Fam Archipelago. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, January 2015)
Fam Archipelago. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, January 2015)

Raja Ampat : practical information and tips to organize your trip

#Indonesia

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 & #160; Bangka [Sulawesi] + Rao [Halmahera] + Raja Ampat [Papua] - July 2019

I'm getting tons of emails asking me for information about Raja Ampat! So I gathered everything in one single post. But be aware, a trip to Raja Ampat requires you to behave as a respectful and responsible visitor. Tourism, which is booming in the region, is endangering one of the world's most magnificent reservoirs of biodiversity.

A Place We Must Protect

Raja Ampat means "the Four Kings". Composed of a multitude of islets covered with jungle, it is an archipelago located in the Far East of Indonesia, within the Coral Triangle of the Indo-Pacific area.

  Above, the spectacular viewpoint on the islets of Fam, emblematic of the Raja Ampat landscapes... We can see Otto, my super Papuan dive guide, and my buddy Sarah.

Nature is still relatively unspoilt there, because these islands are remote and isolated, still not too well known (even if it is getting less and less true). The Raja Ampat Archipelago is outstanding, in its beauty and its biodiversity, both on land and at sea.

But the tourism development in the area is speeding up and has negative consequences on the environment. Described as a "dream destination" for the privileged tourists we are, Raja Ampat is first and foremost a natural treasure, which must be preserved and protected. We must be aware that each of our visits has an impact on this unique and fragile ecosystem...

Snorkeling in the turquoise waters of Raja Ampat, in front of the Kri Eco Resort. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, July 2016)
Snorkeling in the turquoise waters of Raja Ampat, in front of the Kri Eco Resort. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, July 2016)
The archipelago of Fam. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, January 2015)
Fam Archipelago. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, January 2015)

Update [2017]. The fears I shared above were sadly illustrated by an accident on March 4, 2017 in Raja Ampat waters: a large British tourist cruise ship, the Caledonian Sky, you can call it a "floating building", devastated a small portion of a spot known to divers as Cross Over, off the northeast coast of Kri Island... 😡 This kind of ship shouldn't be there! For more information, follow the links below :

→ Indonesia : a ship damages exceptional reefs [fr]

→ Cruise Ship hits Crossover Reef : The Impact on the Reef [en]

→ Saving Raja Ampat waters with tourism [en]

I returned to Raja Ampat in July 2017 and dived on the site in question. The damage, just in front of the beach (how dare you come so close to the coast with such a big boat?) fortunately only concerns a very small area. But underwater, the place where the boat scraped and smashed the reef, a few meters deep, is now all grey and littered with dead corals. The contrast is striking with the wriggling life of the reefs all around.

A Little Bit of Geography

Are you having trouble locating Raja Ampat? The archipelago is part of the province called West Papua (or Papua Barat in Indonesian). It's right there:

Where is Raja Ampat?

A brief historical-political reminder: the western half of the island of New Guinea, a former Dutch colony, was annexed by Indonesia in the 1960s. Indonesians behaved as invaders and the army committed massacres. A Papuan separatist movement continues to take action and the Indonesian authorities do not hesitate to brutally repress any demonstration, even peaceful ones. Riots broke out in August 2019 in West Papua, at Manokwari, Sorong and Fakfak, particularly after the arrest in Java of Pro-Independence Papuan students in a context of racist tensions, which led the government to cut off the Internet in Papua and send a thousand soldiers as reinforcements. In 2017, almost twenty years after the Biak massacre (1998), Indonesian military and police officers had made mass arrests in Nabire and Sentani, whilea petition for West Papua tried to make the voice of Papuans heard on the international scene that same year. I close the parenthesis, but when you travel there as a tourist, you have to be aware that the region is unstable and not quite a "paradise" for everyone...

Most travelers arrive in Raja Ampat via Sorongairport, opposite the islands. The city has about 220,000 inhabitants, it is a mining and industrial port, without much appeal, where one of the scourges that particularly affect Indonesian waters is very noticeable: plastic pollution. (On this subject, I invite you to read this article, published by Tara Expedition after a stopover there by the scientific schooner in late December 2017 → Indonesia: The Ocean Is Choking With Plastic)

Sorong is located on the "beak" of the western tip of the Indonesian part of Papua, nicely nicknamed "Bird's Head Peninsula" because of its shape.

When you arrive in Sorong by plane, it looks like this:

Sorong Bay, seen from the porthole of the plane. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, July 2016)
Sorong Bay, seen through the plane's window. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, July 2016)
Above the mangrove water of Sorong Bay, there are many houses on stilts. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, July 2016)
Above the mangrove water of Sorong Bay, many houses on stilts. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, July 2016)

On Waigeo, the large island in the heart of the Raja Ampat archipelago, off Sorong, a second airport was inaugurated in May 2012 in Wasai (read more here: Raja Ampat gets a new airport). In 2014-2015, it was apparently feasible to make the Sorong-Wasai crossing by air, via small propeller cuckoos chartered by the local company Susi Air. I haven't checked, I don't know if these flights are still relevant. (2018 news: it would be possible, but only twice a week.) In 2016, I was told that Wasai Marinda Airport was not really operational and was rarely used only on official occasions... However, Sorong Airport has been transformed: it has been completely refurbished and expanded!

Updated [December 2016]. Wings Air (a subsidiary of Lion Air) has launched a new Manado-Wasai flight, as announced in this article (in Indonesian, submit it to Google Translate to grab the general outline) → Mulai 22 Desember, Air Wings Air Terbang ke Raja Ampat. But with the expansion of Sorong Airport, Wasai Marinda Airport (on Waigeo Island) is not likely to become the new gateway for Raja Ampat (phew!). The Wings Air route called "Manado - Raja Ampat" that I have already seen on the information screens at the airport has accumulated delays and/or cancellations since its launch, and it even seems (2018 news) that it has more or less been suspended...

Until now, the archipelago was still a little off the beaten track of so-called "mass" tourism. But the number of foreign and Indonesian visitors is growing from year to year. From a dozen liveaboards in the early 2010's, we have gone to more than a hundred in 2019... 😱 It is the end of the relative tranquility and preservation of Raja Ampat...

I Am Not a Travel Agency

I would like to give you a little friendly warning before going any further: I receive a lot of messages from people who mistakenly take me for a travel agency or a tour operator's agent... Some even send me booking requests!!! 😂 This is insane... To clear up any misunderstanding, please be aware that I am blogging for the pleasure of it on my travels and dives (click here to learn more about me), but I don't sell anything and I don't organize anything.

So I can certainly not answer on behalf of hotels, tour operators, diving shops: if you have any information to ask about their prices, services, etc., ask them directly by sending an e-mail, not to me but to them!

Be aware that things are changing very fast in West Papua, which is in full development as a tourist destination. This article was first published in 2013, but I continue to update it over the years and my new travels to Raja Ampat (I updated it again in August 2019).

And then you should take some time to do your own research... We are living in a wonderful era, where everyone now has access to a free, highly effective, real-time tool called Google. 😜

Divers meet a barracudas bench at the Blue Magic site in Raja Ampat. (West Papua, Indonesia, July 2016.)
Divers meet a barracuda school at the Blue Magic site in Raja Ampat. (West Papua, Indonesia, July 2016.)

My Travels to Raja Ampat

So I don't pretend to be offering here the "ultimate" guide on Raja Ampat... As I said earlier, things are changing so fast there! In a short time, with the increasing influx of divers and tourists, both local and international, nothing will be quite the same. I have already witnessed significant changes between my first trips in 2012 and the latest ones (December 2018 and July 2019)... I have already published a fair amount of articles. You can always find them here, on Bubbles Underwater & Beyond, by following these links:

→ Raja Ampat + Bali Trip: March 2012

→ Alor + Raja Ampat Trip: July 2012

→ Raja Ampat Trip: January 2015

→ Banda Sea + Raja Ampat Liveaboard: October-November 2015

→ Komodo + Raja Ampat Trip: July 2016 

→ Sulawesi + Raja Ampat Trip: July 2017

→ Raja Ampat Trip: December 2018

A manta ray passes right over my head at the Blue Magic site ... (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, January 2015)
A manta ray passes just above my head, at the Blue Magic dive site... (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, January 2015)

When to go to Raja Ampat?

  • From October to April: this time of year is considered optimal for diving. It is the one that corresponds to the northwest monsoon. This season is sometimes referred to as "dry" by tour operators, but it is "wet" too, especially in December and January. Raja Ampat can be dived all year round, but during this period from October to April, there is less wind and swell than during the southeast monsoon (May to September). It is therefore easier to navigate and it is the high tourist season for diving cruises. This is a time when plankton are abundant: visibility underwater is therefore less good, but it is also the season when we are most likely to encounter manta rays, especially the huge giant oceanic manta rays, and to see them form an incredible ballet at the famous dive site called Manta Sandy (unfortunately, since 2015, we see them less often, the too large number of boats and divers has made them flee).
  • Good to know for May-June: as it's a bit like the tourist off-peak period, it is a good plan for divers to go there at that time, because resorts regularly offer special discounts on their packages.
  • From May to September: we are under the influence of the south-east monsoon, sometimes referred to as the "wet" season, but in reality, in terms of rain, the difference is not very marked with the so-called "dry" season from October to April. The real difference between the two seasons is that between mid-June and mid-September there can be strong winds and the sea can be very rough... If you are based on land in the northern archipelago, on an island, it is not too difficult to go diving on nearby sites. But outings to more remote sites will be very dependent on weather and swell. That is why there are few or no cruises organized during this period, which is more appropriately called the "windy season". On the other hand, the southern part of Raja Ampat (Misool and surroundings) being much more exposed to the winds than the northern archipelago, it is difficult or even impossible to navigate and dive there during this period (the magnificent Misool Eco Resort is closed during our summer holidays). Manta rays are scarcer at this time of year, as there is no longer as much plankton near the surface, but the visibility underwater seemed generally better to me (see the video I made here in July 2016).
  • So when is the weather fine? Whatever the season, the sky is very changing, alternating between the bright sun, grey clouds and rain, in a more or less equal way, as I was able to gauge during my various stays (in December, January, March, July), whether you are under the influence of one or the other monsoon. Showers are often very localized. It is not uncommon to observe a large cloud pouring curtains of rain on an island opposite a few miles away, while the sun is shining brightly on the island where you are, for instance... The air temperature is stable (25°C at night, 30°C during the day), the water temperature is constant, around 28°C. We're at the equator, so it's basically always warm and humid. The climate is really "equatorial" all year round, with no major seasonal variations, except for the wind I mentioned above. Having said that, meteorology is not an exact science either... In addition, the climate is getting out of control. You can get a week of rotten weather. Or several consecutive days of real sunshine. Or not.
Panorama from the beach of Sorido Bay Resort on Kri Island. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, July 2016)
July 2016. On Kri Island, a great blue sky... Opposite, big clouds swollen with rain... (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia)
Great weather on Kri Island! Raja Ampat, Indonesia, March 2012.
Great weather on Kri Island! (Raja Ampat, Indonesia, March 2012.)
A sudden downpour comes to fog up ... Raja Ampat, Indonesia, March 2012.
Another day, a sudden downpour fogs everything up... (Raja Ampat, Indonesia, March 2012.)

How to get to Raja Ampat?

STEP 1: Fly to Indonesia

To go to Raja Ampat, you will first need to organize your trip to Indonesia, or to a neighboring country with convenient connections to Indonesia (Bangkok in Thailand, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, or Singapore, for instance).

  • PRICE. Count 450€ to 900€ (according to promotions, companies and seasons) for a return flight Paris-Jakarta.

In Indonesia, Raja Ampat is part of the province now called Papua Barat (West Papua), as I explained above, formerly Irian Jaya (name first given by the Indonesians). It is far, very far, in the far east of the country (Indonesia stretches over three time zones, it's huge). So the journey cannot be done in one go...

  • TRAVEL TIME. Count at least two days (flights Paris-Jakarta, then Jakarta-Sorong, then the crossing by boat) to reach the archipelago from Europe. That is, including the round trip and return, a total of four days! A very long journey... To make it worthwhile, plan to stay enough time in Raja Ampat or combine the stay with other destinations in Indonesia.
Long live the porthole to admire Papua from above! Flight Lion Air, July 2012.
The window seat is the perfect place to enjoy a panoramic view of Papua from above! Lion Air flight, July 2012.

STEP 2: Organize the trip to Sorong

Sorong, in West Papua, is the gateway to the Raja Ampat archipelago. To reach Sorong from the Indonesian capital Jakarta, several options are available (I updated the information in August 2019):

  • DIRECT FLIGHTS. The duration of a flight from Jakarta to Sorong is about 4 hours. Two airlines offer direct flights: Batik Air (a subsidiary of Lion Air) and Garuda Indonesia. Xpress Air, which was the pioneer on this route, is no longer operating. The Nam Air (Sriwijaya's subsidiary) direct flights, launched in 2015, don't exist anymore since the end of 2018, as Garuda has bought Sriwijaya / Nam Air via its subsidiary Citilink and is gradually taking over their routes. I have already flown several times without any problems with all the airlines I quote (bookings made on their websites from my home in Brittany with my French credit card without any problem). Make sure, when you book, that you choose a direct flight (in the list, you will also find flights with a stopover). Finally, this August 2019 news : low-cost AirAsia should compete with the other two by launching its direct flight Jakarta-Sorong, in September 2019 (see this article in English on Jakarta Post).
  • FLIGHTS WITH STOPOVER. Lion Air, Batik Air, Sriwijaya Air and Garuda do the domestic connection Jakarta-Sorong with stopovers, most often on the island of Sulawesi, either at Manado (the large northern city), or at Makassar (the large southern city, also called Ujung Pandang).

Makassar and Manado on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi are indeed the two main airline "hubs" to travel to Sorong. These airports are easily reached in Indonesia by domestic flights, from either the capital Jakarta or Bali (Denpasar airport).

Makassar and Manado can also be reached by international flights from the airline hubs of neighbouring countries: for instance Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, or Singapore.

I put you above a map retrieved from the site of the resort Papua Paradise, which summarizes the possible routes to Sorong via Manado or Makassar (click to enlarge).
I give you above a map retrieved from Papua Paradise Resort website, which shows you the various routes to Sorong via Manado or Makassar (click to enlarge it).
I like companies that are nice with the scuba gear ... Above screenshot of Sriwijaya Air website.
I like airlines that are friendly with the divers and their gear... Above is a screenshot of the Nam Air / Sriwijaya Air website.

How to find domestic flights?

Very useful to do your own research: the site Nusatrip.com (it is a bit like Skyscanner but for domestic flights in Indonesia). You can also book your tickets there, but for my part, whether in Indonesia or France, I always prefer to visit afterward the website of the identified airline and book directly at the original company rather than through an intermediary.

Below are links to the websites of the various airlines, where you can check schedules, availability and book your ticket online with a credit card, including from France (which was not always possible a few years ago). I have tested them all at least once successfully.

