Raja ampat diving

The area known as Raja Ampat (or the Four Kings) is an archipelago consisting of the islands of Misoool, Salawati, Batanta, and Wiageo which are surrounded by over 1,500 small islands and cays. Formerly known as Irian Jaya, this area is now part of the newly named West Papua province of Indonesia and is located on the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula, on the island of New Guinea.

Raja Ampat map - West Papua

Put simply, Raja Ampat could quite possibly be the best diving in the world. It certainly is the world’s most biodiverse marine region with more recorded fish, coral and mollusk species than anywhere else on Earth.Raja Ampat map - Dive sites

According to the Conservation International Rapid Assessment Bulletin the marine life diversity for diving in Irian Jaya is considerably greater than all other areas sampled in the Coral Triangle. The Raja Ampat area is considered home to more than 1,000 fish species, 101 of which were previously unknown in Raja Ampat and four that are new to all of Indonesia. The variety of marine life can be staggering. Some areas boast enormous schools of fish and regular sightings of sharks, such as wobbegongs. In Mansuar, you may encounter large groups of manta rays and turtles. From the boat and often close to shore you may get the chance to don your snorkeling gear for some unforgettable interaction with residentRaja Ampat diving pods of dolphins or even some passing whales.

Other highlights include the innumerable war wrecks, both ships and planes (with new wrecks being discovered constantly). The reefs of Raja Ampat are just as varied as the marine life. There are vertical walls, reef flats, slopes, sea mounts, Raja Ampat divingmucky mangroves, lagoons and pinnacles. The reefs are in pristine condition with miles of perfect hard corals and many varied colorful species of soft corals. The diving is predominantly drift dives due to the moderate prevalent currents in the area which provide nutrients for the myriad fish and coral. Currents are average to moderate and vary from none to very strong. Visibility is normally very good but can vary and is normally at its best earlier in theday so your pre-breakfast dives areRaja Ampat diving not to be slept through!

The pristine beauty of the area, both above and below the water is truly unrivalled. This success of area’s staggering abundance of marine life can also be attributed to the areas incredibly low human population density. Its remote location and lack of infrastructure have inhibited the growth of tourism.

The area’s massive coral colonies along with relatively high sea surface temperatures, also suggest that its reefs Raja Ampat divingmay be relatively resistant to threats like coral bleaching and coral disease, which now jeopardize the survival of other coral ecosystems around the world. The Raja Ampat islands are remote and relatively undisturbed by humans.

The high marine diversity in Raja Ampat is strongly influenced by its position between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, as coral and fish larvae are more easily shared between the two oceans. Raja Ampat’s coral diversity, resilience, and role as a source for larval dispersal make it a global priority for marine protection and hence why it is now a protected marine sanctuary.

Not many liveaboards dive the Raja Ampat area, making this adventure even more unique and special.

Raja Ampat photos

Sorong is the harbour town in West Papua and the departure point to dive Raja Ampat. If you are unsure of how to get to Sorong to start your trip it will depend on where your international flight into Indonesia is landing.

It is not possible for someone outside of Indonesia to purchase domestic flights in Indonesia so these can be purchased for you by me, if you would like, and added to your invoice. It will be about $600 return dependant on exchange rates, availability and where your entry airport is in Indonesia. We recommend coming through Jakarta as the quickest and easiest route to take. The cost of the domestic flights are not included in the trip price.

Raja Ampat routes for getting there - click for larger version

We recommend coming through Jakarta as it is the easiest and fastest route.

From Jakarta it is possible to reach Sorong in one day.

From To Date Dep Arr
Jakarta (CGK) Sorong (SOQ) Day of departure 01:10 07.20

The return trip from Sorong to Jakarta

From To Date Dep Arr
Sorong (SOQ Jakarta (CGK) Day of disembarkation 10:40 12:40

If you come from Bali to Sorong it is a 2 stage process, from Bali (DPS) to Makassar (UPG) and from Makassar (UPG) to Sorong (SOQ), there would be a night in a hotel in Makassar on the way out (Ujung Pandang and Makassar are the same place and the half way point to Sorong). We recommend the Imperial Aryaduta in Makassar- http://www.aryaduta.com/hotels_home_makassar.php

These would be your flights from Bali to Sorong.

