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, Papua, Indonesia. I lived there like a princess, a short week.

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

Sorido Bay

Bungalow facing the sea. White sand and deserted beach. Intense light, filtered by the palms of coconut palms 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)

Opposite, a sandbar, which appears and disappears with the tides. Sometimes a boat docked there and disembarked its passengers, tourists or fishermen. We think we see people walking on the water.

In the axis of the sandbank, there is an island flanked by a hut in the local fashion, made of braided coconut leaves, which serves as shelter. On the horizon, a mountainous line, often hemmed in with clouds, which swell with rain throughout the day.

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

No noise. Just the gentle surf of the sea, the murmur of the trees agitated by the sea breeze, the sizzling of the 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'm not going back to Sorong with the other divers. I'm not flying back the next day like them, no! I'm staying at Raja Ampat!

I made all the arrangements before I left. Five-six days on a boat seemed like a very short time for an exceptional destination like Raja Ampat... Even if I have to go so far, even if I have 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 reorganize my bardas (clothes, photo equipment, splash bag), before saying goodbye to Miyo, my great diving buddy, whom I'm still a little sad to leave. Then I hastened to distribute many hugs to the Americans forming the rest of the group of divers.

I'm light-hearted, smiling up to my ears. I'm so, so happy to be able to stay a little longer in this incredible archipelago!

I'm boarding the dinghy where the staff has already dropped off my bags. Cedric, our cruise-leader, is launching the engines. I happily wave my hand towards the others, who stay 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 booked at Papua Diving, at 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 the island of Kri, with the Sorido Bay Resort and its incredible blue hole in the coral in the foreground, and on the right, the Kri Eco Resort. Raja Ampat, Papua Barat, Indonesia. (Photo: Papua Diving)

Yes. I've been "upgraded" gracefully, because both resorts have the same owner. A Dutchman by the name of Max Ammer, "pioneer" of diving in Raja Ampat. A character, an adventurer, an incredible storyteller, settled there for twenty years, and I had the pleasure of meeting during my stay.

I learned the good news about the resort change on the Black Manta, by Cédric. Papua Diving sent a message on his mobile phone, to warn me. At first, I think that Cédric makes a joke, that he jokes. But no.

He makes me read the message: I'm really going to stay at the Sorido Bay Resort! Classy. I can't believe how lucky I am. It's a princess resort. The kind of resort I never thought I'd set foot in. The kind of resort that wasn't in my budget, even when I was pumped to the max with my big money-breaker.

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, anyway. I feel like a princess when I set foot on the Sorido Bay Resort pontoon. And I am greeted like a princess by the adorable Jimmy and Julia, the managers, a couple of thirty year olds, themselves divers, who tell me another very good news: I am the only client, that week, to dive!

Apart from my little one, there is only one family of Dutch expats, who only snorkel (fins-mask-snorkel). So I will have a guide for me alone under the water and it is I who will decide the program of the day ...

I love it!!! 😄

I'm a princess, really. Besides, it's not the first time. Already last summer in Komodo, I was more than glazed over, with a cruise ship all to myself:
Read → My princess boat

New friends

Jimmy is Belgian by origin and speaks very good French. Julia is German and understands it as well. The time of my stay, our conversations will be half in English, half French. They have been managers for other luxury resorts around the world, including the Maldives and Seychelles. Indonesian Papua is a new experience for them, a new challenge.

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

As there aren't many people that week, they regularly come diving 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 his eye on everything!

Natan, my great Papuan guide, at Sorido Bay Resort on Kri Island. 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 voluptuousness... Every morning, I rave 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 on 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, the extent of the immense reef protecting the island is better measured. I contemplate, fascinated, the coral outcropping, 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 dock of Sorido Bay Resort. Raja Ampat, Papua Barat, Indonesia. March 2012.
The view of Kri Island, from the dock of Sorido Bay Resort. (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 give myself a moment of rest in my hammock, on the terrace of my bungalow, facing the sea, while the light decreases. I then join 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 you can sit and read or chat. I show the Dutch my photos of the day before dinner, taken together at the big table of the restaurant ... We sympathize.