  • Direct Flight Jakarta-Sorong: the only non-stop flights are operated by Batik Air, Garuda Indonesia and soon AirAsia.
  • Flight Jakarta-Sorong with stopover: the Garuda and Lion Air / Batik offer connections, there is a stop in Manado or Makassar generally, sometimes Ambon or other ... Sriwijaya Air also offers flights with stopover.
  • Flights to Makassar or to Manado: from Jakarta, Bali-Denpasar, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore: there are plenty of possibilities on company websites Air AsiaGarudaSriwijaya AirLion AirSilk Air (affiliate Singapore Airlines), etc.
  • Flights Manado-Sorong: the Garuda now has a link, which adds to those of Lion Air (or its subsidiary Wings or the associated company Batik).
  • Flights Makassar-Sorong: I have already flown with Sriwijaya Air and with Garuda... Check now the existing offers at Lion / Batik too ... People who keep hotels and resorts in Raja Ampat are generally well aware of changes in air links, inquire with them.
A Garuda plane, on the tarmac of Makassar airport. (Sulawesi, Indonesia, January 2015)
A Garuda plane, on the tarmac of Makassar airport. (Sulawesi, Indonesia, January 2015)

⚠️ Be careful, there are often changes in schedules and connections domestic flights. At the time I published this post, the Batavia Air company went bankrupt (I had to sit on my ticket and find another flight) and the company Xpress Air canceled its flights (before taking them back , then delete them again) ... Always check the eve of departure if you can that the times have remained the same (it happened once to have an ADVANCED takeoff of one hour, without being warned! ). Also know that delays from one to two hours are often the norm in Indonesia.

⚠️ Confusing source for many travelers: Makassar is often referred to by his other name, Ujung Pandang, on the online booking sites. Think about it when you do your research ...

⚠️ Note that you may need plan a night in Makassar or Manado. For my part, during my two trips in 2012, I made the Makassar-Sorong connection with the Sriwijaya Air company, but I was forced to spend the evening before departure in Makassar. Impossible to make the trip in a row, the schedules of my planes did not stick. Good to know: there is an Ibis Budget in Makassar Airport, to glean a few hours of sleep, before takeoff at the dawn of most flights to Sorong.

⚠️ If you do not feel like booking domestic flights yourself, or if the website of the airline that interests you is not accessible for a mysterious reason, or if there is no way to pay online by credit card from France - sometimes there are bugs or security problems on Indonesian sites - you can always ask the hotel or the diving center that will host you to take care of booking domestic flights for you or to contact you with a local agent. Otherwise, you can book your Indonesian flights on the website Nusatrip.com, which I mentioned above (I did not test myself). Below you will find links to Raja Ampat's diving resorts. They all have an explanatory page "How to get there" showing the flights to Sorong and the possible routes to organize your trip.

Do not forget the entrance fee

An entry fee is required to visit the Raja Ampat Natural Marine Park. It costs 1 million rupees (about 60 € or 70 dollars) for foreigners and it is valid for one year from date to date. (This "fee" was initially 500 000 Indonesian Rupees, during my very first visit in March 2012. It increased to 1 million rupees on 1 February 2015.)

You are given a plastic card indicating this period of validity, with your name and passport number on the back and, for divers, a plastic badge to hang on the stab.

Raja Ampat fee entrance tag (2012).
Raja Ampat fee entrance tag (2012).
  • If you have organized your trip to Raja Ampat with an official diving structure (a resort), do not worry about it. The resorts buy it in advance for their customers (the homestays, they are not allowed to do it and can not make this service). The amount is then added or included in your bill and the permit is given to you by the hotel staff during your check-in.
  • If you are an independent traveler planning to stay in homestay: there is change, readers tell me that since January 2018, we can not remove his badge at the small tourist office located almost opposite the Sorong airport. The badge is now issued to Wasai (on the island of Waigeo). Most travelers do this at the KKPD office located at the port, where the Sorong-Wasai ferry arrives.

There are also apparently other offices in Wasai authorized to issue this permit, I refer you to the page detailing all this, on the excellent site Stay Raja Ampat :

→ Raja Ampat Entry Permit Marine Park

⚠️ Little advice : remove the permit in an official office, and do not buy it especially from people who could approach you and offer it to you at the exit of the ferry. You may pay more and get a license that is not valid ... In short, watch out for the scammers!

This entry fee is intended to finance conservation actions in the maritime protected area and to contribute to a Community fund (70%) and to contribute to the development of the region (30%). Below is a small chart showing where the money goes:

Permit for Raja Ampat: where the money goes (Source: Raja Ampat / StayRajaAmpat Kabupaten)
Permit for Raja Ampat: where the money goes (Source: Raja Ampat / StayRajaAmpat Kabupaten)

NO NEED TO SURAT JALAN. Finally, I specify it here because I am often asked the question (info valid to date, to my knowledge): no, you do not need another license called Surat Jalan, to just go to Sorong or Wasai and go sightseeing in the Raja Ampat archipelago. Surat Jalan is only required to circulate elsewhere in the immense Papua, especially in areas deemed "sensitive" by the government that does not care too much for journalists, in particular, too closely interested in the region ... Read about it, this article (from 2015) by Human Rights Watch:
→ Indonesia: lifting the barriers to access to Papua

Diving resorts

Small precision: when I use the word "diving" here, I'm talking about scuba diving with bottle, no swimming with fins-mask-snorkel, called PMT in French or snorkeling in English, which can practically be practiced everywhere ...

So, if you want to practice scuba diving in good conditions of comfort and safety in Raja Ampat, being based on land, it is better to contact one of the resorts (diving center + accommodation) from the neighborhood.

Compared to cruises-dives, this is the option that I prefer: on the one hand, dive resort guides often know more about the sites than those of cruise ships. On the other hand, the structures based on the place are generally more involved in the conservation programs and more concerned with the protection of the area than the cruise operators, who, they, are only passing ...

It's time to equip yourself to go diving! (Raja Ampat, July 2012.)
It's time to equip yourself to go diving! (Raja Ampat, July 2012.)
Diving guides in gold. (Raja Ampat, July 2012)
Lius and Nathan, dive guides in gold. (Raja Ampat, July 2012)
The same, Lius and Nathan, six years after the previous picture! I asked them to resume almost the same pose ... (Raja Ampat, December 2018)
The same, Lius and Nathan, six years after the previous picture! I asked them to resume almost the same pose ... (Raja Ampat, December 2018)
Otto knows all the sites like his pocket. It is undoubtedly the most experienced dive guides in the region. (Raja Ampat, July 2017)
Otto knows all the sites like his pocket. It is undoubtedly the most experienced dive guides in the region. (Raja Ampat, July 2017)

Attention, the diving resorts in Raja Ampat are not cheap and in general, prices in the archipelago for tourist services have nothing to do with the rest of Indonesia.

As a result, many tourists limited by their budget choose to dive with "homestays", these simple and cheap accommodation run by locals (often simple huts with a mattress and mosquito net). Be vigilant: more and more of them offer scuba diving in their activities, but without necessarily having neither the authorizations nor the skills nor the equipment in good condition ... The dive resorts, they, in principle have equipment and compressors maintained, trained guides, adapted boats and certified instructors for training (PADI, CMAS, SSI, etc.).

I can not recommend too much caution if you decide to dive with a homestay. Better to come with your own equipment, check the condition of the compressor and especially be a diver autonomous or experienced, with experience of currents. If you read English, I invite you to read the warnings about it on the site StayRajaAmpat, who go in the same direction → Diving with Raja Ampat homestays

As an alternative to resorts, there is the small diving center on the island of Arborek which allows to dive at cheaper and works for accommodation with the homestays of the island (see also their Facebook page). The Arborek Dive Shop has a very good reputation. I did not test it myself, but everyone told me good, both divers tourists and staff from different resorts in Raja Ampat. The center of Arborek is run by two enthusiasts, Githa (whom I met) and Acel, and he participates in conservation programs.

For my part, as a photographer diver, I loved the comfort, the service and the setting of the magnificent Sorido Bay Resort, where I went twice in 2012 and where I returned several times thereafter. As the Kri Eco Resort neighbor (more affordable), it is ideally located on the island of Kri, in the Strait of Dampier, where are concentrated the most famous sites. These two resorts belong to Papua Diving and were created by the diving pioneer in Raja Ampat, the Dutchman Max Ammer.

Surface interval in front of Kri Island, green triangle on azure water. (Raja Ampat, July 2017)
Surface interval in front of Kri Island, green triangle on azure water. (Raja Ampat, July 2017)

My sister, who is not a diver, has tested Raja4Divers and she loved it.

Marc and Isa, a couple of adventurers, previewed Raja Ampat Dive Lodge in 2009 and they liked it a lot.

Anne-Sophie and Marco, another couple of divers, were delighted to their stay at Papua Explorers in 2014and then of the one they did in Papua Paradise in 2016 (Their only regret for this resort, as divers, was its location away from the Dampier Strait where the best-known sites are, but in compensation, Emma dugong visited them).

Here is the list of diving resorts that exist, to my knowledge and to date (I keep this list pretty much up to date over the years):

Deluxe Water Cottages at Kri Eco Resort. (Raja Ampat, July 2016)
Deluxe Water Cottages at Kri Eco Resort. (Raja Ampat, July 2016)
The interior of one of the spacious and luxurious bungalows of Sorido Bay Resort. (Raja Ampat, July 2016)
The interior of one of the spacious and luxurious bungalows of Sorido Bay Resort. (Raja Ampat, July 2016)
When it comes time to unwrap or repack all my underwater photography gear, I am happy to have a work plan designed specifically for that in my room .. (Sorido Bay Resort, Kri Island, Raja Ampat, July 2017)
I admit, I do not travel more in "backpack" mode ... When it comes time to unwrap or repack all my underwater photography gear, for me, the luxury is to have a work plan designed for that in my room .. (Sorido Bay Resort, Kri Island, Raja Ampat, July 2017)

Diving cruises

It's an interesting option to discover a wider variety of sites and islands. But the quality of the dives can be felt: the guides on the boats do not always know as well the sites as those which are in the year in the resorts ... There are more and more operators, more and more. more choice, short cruises (only the North of the archipelago) and long cruises (including South to Misool).

We must also be aware that the multiplication of diving cruises, in recent years, with influx of boats and divers on the same sites, has an impact on coral and reef fauna, and begins to become problematic. During my visit to Raja Ampat in July 2016, a draft quota, to limit the number of boats present at the same time in the different protected areas, was under study, but has not been completed to date.

Raja Ampat dive cruise with the Black Manta in March 2012.
Raja Ampat dive cruise with the Black Manta in March 2012.

As I said above, the cruises-dives are rather organized during our winter period (between October-November and March-April), the most favorable to sail in the region.

In March 2012, I had a short cruise in the North Archipelago with the boat Black Manta, the company White Manta Diving, which I found very well at the time. It was a Frenchman, the adorable and very competent Cédric Lesénéchal, who was the cruise leader (He then officiated several years on the boat Blue Manta, newer, from the same company).

  • You can use the site First Liveaboard Diving to spot the boats that operate at Raja Ampat (and elsewhere). He is held by Jez Tryner, a sub photographer based in Bali, who plays the intermediaries with the operators. I do not know him personally, but I used his services in 2012 and I was very happy. We exchanged by e-mail to settle a lot of details, it was very reactive, very nice. Otherwise, in the same style, there is this site which is not bad damn also to locate availabilities: Liveaboard.com
  • If you are not comfortable in English and prefer to contact a French intermediary, there are cruise offers on the sites Dazzle Dive and Asiaqua, managed by Valérie and Olivier, French people long settled in Asia. Most well-known French tour operators have cruises to Raja Ampat in their catalogs, I'll let you find that for yourself. Wallacea Dive, long-established French operator in Indonesia, also organizes cruises to Raja Ampat now.
  • Finally, in the category "dream", there was the magnificent and luxurious Waow, the well-appointed ... In November-October 2015, I had the chance to enjoy a fabulous cruise aboard the Waow, Moluccas of the Center to Raja Ampat (departure from Ambon, arrival in Sorong). UPDATE : this magnificent boat no longer exists, it burned and sunk in late January 2018. But the owners have temporarily chartered another sailboat, the Mutiara Laut, to continue to insure cruises, and plan to launch a Waow 2… To be continued.
Sunset on the Waow, all sails out. (Raja Ampat, November 2015.)
Sunset on the Waow, all sails out. (Raja Ampat, November 2015.)

Sorong Hotels

In Sorong itself, there are not many hotels. The best known has long been the I Meridien which has nothing to do with the chain that bears almost the same name. This is where we had previously looked for his "tag" for the entrance fee (see above).

Since the first edition of this article, accommodation options in Sorong have been expanded. There is no crazy choice, but most travelers only spend one night on arrival and / or return. Among the most comfortable to recommend is the Belagri, the Swiss-Belhotel, the Royal Mamberamo.

Cheap lodgings: homestays

In the islands of the archipelago, there are now many "homestays" as I indicated above. These are not quite homestays as the expression suggests, but accommodation for tourists built by locals.

Most often, they are simple huts in wood and palm leaves, in the local fashion, very rustic comfort: a mattress on the ground, a mosquito net, toilets to share. It is also possible to stay in homestays in the heart of a village, as that of the island of Arborek (near the mantas-rays site).

For these very simple accommodation, the rates are of the order of 500 000 Rp to 800 000 Rp per day (30 to 50 € approximately) in "fullboard" that is to say with three meals included per person.

It is quite complicated to book in advance or to contact people via internet (there are few connections to Raja Ampat, outside the resorts). But once in Sorong or Wasai, one can easily learn and succeed in contacting people locally, including the small tourist office and homestay office in Wasai or SMS. It is a nice option for the budget travelers, which allows to favor the Papuan local population and to meet the inhabitants of Raja Ampat.

I put you below some useful links (I regularly publish the list, as and when I find new infos on the web):

Kayak and nature

Finally, for true lovers of adventure in nature, I invite you to discover the very nice project Kayak4Conservation.

(Photo: Kayak For Conservation)
(Photo: Kayak4Conservation / RARCC)
(Photo: Kayak4Conservation / RARCC)
(Photo: Kayak4Conservation / RARCC)
Kayak for Conservation, to discover the beauties of Raja Ampat while paddling. (Kri, July 2017)
Kayak for Conservation, to discover the beauties of Raja Ampat while paddling. (Kri, July 2017)

Supported by Raja Ampat Research and Conservation Center (RARCC), this program aims to help the local population, by organizing kayak tours for tourists a bit adventurous.

We rent a resin kayak (made on site) and we can paddle with a guide, beaches where we can camp, or homestays installed for some in fabulous places in the heart of the archipelago , far from everything ... Different routes, pre-established on a map, are possible.

To move in the archipelago

It is complicated. There are no regular connections between the different islands except the Sorong-Waisai ferry which allows to reach the big island of Waigeo.

