Raja Ampat, Kri Island. Sorido Bay Resort. Indonesia, July 2012.

Review Raja Ampat

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic Google translation from a post originally written in French. My apologies for the weird sentences and the funny mistakes that could have been generated during the process. If you can read French, the original and correct version can be found here:

  Indonesia: Alor + Raja Ampat - July 2012

Raja Ampat! I fell in love with these lost islands in the depths of Indonesia. I was there in March. I went back in July. Even dazzling.

Kri Island

I returned on Kri Islandwhom I had loved so much, three months ago. It takes about two hours by boat to reach the island from Sorong.

Aerial view of Kri Island, with the Sorido Bay Resort in the foreground and its incredible blue hole in the coral, and on the right, the Kri Eco Resort. Raja Ampat, Papua Barat, Indonesia. (Photo: Papua Diving)
Aerial view of Kri Island, with the Sorido Bay Resort in the foreground and its incredible blue hole in the coral, and on the right, the Kri Eco Resort. (Photo: Papua Diving)

Returning to these places is a happiness without name. When I finally see the blue-green triangle of Kri, on the horizon, my heart beats harder. The place made me feel so great, when I first came here ...

How I love the islands at the end of the world! That this place is beautiful! I would almost shed a little tear, I'm so moved when I arrive.

Raja Ampat, Kri Island. Sorido Bay Resort. Indonesia, July 2012.

Raja Ampat, Kri Island. Sorido Bay Resort. Indonesia, July 2012.

I found the incredible pontoon of Sorido Bay Resort, which leads you to the blue hole in the middle of the coral.

Raja Ampat, Kri Island. Sorido Bay Resort. Indonesia, July 2012.

Raja Ampat, Kri Island. Sorido Bay Resort. Indonesia, July 2012.

I found "my" beach of white sand, fringed with greenery.

Raja Ampat, Kri Island. Sorido Bay Resort. Indonesia, July 2012.

The neighboring islet, with its little house on stilts, in wood and braided palms, planted on the sandbar that pops up and disappears at the mercy of the tides, is still there, just in front.

Raja Ampat. Indonesia, July 2012.

Raja Ampat. Indonesia, July 2012.

And then I found some friends. Jimmy and Julia, current managers of the resort, greet me with big smiles. Nathan, my favorite dive guide, is there, too, and will accompany me underwater throughout my stay.

Raja Ampat. Indonesia, July 2012.

Raja Ampat. Indonesia, July 2012.

Ah! Raja Ampat! A truly exceptional destination. Still virgin, isolated. Not easy to get there, not easy to leave. I tell you all this in a future post ...

All info → Raja Ampat: practical information to organize your trip


  Indonesia: Alor + Raja Ampat - July 2012

    1. @Laurence: I have a big big delay in my posts ... Since I returned at the end of July, and that I took the job, I can not find time for anything. Me too, I dream by rediscovering these images in the bottom of my hard drive, I admit ... (sigh)

  1. I am blown away by the transparency of these turquoise waters! Thank you for these pictures of a world far away 😉

    1. @Ysbilia: yes, the color of the water, as soon as the sun comes out, is really incredible ... All this seems far away to me too today ...

    1. @Didier: the climate in July remains "tropical-humid", it is right on the line of the equator, so question time, it does not really change, it's a bit like the rest of the year: on a week, you will have roughly a third of a day sunny, a third of gray day but without rain, a third of the day when there may be showers ..

      In fact, what's changing in July is the wind. He can start to blow really hard, all at once, for half a day. Before falling back just as suddenly. As a result, there are many more waves and swells, making navigation more difficult. That's why dive cruisers do not return to their season until October-November, until about March-April (maybe even until May, I do not know exactly).

      To dive in July in Raja Ampat, it is better to be based in a resort on land, preferably near the most interesting sites, those of the Dampier Strait, as I was during this stay in Kri Island, at Papua Diving . It avoids having too much to do. Because despite the beautiful color of the water sheltered from coral reefs, when there are waves, it becomes sporty to go out ...

