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 #Western Papua

  Indonesia: Bangka [Sulawesi] + Rao [Halmahera] + Raja Ampat [Papouasie] - 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: 

Raja Ampat is the most beautiful dive of my life. But beware, a trip to Raja Ampat requires to behave as a responsible visitor. Tourism, which is booming in these Indonesian islands, is endangering one of the most magnificent reservoirs of biodiversity on the planet.

You dream of going to Raja Ampat ? To dive in its turquoise and fishy waters? I summarize below in 16 points the things to know before leaving, and the useful information to prepare your trip...

1. Raja Ampat, a natural paradise to be preserved

Raja Ampat means "the Four Kings". Located in the extreme east of Indonesia, it is a vast archipelago composed of four main islands (Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati, Misool) and a multitude of karst islands covered with jungle, plunging into the turquoise water. An extraordinary and splendid environment.

Admire below, in 360°, the view from the island of Piaynemo, emblematic of the region...

Above, the spectacular "viewpoint" of Piaynemo on the islets of Fam, emblematic of the landscapes of Raja Ampat... We see Otto, my great Papuan dive guide, and my partner Sarah.

Raja Ampat is an exceptional archipelago, for its beauty and its biodiversity, on land and under water. This magnificent end of the world, long isolated, is in the middle of the famous Coral Trianglebetween the Indian and Pacific Oceans. In France, the general public discovered these wild islands on TV, with the programs Ushuaïa in 2008 and Koh-Lanta in 2011... .

But tourism development in the region accelerated in the decade before Covid. With disastrous consequences on the environment... Presented as a "dream destination" or "the last paradise" to the privileged tourists that we are, Raja Ampat is above all a natural treasure that must be preserved, protected. However, we must be aware that each of our visits and dives has an impact on this unique and fragile ecosystem, as well as on the Papuan communities who live there...

I invite you to support the initiatives of the Franco-Indonesian association The SEA People - Orang Laut (The People of the Sea)This is a project that aims to encourage sustainable ecotourism for all (locals, visitors, tourism operators, government authorities) with the reopening of the post-Covid borders, after the visitor boom in 2019. I talk about it in this article I wrote for Ouest-Franceon the eve of World Ocean Day on June 8, 2022:

Raja Ampat, these paradise islands that want to turn tourists into coral protectors

Corals in shallow water, at the foot of mangroves, in the "blue mangrove" of Raja Ampat (Indonesia, West Papua, January 2015)
Corals in shallow water, at the foot of mangroves, in the "blue mangrove" of Raja Ampat (Indonesia, West Papua, January 2015)

Read also: this worrying state of affairs in 2020 by the association The Sea People - Orang Laut. It details the damage caused to the coral reefs by the rapid and unsustainable development of tourism in Raja Ampat:
Raja Ampat: Reefs under threat

Since March 2020, "thanks" to Covid, the tourist flow has dried upThis is the only way to protect the fabulous coral reefs of the archipelago. The 20 Hours of France 2 broadcasted, on Wednesday January 12, 2022, a report on Raja Ampat, visible in replay here : Raja Ampat, an Indonesian archipelago in a coral paradise. We follow Arno Brival of the association The SEA Peopleand Dolvinus Awom, one of the dive guides of Papua Diving. I put you the video player below :

Above, the report broadcast on France 2, January 12, 2022.
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 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)

Update [2017]. The fears I expressed above in 2013 have 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, like a "floating building", the Caledonian Sky, devastated a small portion of a spot known to divers as Cross Over, in front of the northeast coast of Kri Island... 😡 This kind of ship has nothing to do here! To learn 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 went back in July 2017 to Raja Ampat, and I dived on the site in question. The damage, right in front of the beach (how dare anyone come so close to the coast with such a big boat?) is fortunately only in a very small area. But underwater, the place where the boat scraped and smashed the reef, a few meters deep, was all gray and littered with dead corals. It was a stark contrast to the vibrant reefs all around.

2. Where is Raja Ampat?

You have trouble locating Raja Ampat? As I said above, they are islands located in the far east of Indonesia. The archipelago, off the island of New Guinea, is part of the province or region called West Papua (Papua Barat in Indonesian). Here it is:

Where is Raja Ampat?

A little historical-political reminder: the western half of the immense New Guinea Island (formerly colonized by the Dutch) has been annexed by Indonesia in the 1960s (the eastern half became the independent state of Papua New Guinea). At that time, the Indonesian army committed massacres. Nowadays, a Papuan separatist movement continues to take action and the Indonesian authorities do not hesitate to brutally repress any opposition.

In March 2022The Indonesian government's bill to divide Papua into new provinces, without consulting the local population, has provoked a wave of protests, and Papuan protesters were killed by the police. Amnesty International has published a report denouncing the increased repression around the Wabu Block gold mine in the department of Intan Jaya (north central).
In April 2021, military reprisals were launched in the region of Puncak after the death of the head of the intelligence services during exchanges of fire with Papuan independence fighters.
In August 2019, violent riots broke out in Manokwari, Sorong and Fakfak, after the arrest of Papuan independence students in Java, against a backdrop of racist tensions: the government then cut off the internet in Papua and sent a thousand soldiers there as backup.
In July 2017almost twenty years after the Biak massacre (1998), the Indonesian military and police have carried out mass arrests in Nabire and Sentani, whilea petition for West Papua was attempting to bring the Papuan voice to the international stage that same year.

I close this parenthesis, but when you go there as a tourist, you must be aware that the region is unstable and not quite a "paradise" for everyone...

Most travelers access Raja Ampat via Sorong airportin front of the islands. Sorong is a mining and industrial port, without much charm, with about 260,000 inhabitants today, where one of the scourges affecting Indonesian waters is clearly visible: plastic pollution.

(On this theme, I invite you to read this article, published by the Tara Foundation after a stopover there by the scientific schooner in late December 2017 → Indonesia: the ocean is suffocating under plastic)

Sorong is located on the "beak" of the tip of West Papua, nicely nicknamed "Bird Head Peninsula". (Bird's Head Peninsula in English) because of its form.

When you fly to Sorong, it looks like this:

Sorong Bay, seen through the window of the plane (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, July 2016)
Sorong Bay, seen through the window of the plane (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 WasaiWaigeo, the large 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, it was reported to me that the Marinda de Wasai airport was not really operational and was only rarely used, during official visits...

Wings Air (a subsidiary of Lion Air) attempted to launch a Manado-Wasai flight. But with Sorong Airport expanded and upgraded, Wasai Airport does not seem destined to become the new air gateway to Raja Ampat announced by President Joko Widodo after his 2016 visit. The Wings Air route called "Manado - Raja Ampat" that I already saw 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, the Sorong airport has been transformed: it has been completely refurbished and expanded! As a result, the archipelago, which had long remained away from so-called "mass" tourism, sees the number of foreign and Indonesian visitors grow year after year. As an example, concerning diving tourism: from a dozen operators of liveaboards (dive cruises) in the early 2010s, we've grown to over a hundred in 2019... 😱

As for tourism in general, since the visit of President Jokowi (Joko Widodo) in 2016.the way in which the Indonesian authorities have started to develop and promote the destination (especially on social networks with the keyword #lastparadise) scares me a bit. For example, on Piaynemo Island, which I mentioned earlier, lots of signs, platforms and new stairs have been installed everywhere. Big white letters like Hollywood, claiming P I A Y N E M OSome of them have even been hung on a karst cliff at the entrance of the bay... A horror especially dedicated to Instagrammers, I guess.

To read (in English) → Infrastructure Development to Boost Tourism in Raja Ampat

In short, I fear that this is the beginning of the end. Paradoxically, I am almost glad that the Covid-19 health crisis has (temporarily) stopped the booming tourist flow in the region. I realize with a twinge that the relative tranquility of Raja Ampat that I knew and its protective isolation are now a thing of the past... 😢

Below, some peaceful pictures of landscapes and people, dating from the years 2010...

Mioskon Island, in the Dampier Strait (Raja Ampat, July 2012)
Mioskon Island, in the Dampier Strait (Raja Ampat, July 2012)
Traditional boat, in the Fam archipelago (Raja Ampat, January 2015)
Traditional boat, in the Fam archipelago (Raja Ampat, January 2015)
The island of Arborek (Raja Ampat, July 2012)
Arborek Island (Raja Ampat, July 2012)
A coral colony in front of a beach in the Fam archipelago (Raja Ampat, January 2015)
A coral colony in front of a beach in the Fam archipelago (Raja Ampat, January 2015)

3. I am not a travel agency

I'll allow myself a friendly warning, before I go any further: I get a lot of messages from people who mistakenly think I'm a travel agency or a tour operator's agent... Some even send me booking requests!!! 😂 It's crazy...

I have nothing to sell and I do not organize trips. To clear up any misunderstanding, I blog here about my travels and my dives for fun, without any commercial motivation, and nobody pays me to do it. (click here to find out more about me).

Concerning hotels, tour operators, diving centers I mention: I absolutely cannot give you their prices nor their availabilities... If you need information on their prices, their services, etc. ask them directly! All of them have a contact page on their websites.

Also be aware that everything changes very quickly in this region of West PapuaRaja Ampat, which is in full tourist development. The first publication of this article dates back to 2013, but I continue to update it with the passing years and my new diving trips to Raja Ampat (I updated it again in 2023).

Finally, take the time to do your own research. The laziness of some aspiring travelers sometimes amazes me... We live in a great time, where everyone has access to a free tool, very efficient, updated in real time, called Google. 😜 And now you can even ask for advice from ChatGPT.

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

4. My previous trips to Raja Ampat

Contrary to countless advice providers on social networks, I don't pretend to offer here the "ultimate" guide to Raja Ampat nor to sell you the destination as "the last paradise"... As I said before, things change so fast there! In a short time, with the increasing number of divers and tourists, Indonesian and international, nothing will be quite the same anymore.

I have already observed some notable changes, between my first diving trips in 2012 to Raja Ampat and the latest ones (December 2018 and July 2019)... And I have already published quite a few articles that you can refer to on this blog. You can always find them here, at the end of these links :

→ Travel Raja Ampat + Bali: March 2012

→ Travel Alor + Raja Ampat: July 2012

→ Raja Ampat trip: January 2015

→ Banda Cruise + Raja Ampat: October-November 2015

→ Travel Komodo + Raja Ampat: July 2016 

→ Travel Sulawesi + Raja Ampat: 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 to Raja Ampat for diving?

Good news: you can dive all year round in the north of Raja Ampat (the islands around the Dampier Strait, off Sorong). But to optimize your stay, there are subtleties to know about the climate and weather of this region, West Papua, which differ from the rest of Indonesia.

Normal, we are not really in Asia, but in Oceania...

