On the beach of Pantar Island. Alor, Indonesia. July 2012.
On the beach of Pantar Island. Alor, Indonesia. July 2012.

Heading for Alor


  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 Archipelago, Indonesia. It is completely in the east, near East Timor. It is far away. It is quiet. It is beautiful. And we dive there.

So, Alor?

Indonesia never ceases to attract me. I went back there, during these July vacations. First step of my journey : So.

The beach on Pantar Island, Alor. Indonesia, July 2012.
The beach on Pantar Island, Alor. Indonesia, July 2012.

Alor is an archipelago still well away from the tourist flows, located in what is called the Lesser Sunda Islands.

I was tempted to go there last year already, after my crossing of Flores and my dives in Komodo. I had given up because of lack of time. But I made up for it this summer!

FYI: six years after that first stay in 2012, I went back to diving in Alor, in July 2018. To read here → All to the water in Alor! 

This handful of islands presents rather dry landscapes, but less peeled than in Komodo. There are also powerful and capricious currents, tides that you have to take into account and unpredictable winds. I like this kind of place, a bit rough, a bit harsh, off the beaten track. I was seduced as soon as I arrived.

Alor, Indonesia, July 2012.
Alor, Indonesia, July 2012.
Alor, Indonesia, July 2012.
Alor, Indonesia, July 2012.
Alor, Indonesia, July 2012.
Alor, Indonesia, July 2012.

Pantar Island

I reside on the island of Pantar, at Alor Divers. An isolated piece of beach, a handful of simple but comfortable bungalows - raaah, there is even hot water! - facing the sea.

My bungalow at Alor Divers. Pantar Island, Alor, Indonesia. July 2012.
My bungalow at Alor Divers. Pantar Island, Alor, Indonesia. July 2012.

The "civilization" consists of a Muslim village and a Christian village, on either side of the resort, about 30-45 minutes walk. The wifi connection available at the resort's restaurant is as weak as it is random.

In short, when it comes to peace and quiet, it's perfect. I was forced to disconnect! 😱 😂

The beach of Pantar Island. Alor, Indonesia. July 2012.
The beach of Pantar Island. Alor, Indonesia. July 2012.

The only noise nuisance is the geckos, those little lizards that love to shout at night. My diving buddy Carole does not appreciate them very much: well, especially one, which has the annoying habit of wanting to explore her bathroom and wakes her up every night. As she has a great sense of humor, we choke with laughter while listening to her telling us, day after day, her crazy nightly adventures with her gecko...

At home, at the bungalow Lumba Lumba- (Dolphins), no intruders to disturb my sleep. Just the breath of the wind and the rumor of the surf. In the morning, the dawn is sumptuous.

Sunrise. Pantar Island, Alor, Indonesia. July 2012.
Sunrise. Pantar Island, Alor, Indonesia. July 2012.

The dives

I was told that Alor was worth it. That I wouldn't regret having come so far to dive in. It's true.

On the beach of Pantar Island. Alor, Indonesia. July 2012.
On the beach of Pantar Island. Alor, Indonesia. July 2012.

Only, I plunged to Komodo (July 2011), and then especially Raja Ampat (March 2012), before discovering Alor this summer. As a result, after such spectacular spots, my judgment is biased. I know, I'm starting to become a "spoiled" diver.

How to say... I was not impressed in Alor as I was in Komodo and Raja Ampat. Of course, the sites are very nice, both for the atmosphere and for the macro, with magnificent coral reefs. But I did not have the same feeling of incredible profusion, where one does not know how to give the head, as there are fish everywhere.

I have to qualify this... Now that I'm back in Brittany, I'm rediscovering the sub photos I brought back from Alor. And I have to admit that I have a furious desire to go back to make bubbles there !!!

I put a small sample below, as an appetizer. And I'll be back soon to tell you the rest!

Diving in Alor. Indonesia, July 2012.
Diving in Alor. Indonesia, July 2012.
Diving in Alor. Indonesia, July 2012.
Diving in Alor. Indonesia, July 2012.
Nudibranch. Alor, Indonesia, July 2012.
Nudibranch. Alor, Indonesia, July 2012.
Diving in Alor. Indonesia, July 2012.
Diving in Alor. Indonesia, July 2012.
Diving in Alor. Indonesia, July 2012.
Diving in Alor. Indonesia, July 2012.


  Indonesia: Alor + Raja Ampat - July 2012

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  1. It should be forbidden! ..... to be as beautiful, as magical as too BIG

    Tonight I play EURO MILLIONS to simplify my future choices for next year's trip. After KOMODO, RAJA AMPAT why not ALOR
    I will do them in the order that my private jet dictates.

    To dream is already that, as a certain person said

    Thank you


    1. @Eric: damn, I wanted to play too !!! But now, I'm getting out of work and I completely forgot... Well, I'll wait a bit, then, for the private jet...

      In the meantime, I'm glad I could make you dream a little...

