When hear the name of “Raja Ampat”, most of you must be imagining about a paradise of diving. With high biodiversity and beautiful panorama on a vast area, Raja Ampat is indeed a famous destination for underwater tourism. But do you know that Raja Ampat has other thing that is as interesting and unique as its diving spots? It is called Arborek Village.

Arborek Village is a tourism village located on West Papua. The village is famous both nationally and internationally for being a pioneer village that develops the marine conversation based on community. Located on the area of Raja Ampat, the village is surely surrounded with exotic nature. It is also not difficult to find amazing dive spots there. And the best thing is you can learn about their culture, way of life, and local regulation that support the conservations of the environment of Raja Ampat.

A Man from the Village (Source: photoshelter.com. Credit: Ralf Darius)
A Man from the Village
(Source: photoshelter.com. Credit: Ralf Darius)

 

How to Get There

First, you need to go to Sorong, a major city in West Papua. There are several options to reach this city. The easiest and most popular choice is by flying. Planes with several choices of airlines and flight schedule are available from Jakarta City or Makassar. Next choice is using ships. You can get to Sorong Port from several towns such as Dorolonda, the Labobar, Gunung Dempo, Sinabung, and Tatamailau.

After you are in Sorong, the next place you should head to is Waisai, which is located in the district of Raja Ampat. Waisai is accessible with motorboats or tourism ships that you can get from Sorong Fishery Port. The trip will take about two hours. In Waisai, you need to rent a longboat and sail to Arborek Village for less than two hours.

Other option to reach Arborek Village from Sorong is by taking a governmental ship. The ship will go straight to Arborek Village without getting stop at Waisai. It will take about five hours.

 

Where to Stay

If you want to feel the full experience in Arborek Village, then our suggestion is to stay at the local people’s house. By living with them, you will have more chance and time to see lots of thing about how they live their life.

Traditional House in the Village (Source: Flickr. Credit: Teeje)
Traditional House in the Village
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Teeje)

 

Other than that, luxurious choice of accommodation is also provided around this humble village. There are two exclusive resorts that you can book. Both of them has ecological concept to match the village’s purpose to keep the environment beauty. Those resorts are:

  • Kri Eco Resort
    • Location : Jalan Gunung Gamalama 3, 98413 Sorong
    • Phone : +62 411 401 660 or +62 951 328 038
    • Fax : +62 951 325 274
    • Website : papua-diving.com
  • Misool Eco Resort
    • Location : Jalan Bukit Baru 1, Pertamina Complex, Raja Ampat 98415
    • Email : [email protected]
    • Website : www. misoolecoresort.com

 

The Village

The tourism village of Arborek is populated with about 150 families. It covers the area of 7 hectares. So if you plan to explore the village, it will not be difficult to do it on foot. In fact, walking is more fun for such kind of activity as you can meet and greet everybody you meet along the way.

It is such a gift to live in a village with the environment as amazing as Raja Ampat. Therefore, the people of Arborek realize that it is very important to preserve the nature and keep it beauty forever. To that purpose, the village has gained lots of help from government, international organization, and public community to accomplish the mission. It even became a pioneer of community-based marine conservation to other 18 villages in West Papua.

The Environment of Arborek Village (Source: Flickr. Credit: Teeje)
The Environment of Arborek Village
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Teeje)

It would be fun to join the traditional activities of Arborek people. When the tide is low, you can join them to do Bameti. It is a traditional hunting for sea cucumber and walking along the beach to gather some edible sea creatures. This is how they use to get the foods to eat everyday. Sometimes, men from Arborek sail further to the sea using traditional boat called ketinting to gather more fishes. They never use modern technology to do it as they believe it might harm the environment.

The people of Arborek are totally aware that it would be so financially advantageous to harvest the pearls from the marine shells and sell it as souvenirs. But they are also aware that such activity might break the harmony of the ecosystem. But amazingly, these people have other solutions to offer unique souvenirs for tourists. They make a traditional sling bag called Noken.

Noken is made with pleated wood skin or orchid barks. The bag has symbolic meaning of a woman’s womb. Therefore, only women are allowed to make it. These handmade sling bags are gaining high popularity around the world. Tourists who visit Raja Ampat for diving would love to buy this ethnical bag to bring home. The bag is not so expensive as well. It costs only $3.75 to $7.5 for wood skin Noken and $7.5 to $19 for orchid barks Noken.

A Woman is Making Noken (Source: Flickr. Credit: Teeje)
A Woman is Making Noken
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Teeje)

 

Adventure Underwater

The underwater of Raja Ampat is a heaven of aquatic biodiversity. The Nature Conservancy and Conservation International have reported that about 75% species of sea creatures in the world are living around the water of Raja Ampat. The area has more than 1,511 species of fishes, 600 species of corals, 700 species of mollusca, 57 species of mantis shrimp, 13 species of sea mammals, and about 5 species of sea turtles. This fact has made Raja Ampat to be the most diverse marine life in the world. With that level of awesomeness, it would be such a real waste to visit to Raja Ampat without exploring the marine life.

Mantis Shrimp (Source: Flickr. Credit: Catherine Marshall)
Mantis Shrimp
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Catherine Marshall)

It is easy to find several great spots for either snorkeling or scuba diving in Arborek Village. As we have explained, the village community is seriously contributing to the conservation and preservation of the natural environment of Raja Ampat. Therefore, the marine life under the water around the village would be naturally astonishing.

The problem is, it would be difficult to find equipment rentals for snorkeling or diving on the village. So you might need to rent one on other place in Raja Ampat. Or, for simpler solution, you can simply contact a dive center and wait them prepare everything for you. The nearest dive centers from Arborek Village are:

  • Papua Diving Kri Eco Resort
    • Location : Jalan Gunung Gamalama 3, 98413 Sorong
    • Phone : +62 411 401 660 or +62 951 328 038
    • Fax : +62 951 325 274
    • Website : papua-diving.com
  • Biak Diving Irba CH. K.

 

School of Fish Underwater (Source: Flickr. Credit: Catherine Marshall)
School of Fish Underwater
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Catherine Marshall)

 

Raja Ampat is not always about snorkeling and scuba diving. It is also important to care about what we could do to keep the environment as beautiful as this, to make sure the district remains astonishing.

Because without a serious effort, the beauty of Raja Ampat nature will degrade and gradually disappear as time goes by. That is why you must visit the tourism village of Arborek, as the people will show and teach you how to preserve the nature in simple yet effective ways.