I guess we can, from Sorong or Wasai, chart his own boat for a day or more, but I think I have to be a little resourceful, gifted in negotiation and know exactly what you want. Diesel is expensive, renting a boat with a guy to sail is very expensive and the rates are sometimes a little "at the head of the customer". Independent travelers, group yourself! Otherwise, most homestays offer boat trips by the day, rates vary depending on the distance.

Near the island of Mioskon. Raja Ampat, July 2012.
Near the island of Mioskon. Raja Ampat, July 2012.
The Papua Diving boat is approaching the island of Kri. (Raja Ampat, July 2016)
The Papua Diving boat is approaching the island of Kri. Raja Ampat, July 2016.

The islands look like each other on the map, but in reality navigation takes time. The local boats are slow, and even the speedboats of the resorts are not always so "speed" as that. It is enough that the sea is formed a little or that an engine breaks down to double the journey time. Thus, the crossing between Sorong and Kri Island (where are the resorts Kri Eco and Sorido Papua-Diving), can vary from 1 hour 30 to more than 3 hours ...

Even more, perhaps, than in the rest of Indonesia, here you have to tame the notion of "Jam karet" (elastic time)!

Dives not to be missed

  • My top 5 sites of Raja Ampat North: Blue Magic, Sardines, Cape Kri, Otdima, The Passage... 😍
  • Other sites that I like a lot: Manta Sandy (when there were manta rays), Sorido Wall, Five Rocks, Mike's Point, Mioskon, Citrus Ridge

But there are plenty of other great diving spots! And I'm not very familiar with the Misool area in the south, but the little that I saw is sumptuous

→ All articles on my Raja Ampat dives: click here!

Exuberance of life and colors at Sardine Reef. (Raja Ampat, July 2016)
Exuberance of life and colors at Sardine Reef. (Raja Ampat, July 2016)

In general, all sites, even those considered less spectacular, reserve their share of surprises to Raja Ampat.

There is always a carpet shark (wobbegong) stashed in a corner, a Pygmy seahorse, huddled in a gorgon, a bench of humpback parrots an ocean manta which tumbles in the blue, a whirlwind of barracudas or a school of jacks that emerges in the current ...

And then there is this permanent, hallucinating, unique profusion of incredibly varied poiscaille, which I call lazy under the expression "tropical fauna" in my notebooks. The coral is to match: exuberant, splendid, spectacular. Impossible to get tired in a place like this.

We are at heart of the Coral Triangleit is the epicenter of marine biodiversity in the Indo-Pacific zone. They are by far the most beautiful, the most extraordinary underwater world I have ever seen in my life as a diver. Really. I do not say that in the air and I place Raja Ampat at the top of my little personal top of the sites of the Indo-Pacific zone, in front of Komodo and Sipadan ! ! !

School of snappers at the Mioskon site in Raja Ampat. (West Papua, Indonesia, July 2016.)
School of snappers at the Mioskon site in Raja Ampat. (West Papua, Indonesia, July 2016.)
Sweetlips. Otdima, Raja Ampat. Indonesia, July 2012.
Gaterins at the Otdima site. Raja Ampat, Indonesia, July 2012.
A huge ball of caterpillars in Cape Kri. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, December 2018)
A huge ball of caterpillars in Cape Kri. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, December 2018)

A threatened nature

In 2012, after a first stay at Raja Ampat in March, I returned in July. Then I recidivated in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 ... Same enthusiasm and even dazzle!

Yet things are starting (alas) to change: manta rays, disturbed by boats and divers, are now rarer at the Manta Sandy site. Previously pristine beaches are littered with cut coconut trees to make way for new homestays and resorts. Dogs and cats brought to certain secluded beaches by homestay owners are a disaster for the surrounding wildlife. And now, we see speed-boats dropping daily groups of tourists on the sandbank at the tip of the island in front of Kri for picnics or sunset ...

I continue to take photos underwater, to show the beauty of the underwater world, to share what amazes me but also what worries me. The ecosystem of Raja Ampat is fragile and threatened by our sightseeing, among other things. Environmental protection organizations and local initiatives are working to support the development of Raja Ampat, by supporting eco-tourism and various conservation programs involving the Papuan population... Some links (in English) to find out more:

→ Raja Ampat Research and Conservation Center (RARCC)
→ SEA Center by Papua Explorers
→ Misool Foundation
→ Raja Ampat conservation programs (on StayRajaAmpat)
→ Conservation International
→ The Nature Conservancy
WWF at Raja Ampat
→ Barefoot Conservation
→ Kalabia Education for Conservation

The reefs of Raja Ampat are teeming with life. (Papua, Indonesia, January 2015)
The reefs of Raja Ampat are teeming with life. (Papua, Indonesia, January 2015)
Hump parrot. Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015.
Hump parrot. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, November 2015)
Manta to Blue Magic. Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia. January 2015.
Blue manta ray. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, January 2015.)

Books about Raja Ampat

For divers, four books to recommend, in English:

  • Indonesian Diving Indonesia's Bird's Head Seascape. By Burt Jones & Maurine Shimlock. The Bible on the subject. I found copies at the Bali airport bookstore. Otherwise, the resorts sell it. Very complete, not only for the central part of Raja Ampat (Dampier Strait), but also for all the other islands, less visited, to the North, that is rather in cruise, as well as for Misool to the south, Cenderawasih Bay and Triton Bay.
  • Diving Indonesia's Raja Ampat. By Burt Jones & Maurine Shimlock. This is the short and lightened version of the first.
  • Underwater Paradise: a diving guide to Raja Ampat. By Ricard Buxo. A light version there too, for a first approach of Raja Ampat.
  • The Raja Ampat - Through The Lens Of ... Beautiful illustrated book by 17 famous underwater photographers, including David Doubilet, Gerry Allen, Tim Laman, Burt Jones, Maurine Shimlock ...

For all, in French:

Available in English only:

Three books on diving in Raja Ampat.
Three books on diving in Raja Ampat.

A Papuan French-speaking guide in Sorong

I received in early 2018 an e-mail ofAlberth Sorondanya, a native of Papua and geologist by training, who studied in France, Lille. I do not know him personally, but he explains that he is currently based in Sorong and offers his services as a French-speaking guide to Raja Ampat and elsewhere in West Papua (Baliem Valley, Cenderawasih, Nabire, Triton Bay, etc.).

He speaks very good French and English, and can also help you organize your trip upstream. For people who would like to contact him, I put his coordinates below:

Facebook page → Alberth Douglas Sorondanya

E-mail → paceguide [AT] gmail.com

Alberth's profile picture, on his Facebook page.
Alberth's profile picture, on his Facebook page.

Conclusion

  • I do not have a recommendation for "cheap addresses", I also do not have "good plans" for accommodation on a desert island or a dream beach, nor a "recipe" for not spending a round in Raja Ampat. There are deserted islands, but really deserted, with just birds, couscous, jungle and mosquitoes, all over the archipelago. Think of preserving this extraordinary nature ...
  • I live in Rennes, in BrittanySo, I do not know by heart the schedules of Indonesian planes, nor that of the ferry, nor do I know exactly how much it costs to stay in this or that place. The best is to contact hotels and resorts in Raja Ampat, they are always pretty well aware of these things ... Otherwise, you will notice on site.
  • Climate forecast side, I am quite unable to know if it will be fine precisely from February 28 to March 12. Or if it will rain a lot or just a little from December 10th to 22nd. I have a good command of the humid climate (Breton or tropical), but I am not a meteorologist nor Mrs Irma.
  • Yes, there are mosquitoes in Raja Ampat - no more than elsewhere in these latitudes - and they can transmit malaria. But I can not decide for you whether you should take preventive treatment or not. I am not a doctor and it is up to everyone to take responsibility for their health. I invite you to read this excellent article published by François du blog Tourdumondiste, which explains everything very well, with serious information (sourced) and advice → Should we take malaria medication while traveling?

If after that, you still want to discover Raja Ampat, because you like the wild and preserved nature, the rather slow and distant voyages, the islands rather lost and isolated, the rather tropical and abundant poiscaille, and that you can allow a piggy bank break, do not hesitate: you will come back dazzled ...

The pontoon of Sorido Bay Resort and its blue hole in the middle of the coral. Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, January 2015.
The pontoon of Sorido Bay Resort.

  Indonesia & #160; Bangka [Sulawesi] + Rao [Halmahera] + Raja Ampat [Papua] - July 2019

  Indonesia: Raja Ampat - December 2018

  Indonesia: Sulawesi + Raja Ampat - July 2017

  Indonesia: Komodo + Raja Ampat - July 2016

  Indonesia: Banda + Raja Ampat - October 2015

  Indonesia: Raja Ampat - January 2015

  Indonesia: Alor + Raja Ampat - July 2012

  Indonesia: Raja Ampat + Bali - March 2012

    1. @Marie: Yes, that, I know ... 😉 I met kayakers who came back from their trip, delighted but exhausted, and I talked a lot with the guy who started the project, a young South-Af 'crazy of nature, the kind to sleep in the jungle alone, with just a hammock-mosquito net ...

      And the answer is yes: you must be good kayak anyway. The distances are quite large and if there is the swell, the wind and the current against you, it's not the pie to cross the Strait of Dampier.

      😉

  1. Impressed by this topo, clear, well structured, which reveals passion and knowledge Bravo! but, it's not a destination for me ...

  2. Beginner diver, I discover Raja Ampat ... and register it immediately on my list of future voyages 🙂 The destination corresponds to me in all points. Thank you for this amazingly clear and complete topo. Your video of mantas rays is beautiful, a daydream ...

    1. @TontonPhoto: This may not be the ideal destination for beginner divers, there may be some challenging sites with the current & #8230; But the mantas site is accessible to all levels. A daydream, yes & #8230; 🙄

    2. @TontonPhoto: I had been with Raja Ampat for several years already. I finally realized this dream in 2012. The trouble is that after, we only dream of going back ... 😉

  3. Thank you for this very complete travel diary that gives many ideas and dreams and that I never would have dared to ask you!

    1. @ Dorothée: Hey, hey, I almost called this article "All you ever wanted to know about Raja Ampat without daring to ask" ... Delighted that it's inspiring for future trips!
      8)

  4. Thank you Corinne! You should start writing a "Rajat Ampat Practice" guide 😉
    Well, I'm kidding of course, and I still believe that you will be of service to many people!
    Happy diving in the Moluccas !! 8) And month, during this time I will dive on the Seychelles & #8230; Departure 15/3! See you soon 8)

    1. @Didier: A guide of this kind would be out of date even before being printed ... No, the web is better adapted. We can edit, correct, add information as and when. This article surely aims to expand ...

      PS. Me too, I take off the 15 😉

  5. "We are living in a great time, where everyone now has access to a free, fun, real-time, real-time tool called Google." I think I'm going to poke that one at you. 😉

    1. @ Marie-Julie: so true, huh ??? 😆 I am very lenient with this kind of advice. I beg you, make an immoderate use !!!

  6. Thank you for his very complete info. I myself went to Raja Ampat twice: once at a resort near Batanta. Diving without interest. The second time in Liveaboard to the South and the Strait of Dampier. It was really very high level.
    Conclusion: choose who you dive with. This may be the best trip of your life or just blah. And at this price, the blah goes bad! 😉

    1. @PlongeeBali: the best dives are, in my humble opinion, in the area of the Strait of Dampier ... I do not know those on the side of Misool.

  7. "Just a little warning, before going any further: I get a lot of messages from people who mistakenly take me for a travel agency or a tour operator. Well no. I do not organize anything and I do not sell anything.
    So I can not answer instead of hoteliers, tour operators, diving structures: if you have any information to ask about their prices, their services, etc., send them directly an e-mail, theirs ! "

    It reminds me, "No, I'm not a number"
    But I imagine that you get 10 times more than me "thank you for informing me about the price of this hotel" "can you find me a good restaurant in ..." "My son wants to go on a trip, he is waiting for you on skype for you to advise, it will only take an hour ... "

    Sometimes I really hallucinate!

    Otherwise, a big thank you for this ENOOOOOOOOOORM ton of info in this article 🙂 And in fact, for a cheap hotel with a view, you could me ...? (I'm kidding 🙂

    1. @Piotr: Ah, there, there ... Yes, people are incredible and many do not like to take control ... They imagine that I have "recipes", "secrets", "good plans", when they do not take me straight for a travel agency that will organize their circuit. I receive weekly emails of the same kind ...

      I like to share, help, advise, but I no longer respond to requests for which you just have to open a travel guide, or to contact yourself a tour operator or a hotel whose contact details are easily found on Google .

      Recently, on my other blog (Travel & Travelers, for Ouest-France), where I published an article on the return of "Best job in the world" contest by the Australian tourist office, several people wrote to me directly & #8230; to apply !!! 😆 I had to politely explain to them that I was not the Australian tourist office, that I was just a journalist writing on the subject, and that I was not recruiting anyone.

      In short, I really hallucinate, sometimes, me too ... 😉

  8. Hey, this is synthesis 8) Great job, as usual with you!

    I thought you were leaving for the Moluccas? North or South?
    Selamat jalan

    1. @Pit: Terima kasih ... 🙂 I promised, it is finally online, this "practice-practice" on R4!

      Yes, I'm leaving soon. For "the" Maluku is a lot to say, actually. I will really explore the archipelago another time, when I will have more time at my disposal ... For this next departure, I chose the easy option, aiming at a diving resort located in Halmahera.
      🙄

    2. Halmahera ?! ah, but I went to this corner a few years ago, it was to see mantas.
      I will not tell you more and wisely wait for your feelings on your "little bubbles" to talk about it with you ...
      Enjoy thoroughly and bizzzzzzzz 😉

  9. Good job, just miss a map of Sorong with DAB / ATM location 😆
    On the other hand as I return to Kri early May, could you tell me the address of a good koteka shop, because I stole mine at a costume party 😀
    Ok I ➡

    1. @Alimata: hey, hey, I found a picture of the koteka party on PapouBook & #8230; 😆

      The ATM is in the 2nd box on the right. It is at the end of the beach, after the pontoon, under the 12th coconut tree.
      He gives rupiahs but only in 1000 notes, the night before the full moon.
      😀

    2. Thank you for the information on ATM Sorong 🙂, for cons for koteka, it is not at all my size 😆
      Just need another info before leaving: Who was your dive guide to Kri and your opinion on his performance?
      Since Nixon's departure from RaJa4, there are very shared reviews on the resort guides

    3. @Alimata: I had the guides attached to the Sorido Bay Resort, not those of the Kri Eco Resort (I do not know if they turn from one resort to another). In any case, I do not know any Nixon or I do not remember ... I had, most often, the excellent Nathan or Natan.

