Raja Ampat is regency that located in tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula on the island of New Guinea, in Indonesia’s West Papua province. Raja Ampat has 610 islands, which is only 35 islands that have been inhabited, the rest are inhabited and even nameless. The famous islands in Raja Ampat are Misool island, Salawati, Batanta, and Waigeo island.
The inhabitant of Raja Ampat Islands are generally traditional fishermen who resided in small villages which are located far apart and in different islands. They are such a friendly community when receive visitors from outside, especially if we bring souvenirs for them in the form of areca nut or candy.
The societies are Muslims and Christians, and often within a family or clan members who have hold one of those two religions. It makes them keep on living in harmonious even they have different beliefs.
Raja Ampat region is often touted as the best reef areas in the world. The marine biota has beauty that can easily captivated by the tourists.
The origin name of Raja Ampat by local myth comes from a woman who found seven eggs. Four grains of which hatch into four princes who separated and each became the king who ruled in Waigeo, Salawati, East Misool and West Misool. Meanwhile, three other eggs became a ghost, a woman, and a stone.
Raja Ampat islands are the potential place to be the greatest tourism object relating their marine spot. Raja Ampat Islands according to various sources, is one of the 10 best waters for diving sites around the world. In fact, it may also be recognized as number one for the completeness of underwater flora and fauna at this time.
Visiting these islands is not difficult although it takes time and considerable costly. We can use the airline flights from Jakarta to Sorong via Manado during six hours flight. From Sorong, there are two options for exploring the Raja Ampat: take a tour by boat or stay in Papua Diving resorts. Although the most tourists who come to Raja Ampat currently are the divers, in fact this location is attractive for tourists as well as non-divers, for it has white sandy beaches which are very beautiful, the group of islands are fascinating and have unique endemic of flora-fauna such as red bird of paradise, paradise Wilson, maleo smalldam, various parrots and parrot, possum smalldam, as well as various types of orchids.
To preserve the underwater Raja Ampat Islands, conservation efforts is needed in this area. There are two international institutions which concentrated on preservation of natural resources of the Raja Ampat, ie CI (Conservation International) and TNC (The Nature Conservancy). The government itself has set ocean around the South Waigeo, including small islands such as Gam, Mansuar, Yeben group and Batang Pele group, has been approved as a Marine Wildlife Reserve.