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Raja Ampat Islands
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrRaja Ampat, also called the ‘Four Kings’, is in the New Guinea island in Indonesia’s West Papua province. It is found in the northwest end of the Bird’s Head Peninsula. The archipelago has more than 1,500 small islands, shoals, and cays, with four major islands – Salawati, Misool, Waigeo, and Batanta – and a smaller island called ‘Kofiau’.
HistoryAccording to local mythology, Raja Ampat started out as seven eggs. When they hatched, four of them turned into kings that ruled the four major islands, while the rest became a woman, a ghost, and a stone. Raja Ampat used to be a part of the Tidore Sultanate, a Maluku kingdom. But after the Dutch invasion, the archipelago fell into the hands of The Netherlands.It has the second most diverse marine life on Earth, based on the survey conducted by the Conservation International.
What It OffersRaja Amapat’s biological diversity is its ultimate treat to locals and tourists alike. Its underwater life is a favorite among underwater photographers and divers. But the islands are also blessed with favorable natural conditions, coastal ecology, marine and land biodiversity, and a colorful culture and tradition.
Visitors can enjoy sailing, wreck diving, kayaking, the Red Bird of Paradise, the Karst islands, fishing with Papuan techniques, the bat caves, and wood sculpting with an Asmat artisan. It's also perfect for snorkeling, feeding couscous, and waterfall trekking.
If you want mysterious activities, you may be interested in the Yesner and Urbinasopen villages, where a light from the ocean would come out every year-end. It stays on its surface for 10 to 18 minutes, after which it disappears only to come out at the year-end again. This is called “Sea Ghost” by the locals.
The caves of Tomolol are also interesting with their wall paintings of huge animals and human palms. There are also World War II caves that the Japanese and Dutch soldiers turned into army built bunkers in North Waigeo.
The diving spots in South Waigeo are quite famous. Arborek visitors can dive and observe stingrays at the same time. Sawandarek features beautiful corals, sea ducks, and a traditional village. The islands of Kofiau, Batanta, and West Waigeo are also great diving spots.
TravelingFrom Jakarta, you can fly to Sorong for six hours and stop over in Manado. For those on a diving tour, go to Bali and fly in from there.
Flights from Bali/Jakarta to Sorong are offered by Merpati, Lion Air; Express Air, Wings Air; Garuda Indonesia, SilkAir; and Pelita Air.
Ferries are also available for trips between Sorong and Waisai. They leave Sorong at 1 p0 feet and the trip lasts for 1.5 to 2 hours. They leave Wasai to Sorong at 11 a0 feet Rental speedboats are also available in Sorong.
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Author: epicandrea. Last updated: Feb 09, 2015