      He is right on the picture, earlier in the article, in the paragraph on "Diving Resorts". I had also put his picture there:
      http://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/2012/12/24/mioskon-island-raja-ampat/

      He does not speak English very well, but under water he is great. He knows the sites very well, watches over your security and knows how to show you what you want to see. Adorable and efficient.
      🙄

    4. Ok thank you, so I have 3 names:
      - Nathan = OK
      - Dolvinus (I like his name) = OK
      - Ross = medium, not good
      We will see on the spot

      NB: I bring a piece of old Gouda for the boss, if deign to come and see us in his "low cost resort" 🙄

  10. Eeet, ma'am, I can get a discount on a hotel! 😀
    What it's like to be popular and sought out. 😉

    No jokes, thank you for this avalanche of information ... I see that the budget must be consistent ... We will go first step 1 (learn diving) before thinking of going there. 😉

    1. @ Melissa: if you want to dive, you have to put together a good budget, that's for sure & #8230; 😯 In truth, it is for non-divers that the budget will be the smallest & #8230; For real backpackers who do not need a compressor to inflate blocks, and who are not afraid to house a little "roots" and improvise their stay on site, it can be an adventure extraordinary.

      (The problem is that people want everything and its opposite: a real desert island, without tourists, without bad mosquitoes, where it is always nice because it is the Tropics anyway, with a good plan to cheap for accommodation, which can be booked on the internet preferably, and then with the boat transport too, because we must not mess, huh, in Indonesia everything is negotiated, we know, we have already "done" Bali, huh ...)

      🙄

  11. A post that I had missed which I answer so late.
    Here is the topo I did not have the courage to do. Congratulations and thank you for all the passionate divers that we are and thank you for the link on our site.

    You do well to specify that you are not a travel agency and that all the information you give (airlines, order of fare prices, schedules ... and quality of service providers) change at an incredible speed and that a notice given at a lambda moment will be obsolete another day. The weather, we do not control, any more than the humans, who have this remarkable to be ... human. The moods of the cook (or the cook), the mood of the dive guide (and I do not speak of competence), the age of the captain, the agreement with his partner and the other divers ... can do that a stay will be idyllic or frustrating. And, I do not speak about the underwater world which also has its moods (currents, visibility ...), a more or less dense fauna etc ... That said, there are constants as you form it very well.

    The destination Raja-Ampat is to our taste one of the best diving spots we have done, and we liked it so much that we went back. We had the chance to do 3 cruises and two stays "on land" on Mansuar at RADL (Raja Ampat Dive Lodge) where we found very pleasant our first stay in 2009. But we were disappointed the following year: a report quality / price disappointing (very high prices, excessive even in view of the services rendered), the neglect of dive guides (or even a certain laxity) and Americanized food (you have to know how to adapt to its audience)! For information, it was on the island of Mansuar and RADL was shot the Indonesia season of the show Koh-Lanta!

    3 cruises, which we talked about on our site ontheploufagain:

    1) the first one with Komodo Sailing (which, I think, does not "make" the Raja Ampat anymore): fantastic dives from a very attractive little boat that has proved to be too slow for long distances that there is to go between each spots.

    2) The second time was with the Indonesian company "Grand Komodo" located all over Indonesia and also has the RADL: we joined Sorong from the island of Alor through the Banda Sea (entry into the Raja Ampat since Missol in the South). We especially appreciated the skill of the guides who knew perfectly the sites, the currents as well as unfamiliar spots (or little known). Rates necessarily expensive for our scholarships but in the average of what is practiced in the region. And to say, if we could do it again, we would do it without hesitation.

    3) Finally, a 10 day cruise Sorong / South (Missol) / North (Wayag) on the Paisubatu II of Wallacea Dive Cruise, Coy directed by a Frenchman, Jerome Doucet. We love this boat for 10 divers on which we also dived in 2009 on a route North Sulawesi (from Lembeh to the Mahenbetang Islands). Jérôme organizes all the trips, like the management of the air tickets and practices particularly soft tariffs for the area.

    To complete your advice books, I will add the title "The Raja Ampat through the lens of .... (list of 17 photographers including David Doubilet), book found on Amazon, among others.

    I will conclude my comment with a very personal remark: the Raja Ampat dives are sporty, I would not recommend them to beginners.

    1. @IsaM: oh, thank you for this long and interesting complement of info!

      Your disappointing impression of your second stay at RADL is in line with some of the echoes I've had ...

      As for Jérôme Doucet from Wallacea Dive, I do not know him personally and I have never had the opportunity to sail on one of his boats, but I have often heard of him, always well, during my stays in Sulawesi.

      Finally, thank you for the mention of the book. I knew him, besides, I flipped through Sorido Bay Resort.

      Oh & #8230; And I dream, too, to return & #8230; 🙄

    2. Thank you for you precious help.
      I plan to leave in February for this paradise cruise. Unfortunately because of a problem with the eardrums, I can not dive and just snorkel.
      All cruise proposals I've seen are for divers, in your opinion, and after your various experiences, is it a big problem if you do not dive?
      Thank you in advance for your answer.

    3. The shakti makes cruises and other diving discoveries: snorkel, kayak ... less restrictive, allowing dave, the boss to do alone, exploratory dives, while his wife takes care of non divers.
      My diving cruise aboard the shakti is one of the top of my diving life, with sipadan and maldives. The most of the R4 are the landscapes.
      The R4 is a victim of its success. I was only once bothered by hordes of divers during a manta dive. We gave up and we returned quietly the next day. But it was in 2011.

  12. Waow, super the practical topo!
    Not sure I could go to Raja Ampat one day, but in any case thank you for having gathered and shared all this info!

  13. I lived 3 years in Indonesia, however, and never went there. It must be said that it is still super big.

    This story gives a great desire to return! Thank you it's very well done and more (and I really like the small focus in the conclusion, so true!)! 🙂

    1. @ 4CoinsduMonde: yes, Indonesia is huge, there are many islands to discover. As for West Papua, it is almost already Indonesia ...

  14. Corinne, just a question and then I stop bothering you; how did you get from Sorong to Kri Island? fast boat or plane? it seems to be 75 km from Sorong, it's not the door next door and as the cruise ends there and that our return is also Sorong ... you see my concern ... For the rest it's pretty much stalled, meeting / Jakarta passing through Mauritius and Dubai, Jakarta Sorong, the cruise ... we dream of it already !!!
    Thank you for all the information is that happiness ... If one day you expect to come to Reunion I would give you the change of the room!
    Yves

    1. @Yves: these are the resorts that usually organize the transfer between Sorong and the island where you go.

      In my case, for the first stay, it was different. As I was cruising first, I joined Kri Island with the Black Manta boat Zodiac on the last day. We were not getting too far, so they dropped me off at the pontoon of the island.

      For the second trip, I arranged with the Sorido Bay Resort in Kri: I arrived by plane to Sorong on a day that normally is not the usual day of their transfers (they then charter a boat for their customers), but it was still the day of the races, so much so that I made the crossing Sorong-Kri in the boat which carried the provisions for the week ...

      Perhaps you can ask, like me, to be dropped at the end of the cruise to the island or not too far (kind to Wasai Waigeo). Because otherwise, yes, it's a little stupid to return to Sorong to then repeat the crossing in the other direction, and as you point out, it's not exactly close ...

  15. Well that's it, I started at R4 for good me too & #8230; 😉
    One or two complements to your guide and some observations on the resorts:

    & #8211; On Sorong, the Royal Mamberamo is a hotel in town that I found much more enjoyable at equivalent quality than the JE Meridien for one night, its restaurant is one of the best Indonesians I've been to. moreover it is located not too far from two nice tribal art shops to bring back or offer, including the inevitable koteka, for gentlemen 😀.

    & #8211; I stayed at the RADL in ideal conditions, 5 guests in total in the resort, 2 guides and a boat for me alone, all the staff at paw care. The young diving guides are from Manado and super enthusiastic. Very comfortable and well built bungalows, idyllic place. It is true that the food was not necessarily excellent, but I put in the definition anyone to find in Indonesia a resort with nice menus & #8230; 🙄
    I saw Kri Eco Resort, which I found a little gloomy aspect ... and which brought the price in view of the benefits of hyprabasic, gives me the impression of an absolute scam. Sur the luxurious Sorido is another story but you must be able to pay ... Raja4divers seems to me very well placed for a second stay and to vary the sites. Probably my second stay will be between RADL and Raja4Divers.

    & #8211; at the level of the dives: extraordinary for the most with a preference for Cape Kri, Sardine and Otdima. On the other hand, my boat had to avoid the herds coming from the many liveaboards permanently on the zone, sometimes 6 in the morning doing a 360 ° since Sardine. So I do not necessarily understand the interest of cruises on this area, especially as the dinghy were they loaded and their delivery well bullous under water.
    In addition, in the late afternoon, I prefer to enjoy alone on my pontoon sonic ballet crested cockatoo (thank you Henry, US Zoologist encountered at RADL, for identification) around the high peaks of Mansuar, rather than enduring the cackling of monomaniac divers from the deck of a promiscuous boat. 8)
    So unless you go south, you will not see me on a cruise anytime soon ❗

    1. @ Wet & Sea / Ludovic: thank you for all this additional info ... I agree with your point of view on cruises. Except wanting to go down to the south, I do not really see the point.

      I'm glad to see that R4 has conquered you too. Unfortunately, I will not be able to go back anytime soon and I'm a little afraid of seeing more and more liveaboards rolling out in the years to come ... (sigh)

  16. @Wet & sea / Ludovic: About RADL. We thought the prices were excessive (everything is expensive in the world of diving in Indonesia, it's true), but pay 55$ for an additional dive or even 100 if you're alone, it's a bit of abuse.
    Nice menu? It's true that Indonesia's food issue is not Thailand ... but we enjoyed Alor Divers Resort on Pentar Island (see Ptites Bulles review).
    The cruise? We did several to the Raja Ampat and enjoyed the dives very early in the morning or night, to go to the Wayag (extreme north) where there are extraordinary landscapes, to Missol or Farundi (south). In addition, we are lucky to be on a boat with an excellent cook ... That said the dives in the Strait of Dampiere are by far the most beautiful. I hope to return soon. Thanks for the info for Sorong, because it's not easy to find something to stay in.

  17. @isaM: there was an unlimited dives package offered to the RADL it is on this basis that I left & #8230 but except for one day, I did not even do the 4 dives max per day. It is true that the supplements are expensive: 100 € the supplement to the day at the Passage but I was alone with my boat and my two young insaparable guides Gustin and Fadly (which we quickly nicknamed Doublepatte and Patachon, new kids) with a good practice of the guest service & #8211; trained by Marcel Hagendijk of Maluku Divers, then guides on the Damai-please, probably not those which you had to undergo the little enthusiasm 😉). Compared to the rates of Kri & #8230; it was not in the upper part either.

    Return on the food: it is not in Indonesia that I await the Nirvana, let's not forget that we come from a country ultra-favored in the matter. So except to fall in a French resort (at Gilles) or a restaurant mysteriously localized enthusiast (Chez Clément Lembongan), I hope nothing at all on this side & #8230; What finally makes the saddle on Cher, the lightning praline or Chateau Fonsalette 2007 desirable after 3 weeks in the Moluccas (although we eat relatively well in Maluku, compared to Flores for example). 😆

  18. We have just left Raja Ampat 🙁 Here is what we can tell you:

    -The RIGHT OF ENTRY is STILL 500 000rp (until the end of the year according to what they told us at the office at JE Meridien), but this badge is valid only until the end of 2013 ( instead of 1 year in normal times?)

    - OFFICE to buy the badge at JE Meridien DOES NOT OPEN AT 10am! But there is wifi in the hall so it can wait.

    -We had no bagde control and never took it with us because we did not think of it 🙁

    -we stayed at YENKORANU HOMESTAY on Kri Island and WE WERE ADORED (link: http://www.yenkoranuhomestay.com/index2.php?menu=home )
    We also did the dives with them, Elis (the "mono") is very knowledgeable and be careful, his English is enough to agree on the dives, the ferry, the essentials wholesale.
    However, I do not recommend beginners-at-home-beginners (indeed a couple of beginners rather demanding did not like because they would have liked that they take really by the hand and they have nothing to do, nothing to think and not even to swim against the current If you are the type to stress quickly go instead to dive with a resort where you will probably find more supervision and can be a better level of English (but I'm not so sure ) ...
    For info we are level 2 French and Advanced with about 45-50 dives performed before Raja Ampat.

    -WARNING TO FERRY Sorong-Wasai, who may as well leave in advance (if full) than late (almost 1h for us late one way).

    What more can be said? Go ahead it's really MAGIC !!!!! And people smiling and laughing all the time a real happiness!

    Thank you very much for your blog, it helped us a lot to decide and organize ourselves.

    Do you know if there are associations to help protect Raja Ampat, its seabed or to allow something to be done so that it does not become a giant garbage bin?
    Because we loved it but there does not seem to be any system to treat the waste, and we were able to pick up several bottles floating on the sea 🙁

    1. Hello everyone,
      I went 2 times to the R4, the first with David on his shakti for a cruise south end of 2011, the 2nd on the putiraja, the shakti being complete, in August 2012 for a cruise north. I had said that it was good, I would not go back there, it was too much to pay for it, not to mention the finance aspect.
      and that's it, it's itching, this blog is also for something.
      I preferred the first cruise, David being not only very pro, but also very nice. alas, he is turning more and more towards kayak and pmt cruises, which are less restrictive and which allow him to do, on his own, dives to explore new sites.
      I put my palms sipadan (time we could stay on the spot), the maldives ... .destinations that under the water do not have much to envy, but above water, the R4 has landscapes to cut the breath, I think especially to the view we have at the top of Mount Pindito, Wayag Island.

    2. @ Gérard: hey, hey, glad that my blog gives you "itching" to travel ... 😉

      Thank you for your note. I answer you for my part of Semporna & #8230; I am about to return for the 3rd time what Sipadan looks like underwater 8)

    3. Corrine, you're still envious, is it true that we can not dive as we want, that quotqs are imposed, that some operators are privileged?
      Good dive.
      gerard

  19. @Gerard: I do not think there is a quota, for now and I do not know how the different operators are organized there ... In principle, they try not to go together at the same time time on the same sites, but as the popularity of Raja Ampat is growing, nothing says it lasts ...

  20. Hello, Corinne
    regarding dive quotas and other access difficulties, I was thinking of sipadan and not of R4. It seems that if one is not with the "good" operator, one is not allowed to dive as one wants to sipadan.
    I wait for your debriefing, are there still so many turtles? "whirlwinds" of trevallies and becunes?
    enjoy.

    1. @ Gérard: For Sipadan, there is no "good" or "bad" operator, as far as I know ... The big diving resorts are just granted more licenses than the smaller centers, since they have more than customers.

      The total number of divers and snorkelers per day in Sipadan is limited to 120. It is therefore preferable to book in advance his dives and his license in Sipadan, rather than counting on luck in the event of possible cancellations ...

      On the neighboring island of Mabul, where most divers stay, those who do not have a permit try to go from one center to another, to benefit from a possible cancellation. Finally, the only way to dive every day in Sipadan itself is the cruise on the Celebes Explorer.

