Kupang Airport. Indonesia, July 2012.
Kupang Airport. Indonesia, July 2012.

Thirteen takeoffs and thirteen landings

  Indonesia: Alor + Raja Ampat - July 2012

Dear English-speaking readers, this page is an automatic translation made from a post originally written in French. My apologies for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have been generated during the process. If you are reading French, click on the French flag below to access the original and correct text: 

Alor and Raja Ampat: two remote archipelagos in Indonesia. I've just been there. I've reconstructed my route on video... Total: 13 planes!


My journey in video

I don't think I've ever flown so many planes on one trip before. It's a little scary, though. Here's a video of my trip, it will be more explicit... Fasten your seatbelts, we're taking off!

The summary of the trip I took is this:

→ Paris - Dubai - Kuala Lumpur (Emirates)
→ Kuala Lumpur - Bali (Air Asia)
--- Night in Bali
→ Bali - Kupang (Garuda)
→ Kupang - Alor (Trans Nusa)
→ Alor - Kupang (Trans Nusa)
→ Kupang - Surabaya - Makassar (Lion Air)
--- Overnight in Makassar
→ Makassar - Sorong (Sriwijaya Air)
→ Sorong - Makassar (Sriwijaya Air)
→ Malassar - Kuala Lumpur (Air Asia)
--- Overnight in Kuala Lumpur
→ Kuala Lumpur - Dubai - Paris (Emirates)

Thirteen aircraft and six airlines

This new Indonesian journey in July will have earned me a total of thirteen take-offs and thirteen landings. With six airlines: Emirates Airlines, Air Asia, Lion Air, Garuda Indonesia, Trans Nusa, Sriwijaya Air.

I am quite unable to give you an account of the dozens and dozens of hours of flight, transit and stopovers that this represents. It's a lot, it's too much, surely. I didn't dare to calculate the carbon footprint it represents... 😱

But it was worth it. Even by dragging 30 kg of diving gear and photo gear ...

Arrival in Sorong, West Papua. July 2012.
Arrival in Sorong, West Papua. July 2012.
Kupang Airport. Indonesia, July 2012.
Kupang Airport. Indonesia, July 2012.

July 2012: Alor and Raja Ampat

Extend to Alor, return to Raja Ampat...I dreamed about it. I decided to optimize the realization of these two dreams, by grouping the two destinations in a single trip to Indonesia.

Alor is part of the small islands of Sunda, with Komodo and Flores (where I had already been in July 2011), and is close to Timor. Raja Ampat (which I discovered in March 2012) is an extension of Papua New Guinea.

Underwater in Alor. Indonesia, July 2012.
Underwater in Alor. Indonesia, July 2012.
Sweetlips. Otdima, Raja Ampat. Indonesia, July 2012.
Gaterins at the Otdima site. Raja Ampat, Indonesia, July 2012.

Yes, I know. I haven't heard from you all of July. In fact, I didn't manage to blog "live-live"... A bit for lack of time (I spent most of my days diving), a bit because of the slow internet connections.

But I'm going to catch up, now that I'm back from vacation ...

😉 😎

  Indonesia: Alor + Raja Ampat - July 2012

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  1. Hello,
    Very nice journey!
    Quick question ... how did you make your video? Is there any software that allows you to do these course animations?
    Thank you

  2. Hello Corinne, difficult to read your article being stuck at work but hey thanks to you here I am decided to break the piggy bank and go to Raja ampat next year! I just wanted to ask you how to discover the seabed you had preferred (cruise or resort?) Otherwise since you master your Canon and your fisheyes your photos are all simply sublime !!!!! Have a good day

    1. @Nassim: I love to give desires of departure!!! 😀 Raja Ampat is really an exceptional destination, I don't regret my big (very big) piggy bank breaking....

      For my part, I always prefer, whatever the destination-diving, to be in resort or accommodation on the mainland: it's more comfortable, I sleep better, I do not have to share my room with someone one, and then it allows to alternate the dives with terrestrial activities.

