The pontoon of Sorido Bay Resort and its blue hole in the middle of the coral. Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, January 2015.
The pontoon of Sorido Bay Resort.

Raja Ampat, my end of the world

  Indonesia: Raja Ampat - January 2015

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: 

" So ? Tell me! Telling Raja Ampat, not so simple. I feel like I'm coming back from the end of the world. I don't know where to start ...

Back to Papua

Above, the spectacular viewpoint on the islets of Fam, emblematic of the Raja Ampat landscapes... We can see Otto, my super Papuan dive guide, and my buddy Sarah.

Raja Ampat, these are crumbs of karst rock covered with primary forest in the middle of a sea of coral. It is an archipelago of Papua, ruled by Indonesia. It is a nature (still) preserved (but for how long?) Where the National Geographic comes to film sharks and manta rays. It is a paradise of biodiversity for divers avid for underwater wonders.

I am back from it. This is my third trip there!

And I'm still not satisfied ... ????

Island in the archipelago of Fam. Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, January 2015.
Islet in the Fam archipelago. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, January 2015)
The reef is alive with life. Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, January 2015.
The reef is teeming with life. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, January 2015)

Rennes-Sorong: a very long journey…

To reach the island of Kri, in Raja Ampat, I traveled 14,994 km exactly from Rennes, according to the site Tripline with which I drew the route below (click on Show Map). The end of the world.

In January 2015, nearly three years have passed since my very first trip to Raja Ampat. The archipelago is located in West Papua, in the far east of Indonesia. I dream of going back there. That's where I did the most beautiful dives of my life.

I take the plane a few days after the attacks against Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cacher of the Porte de Vincennes in Paris. After the horror, I have in my line of sight two weeks of vacation and carelessness.

This departure makes me feel like a balm after these terrifying events. There is something soothing about contemplating the Earth from above, sliding across time zones at night, leaving one world for another. The iPhone turns into a moment sensor.

It's a long journey, therefore. It starts at Rennes station, with the TGV which takes me directly to Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Paris. Approximately 3 hours journey.

First aerial section: Paris-Jakarta via Dubai on Emirates Airlines. About 14 hours in the air and a short stopover in the middle. Upon arrival, I planned a night's rest near the Jakarta airport before taking off the next day for Papua.

Second air route: Jakarta-Sorong via Makassar on Garuda Airlines. Nearly 6 hours in the air with a somewhat long stopover in the middle.

I arrive in Sorong at daybreak. There are only about fifteen minutes of driving to the pier and an hour and a half of crossing by speedboat to reach my goal: Kri Island.

I am often asked the question of time spent in transport ... For this trip, with a ladle, from Rennes, this represents about 24 hours in all. With stopovers and if you have a night's rest, it takes close to two days in total to reach Raja Ampat from Europe! But it's worth it.

During the crossing between Sorong and Kri, a school of dolphins crosses our path, like a happy omen. When the familiar Kri triangle begins to sharpen on the horizon, I can't take it anymore!

I'm going to find the island I've been dreaming of for so long months. I will see again the pontoon of Sorido Bay Resort and its incredible blue hole in the middle of the coral. And above all, this fabulous, extraordinary, unique profusion of life underwater. Raja Ampat, finally!

Kri Island, Raja Ampat. West Papua, Indonesia, January 2015.
Kri Island, Raja Ampat. (West Papua, Indonesia, January 2015)
The pontoon of Sorido Bay Resort. Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, January 2015.
The pontoon of Sorido Bay Resort. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, January 2015)
The pontoon of Sorido Bay Resort and its blue hole in the middle of the coral. Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, January 2015.
The pontoon of Sorido Bay Resort and its blue hole in the middle of the coral. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, January 2015)

  Above, the island of Kri and the pontoon of Sorido Bay Resort.

The Papua-Diving boat in the archipelago of Fam. Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, January 2015.
The Papua-Diving boat in the Fam archipelago. (Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, January 2015)
Traditional boat. Archipelago of Fam, Raja Ampat. West Papua, Indonesia, January 2015.
Traditional boat. Fam Archipelago, Raja Ampat. (West Papua, Indonesia, January 2015)

A brief historical-political reminder: the western half of the island of New Guinea, formerly colonized by the Dutch, was annexed by Indonesia in the 1960s. The Indonesians behaved like invaders and the army committed massacres. Nowadays, a Papuan separatist movement continues to take action and the Indonesian authorities do not hesitate to brutally repress any demonstration, even peaceful ones. Riots broke out in August 2019 in West Papua, in Manokwari, Sorong and Fakfak, in particular, after the arrest in Java of pro-independence Papuan students, against a background of racist tensions: the Indonesian government then cut the internet in Papua and sent a thousand soldiers as reinforcement ... In 2017, almost twenty years later the Biak massacre (1998), the Indonesian military and police have carried out mass arrests in Nabire and Sentani, whilea petition for West Papua tried to make the voice of Papuans heard on the international scene that same year. I close the parenthesis, but when you travel there as a tourist, you have to be aware that the region is unstable and not quite a "paradise" for everyone...