      Finally, yes, Sipadan has remained magical ... I have already posted some pictures on the Facebook page:
      http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10153004219805158.1073741830.333947175157&type=1&l=1468706216

  21. I was trying to organize a diving trip to Sipadan and Kankayan when I came across your Raja Ampat site, and there I "drank" your comments and wanted to go felt, but on the other hand it seems complicated to organize this trip. Do you know who can do it? Do you know if the budget is higher than on Sipadan? also a small question: my wife is only snorkeling following an ear problem, do you think she can still feast on Raja Ampat? we went 3 times to the Maldives and come back from the Visayas and it was feasting.

    1. @Dominique Dujardin: Read the article ... I said:
      - two French contacts in Asia (Asiaqua and Dazzle Dive) who can organize things for you (see their offers on their sites and get in touch, they will answer you)
      - the links of the resorts that you can contact and that will help you to organize the trip (idem, get in touch)
      - a link to cruises (in English) where, similarly, we can help you organize the trip

      Side tour operators "diving", you can ask the best known, but the French TOs do not have the right to book some local companies in Indonesia who are blacklisted, so it will be up to you to do it yourself for portions of the journey concerned.

      For snorkeling, yes, your wife will be pleased Raja Ampat!

      Finally, yes, the budget is higher than in Sipadan, but everything depends on your level of standing ...

      Good preparations! 8)

  22. First of all

    Congratulations on the richness of your site and thank you for sharing your experiences.

    we are going to Raja Ampat in late February for 15 days.

    we are not a fan of cruises and prefer to stay on the islands and not necessarily in the resorts

    that's why we will try to find homestay in the north and south to misool.

    For the north that island we advise you to dive in the heart of the "top" spots? and if you have information for the south you are a taker.
    did anyone tell you about a homestay that also ensures good dives?

    thank you in advance

    jc

    1. @JC: Raja Ampat next February? Lucky ones!

      In the north, it is best to stay on the islands of Kri and Mansuar, which overlook the Dampier Strait, where are concentrated the most famous diving spots. Otherwise, it can be pretty good to stay in Arborek, near the rays-manta spot.

      Homestay side that would offer diving (with bottles), I do not know anything, and those that exist do a little unofficial, I think ... Because there is in principle a heavy tax to pay when we organize diving activities, and then we must have the gear and also be able to maintain it, and all this is neither simple nor cheap in these islands far from everything (it requires a compressor in good condition and a generator that walking, bottles and regulators, a boat and diesel in reserve, as well as the skills for the maintenance of all and for the supervision of the dives, etc.).

      But read the comment of Domi, a little higher, which tells his experience with Yenkoranu Homestay, it can be an option ...

      🙄

  23. Hi Corinne,
    I have a project for a moment R4, I am currently Bal ensuit Sulawesi, and the Indonesians speak to me only R4 c is the occasion for me in duex Makassar, I am not a diver rather roots, but I have an experience of snorkling, do you think I should enjoy being in Bali to buy my PMT, or can we find everything on site in Sorong, I travel super light and would not want to clutter. And congratulations for your blog you sweat of generosity.
    Terimakassi
    Alain

    1. @Alinos: A mask, fins and a snorkel are not very "bulky", in my opinion ... I do not know at all if it is easy to find to buy or rent in Sorong or Waisai. I imagine that the tourist activity is developing, there are some locals who have thought to build a small stock to rent or sell to visitors passing through, but I know concretely nothing, it's just a guess ...

      Tell yourself that West Papua has nothing to do with the rest of Indonesia, let alone Bali, which is very touristy. If you like snorkeling, it can be a good idea to have your mask that fits you well and that does not take the water, as well as fins at your size, not only for Raja Ampat, but for all other PMT releases that you will be able to do. And then, if it's cluttering you one day, you'll always be able to give or sell them ...

      Selamat jalan!
      8)

  24. Hello Corine,

    You speak at the beginning of your blog of a new airport, Waigeo, which was inaugurated 1 or 2 years ago. If I understand correctly, this airport would be in the heart of Raja Ampat and will save time in transport. Do you have any information on the possible air links on this place. Because I searched a little but I did not find anything ...

    Thank you in advance for your answer,
    Flavien

  25. Hello Corinne

    on your site you present intro a nice picture of rajat ampat.

    Do you know the exact location of the photo

    Sincerely

    jc

    1. @JC: This photo, which comes from Oceanicliveaboard.com is an aerial view taken from the Wayag archipelago, I think, in the north of Raja Ampat. Do a search on "Wayag" in Google Images, you'll find many more ...
      🙄

  26. Hello,

    A little word to bring a small building stone, which is not cutting but more angular, constructive.Sublimer a place, the incense leaves me skeptical, I prefer to give objective notions, without putting my dreams in the middle, so guide potential travelers at best.

    5 th stay in rajah ampat since the year 2000/2001 where i discovered the place thanks to indonesian friends of sorong.

    The Rajah ampat is no longer qualifiable off the beaten track: 9 diving resorts and 48 live operational aboards on the area, an ultra modern port or dock once or twice a day speedboats equipped with karaokes, a runway airport, telephone network in many places, paved roads on waegio, cars and trucks on this same island.
    A place is not sublime since it isolates, it is sublime for a preserved environment for example.

    There are no less than 10 divers from 8 am to 3 pm on the site in manta, and this every day, without any quota. The apparitions therefore become more irregular.

    the homestays (beach bungalows, not diving resort) grow like mushrooms, including on the island to bats that have decamped since my last visit in 2012.

    presence of Chinese as everywhere in Indonesia to encourage locals to fish for sharks, whose presence is becoming increasingly irregular: euphoria by sighting a gray shark 1 meter long on the site of Blue Magic on a stay of 10 days ...

    garbage cans spilled by ferries between sorong and waisai, plastic bottles and drifting sandals more and more present, see strewing more and more beaches.

    the archipelago of Togians, for those who know, has become so much more off the beaten path and less overrated ..

    the prices of diving resorts are generally demential in terms of services (The maldives or tubatha reef allow to see bcp more fat with a lot less people now), and the order of those practices in polynesie where I work occasionally, which , with a staff pay 50 euros per month and much less taxes than suffer the Polynesian (otherwise more isolated in the middle of nothing) is really scandalous.

    For those who want to faraway in the same area, I will advise cruises doing a detour by Triton Bay / Misool.

    the landscapes, on the other hand, remain beautiful and wild, but like a lot of places in Indonesia except java, bali and some foul places of sumatra and kalimantan.

    I can support my affirmations for any traveler anxious to have objective tips on the Raja Amat, mercid to leave an email address.

    cordially

    Emmanuel

    The soft coral remains however

  27. I come back from Raja Ampa: really thank you to you Corinne for all the infos (and for the communicative enthusiasm), it is this blog which was decisive in the choice to go there.

    Regarding Emmanuel's remarks above:

    "The Rajah ampat is no longer qualifiable off the beaten track:"
    But that's how I describe it. How would you describe the island of Sein for a Jakarta resident? Would not it be a "off the beaten path" destination?

    "9 dive resorts and 48 live operational aboards on the area"
    > On Kri there are four homestays (maximum 10 rooms each) and two resorts. We can not say it's overcrowded ...

    "An ultramodern port where one to two times a day karaoke-equipped speed boats, an airport runway, a telephone network in many places, tarmac roads on waegio, cars and trucks on the same island. "
    > Kri, Gam, Arborek, Mansuar and all the islands of Raja Ampat (except Waigo): 0 karaokes, 0 airport tracks, 0 routes, 0 cars, 0 trucks. And nobody stays on Waigo more than half an hour, it's an island that only serves to transit to the final destination.

    "A place is not sublime since it isolates, it is sublime for a preserved environment for example. "
    > Certainly. But my experience as a traveler has taught me that only places that are difficult to access guarantee to escape from mass tourism, and therefore to have more chances to access a preserved environment. And to go to Raja Ampat for me it was: Paris> Hong Kong (plane), Hong Kong> Jakarta (plane), Jakarta> Sorong (plane), Sorong> Waigo (ferry), Waigo> Kri (speedboat). I have traveled a lot, and we can say that access to Raja Ampat is difficult.

    "There are no less than 10 divers from 8 am to 3 pm at the manta site, and this every day, without any quota. The apparitions therefore become more irregular. "
    > Indeed. This is the only site I saw other divers, on ALL the others we were alone, no other boats. And if the presence of 10 people is enough to completely ruin the magic of the Manta rays (observable throughout the dive a few meters on two dives), it may be a shame.

    "The homestays (beach bungalows, not diving resort) grow like mushrooms, including on the island to bats that have decamped since my last visit in 2012."
    > Indeed, homestays are under construction. To the point that it alters the magic of the place? Not for me. It has brought Papuan families to life, for once local people are enjoying tourism ... We will see how it evolves.

    "Presence of Chinese as everywhere in Indonesia to encourage locals to fish for sharks, whose presence is becoming increasingly irregular: euphoria by sighting a gray shark 1 meter long on the site of Blue Magic on a stay of 10 days ... »
    > I could see 5 species of sharks during my stay (gray sharks, black tip sharks, white tip shark, carpet shark, walking shark), which seemed quite honorable. After actually there are places where there are more, I do not have a big experience.

    "Garbage cans spilled by ferries between sorong and waisai, plastic bottles and drifting sandals more and more present, see strewing more and more beaches. "
    > Some detritus here and there (I was also told about the trash of ferries), but not before the homestays (who do the housework). "Joncher" seems exaggerated (for what I saw). That said anyway the beaches are not extraordinary (again for what I saw).

    "The prices of diving resorts are generally demential to the benefits (The maldives or tubatha reef allow to see bcp more fat with a lot less people now), and the order of those practices in polynesie or I work occasionally, who, with a staff pay 50 euros a month and much less taxes than suffer the Polynesians (otherwise more isolated in the middle of nothing) is really scandalous. "
    > Indeed the resorts practice prices that I find too delirious (but hey it takes for all tastes, they find many customers). When to me: 12 nights full board (very basic comfort) and 9 dive trips (for TWO people) = 1000 € to homestay Yenkoranu. 100% of the income generated by the homestay are for the Papuan family to whom it belongs. In the Maldives we do not really go far, and the Maldivians are just doing the service ... When in the Maldives "with a lot less people": 958 027 visitors for the year 2012 ...

    "For those who want far away in the same area, I will advise cruises doing a detour by Triton Bay / Misool. "
    > And cruise prices, how do you find them?

  28. Thank you for your blog it is overdriven .. and explains very well how to go.
    for my part it will be for my 50 years and the 18 years of my daughter

    Sincerely

    Fréd

  29. Hello Corinne
    thank you for all your explanations and your blog very informative
    we should land with my wife on Ambon in February but as we are not super divers (just a cruise in the Red Sea), we love snorkelling
    Raja Ampat is probably not too ideal for us yet
    Do you know the Moluccas (I have not read any articles about this part of Indonesia on your Blog) and do you do great dives and learn about these islands?
    Again thanks to you,

  30. Excuse me I wrote you a comment asking for advice on Les Molluques and I just realized that you have devoted an article on the subject of molluscs: WEDA (HALMAHERA) + BANGKA (SULAWESI) - MARCH 2013 that I n I have not seen and who already gives some information about the Northern Molluks but maybe you have a return to do on the Bandas Islands and Kei Basar

    1. @Jean Claude : no worries ... 🙂 Actually, I do not really know the Moluccas, I only went to Halmahera in the north, indeed, and again, I saw only a very small part of the island, only Weda Bay and its surroundings. Sorry for not being able to tell you more. The Moluccas will be the subject of a future trip, surely, as far as I'm concerned ...
      🙄

  31. Hello, as promised after a trip to Raja Ampat last July (organized in particular using the information found on the blog), here is a little feedback.

    Already for those who still doubt it, the long journey up there is well worth the detour ... provided you have a little time.

    And recently, it is possible to dive into a quality structure with a tight budget:
    We tested one of the last resorts that opened: Raja Ampat Biodiversity Eco Resort.

    Perfect balance: Low price, Only three small wooden bungalows very simple but super classes at the edge of the jungle, glued to the strip of sand of a deserted beach. Rey and Patricia, the young owners, super nice, added to that a great food and obviously great dives ...

    Nothing to say!!

    On the other hand, it is not a luxury hotel: for example the toilet and the shower (in the Indonesian = water tank and a bucket for those who have not yet had this pleasure) are outside a few meters from the bungalows !!!!

    But if you know what to expect, it's really not at all embarrassing!

    In short, do not hesitate!

    Be careful though, the trip is very long and quite tiring, so do not hesitate to take a day or two of rest before diving. Especially since the nearest box
    (finally the least distant) is several hours by plane ...

    In any case unforgettable stay to advise. 😉

    Thanks again for the info of your blog.

    1. @Yohann: great, thank you for the report and all the info! I had already added the Raja Ampat Biodiversity Resort in the list, in the article. I'm glad you enjoyed the archipelago and the dives as much as me.
      🙄

  32. Hello,

    Congratulations for this site and these many tips.
    We are preparing for a cruise to Raja Ampat, however we have a doubt about the visibility that does not look excellent, what is it really? Are the dives all in the current or only certain?
    thank you in advance

    1. @Mangin: Visibility depends on many conditions: rain, tide, swell, plankton, currents, seasons, etc. I have often found it very good in Raja Ampat. It was rarely mediocre, even in July when there is a lot of wind and swell. I would say that the worst visi was to be within 15-20 meters. The best good beyond ...

      All the dives are not in the flow, but the most beautiful, the most abundant of life are those of the sites where there is current, and it can be very strong, but the guides know how to manage the dive. A hook is essential to enjoy the show with pleasure, without running out.

      Good preparations!
      🙄

  33. hello corinne

    what islands would be nice for snorkeling diving big fish and fishing on board (big fish)
    thanks a lot, even if you can not help me

    1. @Simon: I do not know Simon very well, especially since a large part of the Raja Ampat area is now protected, it should not be allowed to do underwater hunting or fishing on board ...

  34. Hello,

    it is by looking for information that I fell on your blog ... thank you for sharing your experience and your advice was very useful during my research. I am in the midst of preparative work at lubuanbajo (flores) where I spend my paddi and certainly advanced ... but I "scared" that it is not enough (about 9 dives) before practicing at the right time. I am waiting for a response from Raja Ampat Biodiversity (I will stay at Nudibranch Moesaty ... if someone has already been ... comments?) on my level and I would also like to have yours if possible or that of the readers.

    thank you in advance

    nicolas a novice in the dive who luck to be able to go on the raja ampat islands 😉

    1. @Nicolas: we will make you do dives adapted to your level. But it is certain that 9 dives is "a bit short" as an experience ... That said, if you are properly supervised, you should be able to enjoy the beauties of the sites. And if you want to pass the Advanced, you will need to accumulate a few more dives (I do not remember the threshold required). And the Strait of Dampier is a wonderful place to cumulate this experience ... But after, you will find all the other sites well bland in comparison!

