The more you know about a new place you will be visiting, the better your visit will be. That is why it is important to learn about the culture of the people of Raja Ampat before heading out to the islands. Majority of the people here are mainly Christian. The locals are called Papuan. They are generally very welcoming and friendly. Here are some things that you need to know when visiting Raja Ampat:
- Language – Even though English is not spoken by most people, there is always someone that you can communicate with. The people here mostly speak a ‘mother tongue’, which is usually a Papuan language but they also speak Bahasa Indonesia.
- Dress – This is something that they hold dear to their hearts and it will do you good to take it seriously. You need to take note of how your hosts dress and then adopt your dressing to be similar to theirs. This is a sure way not to offend anyone. One of the things to avoid is walking around the village in your swimming attire. Even though they may not speak up, most people will be offended. When going out in public, you need to make sure that you are covered up. The least you can do is wear knee length shorts and a t-shirt. When swimming and sunbathing, avoid going topless or nude.
- Sundays – Since most of the people on the islands are Christian, Sunday is their day of rest. This means that you will not be able to go on tours, boat trips or enjoy any activities that may be dependent on the host. Take that day to go exploring, snorkeling or swimming but don’t pressure the host to go with you anywhere on that day. To them, it is a day to spend with the community and family.
- Places of Worship – Make sure that you are appropriately dressed before visiting any of this. Additionally, ask for permission to enter the mosque or Church.
- Food – You will likely be supplied with local fare. You can expect a wide variety of dishes and desserts if you are open to trying new foods, but if not, your host will be okay with giving you basic meals with a western twist.
- Facilities and Services – If you are looking for world-class services and facilities, you will not find them here. Consider this an adventure and relax your expectations.
- Resolving disputes – If there is a problem, the best thing to do is to stay calm and explain the problem with a smile. If you berate or shout, the outcome will most likely be negative.