It rained every day, I think. But most often at the end of the day. And I love the cool tropical raindrops drumming on the leafy roofs of the resort. I gradually get used to the weird chuckles and squeaks that come out of the foliage of the trees and the jungle around us.

Sometimes a monitor of fairly good size comes rode near the bungalows. One night, Jimmy, with a flashlight, managed to show me a couscous, those funny fur and long-tailed animals of the marsupial family that live in the trees.

I was only on Kri Island for a short week. But these few days of relaxation and diving, in the middle of a still virgin, preserved nature, left me a dazzling memory. I have only 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 resort staff is lovely ... it was really an amazing week, in every way.

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

      You can travel "roots" and stay in local "guesthouses" braided sheets for a small fee, and it is better to have time in front of you for travel and transport then, within the archipelago (I found on the forum Lonely Planet the story of a girl who did that) ... To improvise on the spot a little as and when.

      But when you want to dive, and be able to do it in good conditions, it is necessarily resorts to divers or cruising-diving, and there, it is very very expensive ... (I hallucinated by discovering the prices practiced, during my first research.)

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

      To get there, you have to join Sorong. The flights I know that serve Sorong take off from Manado (North Sulawesi) or Makassar (also called Ujung Pandang, South Sulawesi). It is necessary to join one or the other city, from Denpasar (Bali) or Jakarta or Singapore, or another Asian hub. The stops depend on where you arrive ...

      I do not recommend investigating all these planes at once. Better to have a break either in Sulawesi or Bali. In duration, it is therefore the journey from Europe to an Asian hub (13h approx) + a flight of a few hours to Manado or Makassar + a flight of a few hours to Sorong (do not ask me exact times since each city). Then, 2h to 4h of boat according to the island where you want to go ...

      It deserves, Raja Ampat ...

    2. Hello Julien, the shortest and the cheapest of 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 always to Bunaken (there make a stop of several days to recover from the jet lag and enjoy beautiful islands) then new internal flight to Sorong (4 to 6 hours ). For my part I went from Jakarta, night flight with Batavia Air, nickel.

    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!)

  1. Raja Ampat? It was said that it was not even imaginable. You will have to go back, if only to see the Wayag (see our website) located north. But for the dives, the Strait of Dampierre (where is Kri and Mansuar where we had stayed) remains in our opinion the top (Chicken Reef, Mike's Point, Mioskon, Sardine Reef, Blue Magic, Manta Point .... and other dives that you know). Why is it so far? sniff

    1. @IsaM: yes, the same for me, I did not imagine to succeed to go, and yet, I did it. And I'll manage to go back, so it was amazing. But you who went 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 in Kri Island, after the diving cruise, because it is the best location, in the heart of the best spots, indeed ... Ah ... (sigh).


    2. All you have to do is go to Alor and join Sorong by the sea: the Maumere-Sorong cruise. The craziest ride ... the most beautiful dives (well almost) in the Banda Sea .... mandarins in broad daylight in Banda .... and arrival on Sorong through all the sites of the Strait of Dampierre. But also ... the most expensive! I want to do it again ... (your tearful)

    3. @IsaM: well, you don't think so, because Alor is on the agenda for my next Indonesian getaway... 😉
      But I will not have the opportunity to travel to Sorong by the sea as you had the chance to do ... I read your posts on it. What a fantastic journey !!!

  2. How lucky to have been "upgraded" The Bungalow looks very comfortable, your photos of the island are beautiful! And I have the impression that you had a magical stay!

    1. @Xtinette: not easy to rally, since Flores ... It would have taken you a lot of time besides and lengthen the budget too ... But I highly recommend Raja Ampat. It's really worth the effort!!!

  3. I had dive at night in the "hole" just below the dock of Sorido Bay to see the Mandarin fish in full reproduction! Excellent! I also loved the Kri eco resort with my room all braided mats on stilts above the "lagoon" ... Max Ammer is really a great Sir! Very nice and more ;-). His life could make a very good adventure novel!

    1. @Julien: yes, I have to devote a post to Max Ammer. We could do several novels of his life, that's for sure ...

