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

Heading for Alor

#Indonesia

  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 to the east, near East Timor. It is far. It's quiet. It's beautiful. And we dive there.

So, Alor?

Indonesia does not stop attracting me. I went back there during these July holidays. First step of my journey : So.

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

Alor is an archipelago still well away from 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'd given up because there wasn't enough 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 aboard for Alor! 

This handful of islands has rather dry landscapes, but less peeled than Komodo. There are also powerful and capricious currents, tides that are best taken into account, and unpredictable winds. I like that kind of corner, a bit harsh, a little rough, off the beaten track. I am seduced upon arrival.

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 live on the island of Pantar, at Alor Divers. A secluded stretch of beach, a handful of simple but comfortable bungalows - raaah, there's 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 one Muslim and one Christian village on either side of the resort, about 30-45 minutes walk away. The wifi connection available at the resort's restaurant is as weak as it is random.

Anyway, when it comes to peace and quiet, it's perfect. I had to disconnect! 😱 😂

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

The only noise nuisance: geckos, those little lizards who love to play with their egos at night. My diving buddy Carole appreciates them moderately: well, especially one, who has the annoying habit of wanting to explore her bathroom and wakes her up every night. As she has so much humour, we choke on laughter as we listen to her telling us, day after day, her crazy night adventures with her gecko...

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

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

The dives

I had been told that Alor was worth it. That I would not regret having traveled so long to dive. It is true.

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

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

How can I say ... I was not impressed at Alor as I was at Komodo and Raja Ampat. Admittedly, the sites are very nice, both for the atmosphere and for the macro, with magnificent coral reefs. But I did not have the same sensation of incredible profusion, where we do not know how to give head as there is poiscaille everywhere.

Now that I'm back in Brittany, I'm rediscovering the sub pictures I brought back from Alor. And I have to admit that I have a furious desire to go back there and blow bubbles !!!

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. This should be forbidden! ... .. to be so beautiful, also magical too Too LARGE

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

    To dream is already here, as some say

    Thank you

    Eric

    1. @Eric: slim, I wanted to play, me too !!! But then, I leave the job and I completely forgot ... Well, well, I'll wait a bit, then, for the private jet ...
      😆

      Meanwhile, glad to have at least managed to make you dream a little ...
      😉

    2. I didn't win. ....... 🙁
      I will have to be content to save and dream while waiting!

  2. Very nice pictures... you can see everything I liked in Alor: the soft coral walls, the limpidity of the water, the drop offs with a beautiful fauna hanging from the wall. It's also there that we saw a "flight" of small mobulas, our first rhinopias (and by the way, thinking about it, I didn't see any 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 cooking... Gilles and Enya's kindness... um, I'm still dreaming 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 a few, and not only at 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 "spoiled diver" effect, I'd better 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 made 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 ask myself in a paradisiac place to dive, to read, to disconnect ...
      Thank you !

    3. @Yasmina: there are nearby sites and more distant sites since Alor Divers ... I do not know how long it would take to ALL of them! But I think three weeks is more than enough to enjoy Alor. Maybe it would be worth splitting the trip in two, between two different places (Alor Divers + La Petite Kepa, for example), to vary the sites, precisely ...

      Rereading my post, I see that my stay in Alor did not make me as strong impression on the moment that Raja Ampat or Komodo, but I still plan to return a day soon ... 8)

  4. Precisely we plan to return to Indonesia in Sept / Oct and for our week diving we hesitated between Pantar Island and Raja Ampat (komodo already done) ..so to read the comments, Raja Ampat looks much better is that?
    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:
      http://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/voyage-raja-ampat-bali-indonesie-2012

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

      The problem in Raja Ampat are the prices. A dive trip to Alor and a dive trip to Raja Ampat is not at all the same budget ... The funds to Raja Ampat are extraordinary, superior to Alor, from my point of view, but it involves a huge breakage piggy bank ...

      Finally September-October, I do not know how is the season in Alor, it would be necessary to see you near the resorts on the spot (Alor Divers where I was, or Little Képa). I think that Raja Ampat is still plunging, I guess it must be the end of the "dry season": there must be less wind and more rain. But this is not the mantas season ...

  5. Thank you for this news Corinne, after some research on the internet, it seems that the cruise seems best to dive Raja Ampat ... However we are not a fan of cruises ... and then the dates on the sites do not necessarily stick with our imperatives you who did the 2 there (cruise and resort): what do you think ?: miss the most beautiful site by choosing the resort or is it worth it?

    1. @ Aurélia: Me neither, I'm not a fan of cruises, I prefer to be based on land. And frankly, unless you want to see the sites on the side of Misool too, the option "cruise" does not seem to me essential to Raja Ampat.

