5 Days 3 Nights Trip to Raja Ampat, West Papua

6:38 PM

[this post is bilingual]



Raja Ampat mungkin sudah jadi bucket-list-ku sejak lama, tapi mengingat tingginya cost yang diperlukan cukup mahal, jadilah 'nanti-nanti aja deh'. Apalagi setelah pulang dari Labuan Bajo. Honestly, trip Labuan Bajo kemarin udah nge-set standar yang tinggi banget buat sea adventure. Jadi, tiap kali kepikiran buat ke Raja Ampat, selalu keluar pertanyaan-pertanyaan kayak, 'nanti seru nggak ya?', 'nanti ribet nggak ya?', 'nanti dimakan hiu nggak ya?' (oke, yang terakhir agak lebay). Makanya, ketika ada kesempatan buat ke Raja Ampat, ketimbang ditunda-tunda lagi, ya sudah, kita jalani saja.

Raja Ampat actually had been in my bucket-list since a long time. But, looking at how costly it is, I postponed it over and over again. Honestly, my last Labuan Bajo trip has set a really high standard for a sea adventure trip. So, every time I was thinking about Raja Ampat, these kinds of question always pop in my mind, like, 'is it that worth?', 'is Raja Ampat difficult to reach', or 'will i be eaten by sharks?' (ok, the last question might sound a bit exaggerating). So, when I got a chance to go there, say no more. 

Kemarin Garuda Indonesia jual trip AyoLiburan dengan harga mulai dari Rp 8.900.000. Harga itu sudah include cashback Rp 1.000.000 dengan kartu kredit BNI Titanium. Itu harga yang reasonable banget buat fasilitas yang ditawarin: naik Garuda Indonesia, of course, nginapnya di Raja Ampat Dive Resort, boat ride ke semua tempat wisata, dan makan 3x sehari yang nggak mengecewakan banget. Kalau dihitung-hitung tanpa trip ini, pengeluaran ke Raja Ampat 5 hari 3 malam itu bisa di atas 10 juta rupiah lho! Pantes aja, 4 hari langsung pada sold out keempat batch trip itu.

Last months, Garuda Indonesia opened AyoLiburan trip to Raja Ampat started from IDR 8,9 mio (included IDR 1 mio cashback with BNI Titanium credit card). That was a really reasonable price for the facilities they offered: return plane tickets, accommodation at Raja Ampat Dive Resort, boat ride to every single places, and 3x/day tasty meals. If you count it yourself, for 5 days 3 nights activities in Raja Ampat can cost over IDR 10 mio! No wonder that trip was sold out in 4 days.

General Information
Raja Ampat terletak di Papua, Indonesia bagian timur. Untuk zona waktu, menggunakan WIT (Waktu Indonesia bagian Timur) yang 2 jam lebih awal dari waktu di Jakarta.

Raja Ampat is located in Papua, Eastern Indonesia. For time zone, Raja Ampat is using GMT +8 time zone (just like Tokyo), so it's 2 hours ahead Jakarta time. 

Untuk masuk ke Raja Ampat, pastikan membeli akses masuk Raja Ampat. Harganya Rp 500.000 untuk satu tahun. Nggak perlu paspor. Nanti kalian akan dikasi pin dan kartu seperti contoh di bawah ini. Pastikan dua benda ini selalu ada karena bisa ada sidak mendadak dari otoritas setempat. Untuk kalian yang pakai tour, pastikan minta ke tour guide kalian karena itu hak kalian. Sekedar informasi, ada lho tour operator atau oknum penginapan yang sengaja nggak memberikan tamunya kedua benda itu walaupun tamunya sudah bayar (duitnya ditilep sendiri).

To enter Raja Ampat, you will need to purchase an access to the island. It costs IDR 500,000 for 1 year multiple entry. Your resort or tour operator can get it for you. They will give you pin and card just like below sample. Make sure those things are always with you because there can be random checking from local authority. For you who are using tour, make sure your tour guide gives it to you. Just fyi, there are some tour operators or resorts that don't give it to their pax even though you already paid for it (they corrupt the money). 



Transportasi di Raja Ampat susah. Jangan ngebayangin kalian ada di kota dengan akses kereta, angkot, dll. Raja Ampat itu daerah pedalaman. Dari pulau ke pulau perlu boat dan letaknya berjauhan. Boatnya harganya per perjalanan ke tujuan, bukan per hari, jadi kalau sendirian bisa mahal banget. Aku nyaranin kalian untuk ikut open trip daripada stres.

Transportation in Raja Ampat is highly difficult. Dude, please, you're in remote area. Don't imagine a city with highly integrated transportation system. You will need a boat to travel from island to island and each island is located far away from another. Boat ride costs per journey, not per day. So, it can be really costly if you book it alone. I suggest you to join an open trip or travel package.  

