Batanta

Pulau Batanta, Raja Ampat
PULAU BATANTAVITAL STATISTICS
Attractions

  • Fantastic coral reefs
  • Large seagrass pastures
  • Dugongs
  • Remote wilderness
  • Rich jungle wildlife
  • Waterfalls
  • Quiet homestay retreats on otherwise uninhabited islands
  • Traditional villages
Size450 square kilometres
Coastline length335 kilometres
Number of villages7 (including those on adjacent smaller islands)
Number of Homestay Association homestays13
Average cost of 1 way transfer from Waisai to Batanta  homestaysShared trip cost in IDR [USD]
Average one way travel time
1,560,000 [~103.00]
2 hours
Other nearby islands with homestaysDayan, Birie, Yarweser (see below)

Quick links
Waisai Homestay Information Center
All Batanta homestays
Homestays on Batanta
Pulau Birie homestays
Pulau Dayan Homestays
Pulau Yarweser homestays
High resolution Raja Ampat map (PDF 3.59MB)
Step by step trip planning guide

Batanta is the smallest of the four large islands that give Raja Ampat (“Four Kings”) its name. Batanta might be the smallest of the Four Kings, but at over 60km long and averaging 8km wide, it’s still big! The island is densely forested, and its long, central range of hills rise high enough to almost always generate cloud. The daily cloud over the hills creates rainfall that feeds several rivers and waterfalls.

Batanta is more remote and the villages less developed than those of the more popular islands on the north side of the Dampier Strait. Being further away from Waisai, it’s also more expensive to get to, but its pristine seascapes, waterfalls, wildlife and fabulous coral reefs make it well worthwhile.

The seagrass beds in the protected bays of Batanta’s north coast attract dugongs, which have been scared off many of their former haunts around Waigeo, Gam, Mansuar and Kri by those islands’ increased boat traffic.  The pure waters of the bays also support pearl farming operations which can be visited if you’re interested.

The jungles of Batanta are home to a wide range of endemic species, including the mesmerising Blue-Spotted Tree Monitor Varanus macraei. Wilson’s Bird of Paradise and the Waigeo cuscus are another two species found only on Batanta and Waigeo.

There are only a handful of villages on Batanta, and all except two lie on the series of deeply convoluted bays and smaller islands that form Batanta’s north coast. Of particular note is the village of Marandan Weser, commonly known as Yennyar: It’s one of the few remaining villages in the islands in which all the houses are constructed of traditional materials. If you want to experience life in a small and remote Raja Ampat village, book a stay at Yennyar’s Sun Homestay.

Batanta’s villages have very little in the way of services. Basic supplies can be purchased in village shops, but don’t expect to find anything more than warm drinks, Indonesian style snacks and local household and bathroom essentials. If you want things like alcohol, specific brands of toiletries or batteries for devices, you’ll need to bring them with you.

Diving and snorkelling

Diving is unfortunately not available at any of the Batanta homestays, which is a shame, because the island’s clear waters and vibrant reefs are truly spectacular.

The house reefs  at almost all of Batanta’s homestays are incredibly rich, and there are several other nearby locations that all homestays regularly take guests to. If you think Kri’s reefs are fabulous, wait until you see Batanta’s!

If you particularly want to see dugongs, make sure you allow at least a few days at your chosen location. Although they are regular visitors, they are wild animals which follow their own mysterious schedules. There’s no guarantee of seeing them at any particular time and place.

Hiking

Apart from a couple of short hikes to Batanta’s waterfalls, and some Wilson’s Bird of Paradise leks, there are no established trekking routes on Batanta or the other islands described below. Your hosts, however, will be happy to organise a guide if you want to experience the impressive rainforests that rise behind your homestay’s beach.

Make sure to bring sturdy hiking boots, a hat, sunscreen, and long-sleeved shirts (or insect repellent) to protect against insect bites. (Take plenty of water, too!)

If you have a special interest in any of Batanta’s wildlife, bring some photos of the animals that interest you and ask your hosts to see if someone can be found in one of the villages who knows where to go to see them.

If you’re looking to do extended jungle trekking in Raja Ampat, the Maya people of Waigeo’s Mayalibit Bay have created some excellent supported trekking routes on Waigeo.

Batanta’s north shore islands

All but two of Batanta’s homestays are located on the islands tucked into Batanta’s north coast bays.

Pulau Birie

Area: 5.6 square kilometres
Coastline: ~17 km
Villages: 0
Homestays: 6

Pulau Birie has five homestays, most of which are along its northern shore. There are no villages on Birie, but Arefi village is about a ten minute boat ride away. There are excellent reefs along Birie’s northern shore, and dugongs are often seen there.

Birie’s interior is densely jungled and full of birdlife, but there are no trails to easily explore it. Go with a guide!

Pulau Yarweser

Area: 8.6 square kilometres
Coastline: ~28 km
Villages: 1
Homestays: 3

Yarweser lies immediately to the east of Pulau Birie. It’s quite a bit larger than Birie, and Yarweser village and the island’s 3 homestays lie on the island’s northern shores with views across the Dampier Strait to Waigeo, Kri and Mansuar.

Yarweser village can be easily visited on foot from Karangkary and Atam homestays, but it would probably be wise to go with a guide the first time you visit. From Rawe Rawe’s more isolated location, a jungle trek would be required.