From To Date Dep Arr
Bali (DPS) Makassar (UPG) Day before departure 18.30 19.50
From To Date Dep Arr
Makassar (UPG Sorong (SOQ) Day of departure 10:00 13:10

The return trip from Sorong to Denpasar (Bali) is done in one day using 2 flights - SOQ-UPG and UPG-DPS

From To Date Dep Arr
Sorong (SOQ Makassar (UPG) Day of disembarkation 11:40 12:55
From To Date Dep Arr
Makassar (UPG) Bali (DPS) Day of disembarkation 16:30 17:50

Domestic Air Carrier Notes:

It is generally not possible for someone outside of Indonesia to purchase domestic flights in Indonesia so these can be purchased for you by Premier Liveaboard diving and added to your invoice. It will be $600 return normally dependant on where your entry airport is in Indonesia.

Premier liveaboard diving and its local flight agent can purchase the tickets on your behalf, however, in doing so, Premier liveaboard diving is only acting as an agent for the airline and is not responsible for, and can accept no responsibility for, cancellations, delays, schedule changes, or problems caused by the air carrier.

We highly recommend trip interruption and cancellation insurance.

Raja Ampat has a high season from October to May and weirdly enough it is during their rainy season due to the winds in the dry season making parts of the park inaccessable. The rainy season should not be mis-construed though. It is generally mostly a shower in the late afternoon and evening and most of the time the days are nice, wind is minimal and the skys are generally clear or slightly over cast. The seas are calmer at this time of the year as the oppposite season has winds that kick up waves and make it very difficult to dive the more exposed sites in the Southern part of Raja Ampat. The water temperature stays around the 27-30 degrees celcius mark all year round.

Recently due to the popularity of Raja Ampat a lot of boats have been running trips in the so called low season but this is also the dry season and so promotes nicer weather and better visibility but the trade of is that only the northern more sheltered part of the park is accessable but as the area is so vast and there are so many quality dive sites the reports from these northern trips have been glowing so far.

Arenui liveaboard is a traditional Phinisi, Arenui Raja divinga classic Indonesian wooden sailing vessel, set to raise its anchors in June 2009 to begin its explorations of the majestic underwater world of the Indonesian archipelago.

The underlying concept of the Arenui is to provide you with the convenience of a fully equipped dive liveaboard together with all the richness, artistic touches and comforts of a top-notch luxuryArenui liveaboard sky restaurant in Raja Ampat boutique hotel. This is the only boutique hotel that drops you off directly onto the best dive sites that Indonesia has to offer!

The same attention to detail was given in designing our cruise itineraries which include not only all of theusual popular diving sites in Indonesia, renowned worldwide for its biodiversity, but other world-class destinations which havebeen overlooked so far by most recreational diving operators.

Our cruise programs include: Komodo, North and Central Sulawesi, Wakatobi and, for those looking for more unusual journeys, the New Frontiers of Raja Ampat, Maluku, Cenderawasih Bay, Alor, Flores and the Taka Bone Rate Atolls - more about Arenui

Black Manta operates Black Manta does shorter affordable Raja liveaboardsin the famous Komodo national park and the untouched Raja Ampat in Indonesia.

Our highly experienced crew take great pride in exceptional service whilst always maintaining safety. Black Manta twin cabin, your home for your Raja Ampat liveaboard

With 9 luxurious en-suite cabins and one standard shared bathroom cabin, an extensive dive deck, huge lounge equipped with Plasma T.V. & a full compliment of safety equipment, this vessel is state of the art.

Relax, enjoy delicious Thai & Western food whilst we take you on the holiday of a lifetime - more on Black Manta

Damai liveaboard is purpose designed for cruising and Damai liveaboard in Raja Ampatdiving Indonesian waters with passenger well-being always our top priority. Equipped with the latest navigation, communication and safety equipment, our vessel sets a new standard for safety as well as comfort, service and passenger amenities.

Of course even the best ship is only as good as her crew, and this is another area where Dive Damai shines. Every trip is managed by a seasoned western cruise director, complimented by our experienced and ever-helpful Indonesian crew, all of whom are dedicated to making your diving holidayDamai cabin, your home for your all inclusive trip to the Raja Ampat marine park the trip of a lifetime. Hosting only 8 guests at any one time in 4 luxurious and huge cabins each bed is a real king size even in the twin cabins. With a one time price Damai runs an all inclusive trip - Massage and spa treatments, drinks, dive equipment, Nitrox, unlimited diving, park fees and port clearance are all included in the price offering you stunning value for money on the new benchmark in luxury Indonesian liveaboard diving - Damai.

A “boutique liveaboard” - a place where the smallest details will be taken care of, where every customer is treated personally and where his or her needs can be addressed in no time at all - more about Damai

Dewi Nusantara’s Dewi Nusantara Raja Ampat liveaboard interior style is that of a “floating boutique resort” featuring the high end amenities guests expect from a boat of this quality!

