Raja Ampat: A step by step guide

Raja Ampat: A step by step guide

Raja Ampat: A step by step guide – The 25 step plan for an amazing Raja Ampat adventure

  1. Find out if traditional Papuan homestay accommodation is really for you by reading this important introduction.
  2. Check to see if it will fit your budget. Raja Ampat is great value but West Papua is more expensive than other regions of Indonesia.
  3. Decide when to go. Check our weather info page for the best time of year.
  4. Choose your accommodation – here are all the Raja Ampat homestays we have contact details for and here’s our Raja Ampat maps page so you can see where they are and where you might want to go.
  5. To quickly find accommodation that offers diving and any other services and facilities that might be important to you, use the website Advanced Search feature.
  6. If you plan to dive in Raja Ampat, be sure to read this important diving safety information.
  7. Boat travel in Raja Ampat is expensive! Plan your trips carefully to avoid backtracking. This article will help you estimate trip and transfer costs.
  8. Make a booking by using our free online booking form to automatically translate and send your request, or contact the homestay directly yourself. Read this important information about how to arrange your booking.
  9. Consider organising a guide for your stay. A guide can be invaluable help when you are staying in a remote area.
  10. Find your flights to Sorong, West Papua. Read our How to get to Raja Ampat page.
  11. Check out some of the activities you might enjoy while you are there.
  12. Catch up with other travellers to share the fun and the costs – check for posts on our facebook page.
  13. Get a medical and dental check up, and organise some medicines – see our Health and Medical FAQ
  14. Organise your visa. A 30 day visa on arrival is available at all Indonesian ports of entry. If you want to spend longer than that in Raja Ampat we’d recommend getting a 60 day visa before leaving your home country. (That way you won’t have to hang around in Sorong trying to organise an extension.)
  15. Install and configure the Raja Ampat Environment Watch App on your mobile device so you can help in the conservation of Raja Ampat’s marine and terrestrial wonders.
  16. Organise the Indonesian Rupiah you’ll need before you get to Sorong (see the Money, Banks and ATMs page).
  17. Catch that plane to Sorong!
  18. Get your Raja Ampat Marine Park entry permit tags.
  19. Top up your Indonesian Rupiah – Sorong will most likely be your last chance to use an ATM.
  20. It’s island time – get that ferry!
  21. Have an amazing time. It’s not hard.
  22. Don’t forget to observe cultural sensitivities and leave the islands as beautiful as you found them.
  23. Please, leave feedback about your experience.
  24. If you want to give back after you get home, consider supporting these great Raja Ampat conservation initiatives.
  25. Tell your friends. A well patronised locally owned ecotourism economy is – provided that tourists visit responsibly and don’t overburden local infrastructure – the best chance Raja Ampat has of protecting its environmental treasures  from the lucrative but incredibly damaging resource extraction and development pressures that could destroy it.

91 thoughts on “Raja Ampat: A step by step guide

  1. Many thanks for your fantastic service and for all the information. We have just returned from Raja Ampat and would like to also contribute a little bit.

    The flight from Sorong to Marinda Airport – Waisai (Raja Ampat ) takes 30 minutes. We took it directly (coming from Jakarta via Makassar) and didn’t have to spend a night in Sorong. Transport from the airport to homestays in this island or to the Port is very easy. There are drivers with cars that will take you for IDR 200,000 or 250,000.

    The main problem is that sometimes these flights are cancelled because of the rain.

  2. Thanks for all the useful information available on this great website!
    I’ve not seen any comment about sandflies. Are they present on the islands?

  3. Hi! How commin is it to see dugong and small sharks? And when is the best time to see itvi? Who can i conntact? I really whant to see it but it is very difficult to find information. Best regards Vicky

  4. Hello,

    We have questions related to Ramadan in Raja Ampat. Are any of the homestays closing or not serving food during the day? Will there be transportation issues during Ramadan and Idul Fitri right after? Overall what is Raja Ampat like during Ramadan. FYI to all travelers Ramadan 2018 is May 15th – June 14th then there is Idul Fitri holiday thru June 17th.

    Thank you,
    Hazam Family

    • Hello LJ

      Homestays are all open and will be serving food in the daytime during Ramadan. The ferries between Sorong and Waisai can sometimes be a bit busy during the Idul Fitri holidays, but there are not usually transport problems in Raja Ampat like there can be in other parts of Indonesia during Lebaran. Overall, Raja Ampat during Ramadan and Idul Fitri is very much like at any other time of the year.

