Explore raja ampat
Photo by Dennis @freediver87
full day + half day excursions
When you come all the way to Raja Ampat, it’s easy to be tempted to travel far and wide to soak up every bit of these paradise islands. But for travelers that are short on time and cash, it’s not very convenient to do so. Transfer costs from one island to the next can be expensive and take up to three hours.
This is why we offer our divers Adventure Trips. While being based on Kri is ideal for diving—we have the highest concentration of sites in Central Raja Ampat, diving at nearly 30 dive sites within 15 minutes from our dive center—it’s also nice to explore sites that are a bit further from Kri. Raja Ampat also has a lot to offer on land—from stunning views of karst islands like Piaynemo or Gam island, to breathtaking mangrove forests and waterfalls on Batanta.
The beauty of our Adventure Trips is that you get to stay centrally located on Kri Island, while also being able to dive at famous sites that are not so easy to access, like Melissa’s Garden close to Piaynemo or Citrus Ridge nearby Pef Island. We also get to revel in the natural wonders that lie inland—including beautiful birds of paradise, waterfalls, viewpoints, bat caves and more.
All of our Adventure Trips include two dives and stops to various stunning destinations on land. Certain Adventure Trips have the option of a third dive for an additional cost. Most are full day trips, but a few are half day. Read on for a description of the Adventure Trips that we offer!
When you go Adventure trips, ask you homestay to prepare lunchbox for you. We have water, hot drinks and snacks for the surface interval.
Full Day Trip | 2.100.000 IDR all-inclusive | 2 dives (Usually at Melissa’s Garden and Batu Rufas) | Optional 3rd dive 600.000 IDR (Ikan Party or Fam Wall)
The Piaynemo Adventure Trip is the most popular among our divers. If you Google “Raja Ampat”, you’ll likely see a view of countless small karst islands jutting out from beautiful crystal clear water. That is Piaynemo—the dazzling cluster of islands that draws tourists from all over the world to Raja Ampat. Of course, we love taking our divers to this breathtakingly beautiful viewpoint, but the dives near Piaynemo are the real reason that the trip is so spectacular.
We’re just going to say it: Melissa’s Garden is the most beautiful coral garden in the world (at least we think so, and so do many others!). A healthy expanse of reef beneath three tiny little islets out in the blue, Melissa’s Garden has remained intact and untouched. The biodiversity of corals and reef fish species there is mind-blowing.
Other dive sites we may go to on this trip include Fam Wall, Fam Slope, Ikan Party, and Batu Rufas. We make a pit stop at Batu Rufas in hightide (low tide we cannot access the lagoon), a magical little island shaped like a diamond with an emerald green lagoon at its center. Rufas Island has its own short hike up to a viewpoint— with a vista of the lagoon and small neighboring islands. Diving at Batu Rufas is also very special. Toward the end of the dive, we pass through an underwater arch, ending up in a shallow coral garden that more often than not has black-tip reef sharks cruising through.
As part of the Piaynemo trip we go to the breathtaking viewpoint in Piaynemo Lagoon, You will see the iconic Piaynemo viewpoint and Star Lagoon. This viewpoint is the perfect spot for land photography and flying your drone around to take magical footage of the islands around.
Full Day Trip | 2.000.000 IDR all inclusive | 2 dives (Usually at Mayhem and Citrus Ridge) | Optional 3rd dive 600.000 IDR (Friwen Wall or the Passage)
Gam Island is pretty massive, relative to the majority of islands in Raja Ampat. So you can imagine that there is much to see and do there. Our Gam tour takes you all around the perimeter of the island—starting from the western end, called “Tanjun Putus” in Indonesian, which means “Broken Tip.” There we pass through a scattering of small islands and dive at Mayhem or Citrus Ridge, depending on our dive plan.
Next we head to The Passage, a well-known channel that lies between Gam and another big island called Waigeo. From the surface, The Passage looks almost like a river because the current is so strong and channel so narrow! The Passage is definitely unique—you don’t dive there for a high variety of marine species, but rather for the incredibly interesting underwater topography (and to experience flying in a strong current!). During the dive, we even surface inside of an underwater cave—emerging in the jungle, surrounded by lush trees.