  • From October to April: this is the period considered optimal for diving. Corresponding to the northwest monsoon, this season is often described as "dry" by tour operators. In reality, it can still rain quite a bit (especially in December and January). No, the real difference with the so-called "wet" season from May to September (southeast monsoon) is that there is almost no wind or swell. The conditions are therefore ideal for sailing and it is the high tourist season for dive cruises. It is also a period when plankton proliferates: the visibility underwater is then less good (sometimes rotten), but we have more chance to meet manta rayss, especially the huge oceanic rays, and to see them form a spectacular ballet at the site. Manta Sandy (unfortunately, since 2015, we see them less often, the too large number of boats and divers has made them swim away).
  • Good to know for May-June: it's a bit of a slow tourist seasonIt is therefore a good plan for divers to go there at that time, because resorts regularly offer interesting promotions on their "accommodation + diving" packages.
  • From May to September: you can dive in the north of Raja Ampat but not in the south. We are at this period under the influence of the southeast monsoon, called "wet" (but in terms of rainfall, the difference is not very marked with the season called "dry" from October to April). In fact, what distinguishes the two seasons as I said above, is the wind. Between mid-May and mid-September, it can blow quite a lot, with a very rough sea... If you are based on land on an island in the Northern archipelago, there is no problem to dive on nearby sites, but more distant trips will depend on the weather and the swell (this is why there are few or no organized cruises during this period). On the other hand, the southern archipelago of Raja Ampat (Misool and its surroundings) is much more exposed to winds from May to September: it is therefore difficult or even impossible to sail and dive there during this period. Manta rays are also rarer, because there is not so much plankton near the surface, but the visibility underwater seemed to me to be better overall (go and see the video I made here in July 2016).
  • So, when is the weather? Whatever the season, the sky is very changeable in Raja Ampat. It alternates between bright sunshine, grey skies and rain in a more or less equal way, as far as I could judge during my different stays (in December, in January, in March, in July), whether we are under the influence of one or the other monsoon. The showers are often very localized. It is not uncommon to observe a big cloud pouring curtains of rain on an island in front of us, only a few kilometers away, while it is sunny on the island where we are, for example...
  • The air temperature is stable (25°C at night, 30°C during the day), the water temperature is constant, around 28°C. We are at the level of the equator, so, basically, it is always hot and humid. The climate is really "equatorial" all year long, without big seasonal variation, except the wind I mentioned above. After that, the weather is not an exact science, and the climate can change. So we can have a rotten week. Or several days in a row of great weather. Or not. Or have both seasons in the same day...
Panorama from the beach of Sorido Bay Resort on Kri Island. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, July 2016)
July 2016. On the island of Kri, big blue sky... In front of it, big clouds full of rain... (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia)
Great weather on the island of Kri! Raja Ampat, Indonesia, March 2012.
Great weather on the island of Kri! (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 do I get to Raja Ampat?

STEP 1: Fly to Indonesia

To get to Raja Ampat, you will first need to arrange your travel to Indonesia, or to a neighboring country with convenient connections to Indonesia (Bangkok in Thailand, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, or Singapore, for example).

  • PRICE. Count 450 € to 900 € (according to promotions, airlines and seasons) for a dry flight from Paris to Jakarta and back. (at least that was the range of rates, before Covid). In addition, the return flight from Jakarta to Sorong costs 150 € to 300 €.

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 extreme east of the country, opposite the capital Jakarta. Don't forget that Indonesia stretches over three time zones, it's huge... When you take off from Europe, the journey to Sorong can hardly be done in one go.

  • TRAVEL TIME. Therefore, count at least two days (Paris-Jakarta flights, then Jakarta-Sorong, then the crossing by boat) to reach Raja Ampat from France. This represents, counting the outward journey and the return journey, a total of four days! A very long trip... To make it worthwhile, plan to stay enough time in Raja Ampat and/or combine the trip with other destinations in Indonesia.
Long live the window to admire Papua from above! Lion Air flight, July 2012.
Long live the window to admire Papua from above! Lion Air flight, July 2012.

STEP 2: Organize the trip to Sorong

SorongSorong, in West Papua, is the gateway to the Raja Ampat archipelago. To reach Sorong from the Indonesian capital Jakarta, there are several possibilities (I updated the information in August 2019, but take the time to check directly with the companies, many things must have changed since 2020 with the Covid) :

  • DIRECT FLIGHTS. The duration of a flight from Jakarta to Sorong is approximately 4 hours. Before Covid, three companies offered direct flights: Batik Air (subsidiary of Lion Air), Garuda Indonesia, and, since September 2019, AirAsia (Malaysian low-cost airline with subsidiaries throughout Southeast Asia). Xpress Air, which pioneered this route, no longer operates. Nam Air (subsidiary of Sriwijaya) direct flights, launched in 2015, no longer exist since the end of 2018 (Garuda bought Sriwijaya / Nam Air via its subsidiary Citilink and is gradually taking over their routes). I've 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 any problem). Make sure, when you book, that you choose a direct flight (in the list, there are also flights with stopovers).
  • 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 air hubs for Sorong. These airports are easy to reach from Indonesia by domestic flights, whether from the capital Jakarta therefore, or since Bali (Denpasar airport).

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

I put above a map recovered on the site of the Papua Paradise resort, which summarizes well the possible routes to Sorong via Manado or Makassar (click to enlarge).
I put above a map recovered on the Papua Paradise resort website, which summarizes the possible routes to Sorong via Manado or Makassar (click to enlarge).
I like the companies which are nice with the divers' luggage... Above is a screenshot of the Sriwijaya Air website.
I like the companies that are nice with the divers' gear... Above a screenshot of the Nam Air / Sriwijaya Air website.

How do I find domestic flights?

Very practical to do your little research: the site (it is a bit like Skyscanner for domestic flights in Indonesia). You can also book your tickets there, but for my part, whether in Indonesia or in France, I always prefer to go on the website of the company I found and book directly at the source rather than going through an intermediary.

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

  • Jakarta-Sorong flight direct: 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 the sites of the companies Air Asia, Garuda, Sriwijaya Air, Lion Air, Silk Air (affiliate Singapore Airlines), etc.
  • Manado-Sorong flights: the Garuda now has a link, in addition to those of Lion Air (or its subsidiary Wings or the associated company Batik).
  • Makassar-Sorong flights: I have already flown with Sriwijaya Air and with Garuda... Now check the existing offers at Lion / Batik too... The people who run hotels and resorts in Raja Ampat are usually well aware of the changes in air links, ask 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)

⚠️ Beware, there are often changes in schedules and connections domestic flights. At the time I published this post, Batavia Air went bankrupt (I had to sit on my ticket and find another flight) and Xpress Air cancelled their flights (before resuming them, and then cancelling them again)... Always check the day before departure if you can that the schedules have remained the same (I once had a take-off one hour earlier, without being warned!). You should also know that some delays one to two hours are often the norm in Indonesia.

⚠️ A source of confusion 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 to plan a night in Makassar or Manado. Good to know: there is an Ibis Budget in the airport of Makassar, to get a few hours of sleep, before the takeoff at dawn of most flights to Sorong. I slept there several times...

⚠️ If you don't feel like booking the domestic flights yourselfIf you are interested in booking a flight, or if the website of the airline you are interested in does not work - there are sometimes bugs or security problems on Indonesian websites - you can always ask the hotel or the dive center that will host you to book the domestic flights for you, or to give you the contact of a local agent. Otherwise, you can book your Indonesian flights on the website Nusatrip.comI was talking about above (I did not test it myself). You will find below some links to the diving resorts of Raja Ampat. 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 don't want to take care of all this, the easiest way is to turn to a diving tour operator, who will organize the whole trip and stay according to your wishes.

7. Don't forget the permit

There is an entrance fee to visit the Raja Ampat Marine Natural Park: it is 700,000 Indonesian rupiahs (about 45 €) for foreign visitors since 20 December 2019. See the page Entry Permits on the new official website Raja Ampat Marine Parkpage, or the Raja Ampat Marine Park entry permit on the excellent site Stay Raja Ampat, which is a valuable source of regularly updated tourist information about the region. If you find different price indications while searching on the internet, it is normal, there have been several price changes in the last years.

This permit is valid for one year from date to date. 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 (resort, cruise), don't worry about it. Hotels and tour operators purchase it in advance for their guests (homestays are not allowed to do so and cannot provide this service). The amount is then added to or included in your bill and the permit is given to you by the hotel or boat staff at check-in.

If you are an independent traveler planning to stay in a homestay: it is up to you to obtain this permit. There have been several changes in the last few years. There are now two official offices for revoking one's license: one in Sorongat the port (Bintang Marina), and one in Wasai (where the ferry docks on the island of Waigeo). I give you below the link of the Stay Raja Ampat website which compiles all this information, and which is regularly updated, as well as the link to the official website of the Raja Ampat marine park...

Raja Ampat Marine Park Entry Permit

Where to buy your Marine Park Entry Card

⚠️ Tip: Make sure you pick up your license at an official office.Don't buy it online or from people who might approach you when you get off the ferry. You risk paying more and/or being given a non-valid permit... In short, beware of scammers!

This entrance fee is intended to finance conservation actions in the marine protected area, to feed a local community fund (70%) and to support the development of the region (30%). Below is a small graph (from before 2020, when the fee was 1 million) indicating where the money goes:

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

NO NEED TO SURAT JALAN. Finally, I specify it here because I am often asked the question (valid information to date, to my knowledge): no, you do not need another permit called Surat Jalanto simply go to Sorong or Wasai and do some tourism in the Raja Ampat archipelago. The Surat Jalan is only required to circulate elsewhere in the immense Papua, especially in areas deemed "sensitive" by the government, which is not too keen on journalists, in particular, taking too close an interest in the region and the repression against Papuan independence fighters... To read on the subject, this article (from 2015) from Human Rights Watch:
→ Indonesia: removing barriers to access to Papua

8. Diving resorts

Clarification: when I use the word "diving" here, I mean scuba diving with bottleno swimming with flippers, no snorkeling (called PMT in French or snorkeling in English) which can be practiced almost everywhere according to one's desires. Be careful before getting into the water, be aware of the local currents, which can be treacherous...

For diving in good conditions of comfort and safety at Raja Ampat, being based on land......I think it's best to go to one of the local dive resorts. I found that the term "resort" (tourist complex providing other services than only accommodation) was not very familiar to French speakers. In short, here they are simply hotels (often bungalows facing the sea) which also serve as diving centers.

Compared to the diving cruises, this is the option that I prefer. Why? On the one hand, the guides of the diving resorts often know the sites of Raja Ampat much better than those of the cruise ships. On the other hand, the structures based on the spot are often more involved in the local environmental programs, and much more concerned by the protection of the marine park than the cruise operators, who, them, only pass the time of the high season...

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, golden papuan dive guides. (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 ones, Lius and Nathan, six years after the previous picture! I asked them to take almost the same pose again... (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 the back of his hand. He is probably the most experienced dive guide in the area. (Raja Ampat, July 2017)

Beware, 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 on a limited budget choose to dive with the "homestays"these simple and cheap accommodations run by Papuan families... (often simple huts with a mattress and a mosquito net). Be careful: more and more dive resorts are offering bottle diving as part of their activities, but they do not necessarily have the required authorizations to do so, nor do they have the skills or the equipment in good condition... Dive resorts, on the other hand, usually have well-maintained equipment and compressors, trained guides, adapted boats and certified instructors for training (PADI, CMAS, SSI, etc.).

So I can't recommend you highly enough cautionif you decide to dive with a homestay. It is better to come with your own equipment, to check the condition of the compressor and especially to be an autonomous diver, or even a seasoned one, with experience in currents. If you read English, I invite you to read the warnings on this subject on the site StayRajaAmpat, who go in the same direction → Diving with Raja Ampat homestays

As an alternative to resorts, there is theArborek Dive Shopa small local diving center located on the island of Arborek. It allows you to dive for less and works for the accommodation with the homestays of the island (see page on StayRajaAmpat). The Arborek Dive Shop has a very good reputation. I did not test it myself, but everybody told me good things about it, from tourists and divers to the staff of different resorts in Raja Ampat... It is run by two passionate people, Githa (whom I met) and Marsel, who are very involved in environmental programs to preserve the reefs and fight against pollution. To contact them : the Facebook page Arborek Dive Shopthe e-mail arborekdiveshop@gmail.comor WhatsApp at (+62) 822 3873 4552.

