View of the Fam archipelago from the viewpoint of Piaynemo. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, January 2015)
View of the Fam archipelago from the Piaynemo viewpoint. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, January 2015)

Raja Ampat : practical information and tips to organize your trip

#Indonesia

  Indonesia: Bangka [Sulawesi] + Rao [Halmahera] + Raja Ampat [Papua] - July 2019

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: 

I'm drowning in e-mails asking me for information about diving at Raja Ampat! So, I've compiled it all here in this article. But beware, a trip to Raja Ampat requires that you behave as a respectful and responsible visitor. Tourism, which is booming in the region, is jeopardizing one of the most magnificent reservoirs of biodiversity on the planet.

COVID-19. When will we be able to travel to Indonesia from France? As of the date I edit these lines, foreign tourists are not allowed to enter Indonesia and in the latest news, Indonesia's borders will not reopen until 2021. The Indonesian government prefers for the time being to focus on domestic tourism : Bali reopened on July 31 to visitors from other provinces (or to foreigners already in the territory), Raja Ampat on 22 August.

1. A Place We Must Protect

Raja Ampat means "the Four Kings". Composed of four main islands (Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati, Misool) and a multitude of islets covered with jungle, it is an archipelago located in the extreme east of Indonesia, in 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 unspoiled there, as these islands are remote and isolated and still little known (although this is less and less true). The Raja Ampat archipelago is outstanding for its beauty and biodiversity, both on land and at sea.

But the region's tourism development has accelerated in recent years, with disastrous consequences for the environment. Presented as a "dream destination" to privileged tourists that we are, Raja Ampat is first and foremost a natural treasure, which must be preserved, protected. But we must be aware that each of our visits has an impact on this unique and fragile ecosystem ...

I invite you to read this inventory drawn up in 2020 by the non-governmental organization (NGO) The Sea People - Orang Laut, which details the damage caused in particular to coral reefs by too rapid and unsustainable tourist development in Raja Ampat: Reefs in Danger

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)
View of the Fam archipelago from the Piaynemo viewpoint. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, January 2015)
View of the Fam archipelago from the Piaynemo viewpoint. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, January 2015)

Update [2017]. The fears I expressed above found a sad illustration with an accident that occurred on March 4, 2017 in the waters of Raja Ampat: a large British tourist cruise ship, of the “floating building” type, the Caledonian Sky, devastated a small portion of a spot known to divers as Cross Over, off the northeast coast of Kri Island… ???? This kind of ship has nothing to do here! To find out more, I refer you to 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]

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

2. A 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, formerly colonized by the Dutch, was annexed by Indonesia in the 1960s. The Indonesians behaved like invaders and the army committed massacres. Nowadays, 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, in Manokwari, Sorong and Fakfak, in particular, after the arrest in Java of pro-independence Papuan students, against a background of racist tensions: the Indonesian government then cut the internet in Papua and sent a thousand soldiers as reinforcement ... In 2017, almost twenty years later the Biak massacre (1998), the Indonesian military and police have carried out 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 Sorong, opposite the islands. The city has about 220,000 inhabitants, it is a mining and industrial port, without much charm, where one of the scourges that particularly affects Indonesian waters is clearly visible: 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)

In Wasai, on Waigeo, the big island in the heart of the Raja Ampat archipelago, off Sorong, a second airport was inaugurated in May 2012 (read also here: Raja Ampat gets a new airport). From 2014, it was apparently possible to make the Sorong-Wasai crossing by air, via small cuckoos with propellers chartered by the local company Susi Air. But in 2016, I was told that the Marinda airport in Wasai was not really operational and was used only rarely, during official visits…

Wings Air (a subsidiary of Lion Air) attempted to launch a Manado-Wasai flight, but Sorong airport having been enlarged and modernized, Wasai airport does not seem destined to become the new air gateway to Raja Ampat ( phew). The Wings Air connection called "Manado - Raja Ampat" which I have already seen on the information screens at the airport has accumulated delays and / or cancellations since its launch, and it even seems (info from 2018) that it is more or less suspended…

On the other hand, Sorong airport has undergone a metamorphosis: it has been completely refurbished and enlarged! Result: the archipelago, which had long been away from so-called “mass” tourism, sees the number of foreign and indonesian visitors grow year by year. From a dozen liveaboards (cruises-dives) in the early 2010s, we went to more than a hundred in 2019… ????