  5. I definitely will bookmark this. Thank your for your thorough writing and extensive information. I was born in Biak island, I wish to go to Raja Ampat with my kids during their Summer break. I hope June – July is still considered a good time to go, weather wise. I’m sure all of this information will be helpful for us.

    • Hello Ake

      We hope you get to go! June is usually a good time to be in Raja Ampat, but the windy/rainy season usually starts around the end of that month. The best time of year to avoid windy conditions is October to April.

  6. Hi, I want to go to Raja Ampat in December. Coming from Bali. Is there a direct flight from Ngurah rai to Sorong? If not, is via Jakarta the best option?
    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Tara –

      Homestay families are happy that guests are willing to pay to stay in their establishments and don’t expect tips.

      Of course it’s up to you if you feel something extra is warranted for exceptional service, but our feeling is that it would be a shame to create a culture of expecting tips as a standard practice.

  7. Hi I’m heading to sorong 24 may and staying a night there. Then want to take a look at the islands over the following few days. I can’t find a lot to suggest where I should be located to do that from. Have read about renting a private boat, sounds ok. Im pretty flexible. Not that keen on diving, only don’t it once.

  8. Hi there..we planning to go there on Oct this year..read couples of articles but still confuse..hope someone could help me out..we flying from kuala lumpur to makassar and then we have to fly again to sorong am I correct? Or can we just take a boat? How long it takes? How far is makassar from sorong? The make it easy is could someone just explain to us how to get to raja ampat from makassar? Thanks in advance for your help..

    • Hi Shah haris –

      Yes, KL to Makassar, then Makassar to Sorong. Please click the link provided at 10 above. Everything about getting to Raja Ampat is explained there. Sorong is around 1400km (about two hours’ flying time) from Makassar.

  9. Buenas noches, me gustaría saber si a parte de la empresa Pelni, hay otras compañías que ofrezcan trayectos de una isla a otra. He visto que Pelni ofrece trayectos desde Sorong a Waisai, otro desde Sorong a Piaynemo, a Wayag, a islas Arborek y dos destinos más. Mi pregunta es si hace falta siempre volver a Sorong para ir a otra isla, porque por ejemplo, mi pareja y yo queremos ir a Waisai, Piaynemo y a Wayag pero sin tener que volver a Sorong. Dentro de la página web de Pelni, no conseguimos encontrar las rutas exactas que he mencionado. Tampoco estamos encontrando mucha información sobre cómo moverse por las islas. En vuestra página web y en algún blog, hemos visto que el dueño del “homestay” organiza excursiones como salidas de pesca o buceo; nosotros queremos ir más por libre pero no podemos contactar con nadie porque todavía no hemos realizado ninguna reserva.

    • Hi Jaione –

      With the exception of Sorong-Waisai, for which the best option is the Bahari Express ferries described above, the easiest and best way to travel between islands is to arrange transport with your homestay. All homestays can transfer you to any other island you wish to stay on. You don’t need to book transfers in advance – you can just arrange them on the day.


    Hi Stay Raja Ampat, first of all I would like to compliment you greatly for your site, it’s very helpfully, and so easy!!!
    I’ll be to waisai on 2nd of March.
    I’ve a problem: I would like to visit W A Y A N G.
    What is the best place to stay ????………..not so far from Wayang!!!!!!
    Are there some trip escursions to visit Wayang?
    How can I do?
    Can you help me please to choose the best solution??????
    Thank you very much in advance

  11. Hi stay raja ampat, we just been there and the schedule of the ferry waisai sorong has some alteration. When we got there on Monday, ferry leaves sorong at 11am and another one at 2pm. Some days, it starts at 8am on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. Wednesday and Friday they have 9am ferry. They also have the 2pm ferry everyday too.
    You may want to update the website.

    • Hi Betsy and thanks for the update :)

      Ferry timetables are a constant headache! We’ve just returned too, and the picture below shows the timetable at the Sorong terminal which the ticket office staff assured us was correct. We noted there was one difference between it and our most recently published schedule.

      HOWEVER: On our return from Waisai, there was no 0800 Saturday ferry as advertised. Its departure was at 1100 instead. We were luckier than our host’s guests the previous weekend: He had called a Waisai ticket agent on their behalf and was told the times were 8am and 2pm as advertised. His guests decided to go at 2pm, but when they got to the harbour they discovered the boats that day had left at 8am and 11am!

      Sadly, to be absolutely certain of catching a flight from Sorong, the best approach remains to return to Sorong the day before your departure.