To help you discover the wonders of the underwater world around Arborek, you can count on Githa and Marsel. (Photo: Arborek Dive Shop)
To help you discover the wonders of the underwater world around Arborek, you can count on Githa and Marsel (Photo : Arborek Dive Shop)

For my part, as a diver photographer traveling with the bulky equipmentI loved the comfort, the service and the setting of the beautiful Sorido Bay Resort. Really the great luxury, in these countries. I went there twice in 2012 when I was discovering Raja Ampat, and I went back several times afterwards. As the Kri Eco Resort Sorido is ideally located on Kri Island, in the Dampier Strait, where the most famous dive sites are concentrated.

These two resorts are managed by the company Papua Diving. They were created by the pioneer of diving in Raja Ampat, the Dutchman Max Ammera hell of a character !

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

Other experiences... My sister, who is not a diver, tested Raja4Divers a few years ago and she loved it. Marc and Isa, a couple of adventurous divers, previewed Raja Ampat Dive Lodge in 2009 and they liked it very much. Anne-Sophie and Marco, another couple of diving travellers, were delighted with their stay at Papua Explorers in 2014and then the one they made in Papua Paradise in 2016 (their only regret for this resortment, as divers, was its remote location in relation to the Dampier Strait where the most famous spots are located, but in compensation Emma the 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 this day (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 at 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 confess, I don't travel in "backpack" mode anymore... When it comes to unpacking or repacking all my underwater photography gear, for me, the luxury is to have a work surface designed specifically for that in my room... (Sorido Bay Resort, Kri Island, Raja Ampat, July 2017)

9. Diving cruises in Raja Ampat

Dive cruises are an interesting option to discover a wider variety of sites and islands in Raja Ampat, over longer distances. But the quality of the dives may suffer: the guides on the boats do not always know the sites as well as those who are in the resorts all year round...

Short or long cruises, North and/or South... There are more and more operators, more and more choices. Don't necessarily go for the most attractive price and check out the divers' forums beforehand, to know what to expect and if you will get your money's worth. "You get what you pay for..." There are generally "short" cruises (5 to 7 days, itinerary in the north of the archipelago only, departing from Sorong or Wasai) and "long" cruises (10 to 20 days, including an itinerary to the south around Misool, or even to Kaimana and Triton Bay).

It is also important to be aware that the increasing number of diving cruises in Raja Ampat has a big impact on the coral and reef fauna. This is starting to become problematic in recent years, with the influx of boats and divers on the same sites... When I visited Raja Ampat in July 2016, a quota project, to limit the number of vessels present at the same time in the different protected areas, was under consideration. The installation of buoys for moorings (in order to avoid that the boats do not massacre the coral funds by throwing the anchor) is in progress.

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

Dive cruises are organized between October and April.This is the best time to sail in the area, as I explained above.

In March 2012, I had made a short cruise in the Northern Archipelago with the boat Black Mantawhich belonged at the time to the company White Manta Diving(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…

  • To locate dive cruises at Raja Ampat (and elsewhere), you may use the site First Liveaboard Diving. He is bound by Jez Trynera 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. We had exchanged by e-mail to settle a lot of details, he was very responsive, very nice. Otherwise, in the same style, there is this website which is also very good to find the availabilities:
  • If you are not comfortable in English and prefer to speak to a French intermediaryThere are cruise offers on the site. Equilibrelaunched in early 2020 by a friend, Carol, long based in Asia, as well as on the Asiaquamanaged by Olivier, a Frenchman also living in Asia. Otherwise, most of the big French-speaking diving tour operators have cruises in Raja Ampat in their catalogues, I'll let you find it by yourself. And finally, Wallacea Dive, a long-established French operator in Indonesia, now also organises cruises in Raja Ampat.
  • Update. In the "dream" category, there was the magnificent and luxurious Waowthe aptly named boat... In November-October 2015, I was fortunate enough to be able to enjoy a fabulous diving cruise aboard the WaowFrom the Central Moluccas to Raja Ampat (departure from Ambon, arrival in Sorong). But this boat designed by and for divers no longer exists: it burned and sank in late January 2018. The owners have temporarily chartered another boat, the Mutiara Lautto continue to operate the cruises, and 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 you used to come to get your "tag" for the entrance fee (see above).

Since the first edition of this article, the accommodation options in Sorong have expanded. There is not an insane choice, but most travelers spend only one night there, on arrival and/or return. Among the most comfortable I can recommend for having tested them all: the Belagri, Swiss-Belhotel, Royal Mamberamo.

11. Cheap accommodation on the islands of Raja Ampat: the 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 accommodations for tourists built by families in the area.

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

For these very simple accommodations, the rates are around 500 000 to 800 000 IDR per day (30 to 50 €) in "fullboardThis means three meals per person.

It is quite complicated to book in advance or to contact people through the internet (connections are rare in Raja Ampat outside of the resorts, and there is no mobile signal everywhere). But once in Sorong or Wasai, you can easily get information and contact people on the spot, via the small tourist office and the homestay office in Wasai or by SMS. It is a nice option for budget travelers, which allows to favor the local Papuan population and to meet the inhabitants of Raja Ampat.

Here are some useful links (I edit the list regularly, as I find new information on the web):

12. Kayaking and nature

Looking for a real adventure in the wilderness? For the sporty paddlers, who are not afraid to paddle, 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.

You rent a resin kayak (made on the spot) and you paddle to beaches where you can camp, or to homestays installed in fabulous places in the heart of the archipelago, far from everything... Different itineraries, pre-established on a map, are possible.

13. Getting around the archipelago

There are no regular connections between the different islands of Raja Ampat, except the ferry Sorong-Waisai which allows to reach the big island of Waigeo. To circulate in the archipelago is thus a little complicated. I guess you can charter your own boat from Sorong or Wasai for a day or more. But you have to be a bit resourceful, good at negotiation and know exactly what you want...

Diesel is expensive, renting a boat with a guy to sail is very expensive. and the rates are sometimes a bit "customer-driven". Independent travelers, get together!

Otherwise, most homestays offer day boat trips.Rates vary according to distance and services.

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

Even more, perhaps, than in the rest of Indonesia, it is necessary here to tame the notion of "jam karet" (bungee time)!

Ferries to Sorong... Immediate boarding for the islands! (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, July 2019)
The ferries to Sorong... Now boarding for the islands! (Raja Ampat, July 2019)
Near the island of Mioskon. Raja Ampat, July 2012.
Surface interval near Mioskon Island (Raja Ampat, July 2012)
The Papua Diving boat approaches Kri Island (Raja Ampat, July 2016)
An hour and a half after leaving Sorong, the Papua Diving speedboat approaches Kri Island (Raja Ampat, July 2016)

14. Dives not to be missed

My top 5 dive sites in Raja Ampat North : Blue Magic, Sardines, Cape Kri, Otdima, The Passage... 😍

Other spots I like very much: Manta Sandy (when there were manta rays), Sorido Wall, Five Rocks, Mike's Point, Mioskon, Citrus Ridge, Sawandarek... 👌

But there are plenty of other beautiful diving spots! And I don't know very well the area of Misoolin the south, but the little that I saw was sumptuous

All the articles about my dives at Raja Ampat: one 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)

Raja Ampat is home to 75 % species of hard corals known in the world, more than 1,600 species of fish, 6 of the 7 species of sea turtles, 16 species of marine mammals and 699 species of mollusks... Here, nutrient-rich currents favor an explosion of marine life, and the word "biodiversity" really makes sense.

As a result, all the sites are full of surprises for Raja Ampat.even those considered the least spectacular. 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 refer to by laziness as "usual tropical fauna" in my notebooks. The coral is just like it: exuberant, splendid, spectacular. Impossible to get tired in a place like this.

We are at heart of the Coral TriangleIt is the epicenter of marine biodiversity in the Indo-Pacific. These are, by far, the most beautiful and extraordinary underwater sites I have ever seen in my entire diving life.

Really. I'm not just saying that and I'm putting Raja Ampat at the top of my personal top of the Indo-Pacific sites, in front of Komodo and Sipadan !!!

A huge scoop of gumdrops at Cape Kri. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, December 2018)
A huge scoop of gumdrops at Cape Kri. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, December 2018)
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.

15. A threatened nature

The Raja Ampat islands represent a turning point in my life as a traveler diver. In March 2012, I was so enthusiastic after my very first stay there, that I went back the same year, in July. Then I went back in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019... Each time, the same enthusiasm and the same dazzling!

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

The splendid ecosystem of Raja Ampat rests on a subtle balance, which is weakened by our tourist visits.among other things. Through my underwater images, I try to show the splendor of these exceptional coral reefs. To share my amazement at this incredible natural wealth. I hope to educate and empower the traveling divers who dream of exploring Raja Ampat, but who may not really realize how vulnerable this beautiful area is. I am a little afraid that my images will be one day only a testimony of a past era, documents that we will look at to remember all that has existed and disappeared...

Environmental organizations and local associations are working to support the development of Raja AmpatI invite you to visit the links below to discover and support them:

Take the time to learn about the structure you choose to discover Raja Ampat, to ask yourself questions about the impact of your visit, to ask yourself who will benefit from the money you will spend there, and, of course, make sure that once you are there, you act as a responsible visitor and diver, both towards the inhabitants and the environment.

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:

  • Diving Indonesia's Bird's Head Seascape. By Burt Jones & Maurine Shimlock. The Bible on the subject. I found copies in the bookstore at the airport in Bali. Otherwise, resorts sell it. Very complete, not only for the central part of North Raja Ampat (Dampier Strait), but also for all the other islands, less visited further north, which are more likely to be visited on a cruise, and for Misool in the south, Cenderawasih Bay and Triton Bay.
  • Diving Indonesia's Raja Ampat. By Burt Jones & Maurine Shimlock. This is the short and light version of the first one.
  • 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 book illustrated by 17 renowned underwater photographers, including David Doubilet, Gerry Allen, Tim Laman, Burt Jones, Maurine Shimlock...

For all, in French:

For a long time in English only, but now available in French as well:

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


  • So I don't have a recommendation for "cheap addresses", I don't have a "good plan" to stay on a deserted island or a dream beach, nor a "recipe" not to spend a penny in Raja Ampat. There are a lot of deserted islands, but really deserted, with only some birds, some couscousthe jungle and the mosquitoes, everywhere in the archipelago. Think rather to preserve this extraordinary nature...
  • I live in Rennes, Brittany, I don't know by heart the Indonesian airplane schedule nor the Sorong-Wasai ferry schedule, and I am not affiliated with the Indonesian tourist office. I also don't know exactly how much it costs to stay in this or that place. The best thing to do is to contact directly the hotels and resorts in Raja Ampat, they are always quite knowledgeable about these things... Otherwise, you will have to find out on the spot.
  • Weather forecastI am not sure if the weather will be nice from February 28 to March 12. Or if it will rain a lot or just a little from December 10 to 22. I am quite familiar with the humid climate (Breton or tropical), but I am not a meteorologist or Madame Irma.
  • Yes, there are mosquitoes in Raja Ampat - no more than elsewhere in these latitudes - and they can transmit malaria. But I can't decide for you if you should take preventive treatment or not. I am not a doctor and it is up to each person to take responsibility for his or her health. I invite you to read this excellent article published by François of the blog Tourdumondiste, which explains everything very well, with serious information (sourced) and advice → Should I take malaria medication when travelling?

