Pianemo Raja Ampat

Backpacking Tips to Raja Ampat Papua (Update 2020)

Raja Ampat which means Four Kings is an archipelago located in West Papua. No more doubts, it is the best diving spot in Indonesia, even on earth. Raja Ampat has the most marine diversity.

The position among two oceans, Indians and Pacific Oceans, with the suitable temperature accelerated corals growth. No wonder it’s considered as last paradise on earth. The beauty and the diversity, added with the warm local people, is a must place to visit.

Raja Ampat name comes from a local mythology. Before, a woman found seven eggs, 4 of them hatched and became kings which is now known as the four big islands, Waigeo, Misool, Salawati, and Batanta. One hatched as a woman, and the other one didn’t hatched. It’s not easy to reach this top-listed diving site.

Expensive flight and poor information lead to misunderstanding about Raja Ampat. Many people think going to Raja Ampat is very expensive, well, half true half not. I’m going to give some tips related on how to travel cheap to Raja Ampat.


Raja Ampat Lake


How to get to Raja Ampat

It’s true that Raja Ampat is located in the far east of Indonesia. This is how you can get there.

First, take a flight to Sorong

First, you’ll have to fly to the city named Sorong. There are direct flights by Garuda Indonesia and Batik Air from Jakarta to Sorong. It’ll take about 4 hours. Expect to pay around USD 200 one way.

It used to be cheaper to make stopover at the city like Surabaya or Makassar. However, I just checked the available flights (July 2020) that there’s no direct flight from either Surabaya or Makassar.

Let’s say if you want to do transit flights to city like Makassar (South Sulawesi).  I mean, I love Sulawesi, there’re actually some cool places to visit around Makassar such as Tana Toraja.

Sulawesi has some islands that I’d say the beauty, or the diving spot is just next to Raja Ampat.

First, is Wakatobi Islands which for me has the most beautiful corals so far, second is Togean Islands, if you love this kindda remote island to chill.

Back to the flight, if you fly through Makassar, you’ll need to make transit in a city called Manokwari. In total, it’ll be a 6 hours flight including 1 transit, price is about USD 100 one way.

At that time when I traveled to Raja Ampat in 2013.

Second, take a boat to Waisai or Misool

Here’s the part. As I mentioned before, Raja Ampat consists of 4 islands. Most of the travelers will go to Waisai (Waigeo Island). Misool is getting more popular as well. Maybe check out first which of the island you wanna go to, maybe both.

So, after you arrive in Sorong, get a public transportation from the airport to the port (3.6 km).

Actually Papua is not expensive as we thought despite of the price of gasoline can reached twice as Jakarta. Surprisingly the cost of transportation around is not so expensive.

I took an ojek (local scooter with driver) and cost me only Rp 15,000. (Update 2020: Rp 25,000).

It’s very easy to take ojek from airport or if you’re in a group you can car/taxi for Rp 100,000-200,000 to the port. Here’s the fast boat schedule:

  • Sorong – Waisai. Operates daily at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. The journey takes 2 hours. Ticket price is Rp 125,000 for economy class and Rp 215,000 for VIP class. Same schedule for Waisai – Sorong.
  • Sorong – Misool. Operates only Monday, Wednesday, Friday at 12 p.m. Take around 4 hours and the ticket price is Rp 250,000. For return, Misool – Sorong operates Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday at 7 a.m.

Once you’re in Waisai, you can either choose to stay in Waisai or move to the homestay at the small islands.

Read Also: Snorkeling in Weh Island, Sabang


Papua dancer
Beautiful people of Papua

Where to Stay in Raja Ampat

You can choose whatever kind of places you want to stay starts from homestay or resort. There’re definitely some new places popping up since my last visit in Raja Ampat.

Because the title is how to travel cheap to Raja Ampat, then homestay is the recommendation. I think it’s the better choice because homestays are located in the small island.

Unlike some places to stay in Waisai like Arcopora and Dolphin (Rp 880,000/bungalow/4 persons), the ambiance is different because they’re not located right in front of sea.

