Raja Ampat Marine Protected Area | Bantimurung National Park | Kelimutu National Park

Raja Ampat Marine Protected Area

Raja Ampat is a paradise for lovers of underwater marine life. The one million hectare area is a habit for 1,318 species of coral fish (27 of which are endemic), 533 species of coral reef (representing 75% of global coral reef species), 699 species of molluscs, 15 species of marine mammals, and five species of turtles, it's surely no wonder that this site is nickname "The Amazon of the Sea".
With such an impressive portfolio of wildlife, this conservation park offers diving and snorkelling as its main tourist attractions. In addition to acquainting oneself with a wealth of sea creatures, one can also dive on the wrecks of airplanes and other war materials at several points.
For non-divers, the main attraction here is island hopping. Viewed from above, Raja Ampat is a cluster of 610 islands scattered across the blue ocean in a manner similiar to that of the "dragon back" islands in Ha Long Bay in Vietnam or Phi Phi in Thailand.
Towards the end of last year, Raja Ampat organised its first ever Marine Festival, and the local government plans to turn the festival into an annual event in order to promote a side of the region that has, until now, been under-exploited, namely its culture and cuisine.

How to get there
Raja Ampat is located in Papua. Fly to Domine Edward Airport, then continue your expedition on the Marina Express Boat, which departs everyday at 2pm from Pelabuhan Rakyat (the people's harbour). Information on Raja Ampat and its various tourist attractions can be found at www.gorajaampat.com.

Bantimurung National Park

"The Kingdom of Butterfly" is the nickname Alfred Russel Wallace gave this place. When visiting the area in 1857, The British adventurer saw 300 species of butterfly living in the verdant Bantimurung-Bulusaraung area. The findings of his explorations were then written up in an iconic book entitled "The Malay Acrhipelago", which was published in 1869. This was then used as the basis for establishing the imaginary Wallace line, a line of climate demarcation that runs between the islands of Sulawesi and Kalimantan. 
The  presence of a number of caves with a paintings on their walls is another unique phenomenom to check out in Bantimurung-Bulusaraung, and research has concluded that the caves were used by prehistoric humans. The 43,000 hectare national park also contains The Bantimurung waterfall, which has become a popular weekend destination for the people of Makasar. 

How to get there
Bantimurung-Bulusaraung straddles two Districts in South Sulawesi, namely Maros and The Islands of Pangkajene. To get there, fly to Makasar, then continue your journey overland for 40 kilometres. Information on  Bantimurung-Bulusaraung can be found at www.tn-babul.org.

Kelimutu National Park

The Main attractions here are the three lakes that sit at the top of Mount Kelimutu (1,700 metres above sea level) which have waters that myteriously change colour. The lakes are named Tiwu Ata Mbupu, Tiwu Nuwa Muri Koo Fai and Tiwu Ata Polo. The exact moment when the lakes change colour cannot be predicted, but it is claimed that the canges are result of a combination of the refraction of the sun's rays, the presence of micro biota in the water and chemicals on the walls of the lakes. 
in addition to the lakes, the national park also boasts various plants and animals, some of which are endemic of the area. Fauna here includes Wallacea owls, Florenese eagles, bulls and anteaters. 

How to get there
The National Park of Kelimutu is located in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT). Fly to Kupang, and then on to Ende, and then continue your journey overland for the last 100 kilometres. The Kelimutu National Park Office has constructed an access road to make it easier for tourists to enjoy beauty of the lake . Information on Kelimutu can be found at www.tnkelimutu.com.