In short, excellent snorkelling at private hideaways, traditional village life and forests rich with wildlife, including birds of the mound-building, ground-incubating Megapode family.

Pulau Dayan

Area: 0.15 square kilometres
Coastline: ~2.7 kilometres
Villages: 0
Homestays: 1

At only 15 hectares, Pulau Dayan is tiny! Your very own private tropical island.

Dayan lies at the extreme western end of Batanta, and is very remote. Dayan Homestay is further from Waisai than any of the other Batanta homestays, but Dayan is a snorkeller’s delight, with fringing coral reefs so rich and prolific that there are only a few places you can enter the water without walking on them.

The island’s extraordinary reefs and expansive ocean views were among the reasons Dayan was chosen by Conservation International as the site for one of the early Raja Ampat Marine Park patrol posts and research centers. The post has gone now, and the materials used in its construction have been repurposed by the island’s traditional owners to form Dayan Homestay.

The ocean is the big attraction at Dayan. The island itself is mainly given over to coconut groves, so there’s not much to do on land except relax and take in those fabulous ocean views after spending all day immersed in a marine wonderland.

A word of warning: As in many places in Raja Ampat, Pulau Dayan’s coast is swept by some extremely strong currents when the tide is running. It’s usually only for a couple of hours each day, but you do need to be careful. Especially on a falling tide, when the currents run westward out to sea. You could very quickly find yourself a long way from shore if you get caught in those! (Regardless of where you stay in Raja Ampat, staying safe demands that you should always let your hosts know if you are going to enter the water without a guide.)

Dayan Homestay can of course provide any tours you might like to do. The Pam Islands and the Piaynemo karst island seascape is not far away. A pearl farm occupies the bay immediately to the east of Dayan. Just ask if you’re interested in seeing if a visit can be arranged.

Given how remote Dayan is, it’s probably not a good choice if you only plan on staying at one place during your time in Raja Ampat and want to do a lot of tours. A stay at Dayan is a highly recommended add-on if you’re also planning to stay in the Pam Islands, as it lies on the route between those islands and Waisai.

How to choose Batanta accommodation

Individual homestay pages provide photos and more detail about the specific attractions and tours, services and facilities available at each place.

Note that all homestays can organise almost any trip you want to do: With the exception of Wayag visits, if the trip you want isn’t mentioned on the homestay’s page, it may well still be available. Especially if it’s to a location not too distant from the homestay.

Use the accommodation page search filters to quickly find all homestays offering the features and facilities that are important to you.

Here is how to book. Please note that booking in advance is recommended at popular homestays, especially during peak season (October to March). Popular homestays include any with an on-site dive center, and can easily be identified by the number of reviews they have received.

How to get to Batanta

All Batanta homestays can provide pickups from Waisai and transfers to/from anywhere else. Average cost and travel time from Waisai is shown in the table above. Individual homestay transport prices are provided on their pages.

If you’re staying somewhere else first, it’s usually quicker to have your current host transfer you to your next place, rather than to ask your next host to come and pick you up. See this page for more information about the high cost of boat travel in Raja Ampat.

It’s a long boat journey to Batanta, and it’s a good idea to keep a poncho or waterproof clothing easily accessible during the journey. Even if it’s a fine day, all it takes is a little wind and swell and you can quickly be soaked by seaspray.

If you are looking to save money on transfers and have plenty of time available, there is a public boat that runs between Sorong, Arefi on Batanta, and Pam village on Pambemuk. The public boat is a lot cheaper than any other means. It costs about IDR 120,000 one way between Sorong and Pam, so probably cheaper to Batanta. It’s also a long, slow journey. The boat leaves Sorong once a week at 1600 on Fridays, and arrives in Arefi at Batanta at 2200. The boat returns via the same route on Saturdays. You would need to let your homestay know you were arriving on the ferry so they could arrange a pickup or somewhere for you to spend the night in Arefi. (Boat travel at night is potentially dangerous.) John Urbon in Sorong can help you find the public boat.

Batanta phone signal & internet access

A phone tower was installed at Pulau Arefi in 2018, so the few homestays that are close to that island now have a signal. If the signal is strong enough, it will support a slow internet connection. Most Batanta homestays and villages receive no signal at all. Refer to individual homestay pages for location specific reception information.

Note that free WiFi connections are extremely rare in Raja Ampat. You will need a local SIM for your phone. See this page for details.

Batanta location map

Comments

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  1. dan liu on

    Hi, it seems some homestay in Batanta can arrange direct transport from Sorong. If so how can I purchase the permit? Does it make sense (or legally allowed) to buy it when I come back from some other homestay to Wasai?

    1. Hi Dan

      Yes – some Batanta homestays do offer Sorong pickups. If you were to do that, then purchasing a permit later when passing through Waisai should be fine: There isn’t really any choice while permits are not being issued in Sorong!

      1. Carol on

        Can you tell me which Home stays offer transfers to Sorong?

        1. Hi Carol

          Rawe Rawe, Mandemor, Biryei, Yenkarom and Yenduak all offer Sorong pickups. Prices are provided in the Transport / Getting there section of their pages.

          Please note that direct transfers between Sorong and Batanta are a lot more expensive and difficult to arrange than using the ferry and a Waisai pickup. They are also a lot less comfortable, somewhat less safe, and may not save you any time.

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