      Ferry Timetable January 2017

  12. Yusran Yusoff says:

    Happy New Year … Hi … Hello … Everyone … I’m traveling to Sorong by this Monday (9 January 2017) … I’m planning to be in Raja Ampat area from 10 till 20 January 2017 … I’m interested to go to Wayag & Piaynemo (dates are flexible) during my stay in Raja Ampat … This is my 4th trip to Raja Ampat since January 2004 … As such I’m looking for any other people that might want to share expenses for the trip to Wayag & Piaynemo. I’m able to converse in English, Bahasa Indonesia/Malaysia and (passable) German.
    Cheers … Yusran Yusoff

    Mobile +60 17 886 0913 Malaysia
    Mobile +62 813 3918 9901 Indonesia

    * BTW Similar posting has been put up in SRA FB page

  13. Hi, your site is great but I’d really appreciate a little more help. I’d like to come in Feb with my 2 children (10 & 12yrs old). I’ve looked at loads of the homestats and they all say the accommodation is for 2 people, do you know if anywhere that is for 3?
    We want a snorkelling holiday with lots of boat trips to different reefs but I am on a budget, so would look to save money on fuel costs / boat trips if possible.
    Can you advise me?

    • Thanks Sian :)

      Homestay rooms are set up for 2 usually, but extra beds can be added if required, so it’s no problem for any of them to accommodate 3 in a room.

      The best way to save on boat trips is to share them. If you stay at a Kri homestay you’ll have the best chance of finding other snorkellers to share trips with.

  14. Hello. We will be arriving at Sorong on Sunday 11 Dec and immediately boarding a liveaboard diving boat. Is there anywhere open on Sunday morning to buy a few cases of Bintang for the boat trip? And do you know how much we should expect to pay for a case of Bintang?

    thank you so much

  15. Hallo, i hv plan to go to Raja Ampat next month and i’m planning to stay in a hostel in Waisai bcs i’m not interesting to stay in local homestay. Do you have any suggestion how can i get a tour guide from Waisai? i wanna go to some islands and go back to Waisai bcs i stay there :D

  16. Hi there,

    I’m wondering if it’s necessary to book all the accommodation in advance? For example, say if I were to first stay at Mansuar, and would later like to stay at Kri or Gam…? Would it be wise to have everything planned to the T or leave some room for spontaneity? I believe boat rides are expensive and would like to see if there are others who want to share the ride.

    Thanks so much in advance!

  17. Eveline Ulmer& Peter Zipser says:

    To Doug & Amber

    Stay Raja Ampat founders

    Dear Doug & Amber
    Oooh to travel to raja ampat and visit that wonderful paradise. . .
    We always dreamt about- but until we found your webside we thought that for to fulfill that dream one has to be very rich guys . .
    Finally through your site we learned about the small homestays , came last february for the first time to pulau kri – an spent unforgettable weeks at lumba-lumba homestay !! where we became friends with ribka and dedy, the local owners. As we are also divers we discovered, that dedy is a very good divemaster!
    We are an european couple living in pensiun now in bali since 5 years, so now we plan to come back to our friends in pulau kri every year for some weeks.
    And to all our friends we warmly recomand the place and your very helpfull website too.

    Today i read again on your website, as some indonesian travelling friends are arriving, and i did not find any informations about lumba- lumba homestay on pulau kri anymore. Perhaps this is a mistake? If you need some fotos or a little report we could provide that, if you like.

    We are very grateful for your website and appreciate your work to support the local people and their small homestays very much. Terima kasih baniak!
    Kind regards from northbali.
    Eveline & Peter
    Kalisada, Seririt

    • Hi Eveline & Peter

      We’re so happy the website helped: That’s exactly what it was built for. Thanks for taking the time to comment too – it’s much appreciated.

      Lumba Lumba has unfortunately been temporarily suspended from the website until they can meet the standards required by the Raja Ampat Local Homestay Association. We have been in touch with Dedy and Ribka. They are working with the the Association to regain compliance and we hope to have them back on the website soon.

    • Sally Passehl says:

      Hi Eveline and PETER
      I am travelling to Raja Ampat in Oct 2018 and would love to be in touch with you via email before I go🙏🏼😊
      I’m looking to plan my own trip staying in Homestays
      Could you please email me at

    • Hi Simona –

      Yes – it’s possible to visit Ayu, but getting there isn’t easy and would be quite expensive. The best place to start from would be Kabare on Waigeo’s north coast. There are flights from Sorong to Kabare.