      After, everything depends on what you want to see Raja Ampat. A cruise covers more sites. But you also have less choice of the program than on earth, where you can more easily choose "à la carte" sites that you want to do or see again ...

      Finally, a thousand thanks for the compliment on the photos, it touches me a lot ... I have full hard drive. The following should please you!

  3. Well, you did this dream trip (finally for us). It was exactly by seeing the number of air transfers between Alor and Sorong that we had searched (and found - Youppi!) A boat that took us off Alor (in a swimsuit please) and deposited directly on a resort in Mansuar (off Sorong). Transport diving ... obviously, and what a stay! I tell you this just so that you want to taste: the sea of Banda, what a pleasure, what water ... And then, we join Sorong by the bottom of Raja Ampat via Missol .... The rest you know and apparently you enjoyed (we already knew). I like to envy others. So I give you the tips for this little (almost 2 weeks) cruise that avoids Alor-Kupang-Surabaya-Makassar-Sorong .... and in addition you have the impression to save money. Are not they a little expensive all these planes.
    Come on, kisses, I can not wait to read your article on Alor, we loved it so much! I dream to leave, but we are stuck in Paris for at least a year for health reasons. Grr Grr ....

    1. @IsaM: Yes, I had read the story of your crossing, on OnThePloufAgain, and I envied you... 😡 I did think about doing like you, when I was preparing this trip, but in this month of July, no way to find a cruise making the crossing compared to my dates. Anyway.

      For the rest, the dives, as you know, it's great ... Raja Ampat remains at the top of my little top perso, and, in my eyes (now that I could compare), all the same above So.

      I could have done Kupang-Makassar in direct flight (and save myself the detour and stop by Surabaya of the flight Lion Air) but it was with the Merpati, and if I have the choice, I like avoid this company ... The local connections were generally not too expensive (35 € to 90 € depending on the flight).

      I hope that the health problems will not stop you more than necessary, and that you will be able to return to diving soon. In the meantime, I will try to transport you virtually to Indonesia with new images ...

    2. Yes, this year we travel by proxy. So thank you to all those who carry us by their stories on another planet. The duration of the trip for Alor is almost part of the charm. But when we arrive, what pleasure, what satisfaction! The end of the world ... (we had 72 hours between Paris and Alor - see our article on http://ontheploufagain.com ). Where were you at Gilles (Alor Divers) or La Petite Képa? For having dive with 2 different structures on Alor (resort and cruise ship) and a few days difference, we were struck to see, how the sites could appear different: the point of launching, the sense of the diving, without counting obviously the current, the guide etc ... As you already pointed out, the "locals" know perfectly every corner, the address of the rhinopias and the moray eel, while in cruise, one can have (bad) surprises (in this case, our guides on the Banda had been excellent but we preferred our dives on Banda via the resort).
      How were the sight and dive conditions? Same on Raja Ampat. We had always been advised the end of the year (rainy), but apparently the season on Raja Ampat now extends all year round. What do you think, you who were there in March and July? Still a lot of questions ...

    3. @IsaM: in Alor, I was at Gilles (Alor Divers). The diving conditions were generally good, in Alor as Raja Ampat. Visi good to very good, even excellent in Raja Ampat. Sometimes a lot of wind, in Alor like Raja Ampat.

      SO. In Alor, the water is colder (25-27 ° C) or very cold depending on tides and sites (up to 21-22 ° C). Because of the wind (waves), it is sometimes necessary to opt for nearby or sheltered sites. A lot of current on a lot of sites.

      RAJA AMPAT. The summer, in Raja Ampat, is supposed to be the "dry season" but it rained some days anyway. Must say that we are right on the equator, the climate is "humid tropical" all year ... Because of the wind, there is no cruise in this season (too many waves), so better Being based in a resort with nearby sites, but Raja Ampat, for the northern part in any case, is plunged all year. Just know that summer is not the mantas season, they become more difficult to meet than in February-March-April ... Water temperature almost constant: 28-29 ° C, very pleasant . Many currents too, depending on the tides and the sites, but it is very well managed in drift dives and with a hook, even for a poor palmier like me encumbered with a big box for the camera.
      (Anyway, I'll do a little practical report on Raja Ampat later... 😉 )

  4. What a journey indeed!
    you're right we always have more time when we're not on vacation! 😛
    In any case the 1st photos are already great, there is more to wait more ...