  Indonesia: Raja Ampat - January 2015

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  1. Whoa!
    Awesome, and all the more motivating as we leave Friday for Paris KL -Makassar-Sorong (the same flight Garuda) -Waisai - Kri - and a dozen days in a guesthouse to dive in the corner!

    Ben & Kayo

  2. Hello,
    It freezes in Normandy and by opening my computer I am transported in the fabulous world of Rajat Ampat, my dream for several years !! Your photos are always beautiful, because it is with fervor that I am in all your travels. Little question ?? (in which case?) when is the best time to go to Raja Ampat? Thank you for all the good times you give us in these difficult days
    Dominica

  3. Hello
    always faithful to your posts ,,,,,,,
    Rajat Ampat remains a destination that I want to discover (and that I will discover), because you gave me the virus, this year it was Rodrigues for us.
    I still keep waiting for your articles, to escape, in blue ... Thank you

  4. We are currently traveling around the world for 10 months with our two children (three and five years old). It is in a noodle shop in Burma, where we are now, that in talking with Spaniards we have learned the existence of this paradise.
    De liens en liens je tombe sur votre blog, c’est décidé en Mai 2015 nous rallierons Raja Ampat!!! Merci de nous avoir convaincu 😉

  5. Cà y est ! J’ai décidé d’y aller ! 🙂
    Mais pourquoi faire, si ce n’est pour y pratiquer de la plongée ? Bah, ce ne sera évidemment pas le cas pour moi. 😥
    Alors, tout simplement pour y faire une pause, après un long voyage que je ferai en Asie…Quand ? Euuhh …2020 ou 2021, je ne travaillerai plus !! 😆
    Pfff! Encore 5 ans à attendre ! 🙁

    1. @Didier: ah, ah !!! Convaincu ? 😉 Rien qu’en snorkeling et en apnée, tu vas halluciner de toute manière. Et puis il y a aussi les îles elles-mêmes, les villages, les excursions dans la jungle, les oiseaux et autres bestioles terrestres, et puis la possibilité de faire du kayak. Pour un amoureux de la nature comme toi, même privé de plongée-bouteille, ce sera forcément top. Patience, patience…

    2. No worries for non divers !!! I went there two years ago, in July, I'm not a diver, and I loved ... ..In snorkelling, I was able to admire manta rays and many other critters, the sound of birds, silence, strange noises, the landscape, the sunsets, the sky, a canoe trip, the idleness that makes sense there, you feel so far from everything ...

  6. Hello
    And thank you! by the times that run a text images like yours are doing a good job!
    Donc merci c’est sympa c’est gratuit et cela fait du bien au moral 🙂

  7. Tiens, tiens, tiens… comme ça tombe bien cette petite fenêtre du matin pleine de belles images… 🙂
    Nous avons justement un vol vers Jakarta avec Emirates en avril et sommes en train de nous demander Raja Ampat ou Sidapan… 🙄
    Comme on embarque notre petit gars de 10 ans avec nous qui ne rêve que d’une chose : être dans un avion pour faire le plus d’heures possible 😀 et plonger à nouveau… Ok, ça fait 2 😉 , c’est vrai que j’hésite toujours pour Sidapan – on en avait déjà parlé et on avait finalement choisi Koh Tao pour notre première immersion en octobre dernier, où nous avons d’ailleurs choppé le virus « bulles » en famille-
    In short, thank you for these beautiful images, thank you for these shared dreams ...

    And if not, with a pitchoun, Raja Ampat or Sidapan (we thought of the seaventure dive resort?)?

    1. @Catherine: Sipadan is easier to rally than Raja Ampat, and less complicated in terms of logistics (accommodation, travel time, etc.) with a small traveler, however fearless (and cheaper too, for a family trip). But Raja Ampat has a taste of adventure, wild paradise, end of the world really exceptional ...

      In Sipadan, I do not know the Seaventure platform, only from the outside. But I had good echoes. That said, with a child, maybe it's better to stay in Mabul itself, on the island, where there is the beach, the village, other children? ... The beach resort of Scuba Junkie can to be a good option.

    2. @ Corinne : merci pour ta réponse. Raja Ampat nous fait effectivement vraiment rêver pour tout un tas de bonnes raisons… reste maintenant à boucler le budget 😉 Pour l’instant on a le vol sec sur Jakarta…
      Go back to me - this is the case to say - on the different sites ...
      Our instructor in Koh Tao, told us about Seaventure and told us a lot of good in terms of dives ...
      bref… je cogite, je cogite… Ce qui fait partie du plaisir du voyage aussi 🙄

  8. no comment .... I like ......
    Like most here, I think everyone here appreciates this post that allows us to escape in the middle of February !!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you !!! We want more !!!

