The dock of Sorido Bay Resort, sea and coral side, in Kri. Raja Ampat, Papua Barat, Indonesia. March 2012.
The dock of Sorido Bay Resort, sea and coral side, in Kri. Raja Ampat, Papua Barat, Indonesia. March 2012.

Live my life as a princess in Raja Ampat

  Indonesia: Raja Ampat + Bali - March 2012

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

Kri is my new paradise. It is a small island located in Raja Ampat, in Indonesian Papua. I lived there like a princess for a short week.

Kri Island. Raja Ampat, Papua Barat, Indonesia. March 2012.
Kri Island (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia. March 2012)

Sorido Bay

Bungalow facing the sea. White sand and deserted beach. Intense light, subdued by the palms of the coconut trees and other trees whose name I do not know. Welcome to Soriday Bay, on Kri Island. My new paradise!

At the end of the pontoon, there is a blue hole, formed by a huge ring of coral.

Sorido Bay Resort, Kri Island. Raja Ampat, Papua Barat, Indonesia. March 2012.
The pontoon of Sorido Bay Resort, island side, in Kri. (Raja Ampat, Papua Barat, Indonesia, March 2012)
The dock of Sorido Bay Resort, sea and coral side, in Kri. Raja Ampat, Papua Barat, Indonesia. March 2012.
The dock of Sorido Bay Resort, sea and coral side, in Kri. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)

In front of it, a sandbank, which appears and disappears according to the tides. Sometimes, a boat accosts there and disembarks its passengers, tourists or fishermen. We believe to see people walking on the water.

In the axis of the sandbar, there is an islet flanked by a hut in the local fashion, made of woven coconut leaves, which serves as a shelter. On the horizon, a mountainous line, often hemmed in by clouds, which swell with rain as the day goes on.

View on the islet in front of Sorido Bay Resort, Kri. Raja Ampat, Papua Barat. Indonesia, March 2012.
View on the islet in front of Sorido Bay Resort, Kri (Raja Ampat, Papua Barat. Indonesia, March 2012)

Not a sound. Just the soft surf of the sea, the murmur of trees shaken by the wind from the sea, the crackling of insects and the songs of birds.

Yes, life is hard ...


Of Black Manta at Kri Island

Return to March 5, 2012. My cruise-diving on the Black Manta is over, but I am not going back to Sorong with the other divers. I don't fly back the next day like them, no! I will stay in Raja Ampat!

I organized everything before leaving. Five-six days on a boat, it seemed to me very short for an exceptional destination like Raja Ampat... If I had to go so far, if I had to break my piggy bank, I might as well make the pleasure last a little longer! So I decided to extend my stay, but on land, in a resort.

I reorganized my bardas (clothes, photo equipment, diving bag), before saying goodbye to Miyo, my great diving buddy, whom I was a bit sad to leave. Then I hurriedly gave many "hugs" to the Americans forming the rest of the group of divers.

I have a light heart, a smile up to my ears. I am so, so happy to be able to stay a little longer in this incredible archipelago!

I board the dinghy where the staff has already put my bags. Cedric, our "cruise-leader" starts the engines. I cheerfully wave my hand to the others, who remain on the Black Manta. Set course for Kri Island!

The Black Manta. Raja Ampat, Papua Barat, Indonesia. March 2012.
The Black Manta. (Raja Ampat, Papua Barat, Indonesia, March 2012)

I am a princess

I had booked at Papua Diving, in Kri Island Resort. But it is closed for the week, for various maintenance work. No big deal ... Instead, I'll stay at much more classy Sorido Bay Resort neighbor!!!


The Sorido Bay and Kri Eco Resorts on Kri Island, Raja Ampat. Papua Barat, Indonesia. (Photo: Papua Diving)
The Sorido Bay and Kri Eco Resorts on Kri Island, Raja Ampat. Papua Barat, Indonesia. (Photo: Papua Diving)
Aerial view of Kri Island, with the Sorido Bay Resort in the foreground and its incredible blue hole in the coral, and on the right, the Kri Eco Resort. Raja Ampat, Papua Barat, Indonesia. (Photo: Papua Diving)
Aerial view of Kri Island, with Sorido Bay Resort and its incredible blue hole in the coral in the foreground, and Kri Eco Resort on the right. Raja Ampat, Papua Barat, Indonesia (Photo: Papua Diving)

Yes, I was upgraded for free, as both resorts have the same owner. A Dutchman named Max Ammer, "pioneer" of diving in Raja Ampat. A character, an adventurer, an incredible storyteller, who has been living there for about twenty years, and whom I had the pleasure to meet during my stay.

I heard the good news about the change of resort on the Black Mantaby Cedric. Papua Diving sent a message on his cell phone, to warn me. At first, I think Cedric is joking with me. But no.

He makes me read the message: I am really going to stay at the Sorido Bay Resort! Classy. I can't believe my luck. It's a princess resort. The kind of resort I never thought I would ever set foot in. The kind of resort that didn't fit in my budget, even when I was pumped up with my big piggy bank breakage.

The kind of resort where there is all the comfort that can dream of a paddler weighed down with fragile technological equipment and practicing underwater photography: huge air-conditioned bungalow, with a work surface fitted out for rinsing the watertight box and equipped with electric sockets to recharge the batteries, hot shower, king-size bed, wifi, fridge, safety-box, staff with small care ... Raaaahhh....