      Good preparations!
      🙄

  35. Hello Corinne,
    Promised thing, we complete your blog with homestay info.
    We spent 10 days on the island of Kri, homestay Yenkoranu.
    We stayed in the clean and pretty bungalows directly on the beach: tiled floor, bed with a good box spring, extra mattress, Nickel screen, toilet and shower (water bucket and a bucket) private, traditional roof (sheets of coconut braids), wooden walls, lockable door, windows and even a trendy fan.
    There were also the same bungalows but not overlooking the beach for a bit less money and longhouses consisting of 2 and 4 rooms very basic and sparse (a bed, a mosquito net, a bamboo partitions, 1 WC common to the 'outside). Less expensive of course, but little privacy and a lot of noise (compressor and WC nearby).
    Meals were ok: often fish sauce with rice and vegetables + fruit. Tea + coffee + water at will all day. Sometimes good sometimes amazing breakfasts (kind of green and beige striped cake, not bad). The fish was fresh (sin and fished directly on the pontoon, the house reef sharks made an orgy). Sometimes, little donuts or fruit for 4 hours.
    Think about bringing cookies because there are no shops on the island.

    Questions diving, the gear was in very good condition, as much stab, regulators as combi. The bottles were swollen all night (the compressor was running continuously or almost, which among other things that there was electricity all night in the rooms). For dive sites, Alex (the Yenkoranu GO!) Offered evening 1, 2, see 3 dives, you just had to register. He was quite open about the choice of dive sites (we could make our proposals) and in general, when he advised against a site at a given time, it was for justified reasons (bad timing for the tide, running too strong, too much swell ....) In the end, we were able to dive to all the places we wanted and some dives were in VIP mode (sometimes only one diver). For the more distant dives, there was a reasonable charge (6 to 12 €), except when you were a lot (no extra charge).
    In diving, Elis was a good leader and a great dive guide (the best we've ever seen). Able to spot unlikely creatures. Yopi was not bad either, though with a little less experience. The other monitor was less good and less motivated.
    Duration of the dives: max 70 minutes, but we pushed sometimes until 80, 85 minutes so there were things to see and Elis always had the smile! That's really nice.
    And that we on the sites, so few people.
    By cons, because of the current that can be very strong (the highlight being The Passage, but what a wonder), because there is no box to Raja Ampat, no safety block on the boat and maybe to be no oxygen (in any case, we have not seen), it is better to have a lot of diving behind.

    Other activities were also systematically proposed (snorkeling on different sites, birds of paradise in Gam, day in Fam with snorkeling and / or diving, manta rays, climbing at the top of the island, ...). For a price also quite reasonable. Same, registration the evening after the meal, so moment not to miss.
    And then stay in the corner was also worth it: hammocks on a covered terrace of the pontoon, stroll along the beach, snorkeling on the house reef (in places not broken, there are people: thirty hump parrots, napoleon, white tips, croco fish, batfish, turtles, and everything else), and even ping pong (table made and painted during our stay!) ...
    The staff was really really quiet and friendly (never a problem, only arrangements). And smiling. Grace Grace the boss, Alex the GO, Elis and Yopi the dive master, women in the kitchen, cap'tains of boat or all those who dragged in the corner, without forgetting the little boy (forgotten his first name) and Elvis the dog. After a week, it felt like part of the family.

    Budget question:
    & #8211; full board in private bungalow: IDR 800 for 2 (48 €)
    & #8211; full board in longhouse: 500 IDR for 2 (or 30 €)
    & #8211; diving: 450 IDR / pers / diving (or 27 €), with a free dive after 10 and a reduction if you bring your gear
    & #8211; the transfer: 450 IDR per way (I do not know if it was for the boat or for 2)
    & #8211; excursion to Fam (super nice but 2 h of boat): 500 IDR / pers (or 30 €)
    To pay, think of taking a max of liquid in rupees (we can trust them to Grace, it's really safe). But as always, if not enough liquid (we are quickly stuck with a maximum amount of withdrawal per day, visa accepted in Sorong but not in Waigeo), there is a way to arrange (back to Sorong with his family. Do not abuse, however).
    Have we been lucky, especially nice, is it because we stayed a long time, or is it the state of mind of this family, but in the end, Grace has made a sacred discount. By offering us a pretty orchid when leaving.

    Really a nice slice of happiness in a beautiful corner, as much on the water (Fam is a pearl) than under water (what a variety of crazy).
    It is quite possible that we come back.

    Thank you again Corinne for your blog that was very useful for preparing our trip.

    1. about the commentary of JC and Murielle, commentary which pulls on the report of voyage, I regret that the site bonsetmauvaisplansplongées (BMPP) has disappeared. There were exactly well-documented and sensitive stories about stays and infrastructures. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience, this is useful to all, because the information is not sustainable and it is always good to have news updated. Thanks also to Corinne for hosting and generating all these reactions on raja-ampat (among others).

    2. Hello
      I update this information after my second visit to Raja Ampat (January 31-February 14).
      I went back to Yenkoranu. The staff was always really nice (can we speak of staff when some are more friends?) But the benefits have deteriorated a little in my opinion. The bungalows have not been maintained since last year, so that the faucets do not work anymore, the doors are smashed, etc .. The gear is I think also the same as last year, so the combis start to be holed. The stabs and regulators are in good condition. Food question, it's not what it was. Grace the boss is gone and it feels: there were no snacks after diving, not always fruits at meals and some nights not enough food for everyone (and yet I did not hesitate to go kitchen ask for rab). Housing prices are the same, but diving has increased: it is now 550,000 rupees with equipment and 450,000 without. And there is always a supplement for distant sites (+ 300 000 for the passage for example). And no negotiation possible, even after 11 nights! The few points that have been improved are the oxygen cylinder, the boat with a roof and some staff who speak better English, so exchanges much easier.
      They were building other bungalows. And now you can buy beer (for those who can not do without it).
      It's still cheaper than resorts, but other homestays have been built along the beach in Kri with amenities that seem better (room situation, beauty of construction and food) for less. I think Yenkoranu may suffer from competition, especially since we can sleep elsewhere and dive in Yenkoranu. Other homestay also offer good benefits to Waigeo and Gam and some have a diving center. More info on stayrajaampat.com.
      It is not always easy to contact the homestay. We must be patient, use SMS and at worst, organize it from Sorong (at the Meridian Agency)
      To know :
      - there is now a hyperbaric chamber at Waisai Hospital, but for now it has never served
      - three times a week (from memory Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but to check) there is a small plane that makes the round trip Sorong - Waisai in the morning for not too expensive (of the order of 300 000 IDR l 'go).
      - the entry permit to Raja Ampat has risen to 1 million rupees

      And to answer the question of Mido1w, not the previous parrot did not survive one of his fights to have fun with one of the dogs. Ranu replaced him and he left on the same bases to fight with puppies for a few days!

  36. We stayed 10 days in Yenkoranu in June-July 2013 and we keep a memorable memory. At this time the ping-pong table and the VIP bungalows were not there / finished but the fluorescent green cakes of the snack so thank you for making us live these moments with your comment and thank you for making the good pub because it is true that they deserve it (welcome, supervision, atmosphere, setting, food ...)
    Is the greedy parrot (Koureb) still part of the family?

  37. Wandering in the hammock at the end of the pontoon at Yenkoranu after a dive is in my top 10 best things to do in life (much better than the Maldives for my taste for example - I exchange smoothly my week in Maldives 2012 against a day in Yenkoranu).

    Story and practical info about my stay (this is the first time I see a place where everyone & #8211; including me & #8211; spontaneously want to advertise):
    http://www.plongeur.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1202426

  38. That's it, we're leaving for Raja Ampat in a month! And we can not deny that your articles on Raja Ampat were not for something. It's not easy to decide to go so far in such a remote place, but your advice makes travel planning less dangerous. Thank you!

  39. Hello

    the blog, and most posts are exciting and plunge me under the water 🙄 🙄
    Just for that, thank you.

    I plan to go to RAJA AMPAT after July 14 (after doing KOMODO at the same time last year in liveaboard)
    Do you confirm that you made your stay in early July, and that cruises are to be banned in July?
    thank you

  40. Hello Corinne,
    Thank you for all the info
    I owe you a restaurant on bali in all friendship
    Good luck
    Roger

  41. Selamat pagi !!!

    I discovered the Rajas by your blog, and I wanted to thank you for it 😉 sempurna

    I spent 6 weeks just magical.
    I would also like to thank the people who posted news.
    I just post a little info, the mantas season this year is stopped early May ... but all April manta and ocean manta were present.
    It seems that the mantas return in September in large numbers, especially young specimens. "Local info"
    The island of Arborek is not really far from Manta Point and Manta Sandy, but there is no diving club on the island.
    When I was there it was more expensive to go by boat from Arborek than Kri to snorkel.
    The snorkeling is for me the best way to observe them, but surely the one that has the most impact on animals.

    After the whale sharks of Mexico, when will the whale sharks of Nabires 😉
    Enjoy your trip.

    Vincent

  42. Hello corinne,

    I loved reading your blog, I am currently in South East Asia and plan to do a long cruise on the Indonesian Rajat Ampat Archipelago.
    I would have liked to know if you had a company to recommend to me?
    If yes how to contact them?
    I also wanted to ask you if you had already been diving in the Maldives?
    If so, what would you recommend between a Maldives cruise or Rajat ampat?

  43. Good evening Corinne,
    Thank you very much for quoting us in this article!
    We can only recommend this resort Papua Explorers!
    Thanks also for this article where we found a wealth of useful information before our trip to Raja Ampat. We've been following your travels for a few months now and often get inspired by your site before deciding on the next dive destinations 😉
    See you soon
    Anne-Sophie and Marco

  44. Hi Corinne,
    Reading your topo, I said to myself: she could be a journalist this chick !! Won! You put more than water to the fins with your description of the trip, and thank you.
    The pain is really it really (5 to 6k €) and I know Abyss well for its quality of service, but if you have a council on the choice of the provider, my friends and I myself would be grateful, even just an idea of the budget that you put perso in these trips, just to see if the extra cost TO compared to the personal organization is worth it or not.
    In any case, thank you for your remarkable work.

    1. I allow myself to react to the post of "grosmerou". We have been to Indonesia several times, including 6 to Raja-Ampat and have always organized our trips alone. It sometimes takes a little more time, but it allows for upstream contact with the infrastructure. The preparation and organization of your trip is also a way of dreaming. You should know that TOs generally offer a limited choice of services compared to the existing ones (see the Raja-Ampat for example, the "small resort" are not in the catalogs and it is easy to find information on the web and many blogs (like small bubbles) .It is still cheaper than going through a TO (they must earn a living) .It should be noted that Indonesia, from many airlines are blacklisted, most of the dive structures offer to take care of domestic flights, without rate increases.After, there are international flights & #8230; long live the web! Personally I feel a certain satisfaction to me fend off like a big and nothing, it's less expensive (be careful: this is not true for all destinations like the Maldives or Egypt for example.) Isabelle and Marco http://www.ontheploufagain.com

    2. Thank you for this return Isabelle, so I will try to embark on this adventure that scared me a little given the total lack of knowledge that I have this corner in particular, even if I organized a lot of trips elsewhere. Come on: banzai!

    3. Grosmérou: You already have a contructive answer from IsaM whose point of view I agree with:
      http://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/2013/03/03/voyage-raja-ampat-infos-pratiques/comment-page-1/#comment-6895
      You can also read JC's and Muriel's "low budget" review earlier in the comments:
      http://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/2013/03/03/voyage-raja-ampat-infos-pratiques/comment-page-1/#comment-6679

      It is always difficult for me to give a precise budget or to recommend a particular provider, as the criteria and expectations can vary according to the divers-divers ... And the journeys of which I speak in this article go back to 2012, the tariffs have inevitably changed since. I do not have in mind the prices of the cruise that I made with the Black Manta (I'm a little too lazy to refurve in my notes and invoices of the time) but the rates are indicated on the websites of providers, just go on to get an idea of the budget required, for a cruise or a stay in a resort, to add the price of airline tickets, and see the difference with the package proposed by a TO ...

      I like to organize myself alone and do things to my idea, but for people who have trouble with e-mail exchanges in English and do not want to bother with logistics, the simpler is indeed to address a TO. If the rate is reasonable for the service rendered in terms of organization, why not ... Everyone does according to what suits him best.

      After as always, it's not only a question of price, but of quality / price: what do you have for the budget that you will spend ... For my part, now that the underwater photo has become important during my dive trips, I admit that having a certain comfort to be able to take care of my fragile little gear (camera, waterproof case, computer, etc.) is now an important criterion, as well as having boats well adapted for diving, with good engines, as well as dive-guides who know very well the sites, and who can offer me a service almost "à la carte", in any small committee ...

      In short, when I organize myself, I do not necessarily get the most economical trip, but the most suited to my criteria. In general, I still manage to find cheap air tickets to an Asian hub (I monitor the promos of airlines, and there for example I found a return Paris-Jakarta on Emirates at 549 €). After, I estimate that it is necessary to the ladle around 200-300 € for the flights A / R between Jakarta-Sorong, I still have not gone up close for my next trip ... Then, everything depends on the duration the stay and services on site: as I said above, the best is to visit the websites of resorts and cruise lines, select what is the budget that you can afford, then compare taking into account the services offered (discounts on dive packs, nitrox free or not, size of dive, other activities that diving, etc.).

      Whatever way you go about it and the budget you spend on it, I can guarantee you that you will not be disappointed. Raja Ampat is really worth it. It's by far the most spectacular place I've ever explored on my dive trips ...
      🙄

    4. Once again thank you for all the time you spend giving balls and answering our questions. Me too I videotape all the time, and the comfort and the place are important criteria indeed. I scratch to find the right deal, and hope to be able to make this trip so much praised by all those who did. I will tell ...

  45. Hello everyone,
    the shakti is a promo around Christmas and another mid January. I spent 10 days Dec 11 and even if it is not all the comfort on this boat (3 bathrooms for 5 cabins), the cruise was magical. Dave, the owner is super pro.
    if I did not live on the other side of the planet, I would sign for January.