The relative tranquility and preservation of Raja Ampat is over...

3. I am not a travel agency

I allow myself a small friendly warning, before going any further : I get a lot of messages from people who mistakenly take me for a travel agency or the agent of a tour-operator... Some even send me booking requests ! ! ???? It's crazy...

To clear up any misunderstanding, be aware that I blog for the pleasure of it about my travels and my dives (click here to learn more about me and this site), but I don't sell anything or organize anything.

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

Be aware as well that everything changes very fast in West Papua, which is in full touristic boom. This article was first published in 2013, but I continue to update it as the years go by with my new trips to Raja Ampat (I updated it again in July 2020).

And then take the time to do your own research... We live in a great time, where everyone now has access to a free, highly efficient, real-time updated 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.)

4. My trips to Raja Ampat

So I don't pretend to offer here the "ultimate" guide to Raja Ampat... As I said before, things are changing so fast over there! In a short time, with the increasing influx of divers and tourists, both local and international, nothing will be quite the same anymore. I've already witnessed some notable changes between my first trips in 2012 and the last ones (December 2018 and July 2019)...

I have already published quite a few articles on this blog. 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 cruise + Raja Ampat: 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)

5. When to go diving in Raja Ampat?

  • From October to April: this is this is the period considered optimal for diving. It corresponds to the northwest monsoon. This season is sometimes described as "dry" by tour operators, but in reality it is also "wet", especially in December and January. You can dive all year round in the north of Raja Ampat, but during this period from October to April there is less wind and swell than during the south-eastern monsoon (May to September). It is therefore easier to sail and it is the high tourist season for diving liveaboards. It is a period when plankton proliferates: visibility underwater is therefore less good, but it is also the season when you are most likely to encounter manta rays, especially the huge oceanic rays, and to see them perform an amazing ballet at the world-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 the tourist off-peak period, it's a good plan for divers to go there at that time, because the resorts regularly offer interesting discounts on their packages.
  • From May to September: we are under the influence of the south-eastern monsoon, sometimes described as the "wet" season, but in reality, when it comes to rain, the difference is not very marked with the so-called "dry" season from October to April. The real difference between the two seasons comes from the fact that between mid-June and mid-September there can be big gales and the sea can then be very rough... If you are based on land in the northern archipelago, on an island, it is not too much of a problem to go diving on nearby sites. But trips to more distant sites will be very weather and swell dependent. That's why there are few or no liveaboard cruises organised during this period, which therefore rather deserves the name "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 sail and dive there during this period (the magnificent Misool Eco Resort closes during our summer holidays). Manta rays are becoming rarer in this season, as there is not as much plankton near the surface, but the visibility underwater seemed to me to be generally better (watch the video I made there in July 2016).
  • So when is the weather nice? Whatever the season, the sky is ever-changing, alternating between bright sunshine, gray sky and rain, in a more or less equal way, as far as I have been able to judge during my different stays (in December, January, March, July), whether we are under the influence of one or the other monsoon. The showers are often very localized. It is not rare to watch a big cloud pouring curtains of rain on an island opposite only a few kilometers away, while the sun shines on the island where you are, for instance... The air temperature is stable (25°C at night, 30°C during the day), and the water temperature is constant, around 28°C. We're at the equator, so, basically, it's always hot and humid. The climate is really "equatorial" all year round, with no big seasonal variations, except for the wind I mentioned earlier. After that, the weather is not an exact science either... Besides, the climate is going downhill. You can get a rotten week. Or several days of real good weather in a row. 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.)

6. 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 special offers, airlines and seasons) for a return flight from Paris to Jakarta (at least this was the range of fares before Covid-19).

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. Allow at least two days (flights Paris-Jakarta, then Jakarta-Sorong, then the boat crossing) to reach the archipelago from Europe. That is, including outward and return journeys, four days in total! A very long trip... To make it worth it, plan to stay long enough in Raja Ampat and/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 Jakarta-Sorong flight is approximately 4 hours. Before Covid-19, three companies offered direct flights: Batik Air (subsidiary of Lion Air), Garuda Indonesia, and, since September 2019, AirAsia (Malaysian lowcost which has branches throughout South East Asia). Xpress Air, which was the pioneer on this route, no longer operates. Direct flights from Nam Air (a subsidiary of Sriwijaya), launched in 2015, have not existed since the end of 2018 (Garuda bought Sriwijaya / Nam Air via its subsidiary Citilink and is gradually resuming their connections). I have already flown several times without worry with all the companies I mention (reservations made on their websites from my home in Brittany with my French bank card without problem). Make sure when you book that you choose a direct flight (the list also includes flights with a stopover).
  • 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.