After The Passage, we go to Kabui Bay, which is famous for beautiful views of small karst islands and limestone cliffs. Here, we hike up to a viewpoint of the bay before heading home to Kri.
Full Day Trip | 1.800.000 IDR all inclusive | 2 dives (At Odima and Beser Bay) | Optional 3rd dive 600.000 IDR
During our Gam Bay Adventure Trip, you will be treated to two very special dive sites. Odima is an underwater sea mount between Mansuar and Gam. Home to turtles, cuttlefish, and wobbegong sharks, this site is really fishy—the school of sweetlips found here is truly spectacular. Our second dive site, Beser Bay, is located in front of Beser Bay Homestay just outside of Gam Bay. This is a great site for macro life, as well as large schools of fish, sharks and other creatures that inhabit the reefs around Raja Ampat.
Once inside the bay, there's so much to see inland on Gam! We visit a bat cave hidden away on a tiny island, hike to a beautiful viewpoint, and swim with stingless jellyfish. We usually stop by Sawingrai Village to visit a local shop and say hi to the locals. Our friend Jonas has set up a learning center there called Child Aid Papua.
Full Day Trip | 1.900.000 IDR all inclusive | 2 dives (At The Passage and Friwen Wall, Batu Lima or Nudibranch Rock ) | Optional 3rd dive 600.000 IDR
As mentioned above in the Gam Adventure Trip, The Passage is a well-known channel that lies between Gam and another big island called Waigeo. From the surface, The Passage looks almost like a river because the current is so strong and channel so narrow! The Passage is definitely unique—you don’t dive there for a high variety of marine species, but rather for the incredibly interesting underwater topography (and to experience flying in a strong current!). During the dive, we even surface inside of an underwater cave—emerging in the jungle, surrounded by lush trees.
After The Passage, we go to Kabui Bay, which is famous for beautiful views of small karst islands and limestone cliffs. Here, we hike up to a viewpoint of the bay before heading home to Kri.
For our second dive, we may visit Friwen Wall, Batu Lima or maybe even Nudibranch Rock—just as the name implies, this cute little islet is shaped like a nudibranch!
Half Day Trip | 1.700.000 IDR | 2 dives (At Batu Lima and Friwen Wall )
What draws naturalists to Papua, if not its underwater flora and fauna? That would be its incredibly rare populations of birds-of-paradise. Throughout Papua, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, the birds-of-paradise have been stunning twitchers for decades (by the way, the term for a bird watcher seeking out rare birds is a twitcher). So come all twitchers, the birds are ready for you. Raja Ampat is home to a few very rare and very beautiful species of birds-of-paradise: the Red Bird-of-Paradise and Wilson's Bird-of-Paradise.
We typically head to Gam, near the Dore Atri Lagoon, to see the Red Bird of Paradise. In order to see the birds, we have to be at the right spot at sunrise. We must wake up very early and leave the dive shop around 4:30 am. At Dore Atri, we meet our local bird watching guides, leave the speed boat behind, and get into a long boat to go up the Dore Atri Lagoon. Arriving at a small dock, it's time to hike about half an hour to a small clearing at the top of a hill. There, we see the Red Birds-of-Paradise. The males are the flamboyant ones, with beautiful long feathers and interesting behavior. They dance around and call out in an effort to attract the attention of the, admittedly less flashy, females. The trip back down through the Dore Atri Lagoon in the early morning light is spectacular.
After the bird watching, we head to Batu Lima and Friwen Wall for some amazing dives before heading back to Kri around lunch time. Batu Lima means "five rocks" in Indonesian—this site earned the name thanks to the five rocks positioned in an interesting formation in a relatively shallow coral garden. After diving along the reef, brimming with many fish and other creatures, we head to the five rocks to weave in and out and enjoy the interesting topography. Friwen Wall is a nice and easy dive along the small island of Friwen. There aren't too many walls in Raja Ampat, so Friwen is a nice change of pace in your dive itinerary. The stunning sea fans of all shapes, sizes and colors ornamenting the wall will dazzle you throughout this dive.