  5. Nice trip !
    A little pub, with Malaysian airlines is live Paris-Kuala Lumpur and divers are entitled to 30 kg in the hold ...

    1. @Henry: great info! It's new ?

      I used to take Malaysia Airlines before, when I managed to hold 20-22 kg of luggage. But now, with my bag of almost 30 kg, I started to prefer Emirates (and then the service is top). Especially since it is not unpleasant to cut this very long journey of a dozen hours with a short stopover in Dubai.

      I thought you were wrong, because I had (probably badly) looked before leaving: the official limit on Malaysia Airlines is 20kg in eco from / to France (you have to travel in business to be entitled to 30kg, or traveling from the United States). But I just went back to the Malaysia Airlines website and checked on what they say about the diving equipment. Indeed, they give you 10kg more if you trimballes diving gear.

      Well, well, it's good to know for future trips! Many thanks !!!

    2. Always on the same subject Egypt air has the same policy of + 10 kgs anyway from Geneva, same for Etihad Airways for the Maldives.
      There are no ads and you often have to ask the company for confirmation.
      Without counting the 8/10 of hand luggage + computer after it remains only to put the combination or the stab to travel with but it is less comfortable 😀

    3. @Henry: yes, they rarely advertise for that ... Good to know in any case!

      For the cabin baggage, I always exceed the authorized weight, but it is rare that they check. I act as if my "little" cabin backpack weighs nothing ... I wear it carelessly on the shoulder as if it were not 12 kilos (it contains all that is precious and fragile, and which does not must not go in the hold: besides money and papers, my SLR, my compact camera, lenses, my laptop, hard drives, the box, domes, etc. etc.).

  6. Top top top ...... .I also look forward to it. Raja Ampat is obviously a dive destination to which I think.
    I am currently in Tulamben at Liberty Dive Resort: o))

    1. @Kamille: Liberty Dive Resort ? Ah !!!! Excellent address. It's always where I go, for the past few years, when I want to dive the Liberty wreck... 😉

      For Raja Ampat, until I post new articles on my stay in July 2012, you can already read the posts of my previous trip there in March 2012:

      (Station: big big piggy bank breaking, it's not at all the same budget as in Bali, to dive ...)

  7. Thank you for the trip seen from the office .. Olala this carbon balance ... Buy a boat and drop everything!

    1. @ Cédric: I should already learn to navigate ... Not my radius, that.
      Or, you write me an apology note in the paper, so I can take several months in a row off (paid, of course) to have time to quietly make the train + boat trip... 😀

  8. Hello Corinne,
    In the middle of the season in my shop in Pézenas, but already with my head turned towards my future Indonesian discoveries, your writings and images give me a great desire to discover these islands that are still unknown to me! Thank you very much for all your tips, for these dream bubbles! Selamat jalan Teman dari Dunia! 🙄

    1. @ Karyne: thank you for this little message! Nice to be able to make you still travel through my little bubbles! Sampai jumpah lagi !!!

  9. Super trip! I can not wait to see full pictures.
    I see that you avoided Merpati ... We did not know and we took them to go to Labuan Bajo cruise to Rinca and Komodo: that problems ... You reserve your flights in advance from France via the Internet or you buy directly on the spot ?
    After the advice of Gili Air Divers with whom I did 3 dives at Gili Meno, we cancelled Amed to go instead to Tulamben at the French company Dive Concepts. I spent my AOWD there around the USAT Liberty and added a 6th fun dive with camera rental to bring back some nice souvenirs. I think I caught the Little Bubblers virus... 😀
    Thank you !

    1. @Thomas: hey, hey, the Merpati, yes, better avoid it if you can ...