    2. I didn't win....... 🙁
      I'll have to settle for saving and dreaming until then!

  2. Your pictures are very beautiful... we can see everything I liked in Alor: the walls of soft corals, the limpidity of the water, the drop-offs with a very beautiful fauna. It is also where we saw a "flight" of small mobulas, our first rhinopias (and by the way, when I think about it, I have not seen any of them anywhere else). And then... Gilles' professionalism, his knowledge of the sites, the solitude underwater, the calm, the little pirogue that takes you to the boat, the simplicity of the spring, the food... the kindness of Gilles and Enya... um, I still dream about it... No, I'm not advertising, I just want to go back there very very quickly. 😥

    1. @IsaM: I'm so glad I brought back good memories... 😉

      Wait for the next post to see a rhinopias... For my part, I have already seen some, and not only in Alor.

      Notably at Pulau Weh (on the house-reef of the Lumba-Lumba center):
      –> https://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/my-house-reef-is-rich-20100321/

      And also on each of my stays in Lembeh:
      –> https://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/les-creatures-etranges-du-detroit-de-lembeh-20070704/
      –> https://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/les-minimonstres-de-lembeh-20100804/

  3. if I understand well to delay the effect "rotten diver-spoiled" is better that I put Alor before Komodo and Raja Ampat in my program? 😀

    1. @Kamille: my faith, if you have the chance to be able to do such a program, I would answer you yes. It is better to build power ... I would do things in this order:
      Alor -> Komodo -> Raja Ampat

    2. Oops, I'll do the opposite ;-(.
      I already did Raja Ampat first, Komodo and I plan to do Alor in September.
      Hoping that I will not be too disappointed :-(.
      How many days are needed to do all the sites?
      I have 3 weeks and in general I like to settle down in a paradisiac place to dive, read, disconnect...
      Thank you !

    3. @Yasmina: There are sites close by and sites further away from Alor Divers... I don't know how long you would have to stay to do ALL of them! But I think three weeks is more than enough time to enjoy Alor. Maybe it would be worthwhile to divide the stay in two, between two different places (Alor Divers + La Petite Kepa, for example), to vary the sites...

      Reading my post again, I see that my stay in Alor did not make as strong an impression on me as Raja Ampat or Komodo, but I still plan to go back there one day soon... 8)

  4. We are planning to go back to Indonesia in sept/oct and for our diving week we were hesitating between Pantar Island and Raja Ampat (komodo already done) ..so reading the comments, Raja Ampat seems much better ?
    Hints to give to go dive there (where to stay in which diving club?

    1. @ Aurélia: I myself became an unconditional Raja Ampat, since my stay in March 2012. You will find my impressions at the end of this link:

      So I went back during this month of July (I'll write about it soon), and I went back to the same place, the Sorido Bay Resort in Papua DivingI highly recommend them (they are the pioneers of diving in Raja Ampat, and they are ideally located in the middle of the Dampier Strait sites). There are other resorts: Raja Ampat Lodge, Papua 4 Divers, Papua Paradise...

      The problem in Raja Ampat is the price. A diving trip in Alor and a diving trip in Raja Ampat, it is not at all the same budget... The depths in Raja Ampat are extraordinary, superior to Alor, from my point of view, but it implies a huge break of piggy bank...

      Finally, I don't know how the season is in Alor, you should contact the resorts on the spot (Alor Divers where I was, or La Petite Kepa). I think that Raja Ampat is still diveable, I imagine that it must be the end of the "dry season": there must be less wind and more rain. But it is not the manta season...

  5. Thank you for this information Corinne, after some research on the internet, it seems that the cruise is the best way to dive in Raja Ampat ... however we are not a fan of cruises ... and then the dates proposed on the sites do not necessarily fit with our requirements you who did both there (cruise and resort): what do you think?: would we miss the most beautiful site by choosing the resort or is it equal?

    1. @Aurélia: I am not a fan of cruises either, I prefer to be based on land. And frankly, unless you want to see the sites on the Misool side as well, the "cruise" option does not seem to me to be essential in Raja Ampat.

      The most interesting sites of North Raja Ampat are concentrated around Dampier Strait, and if you stay in the area, you already have a lot of fun with what there is there... So, to answer your question: I say that it's worth it (but others than me may have a different opinion).

    2. if I may intrude in the discussion: having done 3 cruises in Raja-Ampat and 2 stays, here are my impressions. Cruise or resort, it depends on your taste: on a cruise, you dive 3 or even 4 times a day, it's less "restful" but you also eat up the landscape and, if you have the possibility to go to the "Wayag", it's breathtaking (Jerome from Wallacea Dive Cruise offers cruises at "reasonable" prices - everything is relative! As Corinne rightly says, the concentration of the most beautiful diving sites is in the Dampier Strait, and most of the resorts are located there. We went to the "Rajat Ampat Dive Lodge", on Mansua Island, a resort affiliated to the "Grand Komodo" Company, the first time by chance (it had just opened, the others were under construction) and the second time, following a cruise with Grand Komodo. 2 dives per day and a rather excessive package, in our opinion, and a rather Americanized clientele (afterwards, to each his own) - for information, it is on Mansuar Island that the last season of Koh-Lanta was shot. We have always dived in Raja Ampat between October and January, and have always had a lot of rain, but also a lot of manta. (Aurelia, you can see our website http://www.ontheploufagain.com). Corinne, delete this post, if you think it encroaches on your info ... ..