Full Day Trip | 2.000.000 IDR all inclusive | 2 dives (Usually at P-47 Plane Wreck and Manta Wai or Arefi Reef)
Batanta is a long island located south of Kri Island. On our journey to Batanta, we pass a small island called Wai, where just off shore you can find the wreck of a P-47 American Fighter Jet that went down during WWII. The wreck lays slanted on the reef between 28 and 35 meters. Unlike many other wrecks that are out in the blue without much else to look at, this wreck is surrounded by tons of beautiful reef as we descend and ascend. The wreck is fairly small, but is intact, covered with soft corals and home to schools of fish and other marine life.
Near Wai Island, there is a manta ray cleaning station called Manta Wai. During manta season (usually mid November through April), we love diving here for our second dive. Outside of manta season, we dive Arefi Reef—a nice underwater sea mount filled with macro life and healthy reef. After diving at one of these sites, we head to the mangrove forest. Snaking our way through the tall mangrove trees, we eventually arrive at a small jetty that will lead us to a hiking trail through the jungle. At the start of the trail, there is a small but beautiful waterfall. Deeper into the jungle, after 40 minutes of hiking, we arrive at an even more incredible and stunning waterfall.
Plane wreck + Manta Wai
Half Day Trip | 1.600.000 IDR all inclusive | 2 dives (Plane wreck, Manta Wai or Arefi reef)
One of the only wrecks nearby is a P-47 American fighter plane that crashed during WWII. It landed on the slope of the reef fringing along Wai Island, facing upward, between about 28 and 35 meters. As it's been underwater nearly 80 years, a great deal of coral, reef fish and other sea life has settled on and around the plane. Swim alongside the sunken jet and then zig-zag your way up along the healthy reef of Wai Island. If Open Water divers would like to join this trip, they will need to dive just the Wai Island reef, as the wreck is deeper than 18 meters.
Everybody loves seeing manta rays underwater, but usually you can only do so during manta season (typically mid November to April). However, we tend to see mantas more frequently, even before and after the true manta season in Central Raja Ampat, at Manta Wai—a cleaning station off of Wai Island. Check out the Adventure Trip below for more information on diving with manta rays in Raja Ampat.
Half Day Trip | 1.600.000 IDR all inclusive | 2 dives (At Arborek Jetty, Lalosi)
Arborek Island is a charming little island about 30 minutes away from our dive shop on Kri. The village of Arborek is located on the island, allowing our visitors to check out local village life. There are various dive sites near Arborek, including the Manta sites just off of the island. Other famous sites nearby include Citrus Ridge, Mayhem, and Arborek Jetty. After two dives, we stop by Arborek Island to explore the village, hang out and snorkel at the jetty (an amazing sunset spot), browse local shops, buy a soda or beer, or relax on the beach.
manta slope/manta ridge
Half Day Trip | 1.600.000 IDR all inclusive | 2 dives (At Manta Ridge or Manta Slope, West Mansuar, Arborek )
Scuba diving with manta rays in Raja Ampat is popular for a reason. You will never forget the first time you see a manta ray underwater—soaring alongside these gentle giants is nothing short of spectacular. Did you know that mantas can reach up to five meters (16 feet) wide?! Manta season in Raja Ampat is generally from mid November through April, though there are other sites where you can see mantas nearly year round (see the "Plane Wreck + Manta Wai" trip above).
The manta rays are attracted to the nutrient rich waters that arrive in Raja Ampat during those months. To dive with the mantas, we visit what is known as a cleaning station. Big boulders and massive corals covered with plants, algae and other marine life including cleaner fish (such as cleaner wrasse) make up these cleaning stations. The mantas come to the station to be cleaned, circling around while cleaner fish clear away particles and even potential predators such as parasites from the skin. As divers, we don't want to to interrupt this natural and important process, so we kneel down a safe distance from the cleaning station to watch the show. It's very important to position yourself lower than the mantas so that we don't scare them off. Manta rays are very curious and intelligent creatures—they often circle close to your head as if to say hello and supposedly they even remember individuals. Some of our guides tell us that the same mantas they see week after week begin to recognize them, and always swoop in to say hello to them first before greeting the other divers.
Manta rays are filter feeders without teeth and a completely harmless tail. With that said, it is forbidden to touch or otherwise harass a manta ray. We stay out of their way and marvel at their greatness with respect— we ask all of our divers to do the same. Manta Ridge is our favorite manta site as it has a beautiful reef along much of the site, but it is only for advanced divers. Manta Slope also has a higher variety of coral structure to enjoy and is an easier dive. The calmest site, though you can still experience current at certain times, is Manta Sandy.
