The Nightlife of Waisai, the Capital of Raja Ampat
After an incredible day of diving in Northern Raja Ampat, the town of Waisai is a bustling hub for the local community and visitors to the area. While it can be considered a tiny town, the break from other touristic hubs in Indonesia, such as Bali, provides a much more authentic and personal experience. These family-owned establishments go out of their way to give their guests the best possible experience possible. You will not find a fast food chain on every corner or a coffee shop with outlandish drinks you will regret ordering, but rather local, honest experiences.
Let’s look at our recommendations for a night out in the town, Waisai style.
– Pondok Lessehan
We cannot recommend this restaurant enough. From humble beginnings, Pondok (Bahasa Indonesia for house/building) has established itself as a firm favourite of all who visit.
The menu offers a wide variety of seafood and traditional meals prepared using the freshest ingredients using old family recipes cooked to perfection. The relaxed and inviting atmosphere provides the perfect meeting place to enjoy your meal while discussing the day of diving or exploration. We recommend fried calamari and shrimp with a side of flat vegetable noodles.
– Cahaya Bone
For an authentic seafood experience, look no further than Cahaya Bone. Fresh smoked whole fish served with freshly made sambal (chili sauce), a large selection of rice dishes, and incredible fish soups are the order of the day when visiting. The fish is freshly caught, and the tuna can be highly recommended when available. Meals are served with sharing in mind. Large portions served in the center of the table make it easy to have a taste of all there is on offer. So be sure to bring your dive buddies and come hungry to experience fish in the local style.
– MAD Bar
Located in the 5-star PADI resort Meridian Adventure Dive Resort, MAD bar, and restaurant offers a great environment to kick back and enjoy a sunset cocktail after having a great meal. This bar provides three different seating areas. The mangrove terrace with relaxed seating and entertainment, including a pool table and table tennis. The pool and bar area where you lounge around and take a dip in the refreshing waters, and finally, the sunset deck that overlooks the resort's private marina offers the best possible sunset in all of Waisai. This bar and restaurant are a must-visit for all who come to Waisai. We recommend the ACC cocktail. A refreshing rum cocktail served in a coconut freshly cut from the resort's coconut trees.
– Ekon Bar and Karaoke
Located in the center of Waisai, this vibrant Karaoke Bar offers a great night out for all. The bar provides numerous private karaoke booths or, for those who don't mind putting their singing skills on display, an open mic karaoke situated next to the ground floor bar. Pool tables are available in the general seating area. While the drink and snack options are limited, you end up spending most of your time having a blast enjoying the up-to-date song list available. Why not give a local hit a go or show your talent with a well-known classic? From experience, we can guarantee that Bohemian Rapsody will get every voice in the crowd to join in.
– Waisai Coffee Shop
This intimate coffee shop offers a great meeting place for all. This coffee shop provides a well-thought-out selection of drinks that perfectly balance local flavours and western influences. There is bound to be something on the menu to appeal to everyone. The baristas have years of experience that they have mastered to make the best coffees in all of Waisai. There is also an impressive selection of delicious mocktails, and the chicken schnitzel and onion rings are a local favourite. Often you will find local musicians playing guitar at one of the tables while others are playing their favourite card games at another. So be sure to stop by and join in.
– Café Engineering
While Indonesia is famous for coffee beans from Sumatra, Java, and Sulawesi, and rightly so, tea culture has also become quite established over recent years. For those who need to fuel their tea cravings, look no further than Café Engineering. They have a large selection of loose-leaf teas brewed to perfection every time. This themed café incorporates engineering designs and components in the décor, and its consistency in great teas and single-origin coffees is an engineering feat on its own.
– Indoor football.
If your day of adventuring and diving in this beautiful area was not enough for you, why not try your hand or foot at an indoor football game instead. This is a trendy pastime for locals of Waisai, with teams designing their uniforms and competing in local tournaments, but there is always a fun match going on one of the fields. Spectators are often invited to join in on a game. A great social activity that is sure to get your heart racing.
While these are but a few of our favourite nighttime activities and locations to visit, there are so many more hidden gems on offer in Waisai. The best recommendation is to walk to the town and see where the night takes you, from local street vendors selling fruits, local snacks, and meals to groups of locals playing a game of darts or having a sing-along. There is always an adventure to be found in this small town.
About Meridian Adventure Dive
Situated in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, Meridian Adventure Dive is a PADI 5 Star Resort and winner of the PADI Green Star award. Scuba divers enjoy our professional services that have become synonymous with both the PADI and Meridian Adventure names.