  9. Je n’en reviens pas, Corinne est à son 3ème séjour aux R4 alors que je n’en suis qu’à mon 2éme. Pourtant j’ai commencé à y aller bien avant elle ➡ la vie est vraiment trop injuste 😡
    Our "luxury backpacker" has not usurped her nickname when I compare her cozy night in Jakarta and her resort **** with my nonstop trip and my hut in braided palms on stilts ❗
    Je plussoie que les R4 ne sont pas faciles d’accès, mais c’est justement ce qui a permis jusqu’à présent de les préserver du tourisme de masse. Profitez-en car visiblement avec la rapidité avec laquelle se construisent les resorts et les aéroports, le charme de cette belle province risque d’en pâtir fortement et comme dit un copain « bientôt il y aura des hordes d’anglais abreuvés de bières en train de regarder les matchs de la premier league sur des écrans géants » 😥
    About the political context of West Papua ➡ I AM PAPU !!

    1. @Alimata: hé, hé… Fallait pas commencer par me donner l’idée d’y aller 😈 Pour le reste tu sais bien que ça fait un moment que je me la joue « baroudeuse douillette » et que je ne traîne plus de backpack !!! Faut croire que je suis moins Indiana Jones que princesse au petit pois… 😀
      Joking aside, the difficulty of access is undoubtedly the best protection, for the moment, Raja Ampat. Not sure it lasts a long time.

  10. Comme tout le monde je vais vous remercier de nous faire toujours rêver !! Grâce à vous j’ai plongé à Sipadan qui est, pour l’instant et de loin mon plus beau séjour plongée !! 😉
    In March, I go to the Maldives for a diving cruise and I think Raja
    Ampat sera ma 1ère destination en 2016. va falloir commencer à préparer ce voyage !! 😀

    1. @Loscarinho: yes, Sipadan manages to stay spectacular over the years. Good diving in the Maldives, then. As for Raja Ampat ... I already said a lot of things in the article above !!! 8)

  11. Another wonderful invitation to travel ... After following your "bubbles" to Perhentians and Sipadan, how not to want to enjoy all these tips by admiring these images!

  12. Hello Corinne

    Merci pour ce magnifique post …..j’y étais du 25 Janvier au 8 Février ou j’ai fait une croisière de 12 jours , je ne connaissais mais c’était un rêve de plongeuse et mon rêve c’est réalisé pour avoir bourlinguer dans pas mal de pays pour plonger je doit dire que ce voyage m’a pris aux tripes et a ce jour reste le plus beau voyage plongée de ma vie et aujourd’hui je n’ai qu’une envie c’est d’y retourner ! Qu’importe si c’est loin pour ralier les Raja Ampat ce qui compte c’est d’avoir conscience d’avoir admirer une nature encore intacte 🙂
    I have a question Corinne to dive to Komodo? before returning to Raja Ampat I would like to try a cruise to Komodo! Thank you

    1. @ Gisèle: thank you for that little word. This is exactly my feeling: I too have dipped into a lot of places, but this one is really different, incredibly preserved ... Yes, I've already been diving in Komodo. Exceptional too. See here the articles published during my trip to Flores in July 2011:
      http://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/voyage-flores-bali-indonesie-2011/
      It is magnificent and abundant, like Raja Ampat. But the currents are formidable.

  13. Hello

    Super your accounts makes you want.

    I have three weeks end of April beginning of May holidays. I wonder if it's not too late to go to raja ampat in terms of weather at risk of me stir for dives ... what do you say?

    1. @Nuse: I can not predict the weather !!! So I can only answer you that I do not know at all ... It depends on where you are. If it's close to dive sites, it will not make much difference in case of wind or swell if it is the case of 5-10 minutes of travel. For my part, I already stayed at Raja Ampat in July, where there could be very windy days, it did not prevent me from diving.

  14. We come back from 3 weeks to RajaAmpat ... we stayed at Yenkoranu resort in Pulau Kri ... a treat ... .the seabed is beautiful!

  15. I dreamed with "little bubbles elsewhere" several weeks before leaving for Raja Ampat and here is ...... ..the return was done yesterday, already!
    But the dream of several months has changed in reality ... everything was there ... the landscapes, the diversity, the intense life under water, my first turtles, mantas, ... .the color, the benches of carrangues, of barracudas , ... to unimaginable proportions, the encounter with a swordfish! , and the surprising Ghost Pipe Fish already crossed at Lembeh!
    Home smiling in villages despite the language barrier ...
    It was surprising, magical, majestic ... to live!
    Do not hesitate ......... thanks to "little bubbles elsewhere" for future dreams that will change I hope in reality.