My room at Sorido Bay Resort. Kri Island, Raja Ampat. Papua Barat, Indonesia. March 2012.
My room at Sorido Bay Resort. (Kri, Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)
My bungalow is directly on the beach. Kri Island, Raja Ampat, Papua Barat, Indonesia. March 2012.
My bungalow is directly on the beach. (Kri, Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)

Anyway. I feel like a princess when I step on the Sorido Bay Resort's pontoon. And I am welcomed like a princess by the adorable Jimmy and Julia, the managers, a couple of thirty years old, themselves divers, who teach me another very good news: I am the only customer, that week, to dive!

Apart from me, there is only one family of Dutch expats, who only do snorkeling (fins-mask-tuba). So I will have a guide for myself underwater and I will decide the program of the day...

I love it!!! 😄

I am a princess, really. Besides, it's not the first time. Last summer, already, in Komodo, I was more than varnished, with a cruise ship all to myself:
Read → My princess boat

New friends

Jimmy is Belgian by origin and speaks French very well. Julia is German and understands him well too. During my stay, our conversations will be half in English, half in French. They have been managers for other luxury resorts around the world, notably in the Maldives and the Seychelles. Papua Indonesia is for them a new experience, a new challenge.

Jimmy and Julia are a nice, open, warm couple. I immediately get along with them very well.

As there are not many people that week, they regularly come to dive with me. Natan, who is from the area, is my guide for most of the dives. With him, I feel safe underwater, I can take my pictures quietly. He has an eye on everything!

Natan, my super papuan guide, at Sorido Bay Resort on the island of Kri. Raja Ampat, Papua Barat, Indonesia. March 2012.
Natan, my great Papuan guide, at Sorido Bay Resort on Kri Island (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)

After Miyo and Cedric, on the Black MantaSo I'm still making new friends here on Kri Island ... I often say, solo trip is not synonymous with loneliness, quite the contrary!

Luxury, calm and voluptuousness

Obviously, this princess stay was an enchanted parenthesis. A dream. Enjoy all the modern comfort or almost, in the middle of this wild archipelago, is an unheard of luxury. So I savor, blissfully.

Luxury, calm and pleasure... I am ecstatic, every morning, about the fabulous view that I discover from "my" beach.

The view from my bungalow at Sorido Bay Resort on Kri Island. Raja Ampat, Papua Barat, Indonesia. March 2012.
The view from my bungalow at Sorido Bay Resort, on Kri. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)
"My" beach. Kri Island, Raja Ampat, Papua Barat, Indonesia. March 2012.
"My" beach. (Kri, Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)

To take pictures, I venture once barefoot on the pontoon, until the burning of the wooden slats heated by the sun forces me to run... Ouch, always put your flip-flops to go on the pontoon!

Fortunately, the coralline sand of the beach, so white, so fine, never burns his feet.

The beautiful pontoon above the coral at Sorido Bay Resort in Kri. Raja Ampat, Papua Barat, Indonesia. March 2012.
The beautiful pontoon above the coral at Sorido Bay Resort in Kri. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)

At low tide, one can better measure the extent of the immense reef that protects the island. I contemplate, fascinated, the coral that is flush with the surface.

We see schools of small fish playing around the pillars, perfectly visible from the pontoon. Juvenile batfish live here, at the edge of the blue hole, they are at the same place every day.

The view of Kri Island, from the Sorido Bay Resort pontoon. Raja Ampat, Papua Barat, Indonesia. March 2012.
The view of Kri Island from the Sorido Bay Resort's pontoon (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)
A juvenile batfish, seen from the pontoon of Sorido Bay Resort. Kri Island, Raja Ampat, Papua Barat. Indonesia, March 2012.
A juvenile batfish, seen from the pontoon of Sorido Bay Resort. (Kri, Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, March 2012)

Every evening, after the dives, I allow myself a moment of rest in my hammock, on the terrace of my bungalow, facing the sea, while the light decreases. Then I go back to the main building, at the time of the aperitif and I offer myself a Bintang, the Indonesian beer. There is a living room, with sofa and armchairs, where one can settle down to read or chat. I show to the Dutch my photos of the day before the dinner, taken in common at the big table of the restaurant... We sympathize.

It rained every day, I think. But mostly at the end of the day. And I love the gentle coolness of the tropical showers drumming on the resort's leafy roofs. I'm slowly getting used to the odd chuckles and squeals that come out of the foliage of the trees and the jungle around us.

Sometimes, a varan of rather beautiful size comes to roam near the bungalows. One evening, Jimmy, with a flashlight, managed to show me a couscousThese funny animals with fur and a long tail, from the marsupial family, live in trees.

I only stayed a short week on Kri Island. But these few days of relaxation and diving, in the middle of an unspoiled nature, left me a dazzling memory. I only have one desire : return to Raja Ampat !


  Indonesia: Raja Ampat + Bali - March 2012

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    1. @Lucie: yes, the island is beautiful, and the staff at the resort is adorable... It was truly an exceptional week, in every way.

  1. You make me more and more dream with this archipelago.
    So I'm going to take a closer look at it. How much do you need to budget?
    And I already asked you, but how long and how many stopovers to get there from France?