Sinyal telepon susah banget di Raja Ampat. Even kalian pakai Telkomsel, sinyalnya cuma ada di beberapa titik. Jangan berharap wifi ya. Apalagi kalau sudah lagi island hoping, nggak bakal ada sinyal deh. Tapi, menurutku ini justru bagus banget. Karena kalian jadi tenang liburan menikmati apa yang ada di depan mata kalian.

Phone signal...dead. Even if you use Telkomsel (which is probably has the best reception there), you only have signal at some spots. Don't expect wifi. Especially if you are in the middle of island hoping, say good by to your signal. But, I think holiday should be like this. We can focus to enjoy the spectacular scenery in front of our eyes. 


Keberangkatan (departure)
Gengs, perlu diingat kembali, Raja Ampat itu jauh lho. Dia ada di ujung timur Indonesia. Jadi jangan dipikir perjalanan dari Jakarta ke sana 2 jam nyampe. Persiapkan stamina ya! Kemarin itu perjalananku untuk menuju Raja Ampat kira-kira begini:

  • Karena pesawatku transit di Makassar, aku berangkat dari Jakarta pk 22.20 WIB , tiba di Makassar pk 01.45 WITA.
  • Transit sekitar 1 jam 45 menit, lalu lanjut pagi-pagi buta ke Sorong 03.30 WITA.
  • Tiba di Sorong pk 06.45 WIT. Sebenernya ada ferry yang ke Waisai (Raja Ampat) pagi-pagi (sekitar jam 7-an), tapi karena kita nggak mau grasa-grusu, kita pilih ferry yang jam 2 siang. Sempet stay setengah hari di Swissbel Hotel Sorong buat tidur memulihkan stamina.  
  • Jam 2 siang dari Pelabuhan Sorong, aku naik ferry (harga tiket Rp 150.000) ke Waisai (Raja Ampat) sekitar 2 jam.
  • Dari pelabuhan Waisai, kita dijemput speed boat dari Raja Ampat Dive Resort (R4DR). 
Luar biasa kan perjuangannya menuju Raja Ampat! Sehari penuh cuma buat perjalanan doang! Tapi worth it banget lho! Oh ya, start 9 Maret 2018, Garuda Indonesia akan buka penerbangan langsung ke Sorong. Jadi, bisa menghemat lumayan waktu dan tenaga. 

The journey to reach those hidden islands of Raja Ampat is not easy. You won't be getting there in 2-3 hours from Jakarta. Prepare your stamina! 
For your reference, this is how I got to Raja Ampat:

  • Because I took the flights that stopped in Makassar, I departed from Jakarta at 22.20 GMT +7, arrived in Makassar for transit at 01.45 GMT+8.
  • Transit time was 1 hour 45 min. The next flight to Sorong will be at 03.30.
  • I landed in Sorong at 06.45 GMT+9. Actually, there is a ferry departing to Waisai (Raja Ampat) in the morning (probably at 7.30am), but because we don't want to be in too much rush, we decided to take 2pm ferry. We took half-day stay at Swissbel Hotel Sorong to sleep.
  • At 2pm from Sorong port, we then took 2 hours ferry ride (Costs about IDR 150,000) to Waisai.
  • From Waisai port, a speed boat from Raja Ampat Dive Resort (R4DR) already waited, to take us to R4DR. 
Ferry ride to Waisai


Boat ride


Accommodation

Kalau duit kalian banyak, kalian bisa LOB (live on board) di kapal phinisi seperti yang aku lakuin pas di trip Labuan Bajo. Tapi untuk trip kali ini, aku stay di Raja Ampat Dive Resort. Aku prefer LOB sih. Aku suka banget LOB. Tapi apa daya, duit terbatas.

Eh, tapi Raja Ampat Dive Resort juga oke banget lho. Jangan salah! R4DR itu resort dengan konsep eco-tourism, jadi alam banget deh. Nggak pakai botol plastik, dinding dan lantai dari kayu, AC cuma nyala dari jam 7 malam sampai jam 6 pagi. Memang agak gelap sih resortnya dan banyak bunyi burung & serangga, tapi udahlah. Kalau memang mau traveling ke Raja Ampat, buang semua manja-manjaan kalian. Kita harus kuat, berani, dan mandiri. Selain itu, di resortnya aja kalian bisa kayaking, snorkeling, leyeh-leyeh di hammock, diving, atau bahkan cuma nontonin sunset di jetty-nya. Seru kan?

Aku bakal buat review yang lebih lengkap lagi buat resort ini di post berikutnya.

If you have enough money, you can do LOB (live on board) in a phinisi ship just like what I did in my previous Labuan Bajo trip. But for this trip, I stayed at Raja Ampat Dive Resort. I prefer LOB, actually. I love LOB. But, due to budget constrain...

