Raja Ampat Dive Lodge – Comfort In Lap of Nature Indonesia
Before I start my series on my experience Raja Ampat Islands, I want to write about Raja Ampat Dive Resort that was our blissful base during our stay in Raja Ampat Islands Papua, Indonesia.
You may wonder, what has happened to desi, he is writing about hotels and resorts now? Yes, you are right, I seldom write about the hotels I stay in for I feel there are better platforms that this blog to read about hotel reviews. I do hope to change that and write more often about the properties I stay, though normally my focus is on the destination and the experience. But every once in a while I like a place so much that I want to share about it to all the readers of desi Traveler blog. Raja Ampat Dive Lodge, in Papua Indonesia, is one such resort that I did not want to leave. I even checked if they had a vacancy for somebody who could check hammocks on the beach, test the softness of beds or spend a day in the crystal clear waters counting fish and other sea creatures, but they just smiled and kept my bag in the boat that was to take me back to airport after 3 blissful days.
Alas now only memories remain that linger on and every time I browse through my images from my Trip of Wonders to Indonesia I long to go back. But till then let me write a review of Rama Ampat Dive Lodge for the readers of desi Traveler.
If you are wondering where is Raja Ampat then it is a good sign in my opinion because Raja Ampat is not your run of mill crowded beach or a diving destination where you dive to look at marine life and end up looking at more beach bums than marine life.
Raja Ampat is a group of pristine tropical paradise islands in West Papua Indonesia.
This is how their site informs about the location and beauty of RADL or Raja Ampat Dive Lodge
“The Raja Ampat Dive Lodge is located on the island of Mansuar which is at the southern tip of Waigeo, strategically positioned in the heart of the most spectacular dive sites of Northern Raja Ampat. A short boat ride takes you to the famous manta aggregation site of Manta Ridge and the fish tornadoes off Café Kri. The fish soup at Sardine Reef and the Macro Extravaganza of Mike’s Point are also only minutes away.
RADL is built along the fine white sands of Yenpapir Beach and backs into a pristine tropical Rainforest. The resort stretches across the cove with the nearest village a 20-minute walk away. Small mangrove clusters provide shelter for many juveniles and the reef in front of the resort is a heaven for snorkelers”
But there is a lot more to Raja Ampat Dive Lodge beside what the broachers and website mention and I experienced personally.
As we arrived after about a 2-hour boat ride that brought us from Sarong, the waters around us changed colors from emerald to blue to deep blue deepening on the depth and the angle of sun rays falling on them. I slept part of the journey and admired the calm waters around us for the rest.
The first thing you notice at the Raja Ampat Dive Lodge is the long jetty and the pier where boat anchor to drop guests. Both the Jetty and the deck have a charm of their own and many hours were spent there admiring, and clicking sunsets and sunrise in Raja Ampat. It was also the perfect spot for making calls as it had the best network connection.
As I was disembarking from the boat I saw the most mesmerizing site on the Jetty, our fellow traveler from Japan Chioking was sashaying on the jetty towards the reception. The moment we photographer type saw her on the jetty a hundred images were clicked and the Indonesian version of The Women In Red was frozen forever on the aquamarine waters of Raja Ampat Islands in West Papua.
We were welcomed by a little orchestra played by the staff of the lodge, one of them later shyly confessed to being a fan of Badshah of Bollywood and King of hearts Shah Rukh Khan. ( more on that in a coming post 🙂 )
We had a forest in our backyard and a beach in front of my room, or anywhere we went to for a walk around the Raja Ampat Dive Resort. I could just hop out of my room and jump into the ocean or just sit on one of the many decks erected on the beach and watch the waves, or count the restless fish that try to tickle your fish if you sit still.
How Are The Rooms at Raja Ampat Dive Lodge?
All the rooms at Raja Ampat Dive Lodge are within a hop from the beach, if you are not in a mood to go out to the beach you can hear and see the waves sitting on the porch of your cottage.
Inside each air-conditioned cottage, you have all the modern amenities like tea coffee maker, attached bath with running hot and cold water and the beds even have mosquito nets. But even with all the modern comforts, it will be a shame if you spend time inside your room, for you do not travel to a paradise like Raja Ampat to stay inside.
