Papua Travel Information - Sayang & Piai

Sayang & Piai: Raja Ampat's Turtle Islands
Out beyond Wayag in the very far northwest of Raja Ampat, the uninhabited islands of Sayang and Piai are totally different in character from their famous neighbour. You won't see any limestone peaks here - both islands are pancake-flat. They are however surrounded by beautiful, sandy beaches that hardly ever feel a tourist's footprint on them, and are instead used as nesting ground by what is probably the biggest population of sea turtles in the region.
Attractions Activities Getting There Accommodation
Main Attractions


Much larger Sayang, visible from Wayag as a line of trees over the horizon, is actually subject of a low-key territorial dispute between West Papua and North Maluku, for traditionally the people of Yoi, from the Gebe Islands in North Maluku, have had some gardens here. You won't see much sign of that though - as you sail around the island, all you see is white sand beaches backed by bush.


Much smaller Piai lies to the northwest of Sayang and is if anything, even more pristine. The so-called Papuan Turtle Foundation has a small guard-post here, supposedly surveying and protecting the nesting turtle population, but when I visited it seemed long abandoned. Should they be there during your visit, report and ask for permission to see the turtles.



You can't fail to notice the numerous tracks of nesting turtles up the islands' beaches, but catching a nesting female in act requires a bit more luck. Should you be lucky to spot one, observe the usual rules of turtle-watching: don't touch the turtle, don't shine torches into its eyes, and in general avoid scaring it back to the sea before it starts actually laying its eggs, for if it returns to the sea without doing so, it will probably just waste them in the water.


At least on Piai, the active days of the Turtle Foundation have left behind some nice walking tracks used to patrol the beaches from inland. They make for great, easy rainforest walking, and during the day you may spot megapodes or monitor lizards from them.

Getting There and Around
As with Wayag, joining a cruise or chartering your own boat is the only way to get here. Cruises very rarely seem to visit these islands, so ask about it before you sign up if you are really keen to get here.
There's obviously no accommodation out here either, though finding a spot to camp on these flat islands would be easy enough. You could also try to stay at the (possibly abandoned) camp of the Turtle Foundation.