    1. @Julien: the budget can be very variable, depending on your requirements in terms of accommodation and service...

      You can travel "roots" and stay in local "guesthouses" made of woven leaves for a small fee, and it's better to have some time to spare for the travels and transports afterwards, within the archipelago (I found on the Lonely Planet forum the story of a girl who did that)... To be improvised on the spot as you go along.

      But when you want to dive, and to be able to do it in good conditions, it is inevitably resorts for divers or dive-cruise, and there, it is very very expensive... (I hallucinated by discovering the prices practiced, at the time of my first research.)

      I will try to make a more "practical" paper on Raja Ampat, where I will give the information I could collect here and there before leaving, on the internet. Generally speaking, the prices have nothing to do with the rest of Indonesia. As the archipelago is very isolated, everything is very expensive to install, to transport, to buy, especially as the price of diesel is not decreasing, so the tourist prices are accordingly...

      To get there, you have to go to Sorong. The flights that I know that serve Sorong take off either from Manado (North Sulawesi) or from Makassar (also called Ujung Pandang, South Sulawesi). You have to fly to either city, from Denpasar (Bali) or Jakarta or Singapore, or another Asian hub. The stopovers depend on where you arrive...

      I do not recommend to fly all these planes at once. It is better to take a break either in Sulawesi or in Bali. In terms of duration, it's the trip from Europe to an Asian hub (about 13 hours) + a flight of a few hours to Manado or Makassar + a flight of a few hours to Sorong (don't ask me the exact duration from each city). Then, 2h to 4h of boat depending on the island you want to go to...

      It deserves, Raja Ampat ...

    2. Hello Julien, the shortest and cheapest way from France is I think: Paris Kuala Lumpur (14h) in Malaysia with the excellent low cost Air Asia (I went to Kuala Lumpur with them a few weeks ago, ticket taken 30h before the flight, 490 euros AR!) then Air Asia still to Bunaken (there to make a stop of several days to recover from jet lag and enjoy the beautiful islands) then new internal flight to Sorong (4 to 6 hours). For my part I went there from Jakarta, night flight with Batavia Air, perfect.

    3. There was an Air Asia flight KL-Manado ... but we had surprises: the first: the price (40 euros AR), the second: our flight was canceled (and we had to replace it with a simple flight on Silkair last minute = 420 euros!)

  2. Raja Ampat? We said it was not even imaginable. You will have to go back there, if only to see the Wayag (see our site) located in the north. But for diving, the Dampierre Strait (where Kri and Mansuar are located and where we stayed) remains in our opinion the best (Chicken Reef, Mike's Point, Mioskon, Sardine Reef, Blue Magic, Manta Point .... and other dives you know). Why is it so far away?

    1. @IsaM: yes, the same for me, I never imagined I would be able to go, and yet I did. And I'm going to make sure I go back, it was so amazing. But you who have been there, you know...

      I'm kind of following in the wake of your bubbles, it seems! I obviously hung out on your site before I left!!! 😉

      I also chose to stay at Kri Island, after the dive cruise, because it is the best place, in the heart of the best spots, indeed... (sigh).


    2. You just have to go to Alor and join Sorong by sea: the Maumere-Sorong cruise. The craziest trip ... the most beautiful dives (well almost) in the Banda Sea .... and the arrival on Sorong by passing by all the sites of the Dampierre Strait. But also ... the most expensive! I want to do it again... (tearful tone)

    3. @IsaM: well, you don't think so, because Alor is on the agenda for my next Indonesian getaway... 😉
      But I won't have the opportunity to make the trip to Sorong by sea like you were lucky enough to do... I read your posts on that. What a fantastic journey!!!

  3. What luck to have been "upgraded" The Bungalow looks very comfortable, your pictures of the island are beautiful! And I have the impression that you had a magical stay!

    1. @Xtinette: not easy to reach, from Flores... You would have needed a lot of time and a bigger budget too... But I warmly recommend Raja Ampat. It is really worth it!

  4. I had dived at night in the "hole" just below the Sorido Bay pontoon to see the Mandarin fish in full reproduction! Excellent! I also really liked the Kri eco resort with my room made of woven mats on stilts above the "lagoon"... Max Ammer is really a great man! Very nice too ;-). His life could make a very good adventure novel!

    1. @Julien: yes, I need to dedicate a post to Max Ammer. We could write several novels about his life, for sure...

  5. So... 72 hours to get there (from Paris), but what a happiness at the arrival. If you want some tips, contact me by mail... and I'll cry with envy again 8)

  6. Hello,

    Very pretty site with very nice articles

    I plan to do the same type of diving trip in Raja Ampat (Cruise + resort).
    Will it be possible to know how you organized your trip:
    Did you use the services of an agency for flights, cruise reservations and resorts?
    Are you live for flights, cruises, resorts?
    What was your itinerary from France A / R?
    Could you, please, give the links, contact, etc ...
    I thank you in advance

    1. @Marc: ah, Raja Ampat, you won't be disappointed!!! (And neither will your wallet 😀 ) You have all the links already in the body of the text. I always organize myself when I travel, I contact directly the resort(s) I'm interested in, I never go through a tour-operator.