If after that, you still want to discover Raja Ampat, because you like the wild and preserved nature, the slow and distant travels, the lost and isolated islands, the tropical and abundant underwater fauna, and you can afford to break your piggy bank, don't 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 and its blue hole in the middle of the coral. (Kri, Raja Ampat, January 2015)

  Indonesia: Bangka [Sulawesi] + Rao [Halmahera] + Raja Ampat [Papouasie] - 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. Do you need a good level for kayaking? 😆
    No, don't you know? Well, damn it! 😉
    Thank you for everything else then.

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

      And the answer is yes: you have to be pretty good at kayaking anyway. The distances are quite big and if there is a swell, wind and current against you, it is not easy to cross the Dampier Strait.


  2. Impressed by this clear, well-structured guidebook, which reveals passion and knowledge Bravo! but, it is not a destination for me....

  3. As a beginner diver, I discovered Raja Ampat... and immediately put it on my list of future trips 🙂 The destination corresponds to me in all points. Thank you for this incredibly clear and complete guide. Your video of the manta rays is magnificent, a dream come true...

    1. @TontonPhoto: it may not be the ideal destination for beginner divers, there may be some sites that are a bit difficult with the current... But the manta site is accessible to all levels. A daydream, yes... 🙄

    2. @TontonPhoto: Raja Ampat had been on my list for several years already. I finally made this dream come true in 2012. The problem is that after, we only think about going back... 😉

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

    1. @Dorothée: hey, hey, I almost titled this article "Everything you always wanted to know about Raja Ampat but were afraid to ask"... Glad it's inspiring for future trips!

  5. Thanks Corinne! You should start writing a "Practical Rajat Ampat" 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 like that would be outdated before it was even printed... No, the web is better. You can edit, correct, add information as you go along. This article will surely grow...

      PS. Me too, I'm taking off on the 15th 😉

  6. "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. 😉

    1. @Marie-Julie: so true, huh??? 😆 I'm very ready with this kind of advice. Please use it immoderately!!!

  7. Thank you for the very complete information. I have been to Raja Ampat myself twice: once in a resort near Batanta. Dives without interest. The second time by Liveaboard to the South and the Dampier Strait. It was really a very high level dive.
    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.

  8. super the topo
    thank you for the clarity of the explanations, it really makes you want

  9. "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, I'm not. I don't organize anything and I don't sell anything.
    So I can't answer for the hoteliers, tour operators, diving structures: if you have an information to ask about their prices, services, etc., send them an e-mail directly, to them!"

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

    Sometimes I'm really hallucinating!

    Otherwise, a big thank you for this ENOOOOOOOOOORM of info in this article 🙂 And by the way, for a cheap hotel with a view on, could you give me...? (just kidding 🙂

    1. @Piotr: Ah, there, there... Yes, people are incredible and many of them don't like to take care of themselves... They think I have "recipes", "secrets", "good plans", when they don't think I'm a travel agency that will organize their tour. I receive every week a lot of e-mails of the same kind...

      I like to share, to help, to advise, but I don't answer anymore to the requests for which it is enough to open a travel guide, or to contact yourself a tour operator or a hotel whose coordinates are easily found on Google.

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

      Anyway, I'm really hallucinating sometimes too... 😉

  10. Well, that's the synthesis 8) Great job, as usual with you!

    I understand that you are leaving for the Moluccas? North or South?
    Selamat jalan

    1. @Pit: Terima kasih... 🙂 I promised, it's finally online, this "practical" on R4!!!

      Yes, I'm leaving soon. For "the" Moluccas, that's 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, by aiming at a divers' resort located in Halmahera.

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

  11. 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 tell me the address of a good koteka store, 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 second 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 ATM 🙂 , on the other hand for the koteka, it's not my size at all 😆
      Just need another information before going there: Who was your dive guide in Kri and what was your opinion about 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 the ones from the Kri Eco Resort (I don't know if they rotate from one resort to another). In any case, I don't know a Nixon or I don't remember... I had, most often, the excellent Nathan or Natan.

      That's him on the right on the picture, higher in the article, in the paragraph about "Dive resorts". I had also put his picture there:

      He doesn't speak English very well, but underwater he is great. He knows the sites perfectly, looks after your safety discreetly and knows how to show you what you want to see. Adorable and efficient.

    4. Ok thanks, 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" 🙄

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

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

    1. @Melissa: if you want to dive, you need to gather a good budget, that's for sure... 😯 In truth, it's for non-divers that the budget will be the lowest... For real backpackers who don't need like divers a compressor to inflate blocks, and who aren't afraid of staying a bit "rootsy" and improvising their stay on the spot, it can be an extraordinary adventure.

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


  13. A post that I had missed, so I'm responding 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, thanks for the long and interesting additional info!

      Your disappointing impression of your second stay in RADL is in line with some of the feedback I have received elsewhere...

      As for Jérôme Doucet of Wallacea Dive, I don't know him personally and I have never had the opportunity to sail on one of his boats, but I have often heard about him, always in a good way, during my stays in Sulawesi.

      Finally, thanks for the mention of the book. I knew about it, plus I flipped through it at the Sorido Bay Resort.

      Ah... And I, too, dream of going back... 🙄

    2. Thank you for you precious help.
      I plan to go to this paradise in February for a cruise. Unfortunately, because of a problem with my eardrums, I can't dive and I'm content to snorkel.
      All the cruise proposals I have seen are aimed at divers, in your opinion, and after your various experiences, is it a big problem if you don't dive?
      Thank you in advance for your response.

    3. The shakti makes diving cruises and other, less constraining, discoveries: snorkel, kayak... which allows Dave, the boss, to make, alone, exploratory dives, while his wife takes care of the 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 own success. I was bothered only once, by hordes of divers, during a manta dive. We gave up and returned quietly the next day. But it was in 2011.

  14. Waow, super the practical topo!
    Not sure if I'll be able to go to Raja Ampat one day, but in any case, thanks for gathering and sharing all this information!

  15. I lived in Indonesia for 3 years, and I have never been there. It's a very big place.

    This story makes you want to go back! Thanks it's very well done too (and I really like the little tweaks in the conclusion. So true!)! 🙂

    1. @4CoinsduMonde: yes, Indonesia is huge, there are many islands to discover. As for West Papua, it is almost not Indonesia anymore...

  16. 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 that it is 75 km from Sorong, it's not next door and as the cruise ends there and our return is also from Sorong ... you see my concern ... For the rest it's about set, Reunion /Jakarta through Mauritius and Dubai, Jakarta Sorong, the cruise ... we already dream!
    Thank you for all the information, it's only happiness ... If one day you plan to come on Reunion Island I will give you the change of the room !!!

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

      In my case, for the first stay, it was different. As I was on a cruise first, I reached Kri Island with the Zodiac of the boat Black Manta, on the last day. We were anchored not too far away, so they dropped me off at the island's pontoon.

      For the second stay, I made arrangements with the Sorido Bay Resort in Kri: I arrived by plane in Sorong on a day that is not normally the day of their transfers (they charter a boat for their clients), but it was still the day of the shopping, so I made the crossing Sorong-Kri in the boat that carried the groceries for the week...

      Maybe you can ask, like me, to be dropped off at the end of the cruise at the island or not too far away (like at Wasai on Waigeo). Because if not, yes, it's a bit silly to come back to Sorong and then do the crossing again in the other direction, and as you point out, it's not exactly close...

  17. 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 nicer for the same quality than the JE Meridien for one night, its restaurant is one of the best Indonesian I've ever been to. moreover it is located not too far away by foot from two small stores of tribal art nice 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 soin. The young dive guides are from Manado and very enthusiastic. Very comfortable and well built bungalows, idyllic place. It is true that the food was not necessarily excellent, but I challenge anyone to find a resort in Indonesia with nice menus... 🙄
    I saw Kri Eco resort, which I found a little gloomy in appearance ... and that reported the price in view of the services hyprabasic, gives me the impression of an absolute rip-off. Of course the luxurious Sorido is another story but you have to be able to afford it... Raja4divers seems to me to be very well placed for a second stay and to vary the sites. Probably my second stay will be between RADL and Raja4Divers.

    - in terms of dives: most of them were extraordinary, with a preference for Cape Kri, Sardine and Otdima. On the other hand, my boat had to avoid the herds coming from the numerous liveaboards permanently on the area, sometimes 6 in the morning by doing a 360° from Sardine. I don't understand the interest of cruising in this area, especially as the dinghy were well loaded and their delivery was very bubbly under water.
    Moreover, at the end of the afternoon, I prefer to enjoy alone on my pontoon the sound ballet of the puffed crested cockatoos (thanks to Henry, US Zoologist met at the RADL, for the identification) around the high peaks of Mansuar, rather than to support the cackling of the monomaniacal divers from the deck of a promiscuous boat. 8)
    So unless I take on the South, I won't be seen on a cruise anytime soon ❗

    1. @Wet&Sea / Ludovic : merci pour toutes ces infos complémentaires… Je rejoins ton point de vue sur les croisières. Sauf à vouloir descendre dans le sud, je n’en vois pas trop l’intérêt.

      I'm glad to see that R4 has won you over too. Unfortunately, I won't be able to go back there anytime soon and I'm a little afraid to see more and more liveaboards coming in the next few years... (sigh)

  18. @Wet & sea/Ludovic: About RADL. We thought that the prices were excessive (everything is expensive in the world of diving in Indonesia, it's true), but to pay 55$ for an extra dive or even 100 if you are alone, it's a bit excessive.
    Nice menu? It's true that Indonesia is not Thailand in terms of food... but we enjoyed ourselves at the Alor Divers resort on Pentar Island (see Ptites Bulles' report).
    The cruise? We did several cruises in Raja Ampat and we liked the early morning and night dives, the possibility to go to Wayag (extreme North) where there are extraordinary landscapes, to Missol or Farundi (South). Moreover, we are lucky to be on a boat with an excellent cook... That said, the dives in the Dampiere Strait are by far the most beautiful. Thanks for the information about Sorong, because it's not easy to find something to stay in.

  19. @isaM : there was an unlimited dives package proposed at the RADL and it's on this basis that I went ...but except for one day, I didn't even do the 4 max dives per day. It's true that the supplements are expensive : 100€ the day supplement at the Passage but I was all alone with my boat and my two young unstoppable guides Gustin and Fadly (that we had quickly nicknamed Doublepatte and Patachon, little newcomers with a good practice of guest service - trained by Marcel Hagendijk of Maluku Divers, then guides on the Damai svp-, probably not the ones whose lack of enthusiasm you had to suffer 😉 ). Compared to Kri's rates... it wasn't in the high end either.

    Back to the food: it is not in Indonesia that I expect Nirvana, let's not forget that we come from an ultra-favored country in this regard. So unless I fall into a French resort (Chez Gilles) or a mysteriously located passionate restaurant (Chez Clément in Lembongan), I don't hope for anything at all on this side...Which finally makes the Selles sur Cher, the éclair praliné or the Chateau Fonsalette 2007 desirable after 3 weeks in the Moluccas (although we eat relatively well in Maluku, compared to Flores for example). 😆

  20. We have just left Raja Ampat 🙁 here's what we can tell you:

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

    -The OFFICE to buy the badge at JE Meridien ONLY OPENS AT 10am! But there is wifi in the hall so it can be a bit of a wait.