So go out join some of the activities that the Raja Ampat Dive Lodge can organize for you.
Some of the activities that you can participate at or near the Raja Ampat Dive Lodge are
- Go in search of Birds of Paradise
- Scuba Diving
- Watch Walking Sharks feeding in Shallow Waters
- Photographing the islands around
- In the night you can try some night photography
Just next to the pier and the jetty in the night you can stand quietly and watch the Walking Sharks that come for feeding in the shallow waters. No need to worry as these sharks have no taste for humans and are only a few feet long.
I did see one of these Sharks slithering in shallow waters but could not click a picture as I had set up my camera for long exposure to click the pier lights. So I am sharing a picture here from Riyanni Djangkaru who is actively involved in Saving Sharks and was leading our trip.
How is the Food at Raja Ampat Dive Lodge?
I was warned that I may not get vegetarian food in remote islands of Indonesia, but the fears proved to be wrong. The correct statement should be there is no Indian Vegetarian Food in remote Indonesian islands. Even if the folks in these islands are not vegetarians by choice but once they know you are a vegetarian they will come up with a pleasant surprise for you. Special thanks here to the team of Ministry of Tourism Indonesia, especially Ms. Putri Mayangsari is definitely needed as she was always making sure we had vegetarian meals in every place we went.
The Chef and staff at Raja Ampat Dive Lodge were extra careful in taking care of those of us who were vegetarians. While breakfast typically had choices like Waffles, pancakes, fruits and bread toast etc. it was during the lunch/dinner they truly showed us their culinary skills.
They would set up a distinct table for vegetarians just to avoid any confusion and serve us on the table. I must mention here the creamy pumpkin soup that had a hint of garlic and herbs that were an absolute delight. In the main course, they will dish up something continental for us like fried brinjal and mushrooms, garlic bread and potatoes as a side dish or grilled sandwich with layers of veggies and juicy sauces that enhanced the flavors of the veggies used. Almost all meals had some form of rice, and also plain boiled rice, that I had with some sauce or just by sprinkling some of the chips that came as a side dish. Overall considering the remoteness of place I must say the folks at Raja Ampat Dive lodge do a good job with both veg and nonvegetarian food.
Some of my best memories of the Raja Ampat Dive Lodge are of just walking around the pier and jetty or along the beach clicking the beautiful sunset and sunrise. I think RADL is one of those rare places where you equally magical sunsets and sunrises.
Raja Ampat Dive Lodge in #Papua #Indonesia is one of those places where after an action adventure packed day, you come home to a #psychedelic #sunset. You just sit back and watch the frolicking waves trying to hug the setting sun. The colors of #sky change from Sky Blue to Orange, to dark blue and then jet black.
Every evening after returning from our adventure trips to surrounding islands for Scuba diving or visit to local communities we would just all rush to jump into the tranquil waters around the lodge and just wait for sunset. The moment the sky turned orange we will jump out of the water to click the changing hues of sky around us. Indeed I have never seen so many colors of the sky in such a short time as I have seen in Raja Ampat.
How to Reach Raja Ampat Dive Lodge
The nearest airport to reach Raja Ampat is Sorong ( IATA: SOQ ) in West Papua, where flights from Denpasar ( Bali ), Jakarta, Makassar etc. Once you reach Sorong it is a two-hour journey by a speed boat or you can also take a local ferry that will take longer. The Raja Ampat Dive Lodge has packages that include your pickup and drop and they are willing to work for you at additional cost for any specific requirements.
When is the best time to visit Raja Ampat
We were there in end October and November, beginning. The weather is perfect for diving from October to April. You can avoid rainy season as the sea may get rough in those months and diving may not be possible so avoid June, July August. All other months are good to have a relaxing beach and diving holidays.
The cost of a stay at Raja Ampat:
All inclusive packages start from the US $ 1375 per person for an 8-night stay on double occupancy. Please check their site here for detailed and latest information: RADL Site.
I must thank Ministry of Tourism Indonesia for inviting me to this Trip of Wonders and l hope to go back again soon to Wonderful Indonesia
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