Even it’s near with WTC (a beach in Waisai), believe me, WTC is not clean. I really recommend you to stay in homestays such as Yenkoranu homestayKoranu Fyak Homestay, only Rp 250,000/person including 3x meals! (Update 2020: Rp 450,000/person)

You can coordinate with the contact person from the homestay to arrange boat to get to these small islands. Be ready, you can jump off directly in front of the beach and swim with thousand of big fishes even sharks!

In Sorong you can stay in Hotel Indah near Tembok Berlin (Rp 230,000/night) or Meridien Hotel just in front of the airport.

Read Also: Traveling to Ujung Kulon National Park, Indonesia

Mambefor Homestay Raja Ampat
Homestay Raja Ampat

Entrance Fee to Raja Ampat

In order to protect the environment and marine life in Raja Ampat, visitors have to pay what the Environmental Service Fee, usually can be called as “PIN”.

Make sure to always keep this pin with you, sometimes they’ll check it. This permit is valid for 12 months. The price is:

  • Rp 500,000 for domestic visitors
  • Rp 1,000,000 for international visitors.

Boat for Hopping Island

You can organize your boat with the homestay’s owner. Normally they have their own boat. There are some types of boat in Raja Ampat. Long Boat is the cheapest one, then small speed boat fit to 10 persons, and the last is big speedboat can fit up to 30 people.

The price range differently depends on the route you want to take. For example, speedboat hopping around Mansuar and Gam area cost Rp 3,500,000/day, to Wayag Rp 7,050,000/day.

What if I go solo, not in a group? Don’t worry. That’s why keep asking the homestay owner if there’s another people has the same activity, you can join them.

Some homestays have a scheduled activity to go to some small islands. Like my friend, he only pays Rp 100,000 to Manta Point and around. If you want to rent a boat you can also call Pak Pandy : Guide+Speedboat Captain, very helpful : +6285243526835


Hopping Island Raja Ampat
Hopping Island at Raja Ampat

Islands to Visit

Visit some villages such as Arborek, Sawingray, Yenbuba. Wayag is the most popular place to see what you see in google images  when you type Raja Ampat (3 hours by speed from Waisai). But when I went here, there’s a problem between locals and government so we couldn’t visit Wayag.

Do not worry because there’s a similar place like Wayag, named Penemu/Pianemo Island. You can climb three limestone hills to see the spectacular view of small limestones and colorful gradation. Be sure to wear shoes and gloves because the trek is not long but spiky. Hopefully, their problem can be quickly solved.

For snorkeling, in front of Kri Resort is perfect, also Wayag. Corals might not be that good but fishes are so big and there are many of them. Manta Point is a must visit spot. Don’t be surprised to see sharks around because they won’t harm you unless you’re bleeding. Teluk Kabui has a cave where there’s still that unhatched egg inside. You can also do birdwatching in Waigeo.

Here’s a bit of explanation about the islands (reference):

  • Arborek
    A tiny sand cay, part of the government tourist’s village program. Therefore, this village offers better than average facilities. You can see school of fishes under the jetty. It’s pretty close to Manta Point and other snorkeling spots.
  • Friwen
    The beaches on Friwen’s northern shore are beautiful, and near the island’s western end is a spot with a huge overhanging tree and a couple of stalls selling drinks and snacks. A perfect place from which to enjoy the sunsets.
  • Gam
    Gam is very hilly, and lots of sharp limestone and heavy jungle cover makes trekking in the interior extremely difficult. The southern coast of Gam provides some truly excellent snorkelling, but you do need to be aware of the very strong currents. You can also do birdwatching in the jungle here.
  • Kri
    Kri’s attractions are its surrounding reefs, great beaches and the several homestay dive centers on the island. It’s one of the most popular island, you can find decent amount of homestays here.
  • Mansuar
    Known for its rich reefs, long hikes are also possible,  Mansuar’s jungles are home to a rich array of birds and other wildlife.
  • Pam Islands
    The Pam Islands are a long way from Waisai, but their beaches are definitely among the best Raja Ampat has to offer.

Read Also: Travel Guide to Ora Beach, Maluku


Underwater Raja Ampat
Spotted this cute turtle at Raja Ampat

Diving at Raja Ampat

Diving starts from Rp 550,000/log. You can contact diving operators in resort such as RajaAmpat Dive Resort, RajaAmpat Dive LodgeKri Eco-Resort, Waiwo Dive Resort.