All of the state rooms are larger than traditional liveaboard state rooms (at 180 sq. ft. each, more than 60% larger than an average liveaboard cabin) each cabin has private ensuite facilities and air conditioning. There isalso a 470 square foot “Master and Commander Suite “ at the stern of the main deck that features a king size bed, separate sitting area Master cabin on Dewi Nusantara in Rajawith a sofa, and table with chairs that reminds guests of the “captains quarters” from the schooner design that inspired her.

Charters are 11 nights with 3-4 dives per day.

From September to April Dewi Nusantara will be exploring the Raja Ampat archipelago one of the world’s newest top destinations. From April through the September, Dewi Nusantara will cruise out of North Sulawesi (Bunaken Marine Park, Bangka Straight, Sangihe Islands, and Lembeh Straight, a top critter destination).

According to the vessel’s managing partner, Guido Brink, “Our goal is to build the finest liveaboard yacht in the region and then put it in the best diving locations during the best diving season for that area.” - more about Dewi Nusantara

Mermaid liveaboards Mermaid I, Raja liveaboard diving are proud to offer the exciting new Indonesia schedules. Aiming to dive the best of the best, this experienced boat knows where and when its running. From 2011, as well as the awesome Bali-Komodo-Bali cruises, there is now the truly spectacular destinations of Raja Ampat, Ambon, Banda Sea, Alor, Triton Bay and Cenderawasih Bay. Relaxing on Mermaid1's sundeck in Papua's Raja AmpatWhilst some destinations for Mermaid I are new, it is not new to many of our dive and boat crew who have spent years in these waters. Mermaid1 was constructed in Bangkok in 1999 by a professional team of highly experienced boat constructers. Upon her launch she became the flagship of the fleet complete with IMO certification. M/V Mermaid1 is a 28 metre, double engine steel motor yacht that comfortably hosts 15 divers. In the past years she has been modified and improved to comply with her guest’s wishes and suggestions to provide arguably one of the finest liveaboard cruising experiences in the area - more about Mermaid1

Mermaid 2 Mermaid2 liveaboard runs 8 night Raja diving trips is a 32 metre, double engine steel motor yacht, one of the most comfortable diver boats around, she easily accommodates 16 guests in 8 deluxe cabins and 2 guests in a budget cabin below deck. All deluxe cabins are on the main deck with large panoramic sea view windows. Each cabin has a double bed and single bed (max pax 2 per cabin), air conditioning, ensuite bathrooms. The saloon on Mermaid 2 for the Raja Ampat diving safarisThe budget cabin is below deck with twin bunks, air conditioning and a large shared bathroom with 1 other cabin. The large and comfotable saloon is more reminiscent of a family room at home than the saloon on a boat - it has 4 comfy chairs and 2 large sofas and has all the latest electronics - dvd, flat screen tv and stereo. There is also tea and fresh ground coffee making facilities and fridge to keep the beer, wine and soft drinks cold, we hope you will feel right at home.

EANX NITROX is available on every Komodo liveaboard - more about Mermaid2

Smy Ondina offers a different SMY Ondina Raja Ampat liveaboardway to enjoy adventure and exploration diving in the inner seas of Indonesia. SMY Ondina travels year round moving with the seasons to visit the best diving Indonesia has to offer at the right times - Raja Ampat, Fak Fak, Komodo, Sulawesi and Flores, we have an itinerary like no other. Travelling aboard a classic buginese schooner built entirely of teak and tropical woods you will have the opportunity to explore the most exotic and remote islands of Indonesia seeing places where you could possibly never get to by yourself. OnSMY Ondina at anchor board Ondina you will have enough space to relax alone, or to share a nice chat sitting in the cool atmosphere of our a/c dinning room or enjoy a full moon evening from a comfortable hammock on our spacious sun deck before taking a rest in your a/c cabin. 

We have tried to create a comfortable accommodation to be your home and base camp as we sail and dive from island to island.

In the unlikely event you don’t feel like diving, swimming or snorkeling, we can arrange a walk through isolated forests, along desert beaches or in the undisturbed villages we will come across during our sail - more about Ondina

Pindito liveaboard is the only safari boat in Indonesia Diving Raja Ampat with Pindito that has 15+ years of operating experience in Raja Ampat, Komodo, Flores and the Banda sea.

