According to local mythology in Papua, a woman found seven eggs, four of which exploded to create the four main islands of Raja Ampat (in Indonesian, ‘Four Kings’). The second of these is Misool Island, situated to the west of Papua and with an impressive underwater landscape, like the rest of the islands in Raja Ampat. Misool Island is home to huge marine biodiversity, with coral reefs ideal for diving or snorkeling. Surrounded by enormous limestone rock formations, the scenery of Misool Island is very pleasant, but due to its more sculpted geography, it doesn’t have as many beaches as other islands in Raja Ampat.
The scenery of Misool is slightly different from what you would expect of an island in the Pacific. Among its sculpted rocks, emerges a thick forest and a swamp full of vegetation that differs widely from the paradisiacal image of white-sand beaches, coconut trees and an infinite horizon.
On Misool the climate is the same as in the rest of the archipelago; it is tropical with rainy seasons and monsoons between the months of June and September. The best time to visit Misool Island is from October to March, months when the rains are sporadic (as is to be expected in a tropical climate) and the water temperature stays between 26ºC and 28ºC, which is ideal for diving.
Culture and History of Misool Island
The archipelago of Raja Ampat, of which Misool Island is one of the largest islands, formed part of the sultanate of Tidore in ancient times. Then it was colonized by the Dutch, though it preserves its Indigenous essence in its traditions and way of life.
In the caves hidden among the forests of Misool Island, you can find figures and designs engraved in rock more than 5,000 years ago. Despite being the second island in Raja Ampat, Misool is sparsely populated, since it is remote and access to it is complicated.
Despite the distance that separates them, the culture of Misool is very similar to that of the rest of the Raja Ampat Islands. Indigenous constructions, millenary folk dances and a deep respect for and love of the nature surrounding them, are main characteristics of culture in the archipelago. With regard to the cuisine, it is difficult to find Western food on Misool Island, as it is on the rest of the islands and cities in Raja Ampat. In this area, the locals grow and prepare their food based on rice, chicken and pork, since there are few imports from outside the islands.
On Misool Island the main language is Indonesian, although in some areas very ancient Indigenous languages are spoken, which many visitors will find it difficult to understand. Nevertheless, as in the rest of the archipelago, you can often run into a visitor or foreign resident who can help out visitors who may be confused by the language.
Misool Island and Raja Ampat, a Unique Environment
The archipelago of Raja Ampat forms part of the so-called Coral Triangle, and it also has its own National Marine Park, which includes the waters of Misool Island. This protected zone is the home to unique species like the dudong and to hundreds of corals inhabiting its cristal waters, ideal for tranquil dives to watch and photograph the innumerable species making up its diverse marine ecosystem.
Misool Island has several outstanding dive sites, including Fiabecet, Jamur and Kaleidoscope. There you can observe a stunning array of species like clown fish, manta rays, whitetip sharks, many types of mollusks, and showy corals.
Practical Information about Misool Island
The archipelago of Raja Ampat is situated in a remote location of the Pacific Ocean. Access is not easy, but there are several options for arriving on Misool Island or any of the other islands in this area.
The best option is, first, to arrive at Sorong (in West New Guinea) by plane. There are connections to Sorong from cities like Kuala Lumpur, Singapore or Bali. The options for arriving at Misool are few, since the ferries are infrequent. Before finalizing your travel plans to the island, work out with your resort or travel agency how you will reach there. The boat trip from Sorong usually takes about five hours, though this depends on the ocean conditions. Here you can find all information required to get to Raja Ampat.
The best way to get to Misool is go to Sorong in Raja Ampat and get the ferry to Misool (Yellu village).
There are two companies offering services from Sorong to Misool. Here you can find the schedules:
Kapal Fajar Baru 8
Route: sorong – Misool every monday at 12pm (midnight)
Route: Misool – Sorong, on Thursday at 09.00 am
Km Fajar Indah II
Route:Sorong – Misool on Friday at 12pm (midnight)
Route: Misool – Sorong on Saturday at 15.00 pm
Since it is so remote from large cities and tourist complexes, in Raja Ampat it is difficult to change money or withdraw cash. We urge you to secure as much cash as you expect to need during your stay, before leaving Sorong. Also, please be sure that all of your bills are in good condition, or Indonesian banks may refuse to accept them or offer you a reduced exchange rate.
What to Do and See on Misool Island?
The main attraction of the island is, without a doubt, diving. Misool Island forms part of the National Marine Park of Raja Ampat, with the greatest marine biodiversity on the planet. Because of this, and due to the warmth of its waters, the islands of Raja Ampat are the ideal destination for diving aficionados searching for new adventures and discoveries.
Other islands, like Batanta, are well known as way stations in the migration of many birds, and for their excellent centers for bird watching. On Misool, to some extent, you can also see different species of birds on their flight to zones in different climates.
Although the ocean floor is the greatest attraction to visitors, the landscapes of Misool, and of the other islands in Raja Ampat, are well worth your time to see and explore. Trekking, discovering lush forests, gazing at the sunset on the horizon, or climbing to the highest point of land to enjoy marvelous views of the Pacific, are all activities you can enjoy on Misool Island.
Misool Island, in Indonesia, is a stunning place to explore, with its breathtaking nature and its ocean floor brimming with unique species. Come visit the islands of Raja Ampat and discover a remote, beautifully preserved Paradise!
Have you ever been in Misool Island? Tell us about it! If you want to add information to the post or give your opinion about this island in Indonesia, we are waiting for your comment!