  18. Family Fritz says:

    A really, really big thank you for this website! We found so much useful information to help us prepare for this adventure :-) We are flying off to Raja Ampat with our 4 and 5 year old kids this Wednesday and will be staying in Mambetron and Monkairi. We are all excited to explore the beautiful islands and sealife and are looking forward to get in touch with the families of the homestays. We will post how much we liked Raja Ampat after we come back. Thanks again.

  19. Hi I am flying into Denpasar Bali in February and have a 60 day Indonesian visa, my aim is to fly to sarong and travel and dive raja ampat do I need a separate visa apart from the marine visa to enter papuan? Went to the Indonesian embassy in London and they said I had to get a letter from the police station in Bali but my lonely planet guide doesn’t mention this, slightly confused

    • Hi Olivia –

      No – you don’t need anything except a tourist visa and the Marine Park Entry Permit to visit Raja Ampat. (The embassy staff operate from a handbook that says that a surat jalan is needed for Papua, so they always say you need one. You don’t – as long as you’re not planning on visiting anywhere else in Papua.)

  20. Hello,
    We would like to go to Raja Ampat this year and are no divers but like snorkling and jungle trekking etcetera. What would you advice, shall we stay at just one island or choose more? And which island can we choose for this? Does the fastboat only departs on monday, wednesday and friday? Thanks!

    • Hi Elizabeth –

      Having travelled so far to reach the islands, most visitors choose to stay at at least a couple of islands – they each have their own special features. It’s difficult to recommend one without knowing what kinds of things you like – almost all are great for snorkeling. Suggest you use the advanced search on the accommodation page to select the features that are important to you and quickly see a list of matching homestays. The fast ferry departs from Sorong every day, with 2 trips on Mon, Wed and Fri. (See the timetable linked at point 18 above.)

      • O.k. thank you! We will do that. We are looking forward to stay on this beautiful piece on earth. We prefer to do some jungle hiking, snorkling, visit traditional villages etc.

  21. Hello people , I will arrive in Raja Ampat in end-January and will stay 15 days.

    I read on your pages that in many homestay there is a good phone reception-

    I would like to buy a sim for my smartphone , can you tell me what telephone operator choose???
    Can you give other information about telephone and internet?

  22. I was thinking about doing a week or 10day trip to Raja Ampat Islands in May. I would like to see Wayag and Pyanemo and walk around there and otherwise do some snorkeling. Is there a good organisation? As a solo traveller I would feel better to have it organised either by a guide or a organisation (would prefer that one)… I would prefer live-abord, but haven’t found a organisation yet. Well one that answers mails anyway…

  23. Hi,
    We (couple) are arriving in Jakarta on December, 29th, scheduled arrival 6:10pm.
    I couldn’t find a way to book a domestic flight to SOQ. Is rhere a reliable website to book those flights?
    Is it likely so get a flight out of CGK on the same day or should we stay for a night and proceed on the next day?

    As I understand, ferries sre leaving at 9am and 2pm daily. So it is best to arrive at least 2 h earlier.

    Thank you very much!

    • Hi Andrea –

      Follow the link at point 8 above – use traveloka to book your ticket. You could fly out of Jakarta on the Xpress flight at 1.10am. Sorong to Waisai ferries only run every day at 2.00pm. The 9.00am ferry departures are on Mon, Wed and Fri only.

  24. hai , umm just got a plan with my girlfriend and make a trip to RA , the budget isnt that huge , its around IDR 25.000.000 , is that enough for like 5 or 6 days there while enjoying snorkling and diving ? and btw the budget include’s the plane tickets ! some suggestion/opinions will do from you ! and btw were from Bali !

    • Hi Jansen –

      Your question’s answered in the info linked at point 2 above. As long as you don’t want to do a lot of diving and are careful with boat trips that should be enough. Snorkelling is free – but it’s best to bring your own gear.

  25. Hi, I dont know yet If I’ll go in this summer (and if I go, i’ll definitly will check your web again), but I really have to congrats you guys because this is a really good web site and I think you are doing a great job for the locals and for RA and for all the people that have intentions to go there. Keep the good work! (I thought you should know!) Peace!

  26. Hi,

    I am arriving Sorong on Saturday the 30th of May at 7.30 am, and planning to do diving on 30 and 31. let me know if anyone is interested we can do it together

  27. Hello,

    We are coming to RA on the 30th of January 2015 and would like to stay at Mambetron homestay, but we cannot get in touch with Hendra or Yudas. Any ideas how we can get in touch and make a reservation?