      I already described the journey to Julien above, it was also linked to the fact that I had an Air Asia X ticket (flights that are not done from Paris anymore) that made me go through Kuala Lumpur:
      Paris - Kuala Lumpur - Bali (Denpasar) - Makassar (Ujung Pandang) - Sorong

      To find a cruise, you can consult this site, which allows you to compare a lot of boats: the guy who runs this site, Jez Tryner, plays the intermediary and arranges everything. I really appreciated the exchanges, he often relays promotions when there are some (I had for my part the Nitrox and the free Makassar - Sorong flights):

      There are other resorts in Raja Ampat than the ones I am talking about. You will easily find them by doing a Google search... As I said before, I will try to make a "practical" post and a list, soon, of the things I had spotted during my research on Raja Ampat.

  7. Hello Corinne,

    Well, as you feel like you are following Isa's bubbles, we are following yours a little bit!

    after Komodo that we did a few months after you (with a certain Miyo on the boat, here you go 🙄 ) we are considering the R4, and as it will be at the end of the season, we may also end up on the Black Manta (most of the other boats will have started their descent to Komodo), but nothing is done yet, so shhhh 🙂

    thank you for your CR and good bubbles

    1. @ eric56: Miyo, MA Miyo ???? Decidedly, the world of divers is really small!

      I still have a lot of things to post on R4...
      Stay tuned !!!

    2. there is still a lot of luck: the one who was on the Mermaid was also Japanese and ... lived in Bangkok 🙄
      pink slippers?

      you didn't talk about Komodo ? (well, maybe the French people present, not very good in English communication 🙁 , didn't leave him an imperishable memory ...)

    3. @eric56: yes, she had been on a Komodo cruise, but I didn't ask her to tell it in detail. She lives in Bangkok indeed, she is a stewardess on Thai Airways and actually has pink slippers in her flippers. That's her for sure... 😀

  8. Hello Corinne,

    Last year I had done Misool Eco Resort, I wanted to do it again this year in September but they are closed, so I "fell back" on Sorido Bay Resort. I love Raja Ampat, it is a synthesis of El Nido in the Philippines and Palau but a step above, the pleasure of the eyes is total, both under water and outside.
    Good summer.


    1. I don't know Palau or El Nido yet (on the "to-do-list"), but I think Raja Ampat is "a step above" everything I know. I love it too, I only dream to go back there...

      By the way, I went back to the Sorido Bay Resort this July. (Posts to come.) When you'll be there in September, Julia and Jimmy, the current managers of the resort, will still be there (they have to leave in December, I think). Lovely welcome, I really got along with them, which adds to the pleasure of diving in such a place! I think that the sites of Dampier Strait should please you...

      I do not know Misool, just their website, beautiful, which gives good desire (but I'll have to put a few pennies aside, before discovering this other part of Raja Ampat). On your return, you who have tested both, you can give me your impressions compared between Raja Ampat North (Dampier Strait) and Raja Ampat South ...

      Ah, there, lucky you!!! 😡

    2. Hello Corinne,

      Well here I am back from Raja Ampat, I came, I saw and I conquered 🙂
      What to say? But that it is sublime!
      As for the resort itself, we are not in the same category, Misool is 5 stars, a western comfort which is an exception in Papua, in Kri they are very simple bungalows on the water, very "local color" with toilets and mandis outside but it is really not a problem.
      There is no particular interest to stay in bungalows on stilts, some will say that it is the ultimate fantasy, yeah well, at night when the sea is rough you finally regret not staying on land!
      I briefly saw these Julia and Jimmy you mention, once in Sorido when I was there and again when they stopped by briefly in Kri.
      The food was really good, with every meal, including for breakfast we had something different for 2 weeks! The managers Ross and Dwayne but also all the staff in general are kind and welcoming.
      Concerning the diving sites, it is the same with Misool, I even have the impression to have seen more things in Kri, which is not surprising after 4 daily dives (3 during the day and one at night) during 2 weeks!
      Yes, Dampier Strait is very beautiful, overall I find that The Passage and Sleeping Barracuda for Raja Ampat North and Magic Mountain for Raja Ampat South are above.
      Le Passage because it is a very rich place, with a lot of macro, I saw more nudibranchs than elsewhere, pygmy seahorses as well, we even saw the famous wobeggong, and above all this site offers excellent visibility, at least it was the case during our visit, so to speak!
      Sleeping Barracuda because I saw very big ones, schools of barracudas but also napoleons, sharks and turtles.
      We went to Manta Point, alas, the manta rays have stood us up, they were not at the appointment 🙁
      No problem, I did not come to North Raja Ampat for the mantas, I had already seen more than I expected last year in Misool and Mozambique.
      In Misool, however, the coral is much richer, more varied and more colorful than in Kri, for snorkeling there is no photo, Misool is much more interesting.
      Here are my impressions, indeed, El Nido and Palau are very nice, nevertheless, you who already know Raja Ampat, I think that these 2 places will not bring you anything more in term of discovery (except maybe the jellyfish lake in Palau) but this is only my personal opinion.
      If you want to be surprised, amazed, to see something different, maybe go to the Pacific (the Great Barrier Reef, the Cook Islands,...) or dive in colder waters to discover new biotopes.