Don't get me wrong. Raja Ampat Dive Resort is a really good stay. It's a resort with eco-tourism concept. No plastic bottles, all walls and floors are made from woods, AC will only turn on from 7am to 6pm. It is quite a dark place and you can hear the sound of beetles or birds in the middle of the night, but come on. When you decide to come to Raja Ampat, you should throw away your city-baby attitude. Be brave, independent, and strong. Other than that, you can do many fun activities even at the resort only. You can do kayaking, snorkeling, diving, sleeping on a hammock or maybe just watching the sunset from the jetty. Cool, huh?

I will write further review about this resort on my next post.


R4DR Jetty from bove

My room at R4DR

The cottages at R4DR

Group photo!


Floating!


Spots you should visit

Piaynemo
Nggak ke Raja Ampat namanya kalau nggak ke Piaynemo. Pak Jokowi aja naik kok ke Piaynemo pas ke Raja Ampat. Dari R4DR, Piaynemo ditempuh dengan 2 jam perjalanan dengan speed boat. Kita sedikit trekking dari jetty-nya untuk sampai ke puncak. Sedikit lho, ya. Jangan bayangin Padar atau Gili Lawa. Nggak ada hiking begitu. Treknya tangga kok. Sekitar 400 anak tangga, tapi nggak akan kerasa karena pemandangan di atasnya luar biasa. Pakai sendal jepit juga ga masalah. Aku pun begitu.

It's not a Raja Ampat trip without visiting Piaynemo. Even Jokowi, our president, visited it when came into Raja Ampat. From R4DR, Piaynemo can be reached in 2 hours boat ride. After that we need to climb about 400 stairs to reach the top. The effort is nothing compared to Padar and Gili Lawa which you need shoes with a good grip. You can climb Piaynemo stairs by only wearing flipflops (I did it too, haha). 


The view from the top of Piaynemo


How stunning!

Arborek
Arborek adalah snorkeling dan diving spot yang luar biasa bagusnya. Schooling fish-nya udah kayak pasir, ke sana kemari di depan mata kita. Jangan lupa bawa gopro atau underwater kamera ya. Selain buat nyelam, Arborek juga punya desa wisata. Kalian bisa bertemu dan beramah tamah dengan penduduk lokal.

Arborek is a diving and snorkeling spot which has a really incredible underwater view. You can find schooling fishes all over you. Don't forget your underwater camera! Beside as a diving spot, Arborek is also known as a cultural village. You can meet and greet all the local people there. 


Greeted with its traditional dance


Pasir Timbul
Pulau Pasir timbul mirip pulau pasir di Taka Makassar di Kepulauan Komodo. Kalau laut sedang surut, pasir di sana akan membentuk seperti sebuah daratan. Kalian bisa bermain-main di atasnya dan berenang-berenang cantik. Air di sekitar pulau pasir itu dangkal dan warnanya toska cantik banget.

Pulau Pasir Timbul is like Taka Makassar at Komodo Islands. When the water is receding, the white sands there will form a tiny land which you can play around on it. You can also swim and relaxing in a shallow turquoise-coloured water around the sandy land. 


Favorite formation hahaha


Teluk Kabui & Batu Pensil
Teluk Kabui adalah teluk yang ada di antara Pulau Waigeo dan Gam. Warnanya hijau diapit banyak tebing-tebing karang yang bagus banget. Teluk itu buesar banget dan kalau kalian sedang sendirian, akan sunyi banget. Aku suka banget perjalanan menyusuri Teluk Kabui. Misterius-misterius gimana gitu. Paling enak duduk di moncong atau atap kapal kalau sedang menyusuri teluk ini. Tapi, hati-hati ya. Jangan sampai jatuh karena airnya dalam banget dan warnanya hijau pekat, banyak pusaran arus dalam. Jadi...kayaknya nggak ada yang pernah nyemplung ke dalam airnya. Jangan lupa berhenti di Batu Pensil. Di Batu Pensil ada dua jetty kecil tempat foto-foto dengan pemandangan gugusan karang yang cakep banget.

Kabui bay is a bay located between Waigeo Island and Gam Island. It is so green and surrounded by karst formations, islands, and rocks with tons of green vegetation also mangroves. It is a big bay and when you are sailing through it alone, it is sooo mysteriously, which I love! The best way to view this is to get to the tip or top of your boat. But be careful, don't let yourself fall into the water. The water is in deep green colour with a lot of 'toilet flush' current, which I don't think anyone ever dive into it. Don't forget to stop by Batu Pensil. There are 2 jetties there which you can take photos or just relaxing around. 


