a boat excursion or to just hang around your accommodation and watch the sea in front of you.  Most of the accommodations are off the grid and there is no cell service.  This leads to more a relaxing time by having to disconnect for a while.

View from our homestay porch. The ocean breeze just lulls us to sleep.

how to get to raja ampat

It is not easy to reach Raja Ampat.  The jumping off point to go to the different islands in Raja Ampat is the town of Wasai on the island of Waigeo.  Wasai is normally reached by getting on the express ferry boat from Sorong.  Sorong is the largest settlement in West Papua.  There are two express ferry boats that leave each day from Sorong headed to Wasai and vice versa. There is a 9AM and a 2PM ferry that leave from each settlement.  

There is also a slow ferry that takes an hour or two longer than the express ferry, costs less but only runs once a day.  Its schedule varies.  Plan on getting on the express boat if you are going to Raja Ampat.  The slow ferry is only a back-up in case you miss the express boat.

The express ferry costs 125K IDR for the economy cabin and 250K IDR for the VIP cabin. The difference is that VIP seats are wider, have more legroom, air conditioned and cleaner by virtue of being used less.  The ferry office does not have a card reader so be prepared to pay in cash.  The ferry office at Sorong opens at 8 AM.  We don’t know what time the ferry office in Wasai opens but more than likely it is also the same time as there is a 9 AM ferry that leaves.

Sorong has a domestic airport.  We flew from Yogyakarta on the island of Java and our plane stopped over in Makassar City, South Sulawesi.  We had over a five hour layover in Makassar as our plane left at 2:50 AM so that it landed in Sorong just past 6 AM.  That gave us more than enough time to stop at our hotel in Sorong (for a later stay after Raja Ampat) to drop our bags and catch the 9 AM ferry to Wasai.

how much does it cost to visit raja ampat?

It depends.  It depends on what you want to see and do.  Not including the plane ride to and from Sorong, the remaining cost solely depends on the type of accommodation, how far that accommodation is from Wasai and what you intend to do in Raja Ampat.

We stayed in a homestay less than two hours from Wayag because we wanted to see the icon of Raja Ampat.  That excursion from the homestay cost 5M IDR with a stop at the Wayag Ranger Outpost to experience being surrounded by juvenile black tipped sharks.  We also did other excursions that totaled another 3.3M IDR.  Our 2.5 hr boat ride from Wasai to our homestay and back cost 2.7M IDR each way.  And this was on a long boat which is an outrigger less narrow boat that is about 35 feet long with an outboard motor.  A speedboat would have cost twice as much.

Our homestay costs 900K IDR per night and included three square meals, coffee, tea and drinking water for two people.  Toilet paper was provided. 

What makes Raja Ampat so expensive to visit is the boat ride to get from A to B.  There are no commercial boats that have regular departure times and destinations.  It is pretty much you hire a private boat to take you where you need to go.  Majority of the cost is due to the gas.

The expense can be cut down if you select a homestay that is closer to Wasai and all you plan to do is just relax or snorkel just off your accommodation’s beach.  However, be prepared to spend some serious money if you want to see Wayag, Piaynemo and do other excursions.

Aslo, there is a 300K IDR per person permit that needs to be paid at the Tourist Information Center in Wasai.  The center has a credit card reader but there are days that the payment connection may be poor and you may have to resort paying in cash.

where to stay in raja ampat

There are many accommodations in Raja Amapt.  The accommodations range from very basic palm fronds sided huts like Kamar Raja Bungalows in northwest Waigeo island to late 20th century accommodation like Amoryg resort on the island of Mansuar where it has air conditioned rooms according to  

Homestays are basic accommodations that take care of basic needs which are food, shelter and water.  Ours was a homestay with a private bathroom.  Other homestays have communal bathrooms.  There was no cell service at our homestay and definitely no Wifi.  It was pretty nice to be disconnected for a while as we were forced not to think about anything else other than eat, sleep, snorkel or sightsee.

You can book your homestay through  The website is like a but only for the homestays that signed up for their services.  However, monitors the homestays to make sure it meets certain standards to be listed on the website.  Not all homestays in Raja Ampat are listed on  

Our homestay, Kamar Raja, was not on  Surprisingly they are listed on  However, we did not use  Instead, we managed to get a hold of Om Jhon Soor who is a homestay staff member.  Om Jhon’s WhatApp number is +62 812 4789 5766.  We used WhatApps for all our communications.  Om Jhon was up front with all the prices for the homestay cost, boat transfer and excursions so we had an idea on how much cash we needed to bring as ATMs in Raja Ampat are only in Wasai.

weather in raja ampat

We had two concerns before we pulled the trigger to go to Raja Ampat. Both of them were weather related.  First was the heat and the second was the choppy seas based on what we read at (we encourage you to read this website as it has lots of information). 