    -we didn't have any bagde checks and never took it with us because we weren't thinking about it 🙁

    -we stayed at the YENKORANU HOMESTAY on the island of Kri and WE LOVED it (link: )
    We also did the dives with them, Elis (the "mono") is very competent and careful, his English is enough to agree on the dives, the ferry, the essential things in general.
    However, I do not recommend it to beginners (indeed, a couple of demanding beginners did not like it because they would have liked to be really taken by the hand and not to have to do anything, to think about anything and not even to swim against the current. If you are the kind of person who stresses quickly, go and dive with a resort where you will surely find more guidance and maybe a better level of English (but I am not so sure)...
    For info we are level 2 French and Advanced with about 45-50 dives performed before Raja Ampat.

    -BE CAREFUL with the Sorong-Wasai FERRY, which can leave in advance (if full) or late (almost 1 hour late for us).

    What else can I say? Go there it's really MAGIC!!!!! And the people smiling and laughing all the time, a real pleasure!

    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. @Gerard: hey, hey, glad my blog is making you "itch" to travel... 😉

      Thank you for your little note. I am answering you from Semporna... I am about to go back to see 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.

  21. @Gerard: I don't think there is a quota, for the moment, and I don't know at all how the different operators organize themselves there... In principle, they try not to go all together at the same time on the same sites, but as the popularity of Raja Ampat is growing, nothing says that it lasts...

  22. Hello, Corinne
    Regarding the diving quotas and other access difficulties, I was thinking about sipadan and not R4. It seems that if you are not with the "right" operator, you are not allowed to dive the way you want in Sipadan.
    I'm waiting for your debriefing, are there still so many turtles? swirling jacks and beaks?

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

      The total number of divers and snorkelers per day in Sipadan is limited to 120, so it is better to book your dives and permit in advance, rather than relying on luck with possible cancellations...

      On the neighboring island of Mabul, where most divers stay, those who don't have a permit try to meet from one center to another, to get a possible cancellation. Finally, the only way to dive every day in Sipadan itself is by cruising on the Celebes Explorer.

      Well, yes, Sipadan remained magical... I already posted some pictures on the Facebook page :

  23. I was trying to organize a diving trip to Sipadan and Kankayan when I came across your Raja Ampat website, and I really "drank" your comments and felt like going there, but it seems complicated to organize this trip. Do you know any tour operators that can do it? Do you know if the budget is higher than on Sipadan? small question too: my wife only does snorkeling because of an ear problem, do you think she can still enjoy Raja Ampat? we went 3 times to the Maldives and just came back from the Visayas and she enjoyed it.

    1. @Dominique Dujardin: Read the article again... I stated:
      - 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

      As far as diving tour operators are concerned, you can ask the most famous ones, but French TOs are not allowed to book some local Indonesian companies which are blacklisted, so you will have to do it yourself for the concerned parts of the trip.

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

      Well, yes, the budget is higher than in Sipadan, but it all depends on your level of standing...

      Good preparations! 8)

  24. 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 around misool.

    For the north, which island do you recommend in order to be able to dive in the heart of the "top" spots? and if you have information for the south, we are interested.
    Did anyone tell you about a homestay that also provides good diving?

    Thank you in advance


    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.

      I don't know anything about homestays offering diving (with tanks), and those that exist do it in an unofficial way, I think... Because there is in principle a heavy tax to pay when organizing diving activities, and then you need to have the equipment and also to be able to maintain it, and all this is neither simple nor cheap in these islands far from everything (you need a compressor in good condition and a generator that works, tanks and regulators, a boat and diesel in reserve, as well as the skills for the maintenance of everything 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 ...


  25. 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.

    1. @Alinos: A mask, fins and snorkel are not very "bulky", in my opinion... I don't know if it is easy to find them to buy or rent in Sorong or in Waisai. I imagine that as the tourist activity is developing, there are some locals who will have thought to build up a small stock to rent or sell them to visitors, but I don't know anything about it, it's just a guess...

      Remember that West Papua has nothing to do with the rest of Indonesia, and even less with Bali which is very developed in terms of tourism. If you like snorkeling, it might be a good idea to have your own mask that fits you well and doesn't get wet, as well as fins that fit you, not only for Raja Ampat, but for all the other snorkeling trips you might have the opportunity to do. And then, if it gets in your way one day, you can always give it away or sell it...

      Selamat jalan!

  26. Hello Corine,

    You talk at the beginning of your blog about a new airport, Waigeo, which was inaugurated 1 or 2 years ago. If I understand well, this airport would be in the heart of Raja Ampat and would allow a saving of time at the level of transport. Do you have 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,

    1. @Flavien: The airport has been built, but it is not yet open to commercial flights. I don't have any information about its opening, but if I know more, I'll add a word here...

  27. Hello Corinne

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

    Do you know the exact location of the photo



    1. @JC: This picture, which comes from the website, 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 will find many others...

  28. 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.



    The soft coral remains however

  29. I just came back from Raja Ampa: really thanks to you Corinne for all the information (and for the communicative enthusiasm), it's this blog that was decisive in the choice to go there.

    Regarding Emmanuel's comments above:

    "Rajah ampat no longer qualifies as off the beaten path:"
    > That's how I describe it. How would you describe the island of Sein for someone from Jakarta? Wouldn't it be an "off the beaten path" destination?

    "9 diving resorts and 48 live aboards operating in the area
    > On Kri there are four homestays (maximum 10 rooms each) and two resorts. We can't say that it is overcrowded...

    "an ultra-modern port where speed boats with karaoke machines dock once or twice a day, an airport runway, telephone service in many places, paved 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 runways, 0 roads, 0 cars, 0 trucks. And nobody stays on Waigo for more than half an hour, it is an island that is only used to transit to the final destination.

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

    "there are no less than 10 divers from 8am to 3pm on the manta site, and this every day, without any quota.the appearances become consequently more irregular."
    > Indeed. This is the only site where 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 spoil the magic of the manta rays (observable during the whole dive at a few meters on two dives), it is perhaps a little bit of a pity.

    "homestays (beach bungalows, not dive resorts) are sprouting up like mushrooms, including on bat island which 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.

    "Chinese presence as everywhere in Indonesia to incite the locals to fish sharks, whose presence is becoming more and more irregular: euphoria on seeing a 1 meter long grey shark on the site of Blue Magic on a 10 days stay..."
    > I was able to see 5 species of sharks during my stay (grey sharks, black tip sharks, white tip sharks, carpet sharks, walker sharks), which seemed to me quite honorable. After indeed that there are places where there are more, I do not have a big experience.

    "garbage dumped by ferries between sorong and waisai, plastic bottles and sandals drifting more and more present, even littering more and more beaches."
    > Some litter here and there indeed (I was also told about the ferry garbage cans), but not in front of the homestays (which do the cleaning). "Littering" seems to me exaggerated (from what I saw). Anyway, the beaches are not extraordinary (again for what I saw).

    "the prices of the diving resorts are globally demential considering the services (the maldives or tubatha reef allow to see a lot more big ones with a lot less people at the moment), and of the order of the ones practiced in polynesia where I work occasionally, which, with a staff paid 50 euros per month and a lot less taxes than the polynesians (otherwise more isolated in the middle of nothing) is really outrageous.
    > Indeed, resorts charge prices that I also find crazy (but there is something for everyone, they find customers). As for me: 12 nights in full board (very basic comfort) and 9 diving trips (for TWO people) = 1000€ at the Yenkoranu homestay. 100% of the income generated by the homestay are for the Papuan family to whom it belongs. In the Maldives with that, we really don't go far, and the Maldivians just do the service... When in the Maldives "with much less people": 958 027 visitors for the year 2012...

    "For those who want to go far away in the same area, I would recommend cruises making a detour to Triton Bay/Misool."
    > And cruise prices, how do you find them?

  30. 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



  31. 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 Molluccas (I haven't read any articles on this part of Indonesia on your Blog) and do you do nice dives and initiation on these islands?
    Again thanks to you,

  32. Excuse me I wrote a comment asking you for advice on the Mollucs and I just realized that you have devoted an article on the subject of the Mollucs: WEDA (HALMAHERA) + BANGKA (SULAWESI) - MARCH 2013 that I had not seen and which already gives some information on the Mollucs of the north but maybe you have a return to make on the Bandas Islands and Kei Basar

    1. @Jean Claude : no worries... 🙂 Actually, I don't really know the Moluccas, I only went to Halmahera in the north, indeed, and even then, I only saw a very small part of the island, only Weda Bay and its surroundings. Sorry I can't tell you more. The Moluccas will be the subject of a future trip, surely, as far as I am concerned...

  33. Hello, as promised after a stay in Raja Ampat last July (organized in particular with the help of information found on the blog), here is a small return of experience.

    For those who still doubt it, the long journey to 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: Small price, only three small wooden bungalows very simple but very classy at the edge of the jungle, stuck to the sandy strip of a deserted beach. Rey and Patricia, the young owners, very nice, added to that a great food and of course great dives...

    Nothing to say!!

    But be careful, this is not a luxury hotel: for example the toilet and shower (Indonesian style = water tray and 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 embarrassing at all!

    In short, don't hesitate to go!

    Be careful though, the trip is very long and quite tiring, so don't hesitate to take one or two days off before diving. Especially since the closest chamber
    (well the least distant) is several hours away by plane...

    In any case, an unforgettable stay is to be recommended. 😉

    Thanks again for the info of your blog.

    1. @Yohann: great, thanks for the report and all this info!!! I had already added the Raja Ampat Biodiversity Resort in the list, in the article. I am very happy that you enjoyed the archipelago and the dives as much as I did.

  34. Hello,

    Congratulations for this site and these many tips.
    We are in the middle of preparing a cruise in Raja Ampat, however we have a doubt about the visibility which does not seem to be excellent, what is it really? Are all the dives in the current or only some?
    Thank you in advance

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

      Not all the dives are in the current, but the most beautiful ones, the most teeming with life, are those where there is a current, and it can be very strong, but the guides know how to manage the dive. It is essential to take a break in order to enjoy the show with pleasure, without getting exhausted.

      Good preparations!

  35. hello corinne

    what islands would be nice for snorkeling diving big fish and fishing on board (big fish)
    thank you very much, even if you can't help me

    1. @Simon: I don't really know Simon, especially since a large part of the Raja Ampat area is now protected, it should not be allowed to do underwater hunting or fishing from the shore...

  36. Hello,

    it's while searching for information that i came across your blog...thank you for sharing your experience and your advices...i'm currently preparing in lubuanbajo (flores) where i'm taking my paddi and certainly advanced...but i'm "afraid" that it's not enough (about 9 dives) before practicing in the dempier strait. I am waiting for an answer from raja ampat biodiversity (I will stay at nudibranch moesaty...if someone has been there...comments?) about my level and I would also like to have your level 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... This said, if you are properly supervised, you should be able to enjoy the beauty of the sites. And if you want to pass the Advanced course, you will have to accumulate a few more dives (I don't remember the required threshold). And the Dampier Strait is a wonderful place to accumulate this experience... But afterwards, you will find all the other sites quite bland in comparison!

      Good preparations!

  37. Hello Corinne,
    Promised thing, we complete your blog with homestay info.
    We spent 10 days on the island of Kri, at the 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 comment of JC and Murielle, comment which draws on the report of trip, I regret that the site bonsetmauvaisplansplongées (BMPP) disappeared. One found there exactly well documented and sensitive accounts on the stays and infrastructures. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience, it is useful to all, because the information is not perennial and it is always good to have updated news. Thanks also to Corinne for hosting and encouraging all these reactions on raja-ampat (among others).