Offering 8 cabins for 16 guests in 6 double and 2 twin all cabins feature ensuite heads with hot and cold running water (vanity and shower as well as toilet), individually controlled air Pindito Raja trips pioneered the areaconditioning and five 220v AC electrical outlets available 24hours a day. Our crew is devoted to your comfort and will attend to your cabin daily, keeping it clean and tidy and providing fresh towels as necessary. Additional towels are available for you on deck as needed. Now you can join Pindito as she sails to and dives upon the most biodiverse coral reefs in the world. With a crew off 17 standing-by to look after you during your expedition you will be sure to discover the best diving in the world in style - more about Pindito

At 33 meters long and 8.5 meters wide, the MSY Seahorse is a majestic and spacious vessel, Msy Seahorse under full sail in Raja Ampataccommodating up to 16 guests attended by 12 crew. All cabins have individually controlled air-conditioning, private en-suite bathrooms with hot water and plenty of room for storage.Seahorse deluxe doublr cabin, ideal for relaxing on your Raja Ampat diving trip

The 5 standard twin cabins are 12 square meters and have two single 90 X 200 cmts beds, the 2 deluxe double cabins are 13.5 sq. meters, have a 150 x 200 cmts bed, desk, TV and dvd player, and the master cabin is 15 sq. meters, plenty of space for a 150x 200 mts bed, big desk, TV and dvd player.

The classic beauty of the MSY Seahorse combines traditional craftsmanship with fully modern conveniences and safety features, providing charming comfort in the remotest waters of Indonesia - more about Seahorse

Seven Seas Seven seas in Indonesia visits Raja from November to Aprilis a 33m, traditionally built Buginese schooner and has set new standards in Indonesian liveaboard luxury. Custom-designed to accommodate up to 16 guests in spacious comfort over three decks she is perfect for both diving and relaxation. The galley is fitted with the latest in culinary kits and chef welcomes guests who want to join in and prepare special snacks or meals. The Seven Seas features the latest diving and safety equipment, Nitrox, 3 speed boats and satellite communication, Seven seas lounging area is a great place to see Raja Ampatall of which means that we can sail where we want in comfort and in confidence. Our dive guides share their knowledge of marine life and the local area as well as guiding you to the best dive sites.

With over 9 years culinary expertise, the chef prepares truly mouth-watering cuisine. Buffets form the main menu of the day so that we can give you a wider choice and suit the majority of taste buds, including vegetarians. The chef uses as much fresh local produce as she can, including fresh seafood.

The bar has a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Water, coffee and tea are included and you can enjoy as much as you like. Your waitresses are happy to help advise you on the full drinks menu - more about Seven Seas

Tambora has Tambora liveaboard diving in Raja Ampatbeen built by traditional boat builders on the island of Sulawesi, in the centuries-old tradition of a wooden Phinisi. The design and materials used guarantee immense strength and resilience of all key structural elements, especially the keel, hull and decks. Among others, they include a double keel and relatively smaller beam, to minimize rolling of the vessel in heavy seas.

Tambora has been sized and configured to comfortably accommodate a maximum of 16Tamobora liveaboard cabins divers in eight spacious guest suites, each at least 15m2 in size, and with a large en-suite bathroom.

Cabins have a choice of double and large twin beds (no bunk beds!) all longitudinally aligned with the vessel, so our guests sleep in the direction of the vessel movement.

Each guest suite comes with a writing desk. If you like, you can fill in your logbook or review the shots from the day’s diving in the privacy of your own suite and ample storage space for clothes, bags, books, magazines, etc.

Our large salon with separate dining and relaxing sections, offering enough space during mealtimes, as well as for chilling out over a chat and drinks with fellow divers, with a book in your hands, or working on your laptop. Three seeparate lounge decks – bow, aft and salon rooftop – provide enough space and privacy, and can be fully shielded from the sun - more about Tambora

Woaw is Waow liveaboard Raja Ampat a luxury three masted sailing vessel, constructed entirely from wood using traditional methods, evoking the southern seas, liberty, adventure, comfort, quality and style.  All to be shared by those going to sea on her. With nine cabins for the guests, crew accommodation, dive equipment, multi media equipment and dream destinations, we wish to achieve dreams for all those aboard. Woaw has been designed with the diver in mind to provide the ultimate experience. She will therefore be equipped to an extremely high level drawing on the teams more than 30 years experience in the industry.

From the equipment used to the itineraries proposed, our philosophy is based on the following criteria and goals. Woaw has 9 cabins available catering for a guest list of 18 passengers. Each of the cabins is luxurious, spacious and provides all of the amenities expected of a vessel of this standing including en-suite bathroom, entertainment system in each cabin involving a media player and flat screen tv coplete with music and hundreds of movies to keep you entertained on your surface intervals - more about Waow

Raja Ampat - gallery