Half Day Trip | 1.600.000 IDR all inclusive | 2 dives (At Manta Sandy, Arborek jetty)
Manta Sandy is a captivating dive site that offers divers an opportunity to witness the captivating behavior of manta rays during their cleaning rituals. It is just one of the many remarkable dive sites that make Raja Ampat a world-renowned diving destinationManta Sandy is a cleaning station where manta rays gather to have parasites removed by cleaner fish. It offers the opportunity to observe manta rays up close while they enjoy their spa moment.
Location: Manta Sandy is situated in the central region of Raja Ampat, near the islands of Arborek and Mansuar, Dampier Strait of Raja Ampat, Indonesia.
Diving Experience: Manta Sandy is famous for being a cleaning station where manta rays gather to have parasites removed by cleaner fish. This behavior offers divers a unique opportunity to observe and interact with these graceful creatures up close. Divers can often witness the mantas hovering over specific areas and being cleaned by small fish.
Dive Conditions: The dive conditions at Manta Sandy are generally suitable for divers of various experience levels, from beginners to advanced. The currents can vary from mild to moderate, so it's essential to have some experience in drift diving. The visibility is typically good, ranging from 15 to 30 meters (50 to 100 feet), allowing for clear views of the mantas and the surrounding marine environment.
Marine Life: In addition to the manta rays, Manta Sandy showcases a diverse array of marine life. You may encounter other reef fish, coral formations, and occasional encounters with turtles and sharks. The vibrant coral reefs in the area also offer a stunning backdrop for underwater exploration.
Best Time to Dive: Raja Ampat is a year-round diving destination, but the optimal time to visit Manta Sandy and the surrounding area is during the dry season, which usually spans from October to April. During this period, the seas are generally calmer, and visibility is at its peak.
Dive Certification: Manta Sandy is suitable for divers of various certification levels. However, it is recommended to have at least an Open Water Diver certification or equivalent to fully enjoy the dive site.
Two Day Trip | 3.000.000 IDR all inclusive | No diving, snorkeling only
Wayag is the "creme de la creme" of Raja Ampat. It is simply the most stunning place in the region (or anywhere in the world), according to those who have been there. All of that beauty doesn't come easy - Wayag is quite far, up to 3 hours by boat from Kri. Because of the distance, we do not dive on this trip. We also spend the night in Wayag to maximize our time in this truly spectacular area. Soul Scuba provides tents for the trip - however, most of our guests choose to sleep in hammocks. It's very warm here in paradise, and there are no mosquitoes to worry about in Wayag!
To get to Wayag, we head up north past Pele Island. On the way, we usually stop at a pearl farm to buy fish for the journey, or go fishing ourselves! When we finally arrive in Wayag, we are met with an incredible deserted white sand beach. Here, we get our first glimpse of why Wayag is so famous - at the checkpoint, we find a crystal clear bay where we can snorkel with dozens of black tip reef sharks. After taking a dip, we hike up to our first of two viewpoints. Although the hikes aren't the easiest, we hire a local guide and our team is available to give an extra hand. This hike is very doable for those with average fitness, though you will likely be a bit winded when you get to the top. The trek is certainly worth it—the view at the top will take your breath away. Wayag is like Piaynemo on steroids. The expanse of tiny karst islands spanning 360 degrees is out of this world.
After hiking, we have lunch on a beautiful white sand beach, before setting up base camp for the evening. We go on another breathtaking hike for sunset, before calling it a night. Falling asleep among the palm trees, the ocean breeze on your face, is an experience you will never forget.
In the morning, we rise early for a sunrise hike. The view of Wayag in the rising morning light is indescribable - dozens of emerald islets poking up out of the turquoise blue water. We spend the rest of the day chilling on a sand bank, snorkeling in some of the most pristine reefs you will ever lay eyes on. Picture colorful coral bommies, crystal waters, and every fish you can imagine - a real "Finding Nemo" experience! When we're ready to head back to Kri, we stop one last time at the checkpoint to snorkel with the black tip reef sharks. Then it's 3 hours back to our paradise home.
We love greeting guests when they get back from Wayag. They always have awe-struck looks on their faces, telling us over and over again, "That was the best experience of my life!"