      Side visi, it can be really remarkable in summer. By cons, the other side of the coin, it is not the season of mantas, they are much rarer, compared to the show that I could admire in March:
      I only managed to cross one in July ... 😡

      On the other hand, sharks, turtles, schools of humpback parrotfish, jacks, gaterini, and all the other incredible creatures of the Indo-Pacific zone are still there, in abundance, #8230; 😯 I have in stock an impressive amount of underwater images made this summer, which I still have not finished sorting. The sites are really extraordinary, in terms of density and variety of fish.

      I will continue to post new articles on this July trip in the coming weeks, with underwater photos, which will speak for themselves ... In the meantime, you can go on a tour of those I already had put on line on my stay of March, mixing diving-cruise and resort:

  2. @corinne: A big thank you for all these details! I will read all this very carefully! So it is true that I had planned to go there via a diving cruise, but my professional imperatives do not allow me to travel "long" out of summer! What a pity ! But hey, I have to study all this in detail!

    Like last summer I went to Java, Bali, Rinca, Komodo and Flores, I plan to go back to the area, visiting other islands (Sumatra, Celebes for example) and end up a diving trip to Raja Ampat !! My 2 passions are trekking and diving, so ...

    Another project: the archipelago of Vanuatu that would allow me to "do" the volcanoes, and dive on the wrecks of the Second World War! It can be interesting too!

    In the meantime, I'm going to get into underwater photography too! But gently! When I see your photos, it gives really want to get started ... Well, I will invest first in "light" material and then we'll see. I have seen on various sites that there is material not too expensive to start. I will go to the diving lounge to see if I find my happiness!

    I intend to train next spring, ten days in the calm waters of the Seychelles or the Maldives (although & #8230 in the Maldives drifting dives can be sporting !!) Good, there I am doing very badly & #8230 ; 😳 but you understand me !!!

    Thank you again for your beautiful site that I keep visiting !!
    Really I'm a fan 🙂 🙂

    1. @Didier: having tested Raja Ampat in July, I gladly recommend the destination at this time too, despite the "lack" of mantas. The other advantage is that summer is not the "high" season in Raja Ampat, so there are fewer people ... Good to know too: if you can go in June, which is really the season "Digs", most dive resorts are willing to pay a small discount ...

      Well, for sure, it costs an arm, Raja Ampat, if you want to dive (nothing to do with the prices rather cheap, usually practiced in Indonesia), but when we love & #8230; 😈 I do not know (not yet) Seychelles nor Maldives, but tariffs question, it must be of the same order, I imagine.

      If you're thinking of ending an Indonesian trip by Raja Ampat, it's a good idea to aim for Sulawesi (also known as Celebes Island), since the flights to Sorong take off from Makassar (also called Ujung Pandang, very often, when flight searches on company sites). If I remember correctly, there is also a flight to Sorong with the Merpati since Manado (but knowing the vagaries of this company, I do not recommend too much).

      For the wrecks of the Second World War, Max Ammer, the owner of Papua Diving who manages the Sorido Bay Resort and Kri Eco Resort on Kri Island, is a wreck of WWII as well:
      There are some aircraft wrecks in the waters of the archipelago and certainly ships ... But I did not look at the question and I did not have the opportunity to dive on it.

      For underwater photography, you will find a lot of used equipment and tips to start on the excellent Underwater Photo Forum (with which I went in a week in Egypt to Hamata, last year):
      For my part, I have long been content with a simple compact camera to shoot underwater (I have invested in the SLR and the box that goes well in 2010). We can already really have fun and learn the basics with a compact, before switching to more expensive gear and more complex to handle.

      Finally, thanks for the compliments on the blog. Delighted that you like so much on my Little Bubbles Elsewhere!

    2. Great !! Well now I have everything I need to develop my trip project! 🙂 It's great! I look forward to following your publications !! 🙄

  3. Raja Ampat invites to escape just by name! An Indonesian girl on the island of Java told me that she dreamed of going there one day and when I see these pictures, I understand why better!
    On Java or Bali everything is very cheap but what about Raja Ampat between life on site and the costs for diving?

    1. @ Maïder: Raja Ampat is really an exceptional place ... But to dive in, it costs an arm. Nothing to do with the prices of the rest of Indonesia ...