  46. Hello Corinne
    First of all, a big congratulations and thank you for your articles!
    You make us travel through your images and descriptions.
    I have some small questions
    My friend is a teacher in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. After several months of distance, I will join her at the beginning of January 2015 for a period of 6 months. She will have a few weeks of vacation more or less on the same dates of my arrival.
    Discovering your feedback, I say "can we find a place more magical than Raja Ampat to meet? "
    We are looking for a homestay on site (or Sorong) because we have a limited budget.
    Without diving, can we fully appreciate this place and its biodiversity (at least terrestrial)?
    For my part, I have one dive to my credit, made in Colombia this summer, it went very well, I felt comfortable, do you think I can continue my progression to Raja Ampat ? is it suitable? Which islands do you recommend to me (running not too strong, better quality-risk ratio ...)?
    Although much less "interesting", Raja Ampat offers you a nice place for snorkeling (because my friend can not dive well that she will like) to have a glimpse of its "funds" marine?
    Do you think it is better to change destination and return with a better diving experience? or keep this DESTINATION AND come back with a better experience to dive 😉
    I'm also in Rennes, my departure is in a month (for Java at first) if you're tempted to discuss it with a drink, I'm interested
    Thanks again

  47. Hello Corinne! We are 2 Quebecers who travel every winter in Indonesia since 1985 & #8230; We love Indonesia! We already went to Irian Jaya in 1992 (pretty much). Especially in the Baliem Valley & #8230; 2 unforgettable months. Tomorrow morning, we fly to Makassar and Sorong for a 3 weeks we hope to be unforgettable because it's a little budget madness for us & #8230; But we realize a dream & #8230; We did a lot of snorkeling in Indonesia, including Banda. We do not dive but it seems great for snorkeling. The place you recommended Lumba Lumba has become overpriced & #8230; a package bungalow and 3 meals plus 4 outings snorkeling 6,200,000 / pers & #8230; definitely not for budget & #8230; After long research on the internet we leave confident to find reasonably priced & #8230; Thank you for all your information and it's a pleasure to read you!
    Celine

  48. Hello Corinne,
    Thank you for your blog that is great and makes you want to discover new places in Indonesia. Your photos and your movies are beautiful! Your comments are always very precise, and very pros: pure happiness, I adore! well done!!!
    We have plans to go diving in Raja Ampat or #8230 in Polynesia in November.A priori, I would rather move towards Raja Ampat .We love corals, diversity, mantas, in short very rich funds and not too busy (by the divers!) & #8230; & #8230; .. Did not you also dive in Polynesia? Our choice of destination is not definitively fixed, but in your opinion,
    What would be the best choice for us?
    Thank you in advance for your enlightened advice.
    Laure

    1. @Laure: Polynesia does not have coral reefs as beautiful or as rich as Indonesia. I had been warned, during my trip to Polynesia in 2012, not to expect the same exuberance. That is true. But there are other shows that compensate: dolphins, sharks, rays and manta rays & #8230;

  49. Hello, Corinne,
    We can not thank you enough for this article (and I will review a number of your "trips").
    I have a girl who has just spent more than 2 months in Indonesia (she comes back in mid-March) and so I stumbled upon your work because I followed-the best possible thanks to her emails and photos- his journey and of course with the support of the internet and guides. She is, like you, very "traveler" and pretty good photographer (it was her "job" there are still 5 years, then she changed completely of orientation).
    In three years, Cambodia, Thailand, South India and this year Indonesia. She travels in "individual" with her companion.
    I had recently researched West Papua (but she did not go there). All this had made me dream & #8230;
    I'm going to tell him (to my daughter) about your work and ... Raja Ampat!
    Keep making us dream ... and thanks again.

  50. Hello Corinne,

    Congratulations for a hypercomplete blog, well written and that makes you want!

    I am planning a trip to Indonesia for July (with my wife and teenage daughter), which will be our second. Two years ago we were seduced by snorkelling in Bali, Togians (Sulawesi) and also in Mabul (Borneo). (We do not wish to dive even though we passed a PADI certificate in 1998).

    So in a purely snorkelling perspective and in July (unfortunately we do not choose the dates ...), we advise you Raja Ampat, or another spot? Otherwise we will probably return to Sulawesi, perhaps to the north in the Manado area and the surrounding archipelagos (Bangka looks good).

    Thank you! 8)

    1. @Alan: difficult to choose for you, there are so many possible places in July in Indonesia!

      Yes, I recommend Raja Ampat, it's a fantastic place. On the other hand, as I indicated in the article, there can be impressive gusts of wind during this period, which sometimes limits navigation. But if it's to land on an island and snorkel nearby, that's not a problem.

      I also recommend Bangka, which I loved. I'm talking about it here:
      http://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/voyage-indonesie-weda-halmahera-bangka-sulawesi-2013/
      and there:
      http://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/voyage-sulawesi-indonesie-2010/

      Good preparations!

  51. Hello,
    My wife and I must go to Raja Ampat in November, and I have been very interested in your advice. At the beginning of May we go to Cenderawasi to go on a diving cruise, and we ask ourselves the question of taking an anti-paludeen treatment; in fact MALARONE had made us sick during dives in Kenya, and we wonder if there is any connection with taking MALARONE; we would not want to ruin our stays in Papua and not enjoy our dives. What do you think ? knowing that for these two stays we go on a cruise. Thank you for your advice. Frédéric

    1. @ Frederic Javelle: Hello, as I explain in the following article ( http://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/dans-mon-sac/ ) in the paragraph "Mosquitoes", I am not a doctor and it is not for me to tell you whether or not you should take an anti-malarial treatment. It's up to everyone to take responsibility for their health.

      For my part, I made the choice not to take any treatment during my stays in West Papua. It's a personal choice that I take on the risk. Like you, antipalu drugs make me sick, and some (like Lariam) are even contraindicated when diving.

      If your entire stay is spent cruising, on a boat, off, you will inevitably encounter fewer mosquitoes than a trek in the jungle ... But be aware that zero risk does not exist in malarious area. It takes only one bite of a mosquito carrying the parasite to be infected for life.

      I repeat: the choice I made for myself absolutely can not be a recommendation or advice. Even if you spend most of your stay on a boat, you have to disembark and board at a certain moment, arrive and depart from an airport, spend one or two nights at the hotel on departure and on arrival ... there is always a risk of being bitten, even taking the basic precautions (repellent and long clothes). My only valuable advice is to take a doctor's advice!

  52. Hello Corinne,
    First congratulations and thank you for everything you write about Rajat Ampat. You are precise wish to organize a trip without asking any other questions than those you already answer! I just need to have your opinion on the following point:
    I intend to go there with my 24 year old son at the beginning of November for a short week. I live in Portugal, my son in Bali. I join him in Bali and hop here we go but & #8230; I'm no longer a diver (ear and lung problem) and I would like to know the places (and lodges) that you would recommend me the most for snorckeling (if there is any?) knowing that I know the wonderful park well of Komodo.
    Kind regards and I look forward to your return / Antoine

  53. Above all, thank you for this blog and for the wealth of information that allowed me to see more clearly for the preparation of the trip I just made to Raja Ampat.
    Raja Ampat, the end of the world, indeed. The road is long is strewn with pitfalls until paradise (baggage "delayed", staggered planes, and even an earthquake with 6.9 !!!) but the reward is immense!
    The spots of Kri are also part of my "favorites": Cape Kri, Chicken, Mioskon, Yenbuba ... fantastic with the currents of the full moon !!!
    As for lodging, I was at the Papua Paradise eco resort: very nice place, excellent food, impeccable management (and therefore a great atmosphere)
    I had initially booked the Waivo Dive resort, but some negative comments put me in the ear: some people could not dive ... and indeed, when I contacted them by mail, they were unable to me to guarantee the diving as long as I was not there ... strange ...!
    Looking forward to read other articles on these dream destinations, known or to be realized !!!

  54. Hello Corinne,

    I fell in love with your blog, it allows me to travel from my little t3 in Paris, to wonderful horizons through your lines. It is also very complete and will allow me to hope someday to prepare my trip.
    A big thank you for your blog and your sharing of experience with the greatest number,
    We are a couple of 50 years old, we only practice PMT, and we will never dive because of our ears.
    Our only experience of travel and destination is Guadeloupe, but every year since ... we do not count ... we fell into the soup as we say.

    But here, a very strong desire to discover new countries trots in my head and I spotted Raja Ampat since long as the ultimate destination to quench our thirst for PMT in a clear, warm water, in the middle of archipelagoes still preserved.
    That's why before embarking on the adventure, and the development of this travel project, I will need your expertise on:

    - Is a destination for divers only in PMT,
    - for a first trip to Indonesia, do you have to focus only on Raja Ampat or compile a route without it becoming stressful on the way, because we are rather "cushy" like to bubble in the water for hours and out of the water water.
    We are far from being adventurers, we are closer to the average tourist with zero experience of what lies ahead and how to apprehend Indonesia,
    - where do you have another destination or itinerary in Indonesia more appropriate to our thirst for PMT and idleness ...
    All your good advice will be welcome, Raja Ampat trot in my head for so long that I need to concretize or move me to other horizons more suited to our desires.
    Thank you in advance Corinne for your return and surely very valuable advice that will guide us in the development of a stay in Indonesia, Raja Ampat or elsewhere, because as we say no matter the bottle of the moment that we have drunkenness depths.
    We wish you for 2016 our best wishes filled with bubbles, beautiful encounters and discoveries throughout your travels. 😉

    1. @Marie and Marc: difficult to answer you better than I have already done in the article ... In relation to your three questions:

      - A destination "for divers only in PMT": it's a destination for everyone! Divers, non-divers, snorkellers & #8230; It all depends on your budget, the time you have, your desires & #8230; Reread the article, 'I give the elements to decide: it's very far, very long and a bit expensive to go, but the place is exceptional & #8230; On site, depending on your budget, it will opt for accommodation a little "roots" (homestays) or more comfortable (resorts). In short, I can not decide for you, according to your priorities, if it's "worth it" or not & #8230; 😉

      - For a first trip to Indonesia: no I would not recommend Raja Ampat. It's really very far, rather expensive and a little tiring to go there, especially if you tell me that you are not too "fighters". If it is Indonesia that you want to discover, also know that Raja Ampat region, culturally, does not look like the rest of Indonesia, in fact. It's still islands, of course, but we're in Papua and it's not Asia anymore, it's another world ...

      - Where to go in Indonesia? Ouh là & #8230; Question too vague and far too wide & #8230; 😡 There are more than 13,000 islands in Indonesia & #8230; There is a lot of choice. Well, for a first time in Indonesia, I would advise you Bali, which has all the tourist facilities facilitating the trip and offers a real change of scenery, or even Sulawesi. But you can also, if you feel attack and you have time, do for example a handset Sulawesi + Raja Ampat, or Bali + Raja Ampat, or Bali + Sulawesi & #8230; Take the time to leaf through a travel guide (like Routard or Lonely Planet) to better pinpoint what each island in this huge archipelago has to offer, it will help you get an overview of Indonesia and what could you like it.

      Good preparations!
      🙄

  55. Hello, Thank you, what a treat to read this article. I was almost already down! Beautiful moments of escape in perspective given the number of articles! Thank you, kenavo 😆

  56. Hello Corinne,
    A big thank you for the information about Raja Ampat, I was looking for a destination "dream", your blog really made me want to go and it was indeed the dream.
    I did a 13-day cruise at the end of December 2015 aboard the Ambai, allowing me to dive at Misool, Fam, Wayag and Dampier.
    I definitely preferred the dives on Misool because of the variety and the profusion of soft corals (in addition to the rest of course) but Blue Magic, Miokson, Sardine Reef and Arborek were really on top too.
    There are also a few people, in all relativity, around the sites of Kri, Gam, while in Misool we are very quiet.
    One desire ... to go back there !
    Franck

  57. Thank you Corinne for your complete and reliable return!
    Tastes and colors are not discussed but the Raja Ampat archipelago is undeniably a terrestrial and underwater paradise. I'm leaving tomorrow, yes tomorrow for Sulawesi, hoping to join a company that will cruise to the Raja Ampat!
    I am already waiting for the returns of companies that you have sited hoping to find a cruise that leaves in my program (I'm wide, I'm looking for the month of March). I would make a complete return to your blog (if you allow me of course) in comments so that other travelers can also enjoy (and on my blog "eyes on the world" even if I'm six months late in the publication of my articles).
    Thank you all again for your feedback and thank you Corinne for sharing your passion.

    1. After 16 months on the roads of the world, I still hope and always marvel more! Raja ampat can only keep his promises of wonder! I trust in life for the rest ✌️ !!

  58. Hello Corinne,

    We are leaving in 6 weeks on kri island ... I can not wait!

    Small security question: Have you had the opportunity to cross snakes or poisonous spiders on the spot?

    Is it safe to walk around the island without a guide?

    Thank you for this information and have a good trip!

    1. @Ben: I do not know what are the snakes and spiders on the island ... The island is almost entirely covered with jungle, you can not really "walk" (better a guide, I guess, to sink in the jungle) ... We can only walk along the beaches where are the two Papua Diving resorts and some homestays.

  59. Isabelle and Christophe de Neuchâtel in Switzerland. Christophe from Lorient. Congratulations for your blog!
    We leave for RA on January 16th. Three weeks of cruise with Tirawa. Small boat. We rejoice and your images have already made us dream.
    Kenavo.

  60. Hello,
    After reading your article, I would have liked to know how many times you could dive with the resorts? you had a limited number or as many as you wanted?

    Thank you

    Margaux

    1. @Margaux: I did not go to "the" resorts, but only to the Sorido Bay Resort in Papua-Diving. Having returned several times, I now dive "à la carte", in general I do 2 to 3 dives a day ..

      In most resorts, you can opt for different packages, usually: a package without dives, a package for 2 or 3 dives per day, or an unlimited dives per day ...

      Browse the sites of the resorts that interest you to see what they offer as formulas, or if not indicated, write to them to find out what is possible.

  61. Hello,

    Yes Raja Ampat is not really for backpackers which allows less mass tourism than in Bali.

    I preferred to go through an agency no later than last week to avoid the hassle taxi, transfer and look for a homestay on the spot among the 1500 islands! Knowing that the displacements are only by boat

    The dives cost about 37 euros for 2 diving underwater on 2 different spots. . Free snorkeling

    Raja Ampat merits

  62. Thank you for all the information provided.

    I am passionate about hard corals SPS and I have a coral reef on Paris (if that is done).

    Do you have dive spots to recommend to me to find pretty hard corals (acroporas).?
    Is this region affected by warming?

    thank you in advance

    1. I'm back on my cruise aboard the Ambai 14j from Triton Bay.
      I loved. The organization is nickel, perfect food and super nice staff.

      From my diver course (maldive, thailand, red sea ..) raja ampat are No. 1, beautiful corals, small, whale sharks, rays .... the best for me

  63. Hello
    And congratulations for all your superb comment
    If we want to cruise on a sailboat but no diving is possible

    1. The shakti does dive cruises and snorkeling cruises but it only takes groups, alas for me. Dave is very pro. I did some magic dive.

  64. Hello Corinne

    Thank you for your blog very informative.

    I am passionate about hard corals (acropora) would you have some tips cruises or stay, famous names of spot?

    Thank you

  65. Hello Corinne,

    Thank you for this blog super interesting and your photos,
    I plan to go kayaking in this place,
    Not being able to dive do you think that the snorkelling in this archipelago is interesting?
    Thanks for everything 🙂
    Julian

  66. Hello,
    I'm going to Raja next week. After sorong I go to Kri island. Then I will like to go to Fam Island. Is it possible to go directly from Kri or is it necessary to return to Wasai?

    1. @Marie: there is no ferry connection between Kri and Fam, nor between Wasai and Fam to my knowledge. To go from Kri to Fam directly, you will have to find someone who will take you in his boat. To organize on the spot, so ... Often, the travelers gather to several to rent a boat, because it is rather expensive, that makes it possible to divide the price of the crossing in as many passengers. Most homestays and resorts regularly organize day trips to the Fam archipelago.