    3. @Eric B : top !!! Thank you for this detailed report... Yes, the stilts of the Kri Eco Resort are inevitably less comfortable than the super bungalows of the Sorido Bay Resort, as for the Misool resort, maybe I will be able to afford it one day... We'll see!

      For my part, I place in my top sites in North Raja Ampat, the famous Passage, like you, really unique, but also Sardines (it's simple, there is EVERYTHING!!!), Blue Magic (really magical), Otdima (it's a blast), Sorido Wall and Cross Over ...

      The jellyfish lake, I already discovered one (by snorkeling), in 2009, on the island of Kakaban, in the archipelago of Derawan, near Borneo, on the Indonesian side:

      I believe, as you suggest, that I will have to go further and further to the East and the Pacific... And maybe, one day, I will learn how to wear a dry suit, to discover other environments, in cold waters (I am so cold)...

  9. Hello,

    Interesting blog. For my part, I discovered the rajah empat in 2001, there was an operator: Max Hammer.Sensations of total discovery at the time, although already widely visited by divers.

    Today (I just came back from there) 48 live aboards (it seems that the government is opposed to the arrival of other providers), 6 land springs and a multitude of homestays.the world goes very fast... Manta point:6 zodiacs hovering over the cleaning station, divers everywhere.but the mantas are still there, huge, black sometimes, impressive.

    Gray sharks on Max point, wobegongs (carpet sharks) on every dive, pretty dog tuna, turtles etc.

    To point out an Indonesian resort at flexible and reasonable rates: rajah ampat dive resort.Little equipment yet, but in perfect condition, beautiful bungalows immersed in the jungle (without clear cut, except for the frames, local wood), very competent staff, good food (provided you let loose the French gastronomic references!) and very much invested in the protection of the local ecosystem. To encourage it seems to me.

    Possibility to see dugongs graze in front of the bungalows, and crocodile site marine less than two kilometers, to make chills, but do not snorkeller, it is not folklore!

    A place to discover, hoping that a quota is established to not disturb wildlife.


    1. @Atolldiver: Yes, Max Ammer is the pioneer of diving in Raja Ampat. I met him, during this stay at Sorido Bay Resort, in March 2012 :

      It is rather reassuring that you found the underwater profusion comparable to your first stay in 2001... I, who discovered Raja Ampat only in 2012, find the place really incomparable, in terms of richness and biodiversity.

      I thought that the organizers of the dives were careful not to go on the site of mantas the same days ... Six zodiacs! It's a bit scary, anyway.

      Video of the famous manta rays at the end of this link:

      Video of wobbegongs here:

      All posts on my stay in March 2012:

      I liked it so much, that I went back in July 2012 (I haven't published many articles yet, the rest is coming) :

      It's true that everything evolves very quickly over there... The Indonesian Raja Ampat Dive Resort you are talking about is brand new. It didn't exist until a few months ago, or it had just opened, right? I see that they finally put some information on their website:

      Interesting, in any case. I take note of your comments, which are quite positive. I hope they will succeed in maintaining this way of doing things in the long term.

      So, with this one in addition, I count too, to date, 6 diving resorts in the northern part of Raja Ampat:
      - Kri Eco Resort (Papua Diving)
      - Sorido Bay Resort (Papua Diving)
      - Raja Ampat Lodge (Grand Komodo)
      - Raja 4 Miscellaneous
      - Papua Paradise
      - Raja Ampat Dive Resort

      Thank you for all this fresh news !!!

  10. Hello,

    It seems that the local springs are trying to enforce certain things, like anchoring away from the reefs, a limit number of zodiacs on Manta point. The problem comes from the live aboards, no ambiguity: the 6 zodiacs on site, exactly above the station (which is a risk for both mantas and divers) were annexes to 3 large boats in a non-law crosiere.

    Local providers are excellent observers and mediators with the government to try to make a positive change.

    With the airport in project on wageo, ultra modern port, I do not think that the place is henceforth qualifiable off the beaten track.
    No matter, the wildlife is beautiful.

    A very alarming thing to talk about, the opportunity: last target of Chinese in Indonesia, after decimating the pelagic sharks: mantas gills.

    Videos and testimonials speak of flora marches strewn with corpses of skinned mantas, project aware of padi and other organizations sound the alarm bells.

    Raja Ampat should therefore be kept safe from this practice, it is to be hoped that local people, especially those of airborek and mansuar, the villages near the site, derive more benefit from the mantas' observations than from their own. massacre. So let's visit raja ampat, and encourage the locals to have them work either by Indonesian homestays, or by buying local handicrafts.

    The new Eldorados that we will hear about very soon, as soon as a resort will have grown there: Triton bay and Nabire for the feeding of whale sharks, having been the subject of reports of very large programs making believe in "migrations" of these fish, but they are here all year long, fed by the locals!

    Travel in March with fresh news!

    1. @AtollDiver: Yes, I too have seen these videos, photos, testimonies on this new traffic with the gills of manta rays... Appalling.

      I want to hope that Raja Ampat will not be affected by this practice. I also hope that the tourism development, which will increase there, will be as respectful as possible of the environment. But the worst is to be feared with this airport project, I am afraid...

      And then, knowing the general corruption and the sometimes short sight of the authorities in Indonesia, I must admit that I am not very optimistic.