  4. Mince, I did not realize ... you came back to Sorido and therefore you still do not know the pangs of Kri Eco, Sorido's little brother poor resort, dedicated to humble, modest and petty ... And so you will not be able tell me if it would be bearable for my non-diver. 😐

    1. @ Ludovic / Wet & Sea: I'm embarrassed, what do you want ... But for what I saw, I think that Kri Eco would be quite bearable for your non-diver ...

  5. I understand your emotion when you come back ... There is always a place in the world that remains engraved in our hearts.
    I have the impression that it will not be the last time you go back there. It is understandable. What a superb water.

  6. Dear Corinne, I love your photos mid surface / underwater, what a beautiful bluffing effect!
    Back from Komodo, where to go next ?????
    I know your answer and on the other hand I have a friend who comes back with superlatives PALAU ....
    When you chat with the divers aboard the cruise ship, we exchange our experiences and our good plans, it is dreaming. I was able to pay the Mermaid 1 this year but unlike the wealthy majority on board, I can not afford this budget for next year, snif ALOR !!!!
    The Americans praise the assets of the COCOS Islands and GALAPAGOS ... that it is far for us and surely more expensive than your favorite that makes you shed a tear of emotion ...
    2013 may be for me the comeback in Egypt (deserted by tourists but not divers) or the West Indies ... ..
    While waiting to know your future projects, I am very curious, me, to know where you will go early next year!

    1. @Lisemet: dear Lisemet, I warmly recommend Raja Ampat, you doubt it ... But it's clear, you have to have the budget ...

      I think Palau is not given either. Alor would be, in comparison, more affordable ... Otherwise, yes, there is always Egypt, of course. This is still what we can find cheaper and less far to make beautiful dives. As for the islands Coco and Galapagos, they are scary time unenviable for me. And I think that the water is rather cold ...

      My next destination? Well, I have to admit that I just came back ... I gave myself an unprecedented getaway, which I have not talked about yet on this blog, but it will not be long. 😉

      As for the next coming destination, maybe March 2013 if I can, it might be the Mollusks. (Indonesia, there's no better !!!) I think more and more ...

    2. NO, already left and back, tell me, in addition to the gills you have wings ???? 😉
      Joking aside, you said too much to reveal the destination of this mystery trip!
      At the moment I am in contact with structures on Mabul for a small stay in April ... .. 🙄

  7. Salam Corinne, do you remember me?

    Almost 3 years that my family and I did not set foot in Indo (we were in the Burmese mountains), almost 3 years that we did not dive! But this year it is decided, we explode the budget and we leave 2 months in Irian Jaya.
    From what I read and choped as info, there are now "homestays" on the Raja, homestays certainly at high prices but we have no choice! We think to stay 3/4 weeks on the Raja (we also want to go to Baliem, in the Cendrawasih bay and pitet on the side of Biak) and slow as we are, we must make choices on the islands where the we want to stay. That's why I'm asking you, if you can give me islands (I understand that you had loved pulau Kri), dive sites, snorckling or any other unavoidable place, you'll be delighted and grateful 😉 You can of course contact me by email.
    I kiss you and wish you a happy new year 2013, filled with bubbles as you like them.

    1. @Pit: Hello Pierre! Yes, I remember our past exchanges !!! Nice to meet you here ... 😉

      I think it is better to avoid saying "Irian Jaya" now, it was the name given before 2007 by the Indonesian colonizers ... Prefer "Papua Barat" !!!
      •• http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Papua_(province)

      But tremble of historical quibble ...

      Yes, there are "homestays" in Raja Ampat. There are several on the island of Mansuar (the big island in the extension of the tiny Kri Island). You can also stay in the cute village of Arborek Island, tiny too, but very close to the mantas-stain spot.

      More and more locals have started to open "homestays", some in the rules (no more than one or two rooms for tourists to rent at home), others not. I do not know all the existing addresses / islands.

      When these are accommodations built specifically for rental to tourists, they are mostly very rustic cabins with roofs and walls of palm leaves.

      These local "homestays" are not dive centers, and have neither the equipment nor the permission to take divers with the required safety. However, it must be possible to snorkel and visit the surrounding islands, subject to finance (at a golden price, like everything there), a boat and diesel for the engine ... The place is very isolated, the prices charged have nothing to do with the rest of Indonesia.