  4. Alor ... 72 hours to get there (from Paris), but what happiness on arrival. If you want some tips, contact me by mail ... and I will still cry with envy 8)

  5. Hello,

    Very pretty site with very nice articles

    I am planning to do the same type of trip diving 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 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.

      The trip, I already described it to Julian a little higher, it was also related to the fact that I had a ticket Air Asia X (flights which are not done any more since Paris) which made me pass by Kuala Lumpur:
      Paris - Kuala Lumpur - Bali (Denpasar) - Makassar (Ujung Pandang) - Sorong

      To find a cruise, you can visit this site, which compares a lot of boats: the guy who has that, Jez Tryner, plays the intermediaries and stalls everything. I enjoyed the exchanges, it often relays specials when there is (I had for my part benefited from Nitrox and free flights Makassar - Sorong):

      There are other resorts than the ones I am talking about, Raja Ampat. You'll find easily by making a move Google ... As I said above, I will try to make a post "practice" and a list, soon, things that I had spotted during my research on Raja Ampat.

  6. Hello Corinne,

    and as you have the impression to follow the bubbles of Isa, we follow a little yours!

    after Komodo that we did a few months after you (with a certain Miyo on the boat, here you go 🙄 ) we're 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 lots 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, is a stewardess on Thai Airways and does indeed have pink slippers in her flippers. That's her for sure... 😀

  7. Hello Corinne,

    Last year I had made 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 can not wait to be there. I love Raja Ampat, it is a synthesis of El Nido in the Philippines and Palau but a notch above, the pleasure of the eyes is total, both underwater and outside.
    Good summer.


    1. @Eric: here you go, a connoisseur! 😉 I don't know Palau or El Nido yet (on the "to-do-list"), but I find Raja Ampat "a step above" anything I know. I love it too, I only dream of going back there...

      By the way, I went back to Sorido Bay Resort this July. (Posts to come.) When you get there in September, Julia and Jimmy, the current resort managers, will still be there (they have to leave in December, I think). Home adorable, I really sympathized with them, which adds to the pleasure of diving in a place like this! I think the Dampier Strait sites 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's sublime!
      As for the resort itself we do not hit the same category, Misool is 5 stars, Western comfort 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's really not a problem.
      There is no particular interest to stay in bungalows on stilts to tell the truth, some will say that it is the ultimate fantasy, yeah bof, the night when the sea is agitated you finally regret not to stay on the land!
      I briefly saw those Julia and Jimmy you mention, once in Sorido when I went there and another time when they briefly went to 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.
      Regarding dive sites it is worth it with Misool, I even have the impression to have seen more things in Kri, which is not surprising finally at the rate of 4 dives daily (3 day and one night) ) for 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.
      The Passage because it's a very rich place, with lots of macro, I saw more nudibranchs than elsewhere, pygmy seahorses too, we even saw the famous wobeggong, and especially this site offers with a visibility excellent, it was at least the case when we pass it is the case to say!
      Sleeping Barracuda because I saw some very big ones, barracudas benches but also napoleons, sharks and turtles.
      We went to Manta Point, alas, the manta rays stood us up, they were not there 🙁
      No big deal, I did not come to Raja Ampat North for the mantas, I had already seen well beyond my expectations last year in Misool and Mozambique.
      In Misool however, the coral is much more supplied, varied and colorful than in Kri, for the snorkeling there is no picture, Misool is much more interesting.
      Here are my impressions, indeed, El Nido and Palau are very pretty, nevertheless, you already know Raja Ampat, I think these two places will bring you nothing more in terms of discovery (except maybe the lake jellyfish in Palau) but this is only my personal opinion.
      If you want to be surprised, astonished, to see something different, maybe to point you towards the Pacific (the Great Barrier Reef, the Cook Islands, ...) or dive into colder water to discover new biotopes.


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

      For my part, I place in my top sites in Raja Ampat north, the famous Passage, like you, really unique, but also Sardines (it's very simple, there is ALL !!!), Blue Magic (really magic ), Otdima (it's crazy), Sorido Wall and Cross Over ...