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

    2. if I can allow myself to interfere in the discussion: having made 3 cruises to Raja-Ampat and 2 stays, here are my impressions. Cruise or resort, it is according to the tastes of each one: in cruising one plunges 3, even 4 times a day, it is less "rest" but one devours also of the landscape and, my faith, if you have the possibility of go to the "Wayag" is breathtaking (Jérôme Wallacea Dive cruise offers cruises at "reasonable" rates - everything is relative question price!). As Corinne rightly says, the concentration of the most beautiful dive sites is in the Dampier Strait, and this is where most of the resorts are located. We had been 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 2nd, following a cruise with Grand Komodo precisely. 2 dives a day and a rather excessive package, in our opinion and a fairly Americanized clientele (after, to each his tastes) - FYI, it is on the island of Mansuar that the last season of Koh-Lanta was turned . We have always been diving at Raja Ampat between Oct and January, and have always had a lot of rain, but also a lot of manta. (Aurélia, you can see our site http://www.ontheploufagain.com). Corinne, delete this post, if you think it encroaches on your info ... ..

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

  6. eh eh you are incorrigible! just returned and already want to go back, well I confess, I am enough like that, ah, this virus of the travels, it is terrible 😛
    very beautiful photo anyway .... ❗

  7. Hi, the bad rotten diver!
    You made us wait patiently all this month of July, I was watching from time to time but nothing new ... until Sunday heat Paris where I stay locked at home in the dark. It's good virtual splash in the blue of your little bubble that gives desires elsewhere. That funds Alor are colorful and your little bungalow nice. In a month I'll 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 last night: correspondence missed in Doha (I just 1:05 to change plane hoping that my luggage follows), which causes the shift of the rest of the program in Indo ... but everything will be fine, I cross my fingers. I continue reading and watching your beautiful photos. A +

    1. @Lise: glad to make you travel virtually while waiting. Do not worry too much for Doha, when there are two planes that follow each other and whose correspondence is scheduled at check-in, they make sure to forward passengers and luggage. Except huge delay of several hours of the first plane, no reason that it stuck ...
      However, once in Indonesia, it is better to give the beat between two planes, because there, it is not uncommon 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?
    So, Komodo or Raja Ampat? Which I probably won't have time to do all three. At least for this time 😛

    1. Xavier: Oh, but I'm not "selling" anything, I'm just sharing... 😉
      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 join, more difficult to dive (a lot of current) and more expensive. But Raja Ampat is the most extraordinary place in my eyes, for the wealth of the seabed. The best of the best.
      🙄

    2. I take good note of all these sites, thank you very much! 🙂
      I am not afraid of a difficult dive but it is true that if it is far, for the first time in these countries, it is perhaps better not to waste too much time with the trips.
      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 should replace Raja Ampat (whom I do not know yet) by Papua New Guinea.
    Alor, however, is one of the places I loved in Indonesia, because there is a good compromise between magnificent dives (even if the profusion is not there, there is diversity in macro) and printing at the end of the world. Especially since I was staying in Kalabahi (the "big" city on the main island). And here, if you do not master the basics of Indonesian, it's quite complicated. But people are really super nice and the area is really worth visiting, if only for a motorcycle getaway.
    on the other hand, as the centers of Gilles and Cedric were complete when we pointed (at the last moment it must be said), we were diving with Thomas (German). Well, it is nice and its prices are reasonable, but it does not tear either and most importantly, what is super painful is that you have to stuff 2 hours of noisy boat every day to get out of the bay (ditto back), and that suddenly, it does not seem motivated to go very far.
    I hope I could compare with Raja Ampat soon!

    1. @Muriel: my regret is not to have had more time for the "terrestrial" visits of Alor ... This feeling of end of the world is quite unique, indeed.

      I do not know PNG, but I think it has to be on the same level as Raja Ampat's Indonesian side. If you have the opportunity to go (it's safe, you have to have the budget and a little time), do not hesitate. It's 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 seeing, for who has a little time ahead.
      😉

  11. Hello,
    We will combine Timor and Alor this summer and then, we hesitate between the little kepa and alor various. What made you choose Alor Divers? It seems that the little kepa is closer to the bay to muck dive.
    Thank you in advance for your advice.
    Married

    1. @Marie: pfff, I go back to this post two years after your message ... I realize that I had zapped and did not answer, sorry. I chose Alor Divers, because the resort offered more comfort than La P'tite Kepa. But I think La P'tite Kepa now has several new, better equipped bungalows (private bathrooms, among others). There must be info on their site ...

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