      I intend to do a practice post soon on Raja Ampat, because many people ask me for information ... But I give you loose some information already. 😉

      If you want to dive (I mean scuba-bottle), we really have no choice but to contact one of the local resorts, which have gear, compressors, trained guides. Here are the seven that exist, to my knowledge:

      • Kri Eco Resort - Papua Diving - http://www.papua-diving.com/diveresorts/krieco/
      • Sorido Bay Resort - Papua Diving - http://www.papua-diving.com/diveresorts/sorido/ (which I tested, and I loved)
      • Raja Ampat Dive Lodge - Grand Komodo - http://rajaampat-divelodge.com/
      •• Raja4Divers - http://www.raja4divers.com (my sister, non-diver, tested, and loved)
      •• Papua Paradise - http://www.papuaparadise.com
      • Raja Ampat Dive Resort - http://rajaampatdiveresort.com (brand new, run by Papuans with the help of a Dutchman if I'm not mistaken)
      •• Waiwo Dive Resort - http://waiwodiverajaampat.com/ (on Waigeo, near Wasai)
      And I add an eighth (located much further from the zone, in the south, on the island of Misool), just to dream (because there, it takes a very very very big budget):
      • Misool Eco Resort - http://www.misoolecoresort.com

      Otherwise, for a truly authentic and very roots experience, there is the nice project Kayak4Conservation:
      •• http://kayak4conservation.com
      The project is supported by RARCC (Raja Ampat Research and Conservation Center) with the help of Papua Diving. It was set up by a young South African whom I met on Kri, and who hopes, ultimately, that this "green" tourism development project will be totally taken in hand by the locals with whom he works. He made them build several "homestays", precisely, in often isolated places, for the stages in full nature of the kayakers. I visited several, including one under construction ... It's actually very very roots. But for adventure lovers in nature, it is tempting!

      Finally, I found here and there, during my research on the Internet, other links, including this one:
      •• http://www.stayrajaampat.com/accommodation
      But I understood from reading forums, that everything was not necessarily reliable or up to date in the infos posted ... But we see the islands of Mansuar and Arborek, which I speak above.
      Hey, and there's that too:
      •• http://travelinginparadise.blogspot.fr/2012/07/sawinggrai-village-where-paradise-bird.html
      And lots of interesting information that goes in the same direction as what I observed, by a guy who knows very well the east of Indonesia:
      •• http://www.east-indonesia.info/regions/raja-ampat.html

      I will try to compile all this in a future article ...

      Finally, for Cendarawish Bay, Baliem Valley and Biak, I do not have much information, having not done any research on it yet. But it will be for a next trip ...

      Good preparations !!!

  8. Thank you very much for the speed and precision of your answer! For the name of Irian Jaya, I did not know completely; without your comment, the Papuans might eat me raw 😉
    I started making contacts on the spot but apparently internet works randomly and by SMS, it's not fastoche, especially in Indonesian!

    After reading what I posted more, I want to apologize for landing on your blog as a big boor with my lot of questions. I did not even take the time to salute the remarkable work you do with your "little bubbles elsewhere"; everything is pleasure here, the writings like the photos, a big, very big congratulations to you !!! 8)

    1. @Pit: It seems that the Papuans have stopped eating people, thankfully ... 😀 Otherwise, do not worry, it's a pleasure to see you tumble here. Next time, remove the clogs and put flip flops, it's more comfortable ... 😆

      Thanks for the compliments, it touches me a lot. In any case, I prefer to answer questions as they arrive. It is also true that I give very little information strictly practical in my articles, especially on small accommodations and prices, because everything changes very quickly in Asia. A good address a year may not be the next year, or have disappeared or changed a lot, etc.

      The "work" as you say, on my Little Bubbles Elsewhere, has no other purpose than the pleasure of sharing. Delighted that it feels.

      I'm thinking about it now, but I think there are also some cheap accommodation on the big Waigeo Island in Waisai.

      And, yes, the problem in Raja Ampat - apart from diving resorts - is to be able to contact people. It's really very very isolated. No internet in the archipelago outside Sorong and some resorts. Network more than random for the telephone reception ...

      A new airport must be built on Waigeo. In a few years, the Raja Ampat will surely not be a place as virgin nor so difficult to access ... It is now that we must try to go!

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