  • Flight Jakarta-Sorong: the only non-stop connections are operated by Batik Air, Garuda Indonesia and AirAsia.
  • Flight Jakarta-Sorong with stopover: the Garuda and Lion Air / Batik offer connections, there is a stop at Manado or Makassar generally, sometimes Ambon or other… Sriwijaya Air also offers flights with stopover.
  • Flights to Makassar or 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 to 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. Good to know: there is an Ibis Budget at Makassar airport, to grab a few hours of sleep, before take-off at dawn for most flights to Sorong. I have slept there several times…

⚠️ If you don't feel like booking the domestic flights yourself, or if the website of the airline you are interested in is not accessible for a mysterious reason, or if there is no way to pay online by bank card from France - there are sometimes bugs or security issues on Indonesian sites - you can always ask the hotel or the diving facility that will be hosting you to arrange domestic flights for you or contact a local agent. Otherwise, you can book your Indonesian flights on the site Nusatrip.com, which I mentioned earlier (I haven't tested it myself). You will find links to the Raja Ampat diving resorts below. They all have an explanatory page "How to get there" indicating the flights to Sorong and the possible routes to organize your trip. Finally, if you do not want to take care of all this, the easiest way is to turn to a dive tour operator, who will organize the entire trip and stay according to your wishes.

7. Don't forget the permit

You have to pay an entrance fee to visit the Raja Ampat natural maritime park. Until December 2019, this permit cost foreigners 1 million Indonesian rupees (around 60 € or 70 dollars). Since December 20, 2019, the tariff rose to 700,000 rupeesaccording to this document issued by the official KKP office, and this is confirmed on the page "Raja Ampat Marine Park entry permit" by the excellent website Stay Raja Ampat, which is a valuable source of up-to-date tourist information about the region. This permit is valid for one year from date to date.

(During my very first visit in 2012, this "fee" was initially 500,000 Indonesian rupees, it increased to 1 million rupees on February 1, 2015, and has therefore just been revised downwards, in this month of December 2019, at 700,000 rupees ...)

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 have been several changes in recent years... License Is Now Issued in Wasai (on the island of Waigeo). Before 2018, it could be obtained in Sorong near the airport, then from January 2018 to December 2019, it could be picked up at the Wasai pier by disembarking from the ferry coming from Sorong. But this annex office has closed, it seems (at least for now) and you have to go in the official premises UPTD KKPK, located a little further to Wasai... I give you the site link below Stay Raja Ampat which compiles all this information, and which is regularly updated, as the situation evolves...

→ Raja Ampat Entry Permit Marine Park

⚠️ Little advice : collect the permit in an official office, and especially do not buy it online or from people who could approach you and offer it to you at the exit of the ferry. You risk paying more and getting an invalid license... In short, watch out for scammers!

This entry fee is intended to finance conservation actions in the protected maritime area and to feed 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

8. 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 be practiced almost everywhere…

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

Compared to diving cruises, this is the option that I prefer: on the one hand, the guides of diving resorts often know the sites much better than those of cruise ships. On the other hand, structures based on the spot are generally more involved in conservation programs and more concerned with the protection of the area than cruise operators, who are only passing by ...

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 photo! I asked them to take 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)

Be careful, the diving resorts in Raja Ampat are not cheap and in general, the prices charged 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", simple and cheap accommodations run by locals (often simple huts with mattresses and mosquito nets). Be warned: more and more of them now offer scuba diving as part of their activities, but without necessarily having the required authorisations, skills nor equipment in good condition... Diving resorts, for their part, usually have well-maintained equipment and compressors, trained guides, appropriate boats and certified instructors for training courses (PADI, CMAS, SSI, etc.).

