West Papua is another place to visit in the Eastern Indonesian islands. There, you have the most famous area, Raja Ampat. It is one of the most beautiful places for scuba diving. However, it is not easy to access. Getting there is annoying but it is becoming increasingly accessible.
- Western Java: Jakarta, Bandung, Palau Macan
- Central Java: Yogyakarta, Kebumen
- Eastern Java: Mt Bromo, Mt Ijen
- East Nusa Tenggara: Flores Island
- West Papua: Raja Ampat
- Sumatra: Aceh, Lake Toba Belitung Island
- Bali: Bali, Gili, Lombok
Garuda has a direct service from CGK-SOQ, and from there you take a 2 hour boat. If you book with a resort they’ll probably help you arrange the boat details. Fortunately these ferries tend to be better quality than most, so do take advantage of anything the resort can offer you.
For connectivity, get Telkomsel. It has reasonable coverage on most islands, though it’s not reliable for important 4G. Also be aware that power isn’t available around the clock on all islands.
Diving in Raja Ampat
You can stay in a resort or liveabroad.
- Liveaboard: Access more dive sites all over Raja Ampat, almost no “wasted” time going to and fro dive sites (usually <2 minutes from ship to dive site), ability to pick “best” dive sites based on weather/conditions.
- Dive resort: Relaxing resort/island life feel, more space to walk around (e.g., outdoor showers, hit the beach when you feel like it), be on terra firma.
So if what’s most important to you is the diving, then liveaboard for sure. You dive, eat, sleep, repeat. If you’d rather balance the diving with some resort life, then dive resort. Note that your level of creature comforts will of course be dictated by the liveaboard/resort you choose.
At Papua Paradise, stay at the overwater bungalows. You get dugongs, mantis shrimp and manta rays visiting. It’s possible to go snorkeling around the back of the island one afternoon after dives. Even when weather was questionable, the boat crew was able to find protected dive sites that had ideal conditions.
Diving Tips: Before Your Trip
- Bring Imodium pills with and at the first sign of stomach problems take 2. You don’t want to be dealing with diarrhoea on a dive boat in Indonesia
- Bring a day bag, something like a small backpack or a tote bag. In Komodo you will be doing land excursions, but it is also nice to use the bag to keep track of little stuff while on the boat so that you don’t misplace things
- Buy a combination international plug converter that also has a bunch of USB ports like this: USB Type C Travel Power Plug. You are going to have a lot of things to charge and there might not be enough plug space on the boat. Much nicer to have this one plug that can charge 6 different things at once
- If you are a guy, don’t try and stuff a bathing suit into your wetsuit. Buy a couple pairs of those racing swimsuits that look like bike shorts. They are super comfortable in a wetsuit, and they dry super quick. Having 2 of them means that one will always be dry for your next dive. You want to make sure that you are doing everything possible to not chafe things…over the course of a trip you are in the water so much that nothing really ever gets a chance to heal, so once something gets to be a problem it is difficult to fix
- Buy a reef hook (make sure it has a long line, some have very short ropes and you’ll bounce on the reef) and a pointer stick (make sure it is a long one, like 16”, as you want to make sure your hands are well away from stuff) that you like BEFORE you leave. You’ll need both in Komodo and you might as well pay a fair price for ones that you like instead of paying too much on the boat for not great gear
Diving Tips: During Your Trip
- If you are flying on Garuda once you are in Indonesia, tell them that you are traveling with scuba gear and they’ll give you a higher luggage weight allowance
- If you are going to be drinking, limit your drinking to beer while there are still dives left on the trip. Wine or hard alcohol makes it too easy to get into bad hangover territory. You don’t want to miss a dive where everyone sees 1 million manta rays because you drink too much the night before
- Also if your boat has a group of people who are a bit more into partying and you are tempted to join in, just don’t stay up past midnight. You’ll appreciate the sleep
- Wear a full wetsuit, even if it’s a thin one. Staying warm is a plus when you are doing 4 dives a day, and also those warm tropical waters have lots of jellies and hydroids that can sting you. Sometimes those stings get real nasty, especially the hydroids. The stings turn into really gnarly looking boils and itch like crazy
- After each dive hang everything to dry, then go take a hot shower to rinse off and warm your core up, and then put on dry clothes or a bathing suit until you need to get ready for the next dive. It’s surprisingly easy to tire yourself out / make yourself feel unwell by always being slightly damp and chilled, even in warm places
- Trekking itinerary in Mayalibit Bay
- General details on trekking in Raja Ampat
- Accommodation in Raja Ampat
Trevellers is my way to change the world. Through my stories, tips and lessons learnt, I truly hope to inspire you to get out of your comfort zone, see the world and see who you truly are. Travel is more than just taking a selfie. Travel is an adventure, where you can truly become who you are, give you the time to reflect and grow to become the person you’ve always wanted to be.