For your safety, better to go to that resort because some of other dive operators don’t really have the real dive master.

Travel budget estimation to Raja Ampat

Return flights : Rp 5,000,000
Boat Express return : Rp 250,000
Stay+3x meals (4 nights) : Rp 1,800,000
Hopping around Island : Rp 200,000-700,000 (in case to Wayag)
Marine Entrance Fee (PIN): Rp 500,000 for Indonesian, Rp 1,000,000 for non-Indonesian
Transportation : Rp 100,000

It’s definitely not as cheap as how it used to be. Back then in 2013, I spent only Rp 3million for return flights, the accommodation and also the entrance fee is much cheaper.

Raja Ampat is definitely one of the best place for underwater. Although I’m not a diver, I’ve seen so many different types of fishes that I’ve never seen before. Although the corals are not as perfect as Wakatobi Islands, in terms of the varieties of the fishes, it’s still the winner.

So, that’s a bit of tips and recommendation I can share. Check out my other stories traveling to the islands in Indonesia, such as Komodo Islands or Derawan Islands.



Traveled in 12-16 October 2013

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44 responses to “Backpacking Tips to Raja Ampat Papua (Update 2020)”

  1. Alvie Deliana Avatar

    wawawawaw, new insight about "how to go to" RAja Ampat with Cheaper Price, i can't wait to simulate your flight route now :p

  2. Meykke Santoso Avatar

    what a beautiful life you have!! i always 'follow' you through your blog! can't wait to travel around Indonesia, but for now I have enough time because I have to work 🙁

  3. Velysia Zhang Avatar

    Yes, you should go Alvie !

    Thanks a lot for folowing me Meykke, I'm sure you'll have spare time for traveling =)

    Yes it is absolutely beautiful

  4. cumilebay.com Avatar

    Ah keren banget jadi makin menguatkan iman untuk melipir kemari 🙂 tapi nunggu sponsor tiket dulu ah hahaha.

    Mudah2an tahun depan bisa kemari bareng sahabat2 pasti lebih seru. Thanks info murah nya

  5. Adam Poskitt Avatar

    Nice overview! Can't wait to go myself on a budget!

  6. alfi kamal fikri Avatar

    Hi I'm from east Indonesia… your journey is very helpful really nice overview… thanks for promoting indonesia…

  7. ifanhere Avatar

    this is really helpful.


  8. Velysia Zhang Avatar

    Thanks, God bless you all =)

  9. عبد الله المحيسني Avatar

    very helpful information.. thanks a lot.

  10. Bobby Ertanto Avatar

    Wiii… I really need this information. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  11. Velysia Zhang Avatar

    Have fun in Raja Ampat =)

  12. Riangga Sujatmiko Avatar

    gorgeous place.

    Do you have any recommendation about institution or local travel agent with backpack cost that can manage trip to Raja Ampat? I am trying to manage a trip with friends

  13. Velysia Zhang Avatar

    Hello Riangga, yes I got a friend who can manage backpack trip to Raja Ampat. Cost depend on how many person, normally it starts from Rp 3.900.000 for 4D3N tour, excude ticket. Just email me in velyz_someone@yahoo.com if you're interested

  14. Orin Avatar

    Love the blog. Can't make it to Raja Ampat as yet, but it is still in my plan.

  15. Velysia Zhang Avatar

    Thanks Orin, you have to, it's superb =)

  16. indah nuria Savitri Avatar

    I can't wait to go to this piece of paradise on earth…I feel bad I couldn't make it before our departure but it's definitely on top of my list. TFS 🙂

  17. Velysia Zhang Avatar

    Hello Indah,

    sure, it's a must visit place. someday you'll make it there. =)

  18. Pandu Aji Wirawan Avatar

    Thanks for sharing this tips! This year maybe will go there #tengokrekening #bookmark 😀

  19. Beth Walker Avatar

    Great tips and I absolutely can't wait to go and dive raja ampat as I've seen that it is the most beautiful place with a gorgeous diving experience.