I cannot 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 above all be an autonomous diver, even 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 located 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 have not tested it myself, but everyone has said good things about it, both tourist divers and the staff of different resorts in Raja Ampat. The Arborek center is run by two enthusiasts, Githa (whom I met) and Acel, and it 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 neighboring (more affordable), it is ideally located on the island of Kri, in the Strait of Dampier, where the most famous sites are concentrated. These two resorts belong to Papua Diving and were created by the diving pioneer in Raja Ampat, the Dutch 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, and afterwards they even worked for this resort for a year).

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)

9. Diving cruises

It is an interesting option to discover a wider variety of sites and islands. But the quality of the dives can be affected: the guides on the boats don't always know the sites as well as those in the resorts all year round. There are more and more operators, more and more choices, short cruises (only the North of the archipelago) and long cruises (including the South to Misool).

We must also be aware that the proliferation of diving cruises in recent years, with an influx of boats and divers on the same sites, is having an impact on coral and reef fauna, and is beginning to become problematic. When I visited Raja Ampat in July 2016, a proposal for quotas to limit the number of boats present at the same time in the different protected areas was under consideration but has not yet been implemented. A project to install buoys throughout the park for moorings is also underway.

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 before, liveaboards are rather organized during our winter period (between October-November and March-April), which is the most favorable time to sail in the region.

In March 2012, I had a short cruise in the North Archipelago with the boat Black Manta, which belonged to the company at the time White Manta Diving, and that I found very well. But this ship has since been sold and is now chartered by another operator who no longer offers the same services… During my cruise, 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, more recent, from the same company). Below some pictures of this cruise…

  • 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 acts as an intermediary with the operators. I don't know him personally, but I used his services in 2012 and I was very happy with it. We exchanged by e-mail to settle a lot of details, he was very responsive, very friendly. Otherwise, in the same style, there is this site which is pretty damn good also for locating availability: Liveaboard.com
  • If you are not fluent in English and prefer to speak to a French intermediary, there are cruise offers on the site Balanced, launched in early 2020 by a friend, Carol, who has been based in Asia for a long time, as well as on the Dazzle Dive and Asiaqua, managed by Valérie and Olivier, French people also living in Asia. Most of the big well-known French speaking tour operators have cruises to Raja Ampat in their catalogs, I'll let you find it for yourself. And Wallacea Dive, long-established French operator in Indonesia, also organizes cruises to Raja Ampat now.
  • Update. 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, from the Moluccas of the Center to Raja Ampat (departure from Ambon, arrival in Sorong). But this boat no longer exists, it burned and sank at the end of January 2018. The owners temporarily chartered another sailboat, the Mutiara Laut, to continue to provide cruises, and have considered launching 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.)

10. 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, the accommodation options in Sorong have grown. There isn't a huge choice, but most travelers only spend one night there, on arrival and / or return. Among the most comfortable to recommend is the Belagri, the Swiss-Belhotel, the Royal Mamberamo.

11. Cheap accommodation on the islands: homestays

In the islands of the archipelago, there are now many homestays, as I mentioned 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 accommodations, the prices are in the range of Rp 500,000 to Rp 800,000 per day (around € 30-50) on a “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):

12. Kayaking 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 paddle to the beaches where we can camp, in the company of a guide, or even homestays, some of which are located in fabulous places in the heart of the archipelago. , far from everything ... Different routes, pre-established on a map, are possible.

13. Getting around 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 prices are sometimes a little "at the head of the customer". Independent travelers, get together! Otherwise, most homestays offer day trips by boat, prices 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)!

14. 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 beautiful diving spots! And I'm not very familiar with the Misool region 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 Triangle, it is the epicenter of marine biodiversity in the Indo-Pacific region. 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)

15. 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!

However things are (alas) starting to change: manta rays, disturbed by boats and divers, are now more rare at the Manta Sandy site. Previously pristine beaches are littered with cut coconut palms 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 depositing daily groups of tourists on the sandbank at the tip of the island in front of Kri for picnics or the 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. Raja Ampat's ecosystem is fragile and threatened through our sightseeing tours, among other things.

Environmental protection organizations and local initiatives strive to support the development of Raja Ampat, by supporting eco-tourism and various conservation programs involving the Papuan population

Some links below to discover them:

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.)