Kabui Bay
Favorite spot on the boat to enjoy the view




Batu Pensil


Small jetty near Batu Pensil


Friwen Wall & Beach
Selain Arborek, diving spot yang terkenal lainnya di Raja Ampat adalah Friwen Wall. Di Friwen Wall ini ada banyak ikan-ikan lucu warna-warni yang bahkan udah keliatan dari atas. Area snorkeling/diving di Friwen Wall cukup dalam. Jadi, kalau kalian nggak yakin bisa ngambang, jangan lupa pakai life vest atau pelampung. Oh iya, jangan lupa ada banyak ubur-ubur kecil juga di sana. Banyak-banget, kayak bakso transparan berkaki ngambang di sekitar kalian. Nggak beracun, kalau disengat rasanya kayak kena sentil karet sayur. No problem kok.

Di seberang Friwen Wall, ada Friwen Beach. Ini tempat yang asik buat nyantai, makan popmie, pisang goreng, atau minum kopi. Kalian juga bisa main ayunan tarzan sama anak-anak lokal sana dan kecibang-kecibung di airnya yang anget banget.

Beside Arborek, another famous diving spot is Friwen Wall. At Friwen Wall, you can see many cute little fishes which already visible even from above the floaties. The spot is pretty deep. If you are not sure you can float yourself, make sure you bring a life vest with you. Oh, there are also many small jellyfishes. SO MANY! Like transparent meatballs with tentacles floating all around you. They are not poisonous, but if they sting, it will feel annoyingly like you are shot with a tiny rubber band. It's no problem. Just annoying. 

Across Friwen Wall, there is Friwen Beach. It's a good place to relaxing or playing around. You can eat cup noodle, fried banana, or drink coffee. You can also play swing with local boys there or just swimming around its warm water. 


Friwen Beach


Other places to visit
Raja Ampat sebenarnya punya banyak lagi tempat cantik buat dikunjungi. Misalnya Wayag. View di wayah itu bener-bener luar biasa indahnya. Tapi karena waktu tempuhnya 4 jam sekali jalan dari resort, kami nggak memasukkan wayag ke dalam itinerary. Ada juga Telaga Bintang, di mana kalau kalian memanjat tebing batunya, nanti bisa kelihatan airnya kayak bentuk bintang. Trek naik ke atasnya curam dan sempit, jadi nggak disarankan untuk perjalanan grup. Tapi, serius deh. Googling aja dan temukan tempat-tempat yang kalian mau kunjungi lainnya di Raja Ampat.

Raja Ampat has a lot more stunning places to visit. For exampe, Wayag which is famous with its scenery. We didn't go there because it takes 4 hours boat ride one way from the resort and we didn't have that much time. Or, Telaga Bintang (Star Lake). The track to reach the top is too steep and narrow, so it's not recommended for a group of people, which is why we didn't go there. But seriously, google it and you can just add any place you want to add into your itinerary. 

Summary 
Raja Ampat itu indah banget. Nggak ada argumen lainnya. Tapi kalau disuruh milih, aku tetep taruh Labuan Bajo di top listku. Bukan karena Raja Ampat biasa aja lho. Tapi cuma karena aku suka LOB. Aku juga anaknya lebih suka mantai dan snorkeling. Sedangkan Raja Ampat kayaknya lebih banyak spot buat advance diving. Tapi, pemandangan dan budaya lokalnya Raja Ampat juara sih. Aku nggak akan nolak kalau diajak ke sana lagi.

Raja Ampat is stunningly beautiful and exotic. But if I have to choose, I'd still put Labuan Bajo on top of my most favorite trip. It's not because Raja Ampat is so-so. Raja Ampat is SPECTACULAR. But only because I love LOB and prefer to snorkel instead of diving. Labuan Bajo has more spots to laying on warm sands or snorkeling. Meanwhile, Raja Ampat offers a more advance diving spots for those who already mastered diving skill. But, the view and local culture in Raja Ampat are the best part for me. I won't be saying no if I am offer to visit it again. 

Some tips if you want to go to Raja Ampat...

  • Sunblocks, aftersun, hat, sunglasses or any of your anti-sun gear are totally needed here. Kalau lagi panas, bisa panas banget sampe rasanya kayak mau mimisan. 
  • Pakai sandal aja cukup kok, kecuali mungkin kalau mau hiking ke wayag atau Telaga Bintang
  • JANGAN BUANG SAMPAH SEMBARANGAN! Please, jangan. Bawa tumbler minum instead of pakai botol plastik sekali pakai.
  • Di Piaynemo, nanti akan ada yang jual kepiting kenari dan lobster. Plis, jangan dibeli karena dua hewan itu dilindungi.
  • Saranku, ikut open trip atau travel. Karena kalau arrange sendiri, kalian bisa pusing. Nggak cuma arrangenya, tapi juga costnya yang akan jauh membengkak. 
See you on my next post! 



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