    2. Hello
      I update this information after my second stay in Raja Ampat (31 January-14 February).
      I went back to Yenkoranu. The staff was still really nice (can we talk about staff when some of them are more friends?) but the services have deteriorated a bit in my opinion. The bungalows have not been maintained since last year, so the taps don't work anymore, the doors are broken, etc.. The equipment is I think also the same as last year, so the suits are starting to have holes. The stabs and regulators are in good condition. As for the food, it's not what it used to be. Grace, the owner, has left and you can feel it: there were no snacks after the dive, not always fruits at meals and some evenings not enough to eat for everybody (and yet I did not hesitate to go to the kitchen to ask for more). The prices of the accommodation are the same, but the diving has increased: it is now 550,000 rupees with equipment and 450,000 without. And there is always an extra charge for distant sites (+ 300 000 for the passage for example). And no negotiation is possible, even after 11 nights! The few points that have been improved are the oxygen tank, the boat with a roof and some staff who speak better English, so exchanges are much easier.
      They were building more bungalows. And now you can buy beers (for those who can't do without).
      It is still cheaper than the resorts, but other homestays have been built along the beach in Kri with services that seem to be better (location of the room, beauty of the building and food) for less money. I think that Yenkoranu might suffer from the competition, especially since you can sleep elsewhere and dive in Yenkoranu. Other homestays also offer good services in Waigeo and Gam and some of them have a diving center. More information on
      It is not always easy to contact the homestay. You have to be patient, use SMS and in the worst case, organize it from Sorong (at the meridian agency)
      To know :
      - there is now a hyperbaric chamber in the hospital of Waisai, but for the moment it has never been used
      - three times a week (from memory on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but to be checked) there is a small plane that flies from Sorong to Waisai and back in the morning for not too much money (around 300 000 IDR each way).
      - the entry permit to Raja Ampat has increased to 1 million rupiah

      And to answer Mido1w's question, no the previous parrot didn't survive one of his fights to have fun with one of the dogs. Ranu replaced him and he started on the same basis to want to fight with the small puppies of a few days!

  38. We stayed 10j at Yenkoranu in June-July 2013 and we have great memories. At that time the ping-pong table and the VIP bungalows were not there/finished but the neon green cakes of the snack if 🙂 thank you for making us relive these moments with your comment and thank you for leuf make good publicity because it is true that they deserve it (reception, framing, atmosphere, framework, food...)
    Is the greedy parrot (Koureb) still part of the family?

  39. Lounging in the hammock at the end of the pier 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'll trade my week in the Maldives in 2012 for a day at Yenkoranu).

    Account and practical information about my stay (it's the first time that I see a place that everyone - including me - spontaneously wants to advertise):

  40. That's it, we are leaving for Raja Ampat in one month! And we can't deny that your articles about Raja Ampat have been a part of it. It's not easy to decide to go so far away in such a remote place, but your advices make the preparation of the trip less perilous. Thank you for your advice!

  41. Hello

    The blog, and most of the posts are exciting and pull me under 🙄 🙄
    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

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

  43. Selamat pagi !!!

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

    I spent 6 simply magical weeks there.
    I would also like to thank the people who posted news.
    I'm just posting a little information, the manta season this year stopped at the beginning of May... but all April manta and ocean manta were present.
    It seems that mantas are coming back in September in great numbers, especially young specimens. "local news"
    Arborek island is really not 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 from Kri to snorkel.
    Snorkeling is for me the best way to observe them, but surely the one that has the most impact on the animals.

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


  44. Hello corinne,

    I loved reading your blog, I'm currently in South East Asia and planning a long cruise to the Indonesian archipelago Rajat ampat.
    I would like to know if you have a company to recommend?
    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?

  45. 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 trips for a few months now and we often get inspired by your site before deciding the next diving destinations 😉
    See you soon
    Anne-Sophie and Marco

  46. Hi Corinne,
    While reading your report, I thought: she could be a journalist this chick! Winner! You put more than water on the flippers with your description of the trip, and thank you.
    It seems that the cost is really high (5 to 6k€) and I know Abyss well for its quality of service, but if you have any advice on the choice of a provider, my friends and I would be grateful, or even just an idea of the budget you put into these trips, just to see if the extra cost of TO compared to the personal organization is worth it or not.
    In any case, thank you for your remarkable work.

    1. I would like to react to the post of "grosmerou". We have been several times in Indonesia including 6 in Raja-Ampat and have always organized our trips by ourselves. This sometimes requires a little more time, but it allows to have an upstream contact with the infrastructures. The preparation and the organization of its trip, it is also a way to dream. It is important to know that TOs generally offer a limited choice of services compared to what exists (see Raja-Ampat for example, the "small resorts" are not in the catalogs and that it is easy to find information on the web and on many blogs (such as the small bubbles). It is still cheaper than going through a TO (they have to earn their living). It is important to know that in Indonesia, many airlines are black-listed, so most of the diving companies offer to take care of the domestic flights, without any increase in price. After that, there are the international flights... long live the web! Personally, I feel a certain satisfaction to manage like a grown-up and, by the way, it is less expensive (note: this is not true for all destinations like the Maldives or Egypt for example). Isabelle and Marco

    2. Thank you for this feedback Isabelle, I will try to launch myself in this adventure which frightened me a little given the total ignorance that I have of this particular corner, even if I organized quite a few trips elsewhere. Come on: banzai!

    3. Grosmérou: You already have a contructive answer from IsaM whose point of view I agree with:
      You can also read JC and Muriel's "low budget" report above in the comments:

      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 diver-travelers... And the trips I am talking about in this article go back to 2012, the prices have necessarily changed since then. I don't remember the prices of the cruise I did with the Black Manta (I'm a bit lazy to go through my notes and invoices of the time) but the prices are indicated on the websites of the providers, you just have to go on them to have an idea of the required budget, for a cruise or a stay in a resort, to add the price of the plane tickets, and to see the difference with the package proposed by a TO...

      I like to organize myself and do things on my own, but for people who have trouble with e-mails in English and don't want to bother with logistics, the easiest way is indeed to contact a TO. If the price remains reasonable for the service rendered in terms of organization, why not... Everyone does according to what suits him best.

      Afterwards, as always, it is not only a question of price, but of quality/price ratio: what do you get for the budget you are going to spend... For my part, now that underwater photography has become important during my diving trips, I admit that having a certain comfort to take care of my small fragile equipment (camera, waterproof housing, computer, etc.) is now an important criterion, as well as having boats well adapted for diving, with good engines, and dive-guides who know very well the sites, and who can offer me a service almost "on the spot".) is now an important criterion, as well as having boats well adapted for diving, with good engines, and dive-guides who know the sites very well, and who can offer me an almost "à la carte" service, in a very small group...

      In short, when I organize myself, I don't necessarily get the cheapest trip, but the most adapted to my criteria. In general, I manage to find cheap air tickets to an Asian hub (I watch the airlines' promotions, and here for example I found a round trip Paris-Jakarta on Emirates at 549€). After that, I estimate that it takes around 200-300€ for the return flight between Jakarta and Sorong, I haven't checked it out yet for my next trip... Then, it all depends on the length of the stay and the services on site: as I said above, the best thing to do is to visit the websites of resorts and cruisers, to select what corresponds to the budget you can afford, and then to compare taking into account the services offered (discounted rates on dive packages, free nitrox or not, size of the groups, other activities than diving, etc.).

      No matter how you go about it and how much you spend, I can guarantee you won't be disappointed. Raja Ampat is definitely worth it. It is, by far, the most spectacular place I have ever explored on my diving trips...

    4. Once again, thank you for all the time you spend giving us tips and answering our questions. I also empty all my stuff, and comfort and space are important criteria indeed. I'm scratching to find the right deal, and hope to be able to make this trip so much praised by all those who have done it. I'll tell you about it...

  47. Hello everyone,
    the shakti has a special around christmas and another one in mid january. i spent 10 days in dec 11 and even if there is not all the comfort on this boat ( 3 bathrooms for 5 cabins ), the cruise was magic. dave, the owner is super pro.
    if I did not live on the other side of the planet, I would sign for January.

  48. 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", does Raja Ampat offer a nice place for snorkeling (because my friend can't dive although she would like to) in order to have a small glimpse of its marine "funds"?
    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

  49. 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 (about). Especially in the Baliem Valley... 2 unforgettable months. Tomorrow morning, we fly to Makassar and Sorong for a 3 weeks that we hope unforgettable because it is a small budgetary madness for us... But we realize a dream... We made a lot of snorkeling in Indonesia, of which Banda. We do not dive but it seems great for snorkeling. The place that you recommended Lumba Lumba became expensive... a package bungalow and 3 meals plus 4 snorkeling trips 6,200,000 / pers... definitely not for small budgets... After long research on the internet we leave confident to find a reasonable price... Thank you for all your information and it's a pleasure to read you!

  50. Hello Corinne,
    Thank you for your blog which is great and makes you want to discover new places in Indonesia. your pictures and your movies are wonderful! Your comments are always very precise, and very professional: pure happiness, I love it!
    We have the project to go diving in Raja Ampat or in Polynesia in November... I would rather go to Raja Ampat... We love the corals, the diversity, the mantas, in short the very rich and not too frequented (by divers!) bottoms... ........ Didn't you also dive in Polynesia? Our choice of destination is not definitively fixed, but in your opinion,
    What would be the best choice for us?
    Thank you in advance for your expert advice.

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

  51. Hello, Corinne,
    We can't thank you enough for this article (and I will review a number of your "road trips").
    I have a daughter who has just spent more than 2 months in Indonesia (she's coming back this mid-March) and I came across your work by chance because I followed -as best I could thanks to her emails and photos- her journey and of course with the help of internet and guides. She is, like you, a very "traveler" and quite a good photographer (it was her "job" until 5 years ago, then she changed completely her orientation).
    In three years, Cambodia, Thailand, South India and this year Indonesia. She travels "individually" with her partner.
    I had recently done some research on West Papua (but she didn't go there). All this 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.

  52. 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 snorkeling perspective and in July (unfortunately we don't choose the dates...), do you recommend Raja Ampat, or another spot? If not, we will probably go back to Sulawesi, maybe 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 is a fantastic place. On the other hand, as I mentioned in the article, there can be impressive gales during this period, which sometimes limits the sailing. But if you want to land on an island and do snorkeling nearby, it is not a problem.

      I also recommend Bangka, which I loved. I talk about it here:
      and there:

      Good preparations!

  53. Hello,
    we have to go, my wife and I, in november to Raja Ampat, and I was very interested in your advices; at the beginning of may we are going to Cenderawasi to do a diving cruise, and we are wondering if we should take an anti-paludism treatment; indeed MALARONE had made us sick during dives in Kenya, and we are wondering if there is not a link with the taking of MALARONE; we would not like to spoil our stay in Papua and not to enjoy our dives. What do you think? Knowing that for these two stays we leave on a cruise. Thank you for your advice. Frédéric

    1. @ Frederic Javelle: Hello, as I explain in the following article ( ) in the "Mosquitoes" paragraph, I am not a doctor and it is not my place to tell you if you should or should not take an anti-malarial treatment. It is up to each person to take responsibility for his or her health.