    2. Thank you very much for your quick response. So I'll see on the spot 🙂

    3. Other small questions, is there a point of view of this landscape so well known raja ampat (rock formations) on kri or pulau mansuar?
      If I can not go on fam, I will probably go to Pulau Mansuar ... Is this island worth it? (not too much info on this island) or is it better to move further? Knowing that I have a week in all in Raja ...
      Thank you in advance for your answer
      Good night !

    4. @Marie: these small scattered karst islets are not present in large numbers near Mansuar, which is the large island covered with jungle that stretches all along in the extension of Kri.

      This type of islet is typical of the archipelago of Wayag (further north in the archipelago, more difficult to access) and the archipelago of Fam where there is the island of Penemu (Piaynemo), among others (from where we took the panorama and the photo in the article above) ... For the latter, the easiest way to go is the day trip organized by a homestay or a resort . We also see a lot of islets in the same style in day trip to "Passage" on Gam's side. But the best-known and most accessible emblematic "viewpoint", with this panorama allowing to have an overview, is on the side of Fam / Penemu (Piaynemo). There are similar landscapes as well in the south-east of Misool (and surely in many other places far away from the archipelago that I do not know).

      Attention, the islands of the archipelago other than Waigeo around Waisai are little or not inhabited, Raja Ampat is not developed like other places in Indonesia, it has nothing to do. It's complicated to move around. Many islands are covered with impenetrable jungle, not always easy to reach. There are scattered villages and homestays here and there, certainly more numerous from year to year, but for the moment the region is not very developed for the mass tourist reception (even if it is in the process of switch). If you only have one week, Mansuar is a good base. It is normal that there is little information, the whole island is covered with jungle, there must be in all and for all one or two villages, a resort and a handful of homestays, on the edge of coast ... We do not "circulate" on the island, go see a Google Map in satellite view: it's mountain and jungle. See also on the site StayRajaAmpat of which I speak in the article, they record on a map what can be found on Mansuar ...

      Good preparations!

  67. Hello,
    Thank you for this beautiful article and beautiful pictures!
    What underwater camera do you recommend for good shots (amateur)?
    Thank you in advance!
    Good continuation

    1. I discovered the Olympus TG4 which makes great pictures including macro. Otherwise the canon d30 is good too

    2. @Aude: I do not know, I dive for my part with my Canon Eos 7D SLR, having used for many years a simple compact camera ... See here: Photo and diving, my equipment .
      There are devices designed to go in the water and some can withstand going up to thirty meters I think. Otherwise, there are waterproof boxes for most devices now.

      I advise you to go for a ride on the Photo Forum sub, where you should be able to find a lot of advice for a first device to take under water ... 😉

  68. Hello
    Super article with info, links and everything ...

    I am preparing a trip to Raja Ampa for 2018 or 2019 if it is already complete.
    Piggy bank break in sight but no regrets. After Manado, Bali, Les Visayas, I want to go to paradise. I was almost there already reading this article.
    Congratulations and thank you for this work!

    1. @Mounir: thank you for leaving a little word, it's very nice! Delighted to have made you want to discover Raja Ampat. This beautiful archipelago should fill you ... Good preparations! 🙂

    1. I saw in diving at 3 m deep close to a pier ??? but near manta point woobegongs. To find them must have a very good view, especially from the surface. Debiting, motionless, posed on or under a coral paste and kings of camouflage. Not seen other sharks except 20 m or more deep

    2. @Tim: you can see everywhere ... I saw almost every dive during my last stay (July 2017). Among the relatively easy to observe species: black tip sharks (early morning, above shallow coral areas), bearded carpet sharks, called wobbegongs (often stuck in the sand or under the coral tables, perhaps less easy to find in snorkeling), walking sharks (in areas of shallow coral, especially near the blue hole of Sorido Bay Resort) ...
      😉

    3. thank you ! I would only be in a mask / snorkel, I did not think it was possible to see black tip sharks in these conditions

    4. @Tim: they are easily observed from the pontoons, early in the morning, otherwise, above shallow coral areas, as I said. But a swimmer in PMT may scare them away and make them run away ...

  69. Hello Corinne, thank you for this blog very interesting (and who will bring even more people on Raja empat! & #8230;). I was in Pulau Kri 2 years ago and return there around October 8th. never done diving and at 72 years the snorkelling already fills me. I come back a little later in the season than the first time, one of my dreams being to see manta rays and I must say that your article makes me afraid of not not being able to see it. (a system of quotas of exit on site is maybe a beginning of solution in any case it seemed to walk rather well, 3 years ago, to Galapagos) As you were in Missool and / or Triton bay? I'm getting a little bit of a world of getting there. And manokwari in South Sulawesi? for possibly 2018 or 2109. this year because this year I planned, after rajah empat, to go on Bandaneira and, perhaps, the Kei Islands. Is it possible, to your knowledge, to find from France the schedule for the coming months of the different boats of the pelni? hoping to have your news soon. Dominica

    1. @Dominic: people still continue to see mantas, maybe it's just a bit luckier than before ...

      I have never stayed at Misool, but I did dive on an Ambon cruise in Sorong, it was beautiful, I mention it among others here:
      https://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/2016/02/01/au-coeur-du-triangle-de-corail/
      And there:
      https://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/2016/06/01/misool-raja-ampat/
      The cruise is also spent by Banda Neira, since you talk about it:
      https://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/2015/12/13/banda-spice-island-indonesie/

      Triton Bay, I stayed there in March 2016. See the articles on this trip at the end of this link:
      https://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/voyage-indonesie-triton-bay-mars-2016/

      Finally, I did not take the time to research the schedules of the Pelni, I have never borrowed these ships. Try to launch a query on Google ... As far as I know, the times that the Pelni sometimes deign to put online are rarely updated, and in fact, never respected ... The best, no doubt, for a given island, it is to ask the question directly by e-mail to tourist structures (hotels and dive centers) on site, which will surely be the most informed and may possibly give you this information ...

      Good preparations! 🙂

  70. Hello Corinne,
    What sublime pictures! A big thank you for all these valuable tips. I'm preparing a trip there and after spending a little time on different blogs, I can say without a shadow of a doubt, your article is by far the most complete and the most passionate.
    The road seems long to go but it seems that it is worth the blow ... Hate to be there!
    Thanks again ! 🙂

  71. Hello,
    Really great your blog, it's not the first time I fall on it and it really makes you want to learn how to make such beautiful photos :).
    So I decide this time to leave you a comment and questions.
    I think to go to Indonesia (or maybe Malaysia), next June, max 1 month.

    I thought Raja Ampat because it's been a long time that I dream, and also because I could combine with a visit to the side of the Beliem Valley! It also gives me want to see the "big" that I discovered in Polynesia and worshiped.
    But I wonder if it's worth it (many planes to go there are expensive etc) knowing that I am not experienced.
    About thirty dives but always in good conditions and never with real current. Just a little drifting in a few cases.
    What do you think?

    For the other destinations I eliminated Sulawesi and moluques (because June is not the best season, as much to return another time), Bali (because already went to Tulamben and Menjangan). I also eliminated Alor because I asked a few years ago for information at a club they told me to take only very experienced divers.
    Raja Ampat makes me want but if it is not suitable I consider otherwise Roti (simple dives but less impressive I think) + Sumba (for the visit), or Sumba / Flores + Komodo (I know there is also the current but I read that beginners had gone on quieter sites).

    Regarding Raja Ampat it seems to me that the cheapest option is to go to Waisai Harbor and find a lodging directly in the area. Otherwise a little more expensive but not too much, book on Kri / mansuar. You confirm?
    You also confirm that there are really no villages to visit in the Raja Ampat Islands (unless you have your own boat) and that it is especially for diving / snorkeling?

    Yes a lot of questions but thank you if you can help me find my next dive destination and visit :).

  72. You undoubtedly love Raja Ampat and you know the destination well
    It is a pleasure to read your article which is a real mine of information. I will very soon try the adventure of Raja Ampat and let me be guided by all your advice 🙂

  73. Hello
    Thank you very much for your blog, which is an incredible mine of information. And congratulations for all these extraordinary trips.
    We are looking for a new snorkeling destination that is definitely worth a look (after, the Red Sea, Taba and Marsa Alam, the island of Kho Tao in Thailand and Malendure in Guadeloupe) and RA seems to exceed our expectations. But we have only 15 days this summer and a budget not so scalable. We thought at first to go to Bali (including Pulau Menjangan) or Lombok, it's easier to access but I'm afraid to be disappointed if the corals are damaged by the excess of tourists. We like to leave the hotel for long hikes. Also lapping in kayaks in spectacular spots. We are looking for an area not too wet for this summer (we were very annoyed by the rains last April in Guadeloupe which disturbed the sea for hundreds of meters). Does anyone have a suggestion? I would love to see manta rays or whale sharks, but that's mostly a question of luck visibly ...
    Thank you in advance for your answers

    1. Hello,
      I did a dive cruise on Ampat last year and it was magical. From the micro to the whale shark everything was there. I will surely go back there.
      have a nice trip

    2. I know Menjangan very well ... you will not be disappointed.
      Lombok side Kuta extraordinary, but side dive not much.
      I am amazed at Kho Tao, dead corals and no fish ... ..

    3. Thank you Corinne for all these details that greatly facilitated the organization of my trip in February 2019.
      Cordially.

  74. Hello,

    thank you very much for all this practical information that allowed me to organize my stay without problem.
    I confirm: the destination is extraordinary, even for an "old" diver like me.
    On site, everything is going very well, because the Papuans are very nice people in the whole.
    The only problems I encountered were a flight cancellation between Ambon and Sorong and schedule changes. This from Garuda and of course without warning from them ...
    But all this is quickly forgotten when, in the same dive, we meet mantas, to finish with three species of pygmy seahorses ... (thank you Olympus TG5!)
    Regards,
    Alain

    1. @ Feulvarc'h: thank you for this return from an "old" diver ... Happy that this stay in Raja Ampat has kept its promises 🙂 For domestic flights in Indonesia, delays, cancellations, postponements are unfortunately very common ...

  75. Congratulations for this great job; I am impressed and I will become a regular of your blog and your IG!
    I think I'm a little too used to the light posts of "travel bloggers" actually 🙂

    I am a profe and I do not have much choice of holidays: I understood that you advise South / Misool in summer
    but so for Waigeo or Kri it remains playable and it's still worth it to break the piggy bank?

    Thank you again for this beautiful discovery and good bubbles!

    1. @Laurence: thank you ! Yes, as I explain earlier in my article, the South / Misool are not really practicable because of the strong wind and the rough sea during what corresponds to our summer months, besides the Misool Eco Resort closes at this time (mid-June to mid-September). On the other hand, in the North diving resorts remain open all year, however there are hardly any cruises-dives organized (navigation more difficult).

      I also returned to the island of Kri recently, in July 2019, because I like to be outside the peak tourist season. This is also the time when the documentary film crews (there was one at the resort where I was). However, this year I was less lucky than the years spent for the weather, I came across a week when it was not very beautiful (a lot of gray sky, a few clears anyway, but very often wind , and some heavy showers), which does not prevent diving, but sometimes prevents navigation to more distant sites ...

      As I say in the article, impossible to predict the weather ... In any case, I went there several times in July (my summer holidays are at that time) with great pleasure, and I do it again . We do not have manta rays in this season, but the underwater sight is often much better and there are definitely fewer people on the most popular dive sites, we are quieter (yes, Raja Ampat is starting to become an increasingly popular destination).

      So yes, from my point of view, it's worth it !!! Good preparations! 😉

    1. @Gerard: thank you for this testimony. Yes, the presence of manta rays is seasonal. As I explained in the article, they are more numerous between October-November and April-May (the high tourist season). It is much rarer to cross between May-June and September-October.

  76. I return to your blog after exploring the link to that of the photographer Marion straderoli (you give in the "homestay"): a mine of info for snorkelers!

    So I add this one for fans of Palmes Masques Tubas:
    https://www.papuaexplorers.com/raja-ampat-for-snorkelers (which I found while reading articles about the cruise ship crashed on the reef ...)

    By the way, thank you also for the welcome point on the political situation in Papua! (This is the history-geo teacher who speaks 🙂

  77. Hello Corinne,

    All this information about your travels (especially Raja Ampat) are very rich or even become much too rich. If you want these environments to be preserved as you mention, we allow ourselves to tell you that you are doing too much promotion (do you make a profit?).

    We know most of the destinations where you have been diving in South East Asia, because my partner and I are amateur macro divers, and today we can only deplore the degradation of the seabed and the abundance of plastics. These phenomena have accelerated and the influx of tourists does not help at all (take the example of Thailand, soon Philippines).

    We can not fight the economy of a country (who are we to do it?) And social networks, but what will remain in a few years and what will you retain?

    We specify that we simply sound the alarm. Now you have to measure the consequences.

    1. @Fabrice & #038; Christelle: hello and thank you for your message. Like you, I deplore the degradation of the seabed and as you I try to sound the alarm, and I do not benefit. Your message touches me, because it poses the question of MY responsibility, hinting that it would be my fault if the ocean and the reefs go bad, because I give too much information about certain destinations like Raja Ampat & #8230; I understand your concern and I share it, but I would still like to qualify the reproaches you make me.

      On the one hand, I remain convinced that my impact through this blog is extremely modest or even insignificant, compared to the colossal means deployed by the Indonesian authorities, the TO of Indonesia and the various and varied tour operators, who have interests in promoting Raja Ampat's tourism development. A striking example: on the new 100,000 rupee banknotes (launched in 2016 if I am not mistaken), which is the biggest ticket in Indonesia, there is a landscape of Raja Ampat. In terms of advertising for the destination, it's even stronger than the social networks & #8230;

      On the other hand, whether for this destination or other equally fragile and endangered, I try more than ever (and I'll try to do more in the future) to educate readers about the impact that is ours, as divers tourists, on these fragile ecosystems. I have edited the above article several times in this sense, but it is probably not enough yet. #8230;

      Finally, I think about how to take into account your remarks in my future articles: should we not give any more practical information, so as not to "facilitate the task" to the people who prepare a diving trip? Should I even avoid saying where or even in which country I could do this or that photo? From then on, it becomes complicated to blog about my travels and my dives.

      Because basically, it's the problem: the mere fact of publishing articles and photos on this blog is an incentive to travel and dive, two disastrous carbon balance activities & #8230; By pushing the reflection to the end, I sometimes wonder if I would not better stop everything. But if I stopped, I do not think it would have the slightest positive impact, or that it would help prevent seabed degradation and plastic pollution.

      In short, I think that it is perhaps better to continue to try to share my wonder for the underwater world, in the hope of sensitizing those who read me, to make them aware that all these marvels are threatened. and that we all have a role to play, each on its own scale.

      The environmental impact of tourism is a complex issue. I do not have all the answers. Like you, I'm pretty scared of the extent of the damage in some areas, damage that is not due to tourism alone & #8230; Thank you in any case for taking the time to leave a message to "sound the alarm" and encourage us to a more responsible tourism.

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