I’ve heard a lot of amazing facts about this hidden paradise and would like to write about it, I have never been there, it’s actually one of my dream destination to visit this true paradise, Raja Ampat best known for the Blue Wildlife and is a global priority for marine conservation are just beyond your imagination, reading peoples stories and experiences and even seeing their pictures already give me the chills and temptation to visit.
The main reason why many Indonesian (local) people know a lot about this place but most of them never been there is because of the cost of getting there. For Indonesian the cost to travel there is even more expensive then traveling abroad such as to Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and many other neighboring countries, the flight tickets from Jakarta to Sorong cost around 170-320usd one way in Sorong they are public boat that operates daily on a certain time to Wasai (the capital of Raja Ampat Regency). It’s actually kind of funny to know that there are more foreigners travelling there then the local Indonesian, not because they don’t want to but because most of them cannot afford it, most of them are basically looking for budget travel.
I’ve search online for accommodation in Raja Ampat, most of them are including diving package activities, there are a choices of how many nights to stay, most people stay more than a week, the average cost per night in these nice resorts are ranging around 135-300Euro per night/person, which is of course very expensive for the local, different when travelling to Bali you can even find accommodation starting from only 10USD/night per room. Other than Ecolodges and Eco resorts, there are Liveabroad which is even more expensive, very limited and also most of them are fully book until 2012. Here are some of the resorts, Misool eco resort, Raja Ampat Dive lodges, Papua Paradise Eco resort and diving operators such as Dive Damai, Shakti Raja Ampat and Papua Diving and Liveaboard such as Pindito Liveaboard,The Seven Seas, Kararu Dive voyages, those are just a few that I’ve searched online.
I came across a few budget homestays, and are owned by the local the name of the homestay is Mangkur Kodon homestayhttp://mangkurkodonhomestay.wordpress.com their information is pretty useful, I think this is the only home stay with cheap budget prices ranging from 35-50Usd/night/person Including 3x meals, There are some other home stay as well but I couldn’t find much information about it, but reading a few articles online they are planning to even build more home stays in these areas.
I’m really hoping for the future, Indonesian people are able to see what their countries are blessed with, I’m also hoping it would be easier for Indonesian to travel there with budget price and also for the people to continue maintaining its nature richness and protect the areas from damages. The Indonesian tourism department is now proposing Raja Ampat as one of the World Heritage for UNESCO, but the results are still to be waited. I believe Raja Ampat has what it takes to be World Heritage its richness in bio-marine should be awarded.