Raja Ampat Islands are an archipelago with very beautiful nature, amazing place in the eastern part of Indonesia and Raja Ampat Regency is located far from the West Papua. Raja Ampat Islands are still included in the area of West Papua province are a series of four islands which are located close to each other and in the western part of New Guinea Bird’s Head.
Raja Ampat regency with Waisai as the capital city is the result of the expansion from Sorong regency of West Papua in 2003 which has an area of 46,108 square kilometers, 6,000 km2 of land, and the rest is ocean. Length of the beach reach 4,860 kilometers. About 90,000 inhabitants in 35 islands from 610 islands that exist. There are 10 locals tribes which the main livelihood as a fisherman.
Raja Ampat marine tourism is known as the third best place in the world, and as a rival in domestic tourism nor abroad. Raja Ampat islands are one of the best waters for diving activities in the world with a wealth of natural resources and recognized as the number one region for the completeness of underwater flora and fauna with 540 species of qualified coral, 1,511 species of fish, and 700 species of molluscs. According to a report in The Nature Conservancy and Conservation International, there are about 75% of marine species.
Raja Ampat Islands are located in the center of the world’s coral triangle network or Coral Triangle, Indonesia, Japan, Papua New Geniea and Australia. 75 percent of the world’s coral species are located in Raja Ampat Islands, and seven of them are new species. Raja Ampat is often called the Heart of the Coral Triangle.
Raja Ampat name comes from the local folklore about the ruler on the four largest islands in the region, namely Misool Island, Salawati, Batanta, and Waigeo (City which is considered as the gateway to the Raja Ampat). Is told that in ancient times there was a woman who found 7 pieces of egg in which the four of them hatches and transformed into princes. The princes then split up and became the king on the four islands. From this story then the area are named Raja Ampat Islands.
With its charm, Raja Ampat won the title as Favorite Travel Destination City and appreciation Indonesia Tourism Award 2011 in Jakarta (8/12/2011), in the category Favorite apart Bali island.
Raja Ampat in West Papua is also widely known by tourists as one of the best dive sites in the world, besides that many other tourist sites that are also fascinating there.
Dive sites (divespot) in Raja Ampat numbered in hundreds, one of them are Manta Point that is located around the water of Arborek Island, in the Strait of Dampier. In this place is easy to find a stingray or commonly called the Manta with a large size, with wings that can reach 5 meters, therefore the place is named Manta Point and many more dive spot in Raja Ampat with stunning views over the sea, divers could also see the nemo fish, sea horses also turtles.
Besides diving we also can enjoy the charm of Raja Ampat, with snorkeling or enjoying the beauty of the beach in a white sand beach. Most of the islands in the Raja Ampat has the beach with fine white sand and clean.
By renting a speedboat we can also explore offshore between the cluster of small islands. It’s not complete if we do not see a very typical species from Papua, the Bird of Paradise. Birds of paradise in this region different from those in mainland of Papua. Paradise Birds in Raja Ampat such as Red Bird of Paradise, Wilson Bird of Paradise.
Raja Ampat is also an area a whale crossings because the location is on the edge of the Pacific Ocean.
The World Bank in collaboration with global environmental institutions establish Raja Ampat as one region in East Indonesia, that received assistance Coral Reef Rehabilitation and Management Program (Coremap) II, since 2005. The program covers 17 villages and involve the local population. Fishermen are trained to cultivate grouper and seaweed.
Which is a pity, this area ever became the target of hunters to get reefs and fishes by using bomb, and spread the poison cyanide, but fortunately many locals who protect that region so that marine resources could be saved.
Maximillian J Ammer, a Dutch citizen as owner and manager of Papuan Diving Resort which is also a pioneer marine tourism activator this region is really working hard to set up various facilities to attract tourists from abroad.
Currently the existing lodging or resort that are already supplemented by modern equipment, including international telephone and internet.
Raja Ampat Islands is really like a paradise for the tourist and photographer to get a landscape that really wow!