      As for Triton Bay and Cendarawish Bay (Nabire), yes, they are also on my "to-do-list", I admit... 😉

  11. The amount of tourists is not necessarily problematic, plus the way sites are managed.
    Let's take the example of Egypt: of course, the coastal reefs have suffered from real estate anarchy, but the moorings on the offshore reefs and the fine system in case of coral breakage and zero interaction of HEPCA allows to protect very frequent sites, and to observe with a surprising regularity tursiops dolphins, for example.

    Each site is to be considered on a case-by-case basis. In Rajah Ampat, the danger is related to the appendices of the live aboard navigating thoroughly the propellers, and loudly, above the cleaning station. It would be enough for two permanent moorings for the Zodiacs moor, limiting the site to a maximum number of boats per day and we would allow future divers the opportunity to see these beautiful fish.

    Let's hope that things evolve positively, Indonesians working dive know how to question themselves and take advice.

    1. @Atolldiver: Very true. I hope, like you, that things will evolve in the right direction also on the Raja Ampat side.

  12. Hello Corinne, hello everyone,

    First of all, thank you all for the feedbacks on these islands of raja ampat which seem really magnificent.

    I am looking for information on these islands because we are thinking of going there with my girlfriend in July to do some diving.

    Like many people, we are looking to find a place to stay at a reasonable price (even if the comfort is a bit "typical").

    My questions are:

    Do you know if it is possible to stay in a local guesthouse or in a local house, while diving with the resorts (where the prices are unaffordable for us)?

    - How are trips on the islands like those on which you were?
    Specifically, on an island like Kri, would it be possible to stay in one place and easily reach the dive center in another place?

    Thank you in advance for your answers, it is true that information on Raja Ampat is not easy to find!


  13. Thank you very much for the quick response, (and sorry I actually hadn't seen your response on the other article).

    But what I still don't understand, (excuse me once again for pestering you with questions like many [too many?!] people) why it is not possible to stay in a "rustic" homestay with more modest prices and to dive with a resort for divers?

    (Promise, when I get back from raja Ampat, I'll also start a blog to take some of the load off your shoulders with the answers you have to do on raja ampat... 😉


    1. @Yohann: No, no worries about the questions... 😉

      It may be possible, but I doubt it. So write to the different diving resorts I gave the links to and ask them if you can stay elsewhere in homestay and still dive with them. If you want to know for sure, the best thing to do is to ask them directly, right? Only they will be able to answer you (I'm not a resort manager, eh 😉 ). After all, it costs nothing to try. They might at least be able to recommend some homestays or give you some contacts.

      I think the concern for them right now is both legal and financial, as far as I know.

      One thing is sure: these resorts pay very high taxes to the local authorities, to have the right to operate a commercial diving activity (and let's forget about the worries related to corruption, widespread everywhere in the Indonesian administration).

      Do they have the right to take people diving who are not already their clients for accommodation? I don't know, I haven't looked into it...

      Another thing is sure: the homestays, on their side, do not pay any tax to propose a diving activity, so they do not have the right (in principle) to have a compressor nor to take people diving with tanks.

      After, we are in Indonesia... We can sometimes arrange...

      If I believe a report written by a girl who discovered Raja Ampat in "backpacker" mode and that I had read in the Thorn Tree forum of Lonely Planet (forum unfortunately closed and inaccessible from now on), a local guy who had a homestay wanted to offer bottle diving to tourists. Apparently, it was dangerous, and we almost had a catastrophe: this guy had almost no experience in diving nor any certification to supervise people underwater. He didn't continue.

      So, for the time being, as far as I can tell, it seems logical, economically, that the diving resorts reserve their blocks, their compressors, their boats and their diesel, first of all to the customers staying with them. Besides, it would be very complicated, I think, to make detours to pick up people scattered in homestays. It would mean a lot of extra travel time and fuel...

      We don't realize it from here, but the islands that look close on the map are not really close. For example, to go from Kri or Mansuar Island to Arborek, where there is the manta site, it is quite a long trip (about 1h-1h30 as far as I remember, maybe more). If there is wind and waves, as it is often the case in July, the duration of all the trips can be doubled... Another example, from Kri/Mansuar, to go diving at the "Passage", which is on the side of Gam, it is an outing that we do rather during the day with extra diesel. In the same way, the trip between Sorong and Pulau Pef where Raja4Divers is located can take up to 5 hours in rough seas, or even more if the boat's engine breaks down...

      In short, this region is really apart from the rest of Indonesia. We are in Papua. There are certainly taxes and local regulations on tourist infrastructures, but there is especially the isolation of the archipelago which forces to transport everything from far away and which makes everything more expensive, there is also the weak tourist development which makes that there is little competition for the moment, and then the low level of infrastructures, education, etc. However, this should change soon, an airport should be built on the island of Waigeo, making the access to the archipelago easier...

      Thus, to get around, there are not really regular boat connections between the islands to my knowledge, except for the 2 pm Sorong-Wasai "ferry". Otherwise, you have to "charter" the (slow) boats of the locals, which leave when they are full...

