João and Constança here—still writing from our off the beaten path honeymoon adventure. Thank you for following along our journey so far through Malaysia and Singapore. Now we’re writing from one of our last days at Raja Ampat in Indonesia for some much-needed rest and relaxation.
Our honeymoon trip has been very intense for the past few weeks. We’ve trekked up Mount Kinabalu, seen incredible wildlife hidden in Borneo’s Natural Parks and gotten acquainted with unforgettable cultural experiences in Sulawesi and its many tribes. As much as this trip has been magical, it has also been exhausting. We’ve been away from comfort and the familiar for weeks and it feels like the right time to take a break.
That’s why we decided to come to one of the last paradises on Earth: Raja Ampat in Indonesia. We flew into Sorong in Papua, from where we sped into the blue horizon on a 2h30m boat ride. Even the ride was extraordinary. On the way here, we saw whales, dolphins, and black marlins, but no sign of humans or land; just the occasional plastic bottle floating about—unfortunately marine pollution is a real problem in Indonesia although Raja Ampat has incredibly clean waters.
The views of Raja Ampat islands are absolutely breathtaking
After a while, little dark specks started showing up at a distance in the middle of the ocean. They looked like tiny mushroom islands in the middle of nowhere. Raja Ampat means “The Four Kings” and, as the name suggests, it is an archipelago with four main islands—Misool, Batanta, Salawati, and Waigeo—and countless smaller islands scattered around the four.
As we approached our final destination, the beautiful island of Gan, we were greeted with lush green jungle, palm trees, white-sand beaches, and crystal blue reefs. We docked at the waterfront jetty of the Papua Explorers Diving Resort and were welcomed with song and dance by the friendly local staff. It was a perfect start to our week there, and we immediately felt close to the locals.
Papua Explorers is a beautiful waterfront resort with individual bungalow rooms over clear water, a restaurant with international and Indonesian cuisine and a dive center for scuba and snorkeling. Everything is built with local, natural materials and feels very organic and harmonious.
Even just relaxing in our bungalow at the Diving Resort was an amazing experience
The resort operates with an all-inclusive package, so there’s no need to worry at all about food. You’ll get three hot meals a day, plus mid-morning and afternoon snacks to ensure you’re never hungry. It’s probably best to mention that Raja Ampat is one of the best places in the world for scuba diving and snorkeling. The reefs and wildlife in the area cannot be compared to elsewhere in the world. So although we did want a place to rest, we also wanted to dive and therefore took the opportunity to complete our PADI Open Water Diver certification that we’d started in London back in November.
Diving and snorkeling are indeed the main activity at Papua Explorers. The dive center is excellent and fully equipped, and the staff is very professional and knowledgeable. Over the course of a week, we’ve done 2-3 dives a day. So to be honest we’re not getting that much rest after all!
When not diving, Papua Explorers offers a range of other fun and relaxing activities. For example, it’s nice to just chill and bask in the sun, enjoying the transparent waters over the coral reef. Alternatively, there’s kayaking, DIY snorkeling, stand-up paddling, or exploring the nearby villages at low tide and there’s also a spa offering excellent massages.
One of the amazing things about Raja Ampat is the diversity of marine wildlife around, and how easily you can interact with it. The other day we went stand-up paddling at sunset, and as we reached out towards the deeper waters, I saw a fin rippling through the surface of the ocean. At first, I panicked a bit and thought shark! Then, manta? Then, suddenly, one fin turned to six, and a family of dolphins came out of the water in their characteristic jumps, at a casual 30-feet away from us.
And this friendly manta ray came to say hello
What a special memory! Thank you Raja Ampat and we hope to visit you again sometime. Now, onwards to the next adventure.