      For my tickets to Indonesian companies, I could almost buy everything online at airline sites. It was not possible a year or two ago because European bank cards were not accepted. But now, you can book yourself on sites like Garuda, Sriwijaya Air, Lion Air ... Only for Trans Nusa I had to ask Gilles d'Alor Divers, based on the spot, to make the Resa for me, because the site of Trans Nusa is obsolete, it must go through a local intermediary to take tickets.

      Glad I gave you this delicious virus !!!! 😀 In Tulamben, a great address: the Liberty Dive Resort, where you can explore the wreck at the best hours, with a great Indonesian guide all to yourself, it's ideal for photographers sub :

  10. Hmmh... interesting to hear from R4 in July. 😕
    I had wondered about August and then the Raja Ampat Lodge was too late to make me a discounted offer, it was not necessary for me to give up.
    So I'll be following your report with interest: if you can put a little climatological accent on it... 😉 ... miciii.

    1. @ Ludovic / Wet & Sea: the "Raja Ampat Lodge" is, if I'm not mistaken, the operation that the company Grand Komodo ( http://www.komodoalordive.com/ ) opened to Raja Ampat (in 2010, I believe).

      I heard-read good ( http://www.ontheploufagain.com/?p=3586 ), and also the less good, on them ... They have been installed for a very (very) short time in Raja Ampat for a real good knowledge of the sites (but they are nevertheless rather well placed, on Mansuar Island, for a quick access to various interesting sites) and apparently very oriented "Asian groups" in terms of their clientele (which is not necessarily a guarantee of tranquility underwater).

      Good to know: for all that I have seen, the on-site diving resorts (Papua Diving, Raja4Divers, Raja Ampat Lodge, Papua Paradise ...) are easily discounted during the summer months (June-July-August) as the season is more "hollow". So it can be worth it.

      In fact, question rain in July, it is neither worse nor better than in March, for what I could judge: there are days when it is super nice, other days where it 's It's just a little gray without rain, other days when there are showers. In short, a good true humid tropical climate, apparently a little identical all year round, with no real variation of temperature.

      The difference during the summer months (considered as the "dry season" in Raja Ampat) is that there are regularly gusts of wind, sometimes quite impressive, which generally last half a day or an evening then fall suddenly, as if someone had pressed a button on / off, and the sea then becomes calm again ... Really curious. When there is too much wind, it becomes difficult to go to more remote sites, even to find some sites if you do not have GPS (we can not see the bottom from the boat, because of the waves, and hence, impossible to know where to let the divers, since the current is often the party too).

      The vision varies from good to excellent during the summer. Better than March, I found. Only here, in the summer, there are fewer mantas, it is not the season anymore. I only managed to see one, this time, no good ... And when we have the chance to meet, including Manta Sandy, it's a maximum of one or two, sometimes until 6 (this was the case for divers from Sorido de Papua Diving, in particular). In short, nothing to do with the incredible carousel that I could film in March:

      So much for the small climato-plongeolistic presentation ...

    2. Okie, thanks for the comprehensive weather briefing 🙂

      As for Kri, I'm with you, do you see and I'm a little bit crazy about taking a non-diver to a hardcore diving resort ... R4L seemed to me a better alternative in terms of the environment, besides it is highly recommended by Maureen Shimlock herself.

      As far as the clientele is concerned, I must have been half Asian in another life, I often prefer the company of Singaporean divers and DM Indos to that of European or American tourists.
      During my stay at the Lembeh Resort earlier this year, I suffered surrounded by cohorts of Yanks just out of the midwest. 😯

      Here in Lembongan, although the French language is certainly second only to Bahasa, that it is depressing 🙄 there is no lack of mantas... 50 minutes with 5 mantas this morning. 😛
      They spoke neither French nor American, they... 😆

    3. @Wet&Sea: oui, pour ce que j’en ai vu du large, le resort de Raja Ampat Lodge a l’air agréable question environnement (jolis bungalows, grande plage), et puis si Maureen en dit du bien, alors… 😉

      My comment was actually the notion of "group" (I too must have been a little Asian in another life) and since the time you meet me on the websites to divers, you know my preference for DM indos and diving in a small committee ...