      The lake with jellyfish, I already discovered one (in 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 ever further to the East and the Pacific ... And maybe, one day, train myself in the drysuit, to discover other environments, in cold waters (me who is so cold) ...

  8. 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 return) 48 live aboards (it seems that the government opposes the arrival of other providers), 6 land and a multitude of homestays.The world is going very fast ... Manta point: 6 zodiacs hovering at above 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 Raja Ampat diving. I met him during this stay at Sorido Bay Resort in March 2012:

      It's rather reassuring that you found the underwater profusion comparable to your first stay in 2001 ... I, who did not discover Raja Ampat until 2012, I find the place really incomparable, in terms of wealth 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 loved it so much, that I returned in July 2012 (I have not published many articles yet, the rest happens):

      It is true that everything evolves very quickly, there ... The Indonesian Raja Ampat Dive Resort you are talking about is brand new. It did not exist a few months ago, or had just opened, right? I see that they finally put information on their site:

      Interesting, anyway. I take note of your comments, rather positive. I hope they will succeed in maintaining this way of doing things over time.

      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 !!!

  9. 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 soon hear about, that a resort will have pushed: Triton bay and Nabire for whale shark feeding, having been the subject of reports of very large emissions making believe in "migrations" of these fish, but they are the whole year, fed by the locals! ..

    Travel in March with fresh news!

    1. @AtollDiver: Yes, I also saw 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 tourism development, which will grow there, will be as environmentally friendly as possible. But the worst is to fear with this airport project, I'm 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 on my "to-do-list" too, I admit... 😉

  10. The amount of tourists is not necessarily problematic, plus the way sites are managed.
    Let's take Egypt as an example: coastal reefs have suffered from real estate anarchy, but anchorages on offshore reefs and a fine system in case of coral breakage and zero HEPCA interaction can protect sites. very frequent, and observe with 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 just. I hope, like you, things will move in the right direction also on the side of Raja Ampat.

  11. Hello Corinne, hello everyone,

    First of all thank you all for the feedback on these islands of Raja Ampat that seem really beautiful.

    I am looking for information on these islands because we think to go there with my girlfriend next July to go diving.

    Like many, we try to find accommodation with a reasonable price (and even if the comfort must be for this a little "typical".)

    My questions are:

    Do you know if it is possible to stay at homestay or in local guesthouses, while going diving with the resorts (where the prices of accommodation 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 the information on Raja Ampat is not easy to find!


  12. Thanks a lot for the quick reply, (and sorry I did not see your answer on the other article).

    But what I still do not understand, (excuse me once again to burden you with questions like [many ?!] many people), why is it not possible to stay in a "rustic" homestay at a higher price? modest and 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 believe that right now, the concern for them is both legal and financial, as far as I know.

      One thing is certain: these resorts pay very high taxes to the local authorities, to have the right to carry out a commercial activity of diving (and pass on the worries related to the corruption, spread everywhere in the Indonesian administration).

      Do they have the right to take dive people who are not otherwise already their clients for accommodation? I do not know, I did not look at the question ...

      Another thing is certain: the homestays, for their part, do not pay a fee to offer a diving activity, so do not have the right (in principle) to have a compressor or take people dive in the bottle .

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

      If I believe a report written by a girl who had discovered Raja Ampat backpacker mode and I read in the forum Thorn Tree Lonely Planet (unfortunately alas now closed and inaccessible forum), a guy from the corner who held a homestay had wanted to offer scuba diving to tourists. Apparently, it was dangerous, it was a disaster: this guy had almost no experience in diving or certification to supervise people underwater. He did not continue.

      So, for the time being, as far as I can tell, it makes sense to me, economically, that the dive resorts reserve their blocks, their compressors, their boats and their diesel fuel, first of all to the customers lodged at home. In addition, it would be very complicated, I think, to make detours to fetch people scattered in homestays. It would involve a lot of travel time and diesel more ...