We were concerned that we would not be able to sleep comfortably in our non air conditioned homestay because the temperature stays warm and humidity stays high in Indonesia year round.  We also read that it would be windy during our stay in July making boat travel unpleasant.

To our surprise, the wind provided a welcome relief from the heat during the day and especially during the evening.  Our bungalow faced the sea.  We just left our bungalow door open to let the sea breeze come in and provide natural ventilation.  This was enough to cool us down to provide a comfortable sleep, even on a foam mattress.  There were a couple of nights that I actually woke up because it was a little chilly.

We did boat excursions for a total of five days.  Of the five days, only one day was rough where we had to ride through 3 foot waves on our way to Wayag.  Rough riding, to us, is when the boat is being tossed upwards by the waves making it momentarily airborne resulting in a jaw jarring drop.  But that was only about 40 percent of the ride.  The rest was just fine through foot high waves where the boat just seemed to slice through.  We did get a little wet (but not soaked) from the splashing.  There was even a day when there was hardly any wind the entire day.  This resulted in the sea looking like a glass surface.  It was pretty neat.

Long boat over foot high waves

some reality

We enjoyed interacting with the nice people of Raja Ampat.  They smile a lot and they giggle whenever we try to speak some Indonesian words.  We think that learning a few Indonesian words goes a long way as we could see in their facial expressions that they are intrigued.

Village kids waving goodbye as we left

Our stay in Raja Ampat, though wonderful, was not perfect. There is no shore power (electricity).  Ours had a generator that ran somewhere around 6PM and was turned off before midnight.  This gave us just enough time to charge our electronic devices.  We only had two outlets in our homestay and we had four devices.  It was a good thing that we brought a small multiple outlet adapter.

Bed bugs.  We slept inside a mosquito net in our homestay.  We did not see any fat mosquitos in the morning but our legs and arms were itching with bite marks that had swelled.  The only thing we could figure out was that our bed had bed bugs even though it had a bed cover.  Our homestay did not provide bed sheets but we did not need it as it was not cool enough to be under one.  However, it may have helped getting less bed bug bites.  Bringing a lightweight sleeping bag liner would probably be a good idea next time.  

There is a lot of plastic trash washed ashore.  We noticed a few floating debris during our boat ride to our homestay.  The beach in front of our homestay was clean only because the staff picked up any debris that had washed ashore.  Beyond the homestay boundary was a different matter.  The shore was just littered with plastic products.  This was also true on all the islands we visited.  Our hearts just sank as the people do not seem to appreciate what they have.

Trash collected one morning in just 100 feet of shoreline

Raja Ampat is a cash society, meaning the majority of transactions are paid in cash.  So be prepared to bring enough and a little extra for what you intend to do.  There are ATMs in Wasai.  We tried four different bank ATMs which were Papua, Mandari, BRI and BNI.  Only BNI worked for us.

resources contains a lot of information to plan your visit to Raja Ampat.


Raja Ampat is a destination that is perfect for snorkeling, diving, sightseeing or just plain relaxing.  It does take a bit of an effort to get to.  It can get fairly expensive to visit Raja Ampat, depending on where you stay and what you want to see and do.

To get to Raja Ampat, you have to fly to Sorong in West Papua, take a ferry boat to Wasai on the island of Waigeo.  You’ll have to pay the permit fee at the Tourist Information Center in Wasai.  Then you have to get picked up by your accommodations boat transfer at the boat dock by the Tourist Information Center.

There are several accommodations scattered throughout the archipelago.  Most accommodations are homestays that take care of the basic needs of food, shelter and water.  Boat transfers costs to these homestays can get expensive, especially if the homestay is quite a distance from Wasai.  There are several homestays listed on but there are also other accommodations that are not.  The Tourist Information Center at Wasai maybe able to provide contact information for those that are not listed on  The Tourist Information Center can be reached at

The bottom line is that it has been less than a week since we left Raja Ampat and we are already longing to go back to its solitude and beautiful under and above water scenery. But most of all, we miss its wonderful and happy people.