      For my part, I made the choice not to take any treatment during my stays in West Papua. It is a personal choice that I assume the risk. Like you, anti-malaria drugs make me sick, and some of them (like Lariam) are even contraindicated when scuba diving.

      If your entire stay is spent on a cruise, on a boat, in the open sea, you will inevitably encounter fewer mosquitoes than if you were trekking in the jungle... But be aware that there is no such thing as zero risk in a malaria zone. It only takes one bite from a mosquito carrying the parasite to be infected for life.

      I repeat: the choice I made for myself can in no way be a recommendation or advice. Even if you spend most of your stay on a boat, you have to disembark and embark at some point, arrive and depart from an airport, spend one or two nights in a hotel on departure and arrival... There is always a risk of being bitten, even if you take the basic precautions (repellent and long clothing). My only valid advice is therefore to take the advice of a doctor!

  54. Hello Corinne,
    First of all, congratulations and thank you for all that you write about Rajat Ampat. You are very precise to organize a trip without asking other questions than those you already answer! I would just need to have your opinion on the following point:
    I plan 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 here we go but... I'm not a diver anymore (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 are any?) knowing that I know well the wonderful Komodo park.
    Best regards and I look forward to your return / Antoine

  55. First of all, thank you for this blog and for the richness of the information that allowed me to see more clearly for the preparation of the trip that I just made to Raja Ampat.
    Raja Ampat, the end of the world, indeed. The road is long and full of pitfalls to the paradise (delayed luggage, delayed planes, and even an earthquake at 6.9!!!) but the reward is immense!
    The spots of Kri are also among my "favorites": Cape Kri, Chicken, Mioskon, Yenbuba...fantastic with the currents of the full moon!!!
    As for the accommodation, I was at the Papua Paradise eco resort: very nice place, an excellent food, an irreproachable management (and thus a very good atmosphere)
    I had initially booked at the Waivo Dive resort, but some negative comments made me realize that some people had not been able to dive...and indeed, when I contacted them by mail, they were unable to guarantee me the dive until I was on site...strange...!
    Looking forward to reading more articles about these dream destinations, known or to be realized!

  56. Hello Corinne,

    I fell in love with your blog, it allows me to travel from my small apartment in Paris, to wonderful horizons through your lines. It is moreover very complete and will allow me I hope one day to prepare my trip.
    Thank you for your blog and for sharing your experience with as many people as possible,
    We are a couple in our fifties, we only practice PMT, and we can 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 now, a very strong desire to discover new places is running through my head and I have been looking for Raja Ampat for a long time as the ultimate destination to quench our thirst for snorkeling in clear, warm water, in the middle of postcard archipelagos still preserved.
    That's why, before launching myself into the adventure, and the elaboration of this travel project, I will need your expertise on :

    - Is a destination for divers only in PMT,
    - For a first trip to Indonesia, should we concentrate only on Raja Ampat or compile an itinerary without it becoming too tiring during the trip, as we are rather "cushy" and like to bubble in the water for hours and out of the water.
    We are far from being backpackers, we are closer to the average tourist with zero experience of what to expect 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 has been on my mind for so long that I need to make it happen or move on to other horizons more suited to our desires.
    Thank you in advance Corinne for your feedback and surely very valuable advice that will guide us in the development of a stay in Indonesia, Raja Ampat or elsewhere, because as they say no matter the bottle as long as you have the intoxication of the 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 already did in the article... In relation to your three questions:

      - A destination "for divers only in PMT": it's a destination for everybody ! Divers, non divers, snorkellers... It all depends on your budget, the time you have, your desires... Read again the article, 'I give 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, according to your budget, you'll have to opt for an accommodation a bit "roots" (homestays) or more comfortable (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 advise Raja Ampat. It's really far, rather expensive and a bit tiring to go there, especially if you tell me that you are not too much of "backpackers". If it is Indonesia that you want to discover, you should also know that the Raja Ampat region, culturally, is not like the rest of Indonesia, in fact. It remains islands, of course, but we are in Papua and it is already not Asia anymore, it is another world...

      - Where to go in Indonesia? Oops... Question way too vague and way 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 advise you quite simply Bali, which has all the tourist infrastructure facilitating the trip and offers a real change of scenery, or even Sulawesi. But you can also, if you feel like it and if 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 (like the Routard or the Lonely Planet) to better spot what each island of this huge archipelago has to offer, it will help you to have a global view of Indonesia and what you might like.

      Good preparations!

  57. Hello, Thank you, what a treat to read this article. I was almost there already! Beautiful minutes of escape in perspective considering the number of articles! Thank you, kenavo 😆

  58. Hello Corinne,
    Thank you for the information about Raja Ampat, I was looking for a "dream" destination, your blog really made me want to go there and it was indeed the dream.
    I did a 13 days cruise at the end of December 2015 on board the Ambai ,allowing me to dive in 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 also really great.
    There are also a few people, in all relativity, around the sites of Kri, Gam, while in Misool it is very quiet.
    One desire ... to go back there !

  59. Thank you Corinne for your complete and reliable return!
    Tastes and colors are not debatable but the Raja Ampat archipelago is undoubtedly a terrestrial and underwater paradise. I'm leaving tomorrow, yes tomorrow for Sulawesi, hoping to join a company that will make a cruise to Raja Ampat!
    I'm already waiting for the feedback from the companies you mentioned, hoping to find a cruise that fits in my program (I'm wide open, I'm looking for the month of March). I will make a complete return on your blog (if you allow me of course) in comments so that other travelers can also benefit from it (as well as on my blog "eyes on the world" even if I have six months of delay 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 to marvel more! Raja ampat can only keep its promises in terms of wonder! I trust in life for the rest ✌️!

  60. Hello Corinne,

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

    Small safety question: Did you have the opportunity to meet poisonous snakes or spiders on site?

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

    Thank you for this information and have a good trip!

    1. @Ben: I don't know which are the snakes and spiders present on the island... The island is almost entirely covered by jungle, we can't really "walk" there (better a guide, I suppose, to go into the jungle)... We can only go along the beaches where are the two resorts of Papua Diving and some homestays

  61. 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.

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

    Thank you


    1. @Margaux: I did not go to "the" resorts, but only to the Sorido Bay Resort of Papua-Diving. Having returned there several times, I now dive "à la carte", generally I make 2 to 3 dives per 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 ...

      Check out the websites of the resorts you are interested in to see what they offer, or if not listed, write to them to see what is available.

  63. 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

  64. 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'd like to give you my feedback on my 14 day cruise on board the Ambai from triton bay.
      I loved it. The organization is perfect, the food is perfect and the staff is very nice.

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

  65. 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.

  66. 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

  67. 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 🙂

    1. @Montoro: yes, of course, snorkelling is very interesting in this archipelago. For divers like snorkelers, there are wonders to discover under the surface ...

  68. Hello,
    I go to raja next week. After sorong I go to Kri island. Then I would like to go to Fam Island. Is it possible to go there directly from Kri or do I have to come back 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. So, you have to organize it on the spot... Often, travelers group together to rent a boat, because it is quite expensive, it allows 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't go to fam, I'll probably go to pulau mansuar... Is this island worth it ? (not too much info on this island) or is it better to go further ? Knowing that I have one week in all in Raja...
      Thank you in advance for your answer
      Good night !

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

      This type of islets is typical of Wayag archipelago (further in the north of the archipelago, more difficult to access) and of Fam archipelago where there is the island of Penemu (Piaynemo), among others (from where the panorama and the picture in the article above were taken)... For the latter, the easiest way to go there is a day trip organized by a homestay or a resort. You can also see a lot of islets in the same style in day trip to the "Passage" on the Gam side. But the most famous and accessible emblematic "viewpoint", with this panorama allowing to have an overall view, is on the side of Fam / Penemu (Piaynemo). There are also similar landscapes in the south-east of Misool (and surely in many other remote places of the archipelago that I do not know).

      Beware, 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 is complicated to move around. Many islands are covered with impenetrable jungle, not always easy to access. There are some villages and a few homestays scattered here and there, certainly more numerous from year to year, but for the moment the region is not very developed for mass tourism (even if it is changing). If you only have one week, Mansuar is a good base. It is normal that there is not much information, the whole island is covered with jungle, there must be one or two villages, a resort and a handful of homestays, along the coast... You can't "circulate" on the island, go see a Google Map in satellite view : it's mountains and jungle. Go see also on the site StayRajaAmpat which I mention in the article, they list on a map what can be found on Mansuar...

      Good preparations!

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

    1. I discovered the olympus TG4 which makes superb photos especially in 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 into the water and some can withstand going up to thirty meters I think. Otherwise, there are waterproof housings for most devices now.

      I advise you to visit the Photo Forum sub, where you should be able to find a lot of tips for a first device to take underwater... 😉

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

    I'm planning a trip to Raja Ampa for 2018 or 2019 if it's already sold out.
    Breaking the piggy bank in sight but no regrets. After Manado, Bali, the Visayas, I want to go to paradise. I was almost there when I read this article.
    Congratulations and thank you for this work!

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

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

    thank you !

    1. I saw while diving at a depth of 3 meters near a jetty, but near manta point, woobegongs. To spot them, you need a very good view, especially from the surface. They are debonair, immobile, lying on or under a coral layer and are kings of camouflage. No other sharks were seen except at a depth of 20 m or more.

    2. @Tim: I saw them almost on every dive during my last stay (July 2017). Among the relatively easy species to observe: black tip sharks (early in the morning, above the 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 wearing a mask/tuba, I didn't think it was possible to see blacktip 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 ...

  72. Hello Corinne, thank you for this very interesting blog (and that will bring even more people on Raja empat!...). I was in Pulau Kri 2 years ago and I'm going back around october 8. I never did any diving and at 72 years old, snorkeling is already fulfilling me. I'm coming back a little bit later in the season than the first time, one of my dreams being to see manta rays and I have to say that your article makes me fear that I won't be able to see any.(a system of exit quotas on site is perhaps a beginning of solution in any case it seemed to work rather well, 3 years ago, in the Galapagos) Have you been to Missool and / or Triton bay? I'm doing a little world to manage to get there. And manokwari in South/East Sulawesi ? for possibly 2018 or 2109 . this year because I plan to go to Bandaneira and maybe Kei islands after rajah empat. is it possible, to your knowledge, to find from France the schedule for the next months of the different boats of the pelni ? hoping to hear from you soon . Dominique

    1. @Dominic: people continue to see mantas, maybe they just need a little more luck than before...

      I never stayed in Misool, but I dived there during a cruise from Ambon to Sorong, it was beautiful, I talk about it here :
      And there:
      The cruise is also spent by Banda Neira, since you talk about it:

      Triton Bay, I stayed there in March 2016. See the articles about this trip at the end of this link:

      Finally, I didn't take the time to research the Pelni timetables, I have never used these ships. Try to launch a query on Google... As far as I know, the schedules that Pelni sometimes deigns to put online are rarely updated, and in fact, never respected... The best thing to do for a given island is to ask the question directly by e-mail to tourist structures (hotels and diving centers) on the spot, which will surely be the most informed and will be able to provide you with this information...