      So to move from one island to another, or to organize a stay there in "backpacker" mode, I think that the best thing is to have some time to spare, to speak a little Indonesian, and to arrange with a local guy the rental of a boat, negotiating well for the diesel. In short. You have to be resourceful and patient. A "real" backpacking, for sure. 😛

      Having personally opted for comfort and ease (cruise, resort), things that have a hell of a cost in Raja Ampat, it is difficult for me to really give experience or practical advice for backpacking and tight budgets.

      As far as I know the rates for small budgets: at the moment (2012-early 2013), a night in a homestay (often a simple hut with a mattress on the floor, and a collective mandi outside) costs about 300-500,000 RP. With three meals a day, you need to add at least 100,000 RP. A local guide for a day should be around 300-500,000 RP too. I don't know about boat rental, it depends on the type of boat. As for the price of a liter of diesel there, it is better to make a date once you are there...

      Go back and look at the links I put at the end in the other message I left for Pit, which I mentioned above (I'm putting the link back up):

      In particular this page, from the excellent East Indonesia site, by Laszlo Wagner, full of relevant suggestions, in my humble opinion:
      Prends le temps de parcourir les onglets du menu sur le côté, qui donnent beaucoup de détails pour chaque île, avec pas mal de suggestions pour l’hébergement (Waigeo, Gam, Mansuar & Kri, etc.).

      You should also try to contact the Waivo Dive Resort, near Waisai, on Waigeo, which is more "mid-range" and run by Indonesians. It is by far the cheapest of all (this is also what Laszlo Wagner of the East Indonesia site I mentioned above says). Another guy who dived with them says good things about it, here :
      Their website is in Indonesian, and not always easy to display, but they are on Facebook:
      They might even be able to arrange or recommend a homestay, who knows?


  14. Ok, super nice of you to take the time to answer a 2nd time!

    Thanks again!

    I'll keep you posted on my "backpacking experience" if you want!

    Good bubbles,


    1. @Yohann: Hey, hey ... Like that, the next ones who ask me about Raja Ampat, I send them back on this answer !!!

      I would be delighted if you come back to tell your experience back!

  15. Hello Corinne

    you indicate, from the beginning of your report, that Raja Amat is located in "Indonesian Papua". This is a bias, that of the Indonesian nationalists who consider that West Papua belongs to them. But this is not the opinion of many Papuans who refuse to recognize their country as a province of Indonesia. In reality, the Indonesian army invaded West Papua at the end of 1962 and has held on to it by force ever since. A bogus referendum was held by the Indonesian military in 1969, in which they declared that Papuans had chosen integration with Indonesia. During fifty years of Indonesian military occupation, it is estimated that several hundred thousand people have died as a result of military repression.
    Are you a journalist? Try investigating the real life of Papuans in their own country, who risk arrest if they talk to foreigners and who are systematically tortured, sometimes to death, if they openly express their political ideas.

    1. @Sabar Paijo : yes, you are quite right, it is an "educational" simplification on my part, for the French tourists who will read these pages on diving in Raja Ampat, so that they know that, for the traveler who enters Indonesian territory, this part of Papua is considered as part of Indonesia...

      My purpose, on this blog dedicated to diving, you will have understood, is not to conduct a geopolitical investigation on the Indonesian colonization in Papua... But thank you very much for your comment, so that we, as tourists, do not forget the sad situation in Papua Barat (or West Papua).

    2. Hello Corinne,

      That's right, it's West Papua and not Indonesia, even though the latter has been occupying Papua militarily and carrying out genocide for half a century. By the way, Papuans are not related to the Aborigines of Australia either, as you wrote in another post.

      I understood that your blog was dedicated to diving and not to geopolitics. As for me, who is a diver and who also had the chance to dive in Raja Ampat a few years ago, it is not about "geopolitics" of your blog. It is not me who takes the side of the Indonesian propaganda, but you, involuntarily.

      To conclude, it is a great thing to discover the underwater treasures of Raja Ampat, but it should not be used to condone - unwittingly of course - the crimes of Indonesia in West Papua. So stop talking about this country so lightly. Papuans are dying every day under torture and bullets trying to make their voices heard. We have the freedom to speak out and the duty to do so for them.

    3. @Sabar Paijo: that things are very clear, I totally subscribe to your point of view and I do not endorse the policy or propaganda of Indonesia at all, contrary to what you suggest ...

      It was simply a matter of explaining that I was not in Papua New Guinea, but in this region of Papua known as "Indonesian" (because it was annexed by Indonesia, we agree). I had to explain many times around me, to friends who knew I had left there and didn't know anything about this part of the world, why the island was cut in two.

      I did not write either that the Papuans were "related" to the Aborigines of Australia. I simply noticed, on my arrival, just by the physical appearance of the people, that we were no longer in Asia, but already in another region of the world, closer to Oceania, and that I found that some people looked a bit like the Aborigines of Australia...

      Finally, your remarks make me think that I should, for each visited country, propose, in addition to my usual voluntarily "light" posts, dedicated to vacations and scuba diving, a brief reminder of the political and historical situation, because most of the countries I visit when I dive in Asia are far from being exemplary in terms of respect of Human Rights and individual liberties. There would be so much to say and to denounce... But this blog is probably not the most appropriate place to do it.

      Thank you again for taking the time to remind us here of the reality of the situation in West Papua.