16. Books on 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.

Conclusion

  • I do not have a recommendation for "cheap addresses", I also don't have a “good plan” for staying on a desert island or a dream beach, nor a “recipe” for not spending a round in Raja Ampat. There are a lot of deserted islands, but really deserted, with just birds, couscous, the jungle and mosquitoes, everywhere in the archipelago. Consider rather 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 unable to know if it will be sunny precisely from February 28 to March 12. Or if it will rain a lot or just a little from December 10 to 22. I have a fairly good grasp of the humid climate (Breton or tropical), but I am neither a meteorologist nor Madame Irma.
  • Yes, there are mosquitoes in Raja Ampat - no more than elsewhere in these latitudes - and they can transmit malaria. But I cannot decide for you whether or not you should take preventive treatment. 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 from the 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 fish, 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: 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 - Oct-Nov 2015

  Indonesia: Raja Ampat - January 2015

  Indonesia: Alor + Raja Ampat - July 2012

  Indonesia: Raja Ampat + Bali - March 2012

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    1. @Marie: Yes, I know that... 😉 I met some kayakers who had just come back from their trip, delighted but exhausted, and I had a good chat with the guy who started the project, a young South-Af' crazy about nature, the kind of guy who sleeps in the middle of the jungle all alone, with just a hammock and a 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. As a beginner diver, I discovered Raja Ampat... and immediately put him on my list of future trips 🙂 The destination corresponds to me in every way. Thank you for this incredibly clear and complete topo. Your video of the manta rays is magnificent, a waking dream...

    1. @TontonPhoto: this may not be the ideal destination for beginners, there may be some difficult sites with the current... But the mantas site is accessible to all levels. A waking dream, yes... 🙄

    2. UnclePhoto: Raja Ampat has been on my list for several years now. I finally made this dream come true in 2012. The problem is that afterwards, you only think about 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 practical 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 ... 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'm taking off on the 15th 😉

  5. "We live in great times, where everyone now has access to a free, incredibly effective, real-time tool called Google." I think I'm going to steal that one from you. 😉

  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 well who you dive with. It may be the best trip of your life or just plain bad. And at this price, the bof is not going well! 😉

    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!

    (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 me directly... to apply !!! 😆 I had to politely explain to them that I wasn't the Australian Tourist Board, that I was just a journalist writing about it, and that I wasn't recruiting anyone.

      Anyway, 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's finally online, this "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 and bizzzzzzzz 😉

  9. Nice job, just missing a map of Sorong with the location of the ATM/ATMs 😆
    On the other hand, as I'm going back to Kri at the beginning of May, could you give me the address of a good koteka shop, as mine was stolen during a costume party 😀
    Ok I ➡

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

      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. Thanks for the info on Sorong's ATM 🙂 , on the other hand for the koteka, it's 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:
      https://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/mioskon-island-raja-ampat-20121224/

      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 he deigns to come and see us in his "low cost resort" 🙄

  10. Eeet, Ma'am! I can get a hotel discount! 😀
    What it's like to be popular and in demand. 😉

    No kidding, thank you for this avalanche of information... I can see that the budget must be substantial... We'll first go through step 1 (learning to dive) before thinking about going. 😉

    1. Melissa: if you want to dive, you have to have a good budget, that's for sure... 😯 In truth, it's for non-divers that the budget will be the most reduced... For real backpackers who don't need a compressor to inflate blocks like divers do, and who are not afraid to stay a bit "roots" and to improvise their stay on site, it can be an extraordinary adventure.

      (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.

      Ah... And I dream, too, to go back there... 🙄

    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 makes you want to go back! Thank you, it's very well done (and I like the small adjustments 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'm on R4 for good too ... 😉
    One or two complements to your guide and some observations on the resorts:

    - On Sorong, the Royal Mamberamo is a hotel in town that I found much more pleasant at equivalent quality than the JE Meridien for one night, its restaurant is one of the very best Indonesian I've ever been to. Moreover it is located not too far on foot from two small nice tribal art shops to bring back or to offer, including the inevitable koteka, for the gentlemen 😀 .

    - 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 the patit care. The young dive guides are from Manado and super enthusiastic. Very comfortable and well built bungalows, idyllic place. It's true that the food was not necessarily excellent, but I put to the definite anyone to find in Indonesia a resort with nice menus ... 🙄
    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.