      You do not realize it from here, but the islands that look close on the map are not really so. For example, to go from Kri or Mansuar Island to Arborek, where there is the mantas site, it's a fairly long drive (about 1h-1h30 as far as I can remember, maybe more). If there is wind and waves as is often the case in July, the duration of all trips can be doubled ... Another example, from Kri / Mansuar, to go diving at "Passage", which is on the side of Gam, it's an outing that is done rather by day with diesel fuel. Similarly, the journey between Sorong and Pulau Pef where Raja4Divers is located can take up to 5 hours in rough sea, or even more if the engine of the boat breaks down ...

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

      So, to circulate, there are not really regular boat connections between the islands to my knowledge, except the "ferry" 14h Sorong-Wasai. Otherwise, it is necessary to "charter" the boats (slow) of the premises, 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 the best thing is to have some time to spare, to speak a little Indonesian, and to arrange with a local guy to rent a boat, negotiating well for the diesel. In short, you have to be resourceful and patient. You have to be resourceful and patient. Real backpacking, for sure. 😛

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

      For what I know of the rates charged for small budgets: at the moment (2012-early 2013), a night in homestay (often a simple hut with mattress on the floor, and collective mandi outside) costs about 300 -500,000 RP. With three meals a day, you must add at least 100,000 RP. A local guide to the day must fetch in the 300-500 000 RP too. Renting a boat, I do not know, everything depends on the type of boat. As for the price of diesel fuel there, it's better to have a date on the spot ...

      Go back to see the links I put at the end in the other message I left to Pit, which I mentioned above (I give the link):

      Notably this page, from the excellent East Indonesia website, by Laszlo Wagner, full of relevant suggestions, IMHO:
      Take the time to browse the menu tabs on the side, which give a lot of details for each island, with lots of suggestions for accommodation (Waigeo, Gam, Mansuar & Kri, etc.).

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


  13. Ok, super nice to have taken the time to answer a 2nd time!

    Thanks again!

    I'll hold you to the juice of 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!

  14. 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 fact, the Indonesian army invaded Western Ppaousie at the end of 1962 and has since been held there by force. A bogus referendum was organized by the Indonesian military in 1969, after which the latter declared that the Papuans had chosen integration to Indonesia. For fifty years of Indonesian military occupation, it is estimated that the military repression has caused several hundreds of thousands of deaths.
    Are you a journalist? Try to investigate the real life of the Papuans in their own country, who may be arrested if they speak to foreigners and who are systematically tortured, sometimes to death, if they openly express their political ideas.

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

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

    2. Hello Corinne,

      that is West Papua, not Indonesia, even though Indonesia is militarily occupying Papua and genocide there for half a century. Incidentally, the Papuans are also not apparent to the Aborigines of Australia, as you write in another post.

      I wrote that your blog was about diving and not about geopolitics. Besides, who is a diver and who also had the chance to dive in Raja Ampat a few years ago, it is not a question of "geopolitizing" your blog. It is not I who favor the Indonesian propaganda, but you, involuntarily.

      To conclude, it is an excellent thing to discover the underwater treasures of Raja Ampat, but it must not be used to endorse - unintentionally admittedly - the crimes of Indonesia in West Papua. So stop talking about this country with lightness. Papuans die every day under torture and bullets trying to make their voices heard. We have the freedom to express ourselves and the duty to do it 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 part of Papua called "Indonesian" (because it was forcibly annexed by Indonesia, we agree). I had to explain many times around me, to friends who knew me away there and knew nothing about this part of the world, why the island was so cut in half.

      Nor did I write that the Papuans were "related" to the Australian Aborigines. I simply noticed when I arrived, just by the physical appearance of the people, that we were no longer in Asia, but already in another part of the world, closer to Oceania, and that I found that some people looked a bit like the Australian Aborigines ...

      Finally, your remarks make me think that I should, for each country visited, propose, in comparison with my usual deliberately "light" posts, dedicated to the holidays 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 for human rights and individual freedoms. There would be a lot, 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 recall here the reality of the situation in West Papua.

    4. I do not doubt your good intentions and I recognize that the debate that I launch is relatively off-topic compared to the spirit of this blog. I admit that insisting may suggest that I seek to polemize. This is not my intention but ... the political and human situation in West Papua deserves a special mention in relation to "other Asian countries" like Malaysia or Thailand or the Philippines which is also mentioned on this blog or in comments.