  20. Irham Faridh Avatar

    Ahhhhhh suatu saat pasti bakal kesini nih *ngayal dari sekarang 😀

  21. Christian of Squeeze Pod Avatar

    Raja Ampat scenic views looks stunning. Thanks for sharing your backpacking tips too!

  22. Velysia Zhang Avatar

    Yes it is..Thank you for stumbling through my blog 🙂

  23. HANA Avatar

    Ho! Thank you for the information
    One question…is it safe to travel alobe there? (Especially for woman) 🙂

  24. Hitesh Matlani Avatar


    After Greetings!
    Hope this message finds you well. Let me start of by congratulating you on the tremendous success of your website

    The information is so detailed and helpful. Maintaining such an informative site takes lot of effort and work. I thank you on behalf of all travelers.

    With so much love that I received from Arborek Tourism Village, Raja Ampat, Papua barat, Indonesia and being a responsible traveler,and As a token of thanks to the wonderful people of Arborek, I would be more then keen to offer the information about the island, accommodation- 5 homestay options and a dive shop,transport & other activities, if permission granted.

    This island is truly a result of effort and commitment of local people coupled with support from you all via online media.

    Looking forward to a quick and positive reply from you, As this would help the fellow tourists and bring more mileage to your website.

    Wishing you a good day.


  25. izzati Avatar

    Hello there.
    Such a nice blog and I'm currently planning for a trip to Raja Ampat around Nov next year.
    Do you know anyone who can arrange for backpackers style travel? I checked flight yesterday and it costs around RM 2k. I need and alternative to it. Thanks 🙂

  26. Velysia Zhang Avatar

    Thankss 🙂 You can probably check tukangjalan.com as they offer reliable trip to Raja Ampat. Cheers!

  27. Vari The Traveling Cow Avatar

    wow, ini info berguna banget, tapi kayaknya emang cocok buat yg ngga terikat cuti kantoran deh, soalnya emang musti bisa flexible banget kalau yang namanya backpackingan ya..dibookmark dulu deh

  28. Gilles Avatar

    Thanks for this complete and interesting article.
    Raja Ampat is so amazing and big, so i think the best way to visit the area is the liveaboard boat. I know a cruise company in Raja Ampat that organize Trip from Sorong, and its not only dive cruise, they do trekking snorkeling kayaking etc… Reasonable price with nice wooden sailing boat.

  29. Henry Avatar

    it's just lovely place

  30. Purnama wati Avatar

    bagus banget pemandangan di sana kayak masih asri banget, penduduknya juga ramah-ramah.

  31. Jesica Liem Avatar

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  32. Rifqy Faiza Rahman Avatar

    Thanks for the tips, Mbak Velys, give me motivation to go there :))

  33. oceans of raja ampat Avatar
    oceans of raja ampat

    hi dear..
    i came across from another site telling about beauty oceans of raja ampat, honestly the place is very impressive.. i'd like to go to papua one day. thank you for your review about raja ampat

  34. laili umdatul khoirurosida Avatar

    waaaaaaaaaaw semurah itu kah ? 😀

    Raja ampat is also my whislist trip ^^

  35. Bara Anggara Avatar
    Bara Anggara

    Thanks for the info Velysia,, travel on a budget always become my priority, so i can explore more places 😀
    would love if you visit my travel blog and give some advice to make it more interesting .. 🙂

    -Traveler Paruh Waktu

    1. Velysia Zhang Avatar

      Thanks for reading my blog, hopefully I can share more useful information for you, cheers!

  36. Erwin Pratama Avatar

    Terima kasih tipsnya Kak, sebenarnya pengen banget bisa liburan ke Raja Ampat.

    1. Velysia Zhang Avatar

      Sama-sama, mudah mudahan kecapai bisa liburan ke Raja Ampat 🙂

  37. Juan Ignacio Bettolli Avatar
    Juan Ignacio Bettolli

    Thanks for anafe your lovely experience and help another backpackers 🙂
    Beautiful blog!!

    Regards from Argentina

    1. Velysia Zhang Avatar

      Thank you Juan, hope it helps other travelers who want to discovery the beauty of Raja Ampat 🙂

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