    - 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 diving world in Indonesia, it's true), but paying $ 55 for an extra 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 a package unlimited dives proposed at RADL it's on this basis that I left ...but except for one day, I didn't even do the 4 dives max per day. It's true that the supplements are expensive : 100€ the supplement for the day at Le Passage but I was alone with my boat and my two young guides Gustin and Fadly (whom we had quickly nicknamed Doublepatte and Patachon, newcomers with a good practice of guest service - trained by Marcel Hagendijk from Maluku Divers, then guides on the Damai please -, probably not the ones whose little enthusiasm you must have experienced 😉 ). Compared to the rates in Kri... it wasn't in the upper part either.

    Back on the food: it is not in Indonesia that I am waiting for Nirvana, let's not forget that we come from a country that is very disadvantaged in this respect. So unless I fall in a French resort (Chez Gilles) or a restaurant of passionate mysteriously located (Chez Clément in Lembongan), I hope nothing at all on this side ... Which finally makes the Selles sur 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's 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 didn't have any baggage checks and never took him with us because we didn't think about 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 doesn't 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 my blog gives you travel "itchy" ... 😉

      Thank you for your note. I answer you for me Semporna ... I'm 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... 🙂 In fact, I don't really know the Moluccas, I've only been to Halmahera in the north, indeed, and still, I've only seen a very small part of the island, only the Weda bay and its surroundings. I'm sorry I can't 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, an unforgettable stay is to be recommended. 😉

    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 diving novice who is lucky enough to be able to go to 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:
    - full board in private bungalow: IDR 800 for 2 (48 €)
    - full board in longhouse: 500 IDR for 2 (or 30 €)
    - the diving: 450 IDR / pers / diving (or 27 €), with a free dive after 10 and a reduction if you bring your gear
    - Transfer: 450 IDR per way (I do not know if it was for the boat or for 2)
    - 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 of it. At that time the table tennis table and VIP bungalows were not there / finished but the green fluorescent cakes of the snack if 🙂 thank you for making us relive these moments with your commentary and thank you for leuf make good publicity because it is true that they deserve it (welcome, setting, atmosphere, 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 that everyone - including me - 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 of the posts are fascinating and plunge me underwater 🙄 🙄
    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 through your blog, and I wanted to thank you 😉 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 we often get inspired by your site before deciding on the next diving 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 ... long live the web! Personally I feel a certain satisfaction in getting by like a big and nothing, it is 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/plonger-raja-ampat-voyage-20130303/comment-page-1/#comment-6895
      You can also read JC's and Muriel's "low budget" review earlier in the comments:
      http://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/plonger-raja-ampat-voyage-20130303/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's better to change your destination and come back with a better diving experience? or keep this thought AND come back with a better diving experience 😉
    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 ... We love Indonesia! We already went to Irian Jaya in 1992 (pretty much). Especially in the Baliem Valley ... 2 unforgettable months. Tomorrow morning, we fly to Makassar and Sorong for a 3 weeks we hope to be unforgettable because it's a small budget madness for us ... But we realize a dream ... 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 ... a package bungalow and 3 meals plus 4 outings snorkeling 6.200,000 / pers ... definitely not for small budgets ... After long research on the internet we leave confident to find reasonably priced ... 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! Bravo!!!
    We have the project to go diving in Raja Ampat or ... 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!) ...... ..Did you not 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. It is true. But there are other shows that compensate: dolphins, sharks, rays and manta rays ...

  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 that had made me dream ...
    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 ... 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 in?) knowing that I am familiar with the wonderful Komodo Park.
    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... It all depends on your budget, the time you have, your desires... Read the article again, 'I'll give you the elements to decide: it's very far, very long and a bit expensive to go there, but the place is exceptional... On the spot, depending on your budget, you'll have to opt for accommodation that is a bit "roots" (the homestays) or more comfortable (the resorts). In short, I can't decide for you, according to your priorities, if it's "worth it" or not... 😉

      - 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? Ooh there... Question far too vague and far too vast... 😡 There are more than 13,000 islands in Indonesia... There's plenty to choose from. Well, for a first stay in Indonesia, I would simply advise you Bali, which has all the tourist facilities to facilitate the trip and offers a real change of scenery, or Sulawesi. But you can also, if you feel like it and you have time, make for example a combination of Sulawesi + Raja Ampat, or Bali + Raja Ampat, or Bali + Sulawesi ... Take the time to leaf through a travel guide (such as the Routard or Lonely Planet) to better identify what each island of this huge archipelago has to offer, it will help you get an overview of Indonesia and what you might like.

