Before writing about Raja Ampat, I’m sort of tickled to make this short notes. It’s not intended to patronize or to judge you as the reader. It is more about how i try to depict what is on my mind when I saw people say “Raja Ampat is so expensive”, while they can travel out of South East Asia.
Not more than a week after I changed my profile pic on FB, the picture has got 75 likes. Well, it doesn’t mean that I am super cute that people become so attracted with the pic. The picture turns to be epic because it was taken in Wayag island, Raja Ampat archipelago, West Papua. Yupp, comments posted also show how some of my friends are really amazed by the scenery and how they really wish they could have the same opportunity. Quite make a sense, return ticket of Jakarta-Sorong-Jakarta costs almost IDR 4 mio,- (USD 400). Hiring the boat to go to Wayag island (Raja Ampat icon) might cost around IDR 6 mio- 10 mio (USD 600-1000).
As I experienced the trip by my self, I begin to consider, this trip is actually affordable, not as luxury and as super expensive as people thought. By going with 8-10 friends, we can share the cost of hiring the boat. Some local home stays also put affordable price (around IDR 200k-300k for a room for two or three even four person). Street foods in Sorong only costs you like IDR 25k-45k for a huge portion of meals which could actually fit for two persons). Daily meals for 10-12 persons when doing 3-4 days island hopping only spends approximately IDR 1,5 mio- 2 mio (depending on how you deal with the boat crew, whether you want them to cook the meals or you ask them to negotiate with the locals to cook). You can calculate by your self, how much it will cost per person.
How about the ticket? Well, recently, there are a lot of airline who offer the cheap fare for direct flight Jakarta-Sorong, or Jakarta-Makassar then Makassar Sorong. I my self got a very shocking fare when promo session was held. IDR 1,2 mio for return tickets. can you imagine? Yes, no body shall believe, even me 😀
Well, I’d like to sum up some reason why Raja Ampat deserves to have a visit although by the same amount of money, you actually can travel abroad:
1. “The Last Paradise on Earth” slogan given for this archipelago doesn’t remain an exaggeration. Nature bears not only a very stunning yet preserved landscape, but also an enchanting underwater view. Local awareness are always be encouraged by some slogan I often found in some spot, “Take care the corals and the waters around, so there are always enough fishes”.
2. Wayag as Raja Ampat icon offers you a very magnificent view from the top of the limestone. The cluster of the islands form a very beautiful chain from above. It takes a lot of effort to climb the limestone. But when you get to the top, believe me, you will be amazed and never wanna go back.
3. The waters are crystal clear. You can’t dive? you can do the snorkeling because the fishes and the coral are beautifully variant and colorful. You can’t swim? no worry, just sit on the boat or at the dock or on the sea shore, because those fishes are also easily found everywhere. And the big bonus is, baby sharks love to swim near the beach too. How cool is that!!
4. Raja Ampat is people most wanted dream destination. So many people want to go there, but not many people have the chance to go there. Although they have the chance, most of them prefer to spend their vacation by traveling abroad. Well, I mean it, when I say this. To be honest, I did think of this before. What came up on my mind was, I could better spend my money to travel to East Asia or even to Europe rather than spend my money to a destination which is still located in Indonesia. But then I consider that, hey, isn’t it cooler to go to a destination where people deadly want to go but still think over it for many times? Why following the mainstream if making the difference could be done as well?
I keep wondering, some people whom I found out saying “I really want to go to Raja Ampat, but it’s so expensive!!” then went to Europe or America with their own budget. Ok, I can still tolerate they who prefer to travel to South East Asian (SEA) countries than to the East Indonesia, since the budget spent in SEA is a lot more affordable compared to the East Indonesia. I can also tolerate if people say the ticket to Korea, China, or India is sometimes cheaper and prefer to go there. But then again, I’m sort of thinking, dude, with the same amount of money, you actually can go to your dream destination that you always shout aloud.
Well, it’s about preference and priority, people might choose what–they think–would be worth. But for me, Raja Ampat is a destination where people will think over and over before deciding to go, compared to another destination where people could easily say yes I will do. And that makes this destination become more special than other, do you agree?