    Thank you and best regards,

    • Hi Uros & Agnes –

      Communication with homestays is often difficult – you need to allow at least a few days for a response. Please see this article for more information. All the available methods of contacting homestays are provided on each homestay page. If you’re having trouble all we can suggest is to keep trying!

  28. youssef elyaakoubi says:


    is there some people who go to visit raja ampat. Maybe we can travel together so we can split the costs for tours and boat fees. we like also to dive. we will arriving the 2 of us at 6 april 2015 on Jakarta from the Netherlands.

    kind regards

  29. First, Garuda Air changed their schedule in Dec 2014 for flights to Sorong. Just FYI.
    Because we missed the flight today, we now have only one night at the first homestay and would rather go on to the second one where we have a longer stay. Do we have any obligations to the first homestay if we can go on to the second one? Thanks, Ann

    • Hi Ann – thanks for the headsup. It’s hard to keep up with airline schedule changes – that’s why we provide links to their websites and recommend checking!

      Up to you to decide how obliged you are to honour your booking at the first homestay. If it was at one of the busier ones then it’s probably no big deal to the owners, but a lot of the less patronised homestays have to spend cash to prepare for guests. Things like buying in food and organising fuel (or boat hire) to come and pick you up. No shows for those families are tough.

      Hope that helps!

    • Hi Sue –

      There’s nowhere near the port as far as we know – you have to go into town. We usually organise a pickup at the ferry and get straight out to the islands – Waisai’s not that nice!

      The only place we’ve ever stayed there was Penginapan Najwa Indah on Jl Abdul Saman Mayor – +6285244653444. It was OK. All mod cons and about IDR 450,000 a night. There’s a range of options in Waisai though. Trip Advisor might have some better recommendations.

      • thanks for the information..i’ve checked tripadvisor, a few options there…just thought i can get better advice here :). Im not sure if i head straight to the islands, as i’ll reach back to Waisai ard 4-5pm…

        • You’re welcome Sue. We don’t know a lot about the options in Waisai because there’s no homestays there and we try to avoid overnighting there as much as possible. If you’re heading for Gam or Kri there’s no problem getting there in the late afternoon if you’ve arranged a pickup with the homestay. Also – I didn’t think to mention them earlier because I took your “in Waisai” question literally – both Yenkangkanes and Warimpurem Homestays are a short drive from Waisai and are nice places to stay.

          SRA Admin

          • that’s good news for me…i’ve made a booking with warikaf homestay via Pak Martin for the stay on the next day..maybe i’ll do a night with Yenkangkanes or Warimpurem before my transfer on the next day.. :)

  30. Hi, Im wanting to go to RA on pretty short notice and fear i have missed the liveabords. Currently in Lombok Im finding it hard to get information from travel agents as they dont know too much about it. Will I be Ok flying into Sorong with nothing booked and taking it from there?

    Much appreciated,


  31. Hi There,

    I’m planning to go over next March. Most likely single traveller. Any recommendation for accommodation? I have diving license but not sure if I’ll want to dive. Is 4 days 3 night too short?


    • Hi Angeline –

      Can only recommend you have a look at these accommodation listings to see what suits you. You can use the Show advanced search feature to select the features that are important to you. Four days/three nights is not too short to have a great time, but you may well find yourself wishing you’d booked for longer! :)

  32. Hi, my wife and I (early 30s) are heading from Australia to Thailand on our backpacking travels and would really like to visit Raja Ampat in February. Neither of us dive but we love snorkelling. How long should we aim to visit for and which island / homestay is best for the snorkeling? Thanks!

    • Hi Chris – We think you should plan to stay as long as your budget and visa will permit – there’s so much to see! Almost all homestays have great snorkelling at the door, so it’s hard to recommend one in particular. If you haven’t already seen it, check out our Snorkelling in Raja Ampat article. You can also select the “Good house reef” checkbox in the advanced search on the accommodation page to quickly find homestays with great snorkelling.

  33. Hi

    we will be in raja Ampat during next Lebaran Holiday in August..
    will it be possible during that period to go to Wayag ?
    How could we arrange for Speedboat and also other guests to join us ?
    because we are only 3 persons ..
    please do help with further informations

    • Stay Raja Ampat says:

      Hi Ricky – August can be windy and it might be difficult to find a boat for Wayag then. We are not tour booking agents – you will need to contact one of the homestay owners on the site or you could try Deni, who also arranges tours to Wayag. You can contact Deni at https://www.facebook.com/deni.rajaampat Hope you get to go! :)

    • Hi..I stay in sorong..just want to inform you that ‘the south wind’ will end up in august or early september, So it’s a little bit difficult to reach wayag..