Gam Island: favorite of Raja Ampat

Gam Island is one of the largest islands in Raja Ampat and absolutely our favorite! With its gigantic and colorful coral reefs, lush jungle and picturesque villages, Gam is a place you must have seen.

Gam is also called the little sister of the big Waigeo. The islands are separated only by a narrow passage called The Passage. Not only one of the larger islands but certainly one of the most beautiful islands in Raja Ampat. The island is 190 km² in size and has a coastline of no less than 125 kilometers. There are only 5 villages and 26 homestays.

We found this island to be the perfect base to explore the surrounding islands. With its rugged hills, sharp limestone cliffs and dense jungle, Gam is a paradise for nature lovers, adventurers and diving enthusiasts.

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What to do on Gam, Raja Ampat

If you’ve booked a trip to Raja Ampat, you’re probably there to dive or snorkel. With more than 100 kilometers of coastline, Gam is therefore absolutely the place to snorkel and dive and must to add to your Raja Ampat itinerary. But because of its size, you can also hike there, go into the jungle and spot tropical birds or even saltwater crocodiles. Read on quickly for all the activities on Gam.

Diving and snorkeling on Gam Island

Raja Ampat is known worldwide for its rich underwater world, and Gam Island is no exception. Well-known dive spots around Gam Island are: The Passage, Batu Lima, Citrus Reef and Friwen Wall. Each dive site has its own unique character; for example, Batu Lima is perfect for macro lovers and you can spot sharks right at The Passage and if you are lucky even manta rays. Snorkeling can really be done all around Gam.

For example, we stayed one week at the resort Biodiversity and the house reef here was truly FANTASTIC! So we saw white tip sharks, black tips, turtles as well as nurse sharks, walking sharks and even a dugong every day! Seriously! To say that you don’t have to do much in Raja Ampat to see much is really an understatement. Many places in Raja Ampat are suitable for experienced divers, so be sure to get informed beforehand. Also with snorkeling. In fact, the currents in Raja Ampat are quite intense. Even experienced, strong swimmers can struggle here.

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Explore the surrounding area with day excursions

We stayed quite a bit of time at Gam in order to explore more of the area. For example, during several day trips we visited local villages, Arborek, Kri Island and Pianemo, among others. One of Gam’s most famous day trips is a sunset boat ride through The Passage. Often this trip is combined with Hidden Bay.

This narrow water passage separates the islands of Gam and Waigeo and feels different from the rest of Raja Ampat. The Passage, with its steep limestone cliffs on both sides, resembles a river flowing between islands. The fast-flowing, nutrient-rich waters support a great diversity of marine life. Above water, the limestone cliffs are impressive, while below water you can find soft corals and unique marine ecology. The current in this passage can be strong. Divers and snorkelers may encounter large trevally, humphead parrotfish, turtles and sharks here. With luck, you might see a manta ray or eagle ray.

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Hiking and bird watching

Gam’s jungle is a paradise for bird lovers. Here you will find the red and blue bird of paradise and the palm cockatoo, among others. At almost all accommodations on Gam Island, you can book trips to see one of these birds of paradise. You often leave by boat very early in the morning and then go into the jungle. It is a unique and special experience, absolutely worthwhile even without spotting this rare bird.

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Hit the water with a kayak

At the Nature Biodiversity resort, you could use the kayak for free, so the two of us decided to sail to Blue River. We had to pay a small fee to proceed, but it was absolutely beautiful. You only hear the jungle and bird sounds. A perfect activity if you want to stay comfortably at your accommodation, but still want to see something.

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Visit a local village

What makes Raja Ampat so special is not only the beautiful underwater world, but also the unique culture. The locals here truly live by and on the sea. A visit to a local village is therefore an absolute must. You get the chance to see how they live, work and spend their days on this beautiful island.

Remember to be respectful of local customs and nature so that future generations can also enjoy this special piece of paradise.

Villages you could visit around Gam Island:

  • Sawinggrai: This village is famous for the red birds of paradise that can be seen nearby. It is a great place to spot these beautiful birds and enjoy the local hospitality.
  • Kapisawar: Known for its beautiful beaches and friendly residents. The village is easily reached by a concrete path from Sawinggrai, which offers a nice walk.
  • Yenbeser: Another charming village that offers a glimpse into daily life on Gam Island. The residents here are just as welcoming and the surroundings are just as beautiful.
gam island
gam raja ampat
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gam island

Which budget do i need in Gam Island?

The cost of Gam depends on your stay and the trips you have planned. If you go diving a lot or sleep in a luxury resort, then of course you will spend a lot more. In general, Raja Ampat is slightly more expensive than other places in Indonesia. That’s because Raja Ampat is so remote. Here is a small cost estimate for Gam:

  • Homestays: 60 -80 euros per night for 2 people incl food, snacks and coffee and tea
  • Resorts: 150 – 500 euros per night for 2 people incl food, snacks and coffee and tea (sometimes this includes diving, trips etc.)
  • Transportation: 700,000 – 1,000,000 (IDR) one-way tickets from Kri, Wasais, Mansuar and Arborek.

Also read the article“costs Raja Ampat

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Practical information about Gam Island

Because Gam Island is very large and surrounded by jungle, it is good to know that wifi is often not available. At homestays, electricity is often generated by a generator and is therefore only available in the evening. A good power bank and a local SIM card (although you often still don’t have coverage) are therefore handy.

It is also good to know that own snorkeling equipment is a must. Therefore, make sure you bring a fine snorkel set and fins. This allows you to dive into the water anytime, anywhere.

On Gam, it is not really possible to walk around because it is so densely forested. As a result, you rely more on your homestay or resort. There are some villages, but they are not accessible from all homestays.

Therefore, stores are not present on the island. If you want to bring some snacks or drinks of your own, we recommend stocking up in advance.

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What are nice places to stay in Gam Island?

Gam Island was definitely the favorite for us when it comes to staying. We had such a great time here. Here are some of our tips for homestays and resorts on Gam Island. The first few nights we stayed at the Beser Bay Homestay. This place is very remote, but oh so beautiful! If you really want to find peace and quiet, this is your place.

We spent the remaining days at Nature Biodiversity. In addition to luxury bungalows, they also offer basic bungalows for 75 euros p.p. incl. 3 meals, snacks, coffee, tea, fresh juices and icetea. One place we would have loved to stay, but unfortunately was already full, was Yenbesar. We’ll save that one for next time.

How to get to Gam Island?

From Sorong, take the ferry to Waisai, the capital of Raja Ampat on Waigeo Island. From Waisai, you can rent a local boat that will take you to your homestay on Gam in about 1.5 hours. The cost for this crossing is about IDR 700,000 – 1,000,000 (about 40-60 euros) per one-way trip.

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Gam is one of the most beautiful places we have ever visited. Not only will you find beautiful beaches here, but the nature and surroundings are breathtaking. Whether you want to dive, snorkel, hike or just relax in one of the charming homestays or luxury resorts, Gam has it all. So pack your bags, throw that backpack on your back, put on your snorkel and book those tickets to Raja Ampat real quick.

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