Kayaking in Raja Ampat

Raja Ampat sea kayakers paddle the east coast of Pulau Gam

Sea kayaking is without a doubt the best way to explore the Raja Ampat archipelago. Gliding silently among these spectacular islands without the noise and fume of outboard engines is to experience nature at its wild and beautiful best in what has to be the world’s greatest sea kayaking destination.

There’s currently only two options:

  • Go with Kayak4conservation – a community-based tourism venture that can provide everything you’ll need.
  • Bring your own kayak.

Raja Ampat’s maze of islets, peninsulas, bays and inlets provides kayaking opportunities for all skill and fitness levels. The calm, enclosed waters of Gam Bay are a safe environment for a first time paddle while affording plenty to explore. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a challenge, try working your way along Gam’s southern coast against the running tide!

Bringing your own kayak

Unless you own a foldable kayak, bringing your own to Raja Ampat isn’t really practical.


Based on the island of Kri, the Kayak4conservation project  was founded by the Raja Ampat Research and Conservation Centre (RARCC) directed by expatriate Max Ammer. K4C works together with local communities to support sustainable eco-tourism and  community development projects in an effort to help protect and conserve the natural marine wonders of the Raja Ampat National Park.

The K4C team has circumvented Indonesia’s crazy tariffs by building their own kayaks, and work with local accommodation owners to provide a chain of guesthouses placed to take advantage of the best routes for kayaking in Raja Ampat. A not-for-profit venture, Kayak4Conservation provides support and advice to the local people who are establishing the guesthouses and who are working to guide the kayak trips.

Working with the project from its inception was another expatriate and longtime resident of Indonesia, Halim. An accomplished kayaker, Halim was keen to add Raja Ampat to the list of amazing Indonesian kayaking expeditions he had already undertaken and jumped at the chance to be one of the first to paddle out from Kri. Guided by Paulus Sauyai, Halim and paddling partner Sweena headed for the Kabui Passage and eventually decided to make a complete circumnavigation of Pulau Gam. You can see some great photos and read about this first Raja Ampat kayak expedition at Halim’s Playak page.

Raja Ampat sea kayaking trip information

The kayaks: In 2012 Kayak4conservation’s desire to supply top quality boats for kayakers was given a huge boost by Arthur and Tracey Fincham from Kaskazi Kayaks. Kaskazi donated moulds for their Skua sea kayaks and Arthur and Tracey visited to train the K4C Papuan fiberglass team to build the boats at the RARCC.

Newly built Kaskazi sea kayaks at kayak4conservation

Booking a Raja Ampat sea kayaking trip

For current prices, information and to make a booking, contact Kayak4conservation.

Further information about kayaking in Raja Ampat

West Australian Adrian Gawned contacted us after his November 2013 Raja Ampat kayaking trip – you can see his trip report and photos here at the Sea Kayak Club WA website.

Frits Meyst has also posted some great Raja Ampat kayaking photos at his Adventure4ever’s Raja Ampat gallery.

However you decide to go, seakayaking Raja Ampat will be an adventure you’ll never forget!

13 thoughts on “Kayaking in Raja Ampat

  1. Holger van gent says:

    Hello Raja Ampat travelers, We will be in Raja Ampat from 1 Feb. 2018 until 19 feb. We will bring a 2 seater Klepper folding kayak with us to make a tour with it around Gam. The Kayak is an old one but still in good condition. It´s fully equipment with a sail, outriggers, paddles en two lifejackets. After 19 feb. we will leave to the highlands in Papua. We don’t want to make the trouble to take the kayak with us. Is someone interested in the kayak? It isn’t worth very match and I don’t ask a lot for it. If you interested contact me on Facebook and I can send you some pics. Greatings from Holland

  2. Hi…I’m thinking of doing a s kayak/camping without guide in this area…Has there been any changes to renting kayaks since the last post?

  3. Hi,
    We are trying to rent 2 ocean kayaks in Raja Ampat for a solo trip, not a guided tour. At this moment K4C are not renting their kayaks for privately-run trips. Is there any other option?

    • Amy Robillard says:


      I see you tried to rent kayaks on a non – guided trip.

      My husband and I are looking to do the same thing. We are avid kayaker and I have been in one too many guided trips in Indonesia. Please let me know if you found an outfitter.

      Many thanks,


  4. Hi, in case kayak4conservation is already booked out, can you advise of any other options to rent a kayak? Do any other homestays or resorts have kayaks that can be rented for multiple or single days?