If a barefoot luxury experience is your style, look no further than Papua Paradise Eco Resort, Raja Ampat. At the end of our 8 days on a live aboard exploring this unspoilt Indonesian treasure, we capped off our holiday of a lifetime with 4 nights at Papua Paradise. What a way to finish our experience in Raja Ampat in absolute bliss!
We arrived at Papua Paradise Eco Resort after a teary departure from our liveaboard. As we approached the softly lit over water bungalows in the moonlight, you could see that the crystal-clear waters were teaming with life.
When was the last time you did something for the first time?
After a warm island welcome, we were shown to our deluxe bungalow by following a sandy path along the island foreshore. We were the last deluxe bungalow which gave us additional privacy.
The bungalow exceeded our every expectation and after a week aboard a sailboat, the space and serenity was all encompassing. The bungalows are rustic, yet elegant and luxurious. They retain their traditional charm with natural building materials, airy thatched ceilings, a gorgeous muslin bed canopy and teak furnishings.
Behind the bed is a generous wardrobe and storage area. The bungalow also contains an indoor lounge and study desk. The bathroom is an experience in itself with a beautiful outdoor shower and natural fittings.
Walking through the french doors onto your own two-tier deck you are assaulted with panoramic views to the neighbouring islands. Complete with day bed, sun lounger and sitting area the veranda provides a gorgeous spot to relax and enjoy the truly spectacular sunsets. The marine life passing by will have you spell bound for hours – from sea birds to baby sharks, stingrays and huge fish chasing schools of bait fish.
The resort is laid back, barefoot luxury in Raja Ampat. It’s authentic and stylish, but don’t expect the four seasons! It is still primitive in its own way and that is what gives it its charm. There is no air-conditioning or window screens here, but this wasn’t a problem for us. Sea breezes and a ceiling fan over the bed were more than enough to keep us comfortable. The muslin nets around the bed work a treat and the staff light mosquito deterrents at night to keep the critters at bay.
The food was simple and fresh! I am not usually a buffet fan, but I enjoyed the variety and simplicity of the food here. Traditional Indonesian dishes are served alongside western favourites and there is always fresh fruit and snacks. Omelettes to order are also available at breakfast. Wine is expensive but the refreshing whisky sour from the lounge bar comes highly recommended and will forever remind me of nights in Paradise!
After snorkelling the best Raja Ampat has to offer for 8 days, I was sceptical that the house reef at Papua Parise would compare, but I was wrong. The snorkelling was stunning! As well as all manner of reef fish and colourful diverse corals we saw turtles, sting rays, black and white tipped reef sharks and a few sights that we hadn’t yet experienced including barracuda and the raja walking shark.
At one point while snorkelling along the edge of the reef, I looked over my shoulder to see five devil rays swimming alongside within three metres of me. If you’re really lucky you can also meet the local dugongs but alas – we will have to return to catch them.
The staff are what really make your experience at Papua Paradise so magical. They seem to know everyone by name and have a constant smile and warm greeting for you. If you love diving, snorkelling or nature, Papua Paradise offers daily tours and day trips to all of the popular sites and experiences in Raja Ampat. This includes dive sites, bird watching, island experiences, village tours and waterfalls.
We were so ‘busy’ aboard our liveaboard that we really just wanted to unwind and relax at the end of our journey and you couldn’t find a better place to do this. There is not a lot to do on the island itself, other than snorkel and relax. Completely isolated from civilisation Papua Paradise with its rustic charm is the ultimate hide away to rejuvenate with only the sound of the birds and the lapping of the water under your bungalow.
We busied ourselves with eating, wandering the island, snorkelling, eating, taking a nap, another snorkel, kayaking, sunset drinks before dinner – need I say more! Life doesn’t get much better.
My visit to the Paradise Spa, was exactly that – paradise. The massage is definitely up there with the best I’ve experienced and that was the single set of hands version. You can actually have a four hands massage – I can only imagine the bliss.
On our last evening we decided to try the Hornbill Island Sunset Cruise for something a little bit different. At first, I thought we were just going to enjoy a cold beer and the view and not really see anything but as the sun begun to sink below the horizon, hornbills began to appear from all directions and descend upon the jungle canopy nearby to roost for the night. I will never forget the sound of the flapping wings as perhaps 100 hornbills slowly gathered for the evening. Quite a magical experience.
Papua Paradise Eco Resort is a two-hour speed boat ride from Sorong in West Papua. It is located on the shoreline of the idyllic tropical island, Birie, in the heart of Raja Ampat.
With two pristine reefs and an island dense with lush jungle you are surrounded by mother nature at her best. The resort consists of 26 luxury over water bungalows, the dive centre, Sunset Restaurant, Bar and Lounge and the Spa in Paradise luxury day spa.
Wifi is available in the lounge but is intermittent. There is no cell service.
We paid EUROS £590/night for our deluxe bungalow including all meals and a one-way transfer. We had already paid the Raja Ampat park permit fee of US$110.
So, if I could only experience this spectacular area one way, which would I pick? In my opinion, you can’t beat a liveaboard as a means of seeing an entire area and really turning a holiday into an adventure. As part of the overall experience though – 4 nights to finish off our adventure in style – Papua Paradise was an absolute winner! All in all, I would go back in a heartbeat. For me, barefoot luxury in Raja Ampat – paradise found!
PS: If you want to read part 1 of our adventure, exploring the same spectacular region whilst sailing a liveboard click on the link below.
The reef shots in this post were taken on a GoPro HERO as opposed to some of the whizz bang photo gear being aboard the WISESA. This post is not sponsored, and all opinions are my own.