      Gee, I didn't know Lembongan was getting so "Frenchified"... 😯 Good thing the mantas are there, dis!!! Enjoy.

  11. Great video! Not only are your photos super pretty, but more importantly it makes you want to dive when one of my big fears is the big blue 😯
    I plan to overcome this fear very soon 😀
    Thanks to you for sharing this with us 🙂

    1. @Stéphanie: for a girl going to Australia, it would be nice to try to master this fear... There is a small coral reef to see, I think, in the area... 😉

      More seriously, you can start snorkeling (palms-mask-snorkel) quietly. One is rarely in the "big blue" under these conditions: in general, one swims across shallow depths or along coral reefs full of life ... Nothing frightening in there.

      After if you feel the urge to really get under the surface, it will still be time to try to see what it gives ...

  12. Hou pinaise the "Alor - Kupang - Surabaya - Makassar - Sorong"! Now that's a trip 😮

    I discovered Indonesia for 1 month this summer with my cops and it is with pleasure that I (re) discover your adventures in this beautiful but huge country!
    We made some dives of course (Amed and the inevitable Liberty, the Gilis and their bombed corals and finally Gerupuk, in the South of Lombok, that I strongly advise you because there is only 1 club, 1 boat and therefore not crowd under water 😀 ). But I especially brought back a list as long as the arm of places where we didn't have time to go, such as Komodo, Nusa Lembongan, Bunaken, the Togians... Well it's rather diving oriented 😛 And thanks to/because of you (yes the banker is going to make the face again) I can now add Raja Ampat and Alor...
    I also promised to return to Bira (South Sulawesi) and why not in front of Makassar ... (you could not take off do not notice this multitude of islands, deserts for the most part, surrounded by turquoise waters ... )

    In short, a dream country, thank you for telling us (and show) so well!

    1. @paradise: I don't know Gerupuk or Bira in diving, I'll note on my to-do-list... 😉 Glad to have contributed to lengthen yours, list!!! Don't forget Sipadan (Malaysia, Borneo)... Hey, hey!!!

  13. Selamat pagi,
    I made a 2nd cruise north of R4, mid August on the Putiraja, the first being in December last, on the Shakti, southern route. I confirm, there are less mantas in August, it rains more. The dives seemed less beautiful, partly because I prefer the big (manta) to the tiny (pigmy sea horse, barely visible with my eyes mole), partly also because Dave Shakti is a better diver and connoisseur of the sites that the boss of the Putiraja who no longer dives and who seems to choose the sites of diving according to their ease. Beautiful dives nevertheless, wobbegongs almost every dive, 2 mantas, my first mobulas, herds of parrots hump ... and me who wanted at all costs to see the famous landscape of Wayag, I was spoiled. You do not say it enough Corinne, the landscapes are magnificent.
    Not sure that I go back a 3rd time, it's overpriced, it's not direct, and it's far, far, far, it's at the end of the world for me who lives in Martinique . But hey, that's also why it's unique. Never 2 without 3 ? I will see once again health.

    1. @Gerard: yes, the landscapes are splendid and it is also what has me so much more in the corner ... But I said it a little bit during my first stay there, in March 2012:

      For my part, I found the dives also beautiful in July, even if we see less mantas, it's true. But the rest (sharks and wobeggongs, humpback parrots, huge pigeon shoals of all kinds) is still there. The profusion and variety of underwater species is truly spectacular.

      Never two without three? We'll see... 😉

  14. I stumbled upon your comment. Perhaps you could give us some advice. We are going for the second time to Sulawesi in April, we can not decide for a dive site. We have the Padi Open Water. Since our Open Water we have dived in the Red Sea, Perhentians (Malaysia) and Pulau Weh (Sumatra). 4 years ago we went to Bunaken, just snorkeling and we found the beautiful backgrounds. For this next trip, we hesitate between the Togian, the Strait Lembeh, the South Sulawesi Islands or push to the molluks. Have you been to these places? Do you have places to advise us. Thank you for your reply. Anne and Jeff

    1. @Anne: Welcome to my Bubbles Elsewhere! I deleted the other duplicate message you left on another page.