      Good preparations!
      🙄

  55. Hello, thank you, what a treat to read this article. I was almost there already! A nice minute 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 prompt response. 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 subwhere you should be able to find a lot of tips for a first device to take underwater... 😉

  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: thanks for leaving a little note, it's very nice !!! Nice to have made you want to discover Raja Ampat. This beautiful archipelago should fill you up... Good preparation ! 🙂

  69. Hello
    Thanks for this testimony.
    Do you know or see sharks in Raja Ampat while snorkeling?

    thank you !

    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 ...

  70. Hello Corinne, thank you for this blog very interesting (and who will bring even more people on Raja empat! ...). 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/raja-ampat-misool-triangle-corail-20160201/
      And there:
      https://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/misool-raja-ampat-20160601/
      The cruise is also spent by Banda Neira, since you talk about it:
      https://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/banda-spice-island-indonesie-20151213/

      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 preparation! 🙂

  71. 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! 🙂

  72. 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 :).

  73. 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 myself be guided by all your advice 🙂

  74. 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.

  75. 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 at Raja Ampat has kept its promises 🙂 For Indonesian domestic flights, delays, cancellations, postponements are unfortunately very common...

  76. Congratulations for this great job; I am impressed and I will become a regular of your blog and your IG!
    I think I got a little too used to the light posts from "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 preparation ! 😉

    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.

  77. 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 update on the political situation in Papua! (this is the history-geography teacher speaking 🙂

  78. 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.

  79. Hello Corinne,

    It was you who made me want to try the Raja Ampat adventure a little over two years ago. Your many feedbacks reported in articles that only increased the excitement of waiting for the departure decided me. For a first visit, the diving cruise mainly in the South was chosen. What a wonder!
    We take full eyes. I didn't know I could see so much marine life on so many dives.
    It was great. And I loved getting lost in Sorong too.
    Now, of course, I want to discover Raja Ampat from a small resort or the like for the pleasure of hearing birds, observing the sea seen from land too.
    I would have to find the time to tell it all.
    Thank you for the complete and high quality sharing that you do.
    Your blog is a wealth of information on this region just incredible
    I will continue to inform those who like me one day want to go explore this paradise at the end of the world

    1. @ Helen: thank you for this nice and long message, Hélène, which touches me a lot. Glad to have made you want to discover Raja Ampat and its (fragile) wonders.

      Indonesia in general and this region of the archipelago in particular are particularly exuberant below the surface. To this day, it really remains my favourite place in the world to dive... 😉

      In my eyes as a diver photographer in love with nature, underwater biodiversity, i.e. the quantity and density of different species you can come across, is really THE essential criterion... I am not exaggerating when I write sometimes that I almost have tears in my eyes with emotion when I contemplate a healthy reef full of life... Anyway, I look forward to reading your impressions and to talk with you in person at the diving show very soon 🙂

      Thank you again, and all my wishes for the new year, that I wish you filled with bubbles and happiness, young and old.

  80. Wow !!!! (but not the one that sank!), I am impressed by the construction of your blog, it is clear, it is documented, it is a beautiful invitation to travel.
    I come back from the show and I admit that the “sellers / operators” of the destination Raja Ampat do not come close to you… ..
    So I fell in love, if you pack me in your suitcase for the next trips, I will marry you.

  81. It's been a long time since I last read your article. Waooh! you have funnily expanded and updated it. Well done. No return on the R4…. prices have gone up so much since our first trip in 2009, it's become unaffordable

    1. @IsaM: tourism has developed a lot in Raja Ampat, in ten years, but it remains an expensive destination. The cheapest option remains in homestay. But when you are a diver and you want to dive in good conditions, it greatly inflates the budget. Not to mention the price of domestic flights to Sorong which soared…

  82. … ..Do not think that I am an easy boy …… you will have to prove yourself …….
    More seriously Among your trips, I selected Anilao, I asked for a planet dive offer last night, they are super responsive, I already have the return …….
    Thank you

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