    4. I don't doubt your good intentions and I recognize that the debate I'm launching is relatively off-topic compared to the spirit of this blog. I recognize that my insistence may lead one to believe that I am trying to polemicize. This is not my intention but... the political and human situation in West Papua deserves a special mention compared to "other Asian countries" like Malaysia or Thailand or the Philippines which are also mentioned on this blog or in the comments.

      Papua has been militarily occupied for 50 years and one can speak of genocide. Nevertheless, Indonesia wants to develop tourism in Raja Ampat, not because it wants to get Papua out of the blackout it has condemned it to, but to bring foreign currency into the (occupying) country. So it is not a harmless act to praise the merits of the diving sites in Raja Ampat, even if it is perfectly justified from the diver's point of view (which I am too), because it is exactly the kind of postcards that Indonesia wants to let filter from West Papua and nothing else.

      You say you did not have time to visit Sorong : I understand completely. In Sorong, there was a peaceful demonstration two and a half months ago, where Papuans were silently commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the Indonesian invasion: the police and the army shot at the silent demonstrators with live ammunition without warning, killing four people and injuring many others. Such assassinations take place every day in West Papua, but the divers of Raja Ampat, in their bubble, surrounded by Indonesian guides (rarely Papuans, have you noticed?) at the service of European bosses will never hear about it.

  16. @Sabar Paijo: I understand your insistence and I have no problem with it, on the contrary. I repeat, I thank you for having taken the time to recall, here, the situation of West Papua, its history and its current events, which we hear very little about in France.

    This blog is indeed for me a breath of fresh air during the vacations, a bubble of freedom and lightness, compared to my daily work at the newspaper on current issues not always rosy...

    You are right to wake up our consciences of carefree tourists, regarding diving in Raja Ampat. And I think that I'm going to dig deeper into the idea that I mentioned above: to take the time to do a few clarifications on the situation of the regions and countries that I visit. I will start with Papua...

    Finally, it is only on a cruise in Raja Ampat that I had Indonesian guides. My guides there, at the resort I was at, were all Papuans. Amazing guides!!! 🙂

  17. Hello Corinne,
    I really like your blog and congratulate you for the information and photos that we can find there.
    I must admit that I looked into several trips before going myself.

    I live in Bali and am a diving instructor, I would like to have your opinion on the risk of mosquitoes and malaria. We have never taken any treatment to visit Asia but I was wondering if there was more risk for raja ampat than on the islands of Malaysia or Thailand, other...
    I have to go with my family with 2 children of 8 years old in february in Mansuar or kri guesthouse and I don't know what decision to take (medication or not). I hope to collect as many opinions as possible from people who have already been there. If you have a few minutes to tell me what impressions it gave you or other... website .... thank you Delphine

    1. @Delphine: Thank you for the congratulations! Very touched 🙂

      As for the rest, I am not a doctor, and I would be hard pressed to give a relevant opinion. For my part, I made the choice not to take anti-malaria drugs in Raja Ampat, but it is a personal decision and not a recommendation.

      There is malaria in the area, the locals are affected in West Papua, including in the archipelago of Raja Ampat, I was told. Even if, being by the sea, we are probably less exposed to mosquitoes.... I have not been bitten much in Kri, I took the necessary precautions with a good repellent. But as those who have had the misfortune to catch malaria while traveling often remind us on this subject, in forums and on the internet, it only takes one bite from a parasitized mosquito to be infected...

      Afterwards, everyone is responsible for his choices, with regard to his health. Wisdom would advise to do what you want for yourself, but not to impose this kind of risk to your children...

      Finally, for my impressions on the archipelago, all my posts on my two trips to Raja Ampat are at the end of these links :
      - July 2012 :
      - March 2012:

      Good preparations!

  18. WoW this looks amazing!!!
    I think I'll give it a try...
    Did you have the opportunity to talk with the Dutch people who were there for the snorkeling? My children and their father do not dive (unlike me :p). Did you have the opportunity to practice snorkeling yourself on Kri? To make sure they also get a good view from their mask and snorkel... 🙂

  19. Hello Corinne,
    I feed on your blog to prepare my world tour! I'm leaving in 2 months and will have a little tour by Raja Ampat.
    I would like to take advantage of this opportunity to get my diving license, I was considering the Kri Eco Resort but I clearly cannot afford to stay there. Are the distances long on the island? I was thinking that I could sleep at Lumba Guesthouse and just do the Open Water course at Kri.
    If you have a few moments to help me...thank you in advance for all your advice.

    1. @Agathe: Hello, it seems to me that the homestay you are thinking about should not be too far from the Kri Eco Resort via the beach, but I have never been there, so I don't know... But I would be very surprised if the Kri Eco would accept to use one of their instructors and their equipment for people from outside the resort who are not their clients staying with them. It is a resort, not an ordinary diving center nor an association club... But you never know, the best thing to do is to write to them and ask if it is possible, you might be able to find an arrangement.

      The best thing would be to get your Open Water or N1 certification before leaving, and then to settle down during your stay on the island of Arborek: there is a small diving center on the spot which has a very good reputation (but which does not offer training to my knowledge) and which works with the homestays of the island for accommodation.

      I summarize all this on the page below:
      → Raja Ampat: practical information to organize your trip

      Good preparations!