      Good preparation! 🙂

  73. Hello Corinne,
    What sublime images! A big thank you for all these precious advices. I am preparing a trip there and after having spent some time on different blogs, I can say without a doubt that your article is by far the most complete and the most passionate.
    The road seems long to get there but it seems to be worth it... Can't wait to get there!
    Thanks again! 🙂

  74. Hello,
    Really great your blog, it's not the first time I stumbled upon it and it really makes me want to learn how to make such beautiful pictures :).
    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 about Raja Ampat because I've been dreaming about it for a long time, and also because I could combine it with a visit to the Beliem Valley! It also makes me want to see the "big" ones that I discovered in Polynesia and loved.
    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 Moluccas (because June is not the best season, I might as well go back another time), Bali (because I already went to Tulamben and Menjangan). I also eliminated Alor because I had asked a few years ago for information to a club they told me to take only very experienced divers.
    Raja Ampat makes me want to do it but if it is not adapted I consider Roti (simple dives but less impressive I think) + Sumba (for the visit), or Sumba/Flores + Komodo (I know that there is also current but I read that beginners went there on calmer sites).

    Concerning Raja Ampat, it seems to me that the cheapest option is to go to waisai harbour and find an accommodation directly in the area. Otherwise a bit more expensive but not too much, book on Kri/mansuar. You confirm?
    You also confirm that there are no real villages to visit in the islands of raja ampat (unless you have your own boat) and that it is mostly for diving/snorkeling?

    Yes many questions but thank you if you can help me to find my next diving and visiting destination :).

  75. 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 Raja Ampat adventure and let myself be guided by all your advice 🙂

  76. Hello
    Thank you so 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 really worth a visit (after the Red Sea, Taba and Marsa Alam, Kho Tao Island in Thailand and Malendure in Guadeloupe) and RA seems to exceed our expectations. But we only have 15 days this summer and a not so extensible budget. We were thinking of going to Bali (especially Pulau Menjangan) or Lombok, it's easier to get there 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. We also like to kayak in spectacular spots. We are looking for an area that is not too humid 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 it's mostly a matter of luck obviously...
    Thank you in advance for your answers

    1. Hello,
      I went on a diving cruise on Ampat last year and it was magical. From the micro to the whale shark, everything was there. I'll definitely be going back.
      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 which have made it much easier for me to organize my trip in February 2019.

  77. Hello,

    thank you very much for all your practical information, which enabled me to organize my stay without any problems.
    I can confirm: the destination is extraordinary, even for an "old" diver like me.
    On site, everything went very well, as Papuans are generally very pleasant people.
    The only problems I encountered were a flight cancellation between Ambon and Sorong and schedule changes. All this on Garuda's part, and of course without any warning on their part...
    But all this is quickly forgotten when, in the same dive, we encounter mantas, ending up with three species of pygmy seahorses... (thanks Olympus TG5!).

    1. @Feulvarc'h: Thank you for this feedback from an "old" diver... Glad that this stay in Raja Ampat kept its promises 🙂 For Indonesian domestic flights, delays, cancellations, postponements are unfortunately very common...

  78. 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 explained earlier in my article, the South / Misool are not really practicable because of the strong wind and very rough sea during what corresponds to our summer months, moreover the Misool Eco Resort closes at that time (mid-June to mid-September). In the north, on the other hand, the diving resorts remain open all year round, but there are hardly any organized dive cruises (more difficult navigation).

      I've just recently returned to Kri Island, in July 2019, because I like being outside the peak tourist season. It's also the period when documentary film crews come (there was one at the resort where I stayed). On the other hand, this year I wasn't as lucky as in previous years as far as the weather was concerned, as I ended up with a week where it wasn't very sunny (lots of grey skies, some sunny spells, but very often windy, and a few heavy showers), which didn't prevent me from diving, but sometimes prevented me from sailing to the more remote sites...

      As I said in the article, it's impossible to predict the weather... In any case, I've been there several times in July (my summer vacations are at that time) with great pleasure, and I'd do it again. We don't have manta rays at this time of year, but the underwater view is often much better and there are far fewer people on the most popular dive sites, so it's 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 testimonial. Yes, the presence of manta rays is seasonal. As I explained in the article, they are most numerous between October-November and April-May (the high tourist season). It's much rarer to see them between May-June and September-October.

  79. 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: (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 🙂

    1. @Laurence: yes, especially as the month of August 2019 is heating up again in West Papua, with riots and violence in several towns, including Sorong... To be continued...

  80. 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're familiar with most of the destinations you've dived in Southeast Asia, as my partner and I are both macro divers, and today we can only deplore the degradation of the seabed and the abundance of plastics. These phenomena are accelerating, and the influx of tourists is doing nothing to help (take Thailand as an example, and soon the Philippines).

    We can't fight a country's economy (who are we to do that?) and social networks, but what will be left in a few years' time and what will you learn from it?

    We are simply sounding the alarm. Now it's up to you to weigh up the consequences.

    1. @Fabrice & #038; Christelle: Hello and thank you for your message. Like you, I deplore the degradation of the seabed and, like you, I try to sound the alarm, but I don't benefit from it. Your message touches me because it raises the question of MY responsibility, implying that it's somehow my fault if the ocean and the reefs are in a bad way, because I give out too much information about certain destinations like Raja Ampat... I understand your concern and I share it, but I'd still like to qualify the reproaches you're levelling at me.

      On the one hand, I remain convinced that my impact through this blog is extremely modest, even insignificant, compared to the colossal resources deployed by the Indonesian authorities, Indonesia's OT and various tour operators, who themselves have a vested interest in promoting Raja Ampat's tourism development. Here's a striking example: on the new 100,000 Rupiah banknotes (launched in 2016, if I'm not mistaken), which is Indonesia's largest banknote, there's a landscape of Raja Ampat. When it comes to advertising the destination, this is even stronger than social networks...

      On the other hand, whether it's for this destination or others just as fragile and threatened, I'm trying more than ever (and I'll try to do so more in the future) to make readers aware of the impact we, as diving tourists, have on these fragile ecosystems. I've edited the above article several times in this sense, but it's probably not enough yet...

      Finally, I'm thinking about how to take your comments into account in my future articles: should I no longer give any practical information, so as not to "make things easier" for people planning a diving trip? Should I even avoid saying where, or even in which country, I was able to take this or that photo? From then on, blogging about my travels and dives becomes complicated.

      Because in the end, that's the problem: the very fact of publishing articles and photos on this blog is an incentive to travel and dive, two activities with a disastrous carbon footprint... Thinking things through to the end, I sometimes wonder if I wouldn't be better off stopping altogether. But if I did, I don't think it would have the slightest positive effect, nor would it help prevent the degradation of the seabed and plastic pollution...

      In short, I'm thinking that maybe it's better to keep trying to share my wonder at the underwater world, in the hope of raising awareness among my readers that all these wonders are under threat, and that we all have a role to play, each in our own way.

      The environmental impact of tourism is a complex issue. I don't have all the answers. Like you, I'm quite appalled by the extent of the damage in certain areas, damage which is not only due to tourism... In any case, thank you for taking the time to leave a message to "sound the alarm" and encourage us to be more responsible in our tourism.

  81. Hello Corinne,

    It was you who made me want to try the Raja Ampat adventure just over two years ago. Your numerous experience feedbacks recounted in articles that only added to the feverish anticipation of departure made me decide. For my first visit, I chose the diving cruise, mainly in the South. What an amazing experience!
    It's a real eye-opener. I had no idea I could see so much marine life on so many dives.
    It was grandiose. And I loved getting lost in Sorong too.
    Now, of course, I want to discover Raja Ampat from a small resort or other place, for the pleasure of hearing the birds and observing the sea 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 mine of information about this incredible region.
    I'll be sure to keep it up to date for those of you who, like me, one day want to explore this paradise at the end of the world.

    1. @ Helen: Thank you for your kind, long message, Hélène, which means a lot to me. I'm happy to have inspired you to discover Raja Ampat and its (fragile) wonders.

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

      In my eyes as a nature-loving diver-photographer, underwater biodiversity, i.e. the quantity and density of different species that you can come across, really remains THE essential criterion... I'm not exaggerating when I sometimes write that I almost have tears in my eyes with emotion when I contemplate a reef in good health and teeming with life... In any case, I'm looking forward to reading your impressions and talking about them with you in person at the dive 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.

  82. Waouh!!!! (but not the one that sank!), I'm impressed by the construction of your blog, it's clear, it's documented, it's a beautiful invitation to travel.
    I've just come back from the show and I have to admit that the Raja Ampat destination "salesmen/operators" are no match for you .....
    So I fell in love, if you pack me in your suitcase for future trips, I'll marry you.

    1. @Patrice: I'm delighted that the blog has inspired you to travel. I have to admit, I burst out laughing in front of my screen when I saw the punchline to your post... 😉

  83. It's been a long time since I reread your article. Wow! You've really expanded and updated it. Bravo. No feedback on R4.... prices have gone up so much since our first trip in 2009, it's become unaffordable

    1. @IsaM: Tourism in Raja Ampat has grown considerably in the last ten years, but it remains an expensive destination. The cheapest option is homestay. But when you're a diver and want to dive in good conditions, this adds enormously to your budget. Not to mention the price of domestic flights to Sorong, which has skyrocketed...

  84. … ..Do not think that I am an easy boy …… you will have to prove yourself …….
    More seriously, among your trips, I chose Anilao, I asked planet dive last night for a proposal, they're super responsive, I've already got the feedback .......
    Thank you

  85. Hi Corinne 🙂

    Thank you for all your useful and dreamy blogs.

    I'm going to Indonesia for several months, and I was wondering if it was worth going to Raja ampat (time, money) if it's only for snorkeling and not diving...

    If not, are there any spots in Indonesia that are easier to access and still preserved?

    Thanks in advance for your reply 🙂

    1. I would say no, it is not worth the money and time just to snorkel, or maybe in a nice resort. I think that for a first visit, the cruise allows you to see not only exceptional underwater bottoms, but also beautiful land landscapes, especially the karst formations that I find much more beautiful than those of Halong Bay. To go on a cruise, Bali, the gilis ... are much less complicated to access.

    2. @Valentine: Hello, and thank you for your message. I see that Gérard has given you a very sensible reply of his own above. After that, if you want to discover Raja Ampat, have enough time and the budget for it, it's a splendid region that obviously deserves to be explored. But if you're just looking for a place to do some PMT, you'll find plenty to enjoy in other parts of Indonesia, less far away and less expensive... North-east Bali (Amed, Tulamben), north-west Bali (Pemuteran), North Sulawesi (Bunaken, Bangka, the Perenthians) are for example destinations that are easier to access, less expensive, with plenty of places to snorkel... 🙂

      Good preparations!

  86. Thank you Corinne for this very good blog. Fascinating and very rich in information. I will see it soon. Next week even

  87. Hello Corinne,

    We'd like to go back to Indonesia, but this time to Raja Ampat with my husband at the end of October. To tell the truth, we're hesitating about French Polynesia... I have a few questions about how long we'll need to stay there to fully enjoy it and I'd like to know approximately how much a night at the sorido resort and the eco kri costs? How much does diving cost?

    Thank you for sharing.

    1. Corinne's blog is very well documented. From there to ask her an answer to a personal question, how much time to amortize the trip, it is exaggerated.
      You can find all the information on the resort's website. Corinne is not a travel agent.
      That said, R4 is a wonderful destination for divers. The karst formations are in my opinion more beautiful than those of Halong Bay, but besides the admirable underwater fauna, the beauty of Melissa garden leaves me amazed.

  88. Take the time to find out about the structure you choose to discover Raja Ampat, ask yourself questions about the impact of your visit, ask yourself who will benefit from the money you spend there, and, of course, make sure that once you're there, you act as a responsible visitor and diver, both towards the locals and the environment.