Raja Ampat Panoramic Viewpoints
Indonesia is a vast, beautiful country with a vast variety of landscape. From the volcanic islands of Nusa Tenggara and Java to the rich jungles of Kalimantan, every island is different. In coastal areas the mix of lush green landscapes and bright blue water is always inspirational. Perhaps the most impressive place where trees meet the sea is in Raja Ampat.
Raja Ampat is a regency in West Papua province located on the far western edge of the Bird’s Head Peninsula. The area is made up of over 1500 islands both large and small. “Raja Ampat” literally means “4 Kings” which signify the 4 main islands of Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati, and Batanme (Misool). The islands are karst limestone, a soft and porous type of rock. Karst is known for its incredible formations which have been carved through the never ending influence of waves and rain.
The hundreds of small islands and islets are wonderful to look at from the beach or the boat. However, the absolute best way to look see the islands is from a panoramic viewpoint. Thankfully, there are a series of viewing areas and hikes that have been built for this. For the more adventurous, there are also a few hikes and short climbs which don’t feature any man made structures.
Wayag Two Viewpoints
The most famous view of Raja Ampat is the epic views of Wayag lagoon from atop Mt Pindito. This view is for the hardy ones who don’t mind a bit of rock climbing for a wonderful reward. Certainly not a hike for those who have a fear of heights, the Mt Pindito view is the most risky of our list. Located behind a beautiful white sand beach, the trail to the top starts in the jungle with a few scrambles over rocks and roots. However, the last 1/4 of the hike becomes more of a climb up bare rock.
There are no safety ropes or rails on this trail and it does have the potential for an accident. We recommend those who visit to wear proper shoes and it requires a good level of physical fitness. Once at the top, all of Wayag Lagoon opens up and the view is incredible. Some of the most iconic photos of Raja are taken from this spot. As an added bonus, there is a second panoramic view in Wayag that offers a different view from further inside the lagoon.
The original “constructed” panoramic viewpoint in the area. Penemu is a long narrow island in central Raja which is home to a stunning lagoon of small islands. For many years visitors would climb the western hill to enjoy the view of the bay. However, a few years ago the local government and villages constructed a series of viewing platforms within the lagoon. There are two different views to enjoy and both are easily accessible by a 10 minute walk up a sturdy stairway. The ease and safety of the Penemu lookout means it’s a great excursion for everyone to partake in. There are even a few handy “rest stops” built into the stairs to take a break on the way up.
Misool Panoramic Viewpoints
In Misool there are two wonderful panoramic viewpoints that overlook the islands that make up the area. One is located on the eastern side of the island near Tomolol cave. The other is closer to Misool Eco Resort and located on the island of Wayilbatan at the far south. Both of these stunning viewpoints have been built and are maintained by locals, supported by the government. The Tomolol area view is perched atop a high tower of rock with a dizzying trek to the top. This one can be a little hard for those with a fear of heights as the walkway overhangs the rocks on a few occasions. Once at the top however, the view is immense. It features a 360 degree view of an intricate and beautiful series of small islands and lagoons.
The Wayilbatan viewpoint is where the world famous “Love Lagoon” is found. The sturdy stairs start near a marine lake that at one point held stingless jellyfish. However, the water of this lake has turned and is no longer an option for swimming. The view from this hike is stunning and offers the perfect opportunity to photograph “Love Lagoon”. Be sure to visit this location when the tide is right as it’s not possible to reach the jetty at low tide.
With the advent and popularity of drones, it’s easier and easier to photograph stunning locations from the air. However, drones don’t give that sense of “being there” or offer a great bit of exercise like a nice climb to a panoramic viewpoint can do! The next time you visit us on the Samata in Raja Ampat please be sure to discuss visiting any of these scenic points with our Cruise Director.