      To answer your questions: I went to Togian once (in 2007) and Lembeh twice (in 2007 and 2010). See the links below:
      -> http://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/voyage-sulawesi-indonesie-2007/
      -> http://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/voyage-sulawesi-indonesie-2010/

      I do not know (yet) the islands of South Sulawesi nor the Moluccas.

      The Lembeh Strait is really great if you follow the so-called "muck-dive". The Strait of Lembeh, it is the bottom of black sand, on which one spends his time looking for funny little astonishing animals:
      -> https://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/les-minimonstres-de-lembeh-20100804/
      If you also want more "traditional" dives, with reef, coral and schools of fish, you can pair with a stay in Bunaken, or Bangka Island, all close.

      Good preparations!

  15. Corinne
    I am new to diving and for my 50 years I really want to see mantas. I was thinking of offering Raja ampat in July. It's not the mantas season, I know but ... there is so much to see and I do not have much choice of the moment. I have an advanced open water (I will not quite 40 immersions) but .... I have no experience of diving in the current and I do not see how to aquire it since I do not dive only during the holidays. For a beginner, I'm spoiled, I saw coiba in Panama, Cozumel in Mexico and Roatan in Honduras. But in terms of current ... it's like diving into your bath or almost. All I read is that the dives are sporty at Raja Ampat and that it is not recommended for beginners.
    Do you have a suggestion? should I leave the mantas for the benefit of nudibranchs, change destination, take a course of kicking and buoyancy additional ... prefer Maldives, French Polynesia.
    thank you for your valuable information
    Catherine 😥

    1. @Catherine: Yes, there are sites with a lot of current in Raja Ampat, but the guides of the diving centers make sure to adapt the level of the dives to the level of the divers and to frame them in principle. Hooks are used to avoid being swept away. You can easily learn how to use it, it's not rocket science. The current, we learn to let ourselves be carried by him, not to fight against him (we are always losers). And there are also sites where we are protected from the current, where we can do more peaceful dives ...

      I laughed while reading the end of your message ... because the Maldives and Polynesia are particularly known for their strong currents, these are two places where the dives, especially in the passes, can be very sporting !!!

      With 40 immersions, I think you can start a little trying drifting or hook dives, accompanied by a guide, monitor or someone experienced, who will ensure that everything goes well ...

  16. Hello,

    Superb blog! Very well explained !!

    With all the destinations you've already done in Indonesia let me ask you for some advice regarding the itinerary 🙂

    We leave with a friend (24 years old) for 1 month, we land in Bali on August 5th.
    We went for 10 days Bali, 10 days Lombok and 10 days on the Gili Islands to party.

    After some research we would like to focus on less touristic corners and we opted for Sulawesi and Gili.
    For a month of traveling if we want to see paradisiac beaches, rice paddies, traditional villages, treks, surfing and of course scuba diving 
    What would be the best route based on your experience?

    In advance thank you very much for your answer 🙂 !

    1. @Louise: very good idea to spend time in Sulawesi, which is huge and has a lot to offer. I would be you, I would ignore the Gilis of north-west of Lombok, it is shielded of people at this time and not authentic at all. But if it's "to party", why not, knowing that there is something to do on this level too in Bali ...

      Route question, there is no "best", all the destinations you are considering are easily reachable from Bali, so this is not a problem. I would recommend a Bali-Sulawesi combined. Start by just a day or two in Bali on arrival, to get to the rhythm of the country and acclimatize, then go direct to Sulawesi: spend at least 15 days or more, it's worth it (country Toraja, Poso Lake, Togian Islands, North Sulawesi Islands and Manado region, we will have to make choices). Then come back enjoy the mild Balinese (a dozen days) with a getaway to Nusa Lembongan - Nusa Ceningan, beautiful. Remember that you "lose" a day each time you move ...

      You can find all that and draw ideas on the page that brings all my travels:

      Good preparations!