    3. @IsaM: no way to delete your com, it's full of info for people interested in R4... 😉 I'll even make a place on it (from another comment on this same theme, but published under a post directly about Raja Ampat).
      Thank you !!!!

  6. eh eh you are incorrigible! hardly returned and already want to leave again, well I admit, I'm enough like that, ah, this virus of travels, it is terrible 😛
    very beautiful photo anyway .... ❗

  7. Hi, the bad rotten diver!
    You made us wait all this month of July, I was watching from time to time but nothing new...until this Sunday of Parisian heat wave when I stay locked up at home in the dark. It is good the virtual splash in the blue of your small bubble which gives envy of elsewhere. How colorful are the bottoms of Alor and your little bungalow very nice. In a month I will be ready to dive between Bali and Komodo so I read you to wait. What a dream trip, a little too many planes for my taste, my nightmare of last night: missed connection in Doha (I have just 1h05 to change plane hoping that my luggage will follow), which leads to the delay of the rest of the program in Indo... but everything will go well, I cross my fingers. I continue reading and viewing your beautiful photos. A+

    1. @Lise: I'm happy to make you travel virtually while waiting. Don't worry too much about Doha, when there are two planes in a row and the connection is scheduled at check-in, they make sure that passengers and luggage are well followed. Except for a huge delay of several hours of the first plane, there is no reason for it to get stuck...
      On the other hand, once in Indonesia, it is better to give yourself some time between two planes, because there, it is not rare to accumulate delays and unforeseen changes...

  8. Wow, you're selling us the dream! Thank you, you spoiled brat! 😀
    For a first dive site in Indonesia, what do you recommend?
    Alor, Komodo or Raja Ampat? I will probably not have time to do all three. Anyway for this time 😛

    1. @Xavier: oh, but I don't "sell" anything, I just share... 😉
      For a first dive site in Indonesia, I would recommend Bali (Tulamben, Pemuteran, Nusa Lembongan / Penida) and Sulawesi (Bunaken, Bangka Island, Lembeh). Or again Malaysia (Perhentian Islands, Sipadan).

      Alor, Komodo, Raja Ampat are more distant sites to reach, more difficult to dive (a lot of current) and more expensive. But Raja Ampat is the most extraordinary place in my eyes, for the richness of the underwater world. The best of the best.

    2. I take good note of all these sites, thank you very much! 🙂
      I'm not afraid of a difficult dive but it's true that if it's far away, for a first time in these lands, it's maybe better not to lose too much time with the travels.
      Thanks again and I'll get back to you when my plans are clearer! 😛

  9. Great pictures
    Same impression as you on Alor, although in my case I would have to replace Raja Ampat (which I don't know yet) by Papua New Guinea.
    However, Alor is one of the places I loved in Indonesia, because it has a good compromise between magnificent diving (even if there is not a lot of macro diversity) and a feeling of being at the end of the world. Especially since I was staying in Kalabahi (the "big" city on the main island). And there, if you don't know the basics of Indonesian, it's quite complicated. But the people are really nice and the area is really worth a visit, even if it's only for a motorcycle trip.
    On the other hand, as Gilles and Cedric's centers were fully booked when we showed up (at the last moment, I must say), we went diving with Thomas (the German). Well, he is nice and his prices are reasonable, but he doesn't give a damn either and, above all, what is really annoying is that we have to spend 2 hours in a noisy boat every day to get out of the bay (and the same for the return trip), and that, as a result, he doesn't seem to be motivated to go very far.
    I hope I can compare ientot with Raja Ampat!

    1. @Muriel: my regret is that I didn't have more time for the "terrestrial" visits of Alor... This feeling of end of the world is quite unique, indeed.

      I don't know PNG, but I think it must be on the same level as the Indonesian side in Raja Ampat. If you have the possibility to go there (of course, you need to have the budget and some time), don't hesitate. It is exceptional, really, with an incredible profusion...

  10. Alor is beautiful I did the tour on motorcycle, boat stop in August 2012. Unfortunately the dive center was full. It is part of the islands of the probe, not so lost that with a airport but little known very quiet no bule except in the two resorts that are not even on the main island. Possibility of continuing to travel back to komodo by boat and see Indonesian whale hunters. Attention we are talking here about artisanal fishing.

    1. @Rapha : yes, this corner of the Indonesian archipelago is still little known and not at all invaded by tourists... It's really worth the detour, for those who have a little time ahead of them.

  11. Hello,
    We are going to combine Timor and Alor this summer and for then, we hesitate between la p'tite kepa and alor divers. What made you choose Alor Divers? It seems that the little kepa is closer to the bay to make muck dive.
    Thank you in advance for your advice.

    1. @Marie: pfff, I'm coming back to this post two years after your message... I realize that I had zapped it and had not answered, sorry. I had chosen Alor Divers, because the resort offered more comfort than La P'tite Kepa. But I think that La P'tite Kepa has now several new bungalows better equipped (private bathroom, among others). There must be information on their website...