Raja Ampat Islands
The far-flung easternmost islands of Indonesia, Raja Ampat, are arguably the most extraordinary. Home to countless jungle-clad islets scattered throughout crystal-clear turquoise water, this mysterious archipelago is just waiting to be explored; and there is arguably no better way to do this than by luxury sailing yacht.
These islands are the least developed in the entire country and contain the most bio-diverse marine habitat on Earth, making them a must-visit for keen divers. Thanks to their location at the heart of the Coral Triangle, a region that sprawls over 180,000 square kilometres, the world's richest reefs and dive sites can be found here. In fact, in an area the size of two football fields, scientists discovered more than six times as many coral species as live in the entire Caribbean Sea.
Over 1,300 species of vivid fish and 700 species of molluscs call this piece of paradise home; among which are the newly discovered 'walking' epaulette shark - commonly seen on night dives on the house reef - the pygmy seahorse, the manta ray and a number of rare turtles (our favourite being the majestic hawksbill sea turtle).
If you ever grow tired of exploring the vibrant underwater world – which is hard to imagine! – there are plenty of other ways to embrace the unspoiled surroundings here. We recommend kayaking through tropical mangroves to secluded and secret corners of the archipelago and relaxing on one of the many immaculate white sand beaches, which you will most likely have all to yourself! The mesmerising sunrises and sunsets here cast their golden glow right across to the horizon, where the sea bleeds seamlessly into the sky: bliss.
Twitchers will also love Raja Ampat for its birdlife, especially the brightly coloured Birds of Paradise. The most eye-catching of these has to be the male Wilson’s bird of paradise with its incredible mix of red, green, yellow and blue feathers as well as violet plumes.
We recommend gliding through this beauty spot for the ultimate island-hopping escape aboard one of our favourite boats: Si Datu Bua, Tiger Blue, Mutiara Laut and Mantra. If you would prefer to stay on dry land, spend a few nights at the exclusive dive resort, Misool Eco Resort, which has won a place on our 'Top 10 Eco Retreats' hotlist.
Features in the following itineraries
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India
- Leslie Siben, India
- Jaime Benitez, South India
- Mr David Wallace, North India
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India