      Papua has been militarily occupied for 50 years and we can talk about genocide. Indonesia, however, wants to develop tourism to Raja Ampat, not for the sake of taking Papua out of the blackout to which she has condemned it, but to bring in foreign currency into the (occupying) country. It is therefore not an insignificant act to praise the merits of the diving sites at Raja Ampat, even if it is perfectly justified from the point of view of the diver (whom I am too), because it is exactly the kind of postcards that Indonesia wants to filter out of West Papua and nothing else.

      You say you have not had time to visit Sorong: I totally understand. In Sorong, there was a peaceful demonstration two and a half months ago, when Papuans silently commemorated the fiftieth anniversary of the Indonesian invasion: the police and the army fired live bullets at the silent protesters, causing four deaths and many injuries. Murders of this type take place every day in West Papua, but the divers of Raja Ampat, in their bubble, surrounded by Indonesian guides (rarely Papuans, you noticed, and why?) Serving European bosses. will never hear about it.

  15. @Sabar Paijo: I understand your insistence and that does not pose any problem, on the contrary. I repeat, I thank you for taking the time to recall, here, the situation of West Papua, its history and news, which we hear very little about in France.

    This blog is actually for me a breath the time of the holidays, a bubble of freedom and lightness, compared to my daily work in the newspaper on current issues not always pink ...

    You do well to wake our consciences from carefree tourists, compared to the Raja Ampat dive. And I believe that I will widen the idea that I evoked above: take the time to still make some light on the situation of the regions and countries I visit. I will start with Papua ...

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

  16. Hello Corinne,
    I love your blog and congratulate you for the information and photos that can be found.
    I admit to having searched several trips before going there myself.

    I live in Bali and am a diving instructor, I would like to have your opinion on the risk concerning mosquitoes and malaria. We never took any treatment to visit Asia but I wondered if for raja ampat there was more risk than on the islands of malaysia or thailand, other ...
    I must put family with 2 children of 8 years in February in guesthouse of Mansuar or kri. and I do not know what decision to take (drugs or not). I hope to collect a maximun opinion of people already going there. Here ... if you have a few minutes to tell me what impressions it gives you or other .. website .... thank you Delphine

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

      For the rest, I am not a doctor, and I would be hard put to give a relevant opinion. For my part I made the choice not to take antipalu Raja Ampat, but it is a personal decision and in no case a recommendation.

      There is palu in the area, the locals are affected in West Papua, including in the Raja Ampat archipelago, I was told. Even if, being at the seaside, we are probably less exposed to mosquitoes .... I have not been much stung in Kri, I took the necessary precautions with a good repellent, among others. But as is often recalled, on this topic, in the forums and on the internet, those who had the misfortune to catch malaria on a trip, it only takes once, with a single bite inflicted by a parasitic mosquito to to be infected ...

      After, everyone is responsible for their choices, with respect to their health. Wisdom would therefore advise you to do what you want for yourself, but not to impose this kind of risk on children ...

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

      Good preparations!

  17. WoW it looks amazing !!!
    I think I'll try the adventure ...
    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 snorkel yourself on Kri? To make sure they also get a good look at it from their masks and snorkels... 🙂

  18. 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 wish to take the opportunity to pass my diving certificate, I envision the Kri Eco Resort but I clearly can not afford to sleep there. Are the distances long on the island? I thought I could sleep at Lumba Guesthouse and just do Open Water classes 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 of should not be too far from the Kri Eco Resort via the beach, but I've never been there, so I do not know ... But it would surprise me a lot that Kri Eco they agree to mobilize one of their instructors and their equipment for people from outside who are not their clients hosted at home. It's a resort, not an ordinary dive center or an associative club ... But you never know, the best is to write to them to ask if it is possible, you may be able to find an arrangement ..

      It may be best to pass your Open Water or N1 before leaving, then settle in during your stay on the island of Arborek: there is on site a small dive center which has a very good reputation (but who does not do any training to my knowledge) and who works for accommodation with homestays on the island.

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

      Good preparations!