Diving and Culture in Raja Ampat and Ubud
On this twin centre adventure, set sail on the aquamarine waters of Raja Ampat by luxury liveaboard, diving the world's most biodiverse reefs along the way before jetting to Ubud to immerse yourself in the spiritual, cultural and culinary heart of Bali.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Dive on the world's most pristine reefs in Raja Ampat, the epicentre of global marine biodiversity and the so-called Coral Triangle
- Explore emerald-green rice terraces, dine on delicious Balinese delicacies and scale volcanoes for sunrise views in Ubud
Why Book with Original Diving?
When To Travel
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Days 1 – 2: International Flight
Depart from the UK on an indirect flight to Sorong, transiting through southeast Asia en route. There are a number of different routes, but because of the various time zones, you will tend to leave London on the evening of Day One and spend all of Day Two travelling.
Day 3: Sorong
Fresh off the plane, you will be met in arrivals by one of our representatives on the ground and transferred to Sorong harbour. The transfer is around twenty minutes.
Whether you choose a traditional Indonesian phinisi (an elegant wooden sailing boat) or modern luxury vessel, you will spend the next eleven days sailing the waters of Raja Ampat.
Located in the epicentre of the world's marine biodiversity, the diving in Raja Ampat is extraordinary. A staggering 75% of all known coral species are found here, as well as over 1,400 species of fish. Setting sail on a liveaboard allows you to fully explore the further flung crevices, overhangs and reefs that divers staying on land can't reach, making for a truly world class scuba adventure.
Once you have settled into your cabin, head to the sky restaurant and lounge for al fresco dining, looking out to the open ocean as you sail south towards Misool.
Days 3 – 5: Misool
Misool is in the south of Raja Ampat and you will dive off the many small islands in the southeast. In this area, the focus is on the brilliant soft corals and sea fans which bloom like underwater birds of paradise.
The unique topography of Boo Windows dive site is sure to be a highlight; swim-through 'windows' allow shafts of sunlight to spotlight the saffron and magenta reef beneath, while huge table corals hide the elusive wobbegong shark under their bows. Call in at Neptune Fan Sea, a channel which is home to some of the largest gorgonian sea fans we've ever laid eyes on and enjoy a night dive at Romeo Island in search of the epaulette shark.
Days 6 – 7: Manta Sandy and Arborek Island
While the 'fishiest' dives in Raja Ampat are in the north, the premier spot to catch up with a fever (arguably our all-time favourite collective noun) of mantas is at the aptly named Manta Sandy.
These graceful giants congregate from just six metres depth to be cleaned by schools of technicolour wrasse and blacklip butterflyfish and are spotted gliding and somersaulting in the current, much to the delight of divers hooked on to the reef.
Macro lovers will revel in the dives at Arborek Jetty, where soft coral-clad pillars are home to ghost pipefish and cuttlefish, skeleton shrimp and blue-ringed octopus - that is, if you can see through the cloud of oxeye scad flitting between the posts. During surface intervals, take a walk into the village on Aborek Island to meet the locals and see their traditional way of life - the children are certainly not camera shy!
Days 8 – 11: Penemu and Kri Island
Sail north to explore Citrus Ridge, a tangerine-bright soft coral reef teeming with batfish, sweetlips and nesting glassfish, before mooring up at the Yanggelo Pinnacles to see schooling snappers, batfish and barracuda, and white-tip reef sharks stalking the reef. Huge brain and table corals dominate the topography but take a closer look at the gorgonian fans to spot ghost pipefish and pygmy seahorse.
Arriving at Penemu, a further pinnacle dive showcases schools of jacks, giant trevally and black snapper in the blue, and Indian lionfish or Pantohe pygmy seahorse amid the hard coral.
To end the trip in ultimate scuba style, spend hours underwater in the nutrient-rich currents of the Dampier Strait. Dive amid huge shoals of trevallies, rainbow runners and bannerfish at Sardine Reef, swimming beside sea fans, elephant ear sponges and tunicates in ice-cream shades. Macro lovers won't be disappointed either with spectacular muck dives at Saonek Jetty and Jembeser Jetty. Then if you feel like kicking off your fins, head inland to explore the lush Papuan jungle in search of stunning birds of paradise.
And the pinnacle of this Raja Ampat dive expedition? A dive at the record-breaking Cape Kri site. An astonishing 374 different fish species were spotted during just one dive here.
Day 12: Bali
Today you will be leaving the waters of Raja Ampat for the jungles of Ubud. After disembarking the you will be transferred back to the airport in good time for your indirect flight to Bali, which will take roughly seven or eight hours.
Fresh off the flight, you will be met by our representative and privately transferred to Ubud. Make sure to look out of the window as you pass ever changing lush green landscapes and small villages. The journey should take around 90 minutes.
Day 13 – 14: Bali
Located in Central Bali, Ubud is often hailed as the spiritual heart of Bali. Whilst you can indulge in morning yoga and healing treatments, Ubud has so much more to offer.
Spend the next couple of days soaking up the views of the beautiful rice terraces, hiking through tropic jungles to lush river valleys and discovering serene lakes. Walk or cycle to surrounding villages and watch local artisans carve natural materials into intricate artworks. Immerse yourself into the local culture with a traditional Balinese cooking class, watch a traditional dance performance and watch a temple ceremony. If you're feeling active, take a guided hike up a volcano at sunrise to see the landscape dipped in hues of pink, a truly unforgettable experience.
Day 15: Hometime
Sadly, it's the end of your trip. After a leisurely breakfast, morning yoga or final lap of the pool (whatever your mood), you will be transferred back to the airport in plenty of time for your flight home.
Day 16: Home
You will land back in London in the early morning.
Louisa and India are our experts for this itinerary and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.