    1. @Nicole: merci de ce petit message enthousiaste ! Ravie d’avoir contribué à transformer le rêve en réalité !!! Il faut reconnaître que Raja Ampat est un endroit à part… Je serais presque jalouse, je n’ai pas réussi à y croiser d’espadon, moi !!! 😀

  16. Hello Corinne,

    First of all thank you for your site which is really great and exotic !!
    Ca donne vraiment envie de faire un tour du monde spécial plongée 🙂

    For Raja Ampat, I wanted to have if with a Padi Open Water we could do lots of dives given our "depth limit"?

    Merci encore 😉
    Have you done dives over 18 meters each time or not?

    1. @Yoann: yes, you can dive to Raja Ampat with only the Open Water. The guides adapt the profile of the dives according to the level of the participants. You will not go far beyond your prerogatives, simply. There are even beginners who spend their Open Water there (damn lucky, they'll have a hard time finding dive sites as well, then).

      For my part, yes, I was doing dives over 18 meters on almost every site, since I have the experience and the level to do it. It is not because you are limited to 18 meters that it forbids you to dive on the sites where you can go deeper. You will stay at the depth that suits you. Most sites in Raja Ampat are suitable for all levels of diving.

    2. Thank you for your answer.

      Je confirme, nous avons passé notre PADI au Mexique…(dur dur de trouver des plongées aussi belles après 🙂 )

      This is good news anyway if there are still dives to do while staying under 18 meters

  17. Hello Corinne,
    apparently I was in Kri at the same time as you, but in homestay (in Yenkoranu). This is my second stay and it was you who convinced me to go there last year, thanks to your excellent post Raja Ampat practice. If I had known, it would have been an opportunity to pay you a drink to meet you and especially thank you (but the Sorido is a bit far from Yenkoranu and above all, there is a barrier on the beach in front of the Kri eco resort that prevents passing).
    Good in all cases, these are for me also the most beautiful dives that I made, even if I did not have the chance to see the ocean mantas at Blue Magic while they were in the corner. But for the rest, everything was there. And just a little snorkeling on the reef in front of the island is already better than the best dives of some places on earth (or sea elsewhere).
    Thank you again for making me discover this paradise. Something tells me that I will return, hoping it does not grow too fast (the expansion of Sorong airport makes me a little scared) ...
    Looking forward to reading your blog
    Muriel

  18. Hello Corrine,
    still a mind-blowing journey of beauty. Your photos are absolutely beautiful and your passion communicative. I do not get tired of consulting your travel diaries.
    Congratulations again and thank you. Thierry

  19. Hello Corinne,

    That's it I'm decided !! I am convinced that it is good to raja amp that I have to go. I'm trying to organize, I understand, you're not a travel agency but I do not know much about this region, I have to leave in May. weather question, what do you think? the rest I have the information, I will not bother, I promise!

    thank you and have a nice day

    1. @Mohela: I do not know at all ... I never went there in May. This is the period between two seasons, it seems, although the seasons are not very marked in Raja Ampat. The weather on this archipelago of West Papua, as I explain in the post "Practical information to organize his trip to Raja Ampat" is something very difficult to predict for me who lives in Rennes in Brittany ... The information I have available are compiled right here :
      http://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/plonger-raja-ampat-voyage-20130303/
      The best thing is to ask people who live there (the resorts all have a "contact" page or an e-mail).

  20. Rajat Ampat …..quelle destination de rêve ! Heureusement que tu es là pour donner un peu de consistance à mon rêve car je ne pense pas pouvoir y aller un jour (pas du tout dans mon budget 😥 )
    Au fait je suis ravie de t’avoir croisée sur le forum de la formation du photographe animalier ! 😉

  21. Hello, your trip looks great I plan to go this winter for cons the hotel you mention "Sorido Bay Resort" looks great against I find the price aberrant more than 2000 euros per person for 7 days Or more than 4000 to two. Is this really the price or is there something less expensive at this hotel?
    Thank you

    1. @ Julie33: there are cheaper options than the Sorido Bay Resort in Raja Ampat. This is actually the most luxurious place possible in Raja Ampat. The resort is ideally located in the Strait of Dampier, minutes from the most interesting dive sites. The same owner (Papua Diving) also has the Kri Eco Resort, on the same island (Kri Island), more affordable. Otherwise, for tighter budgets, there are also other hotels and resorts that I list in this article, as well as "homestays" managed by locals, around 500.000Rp Indonesian (sometimes more), including accommodation and 3 meals a day:
      http://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/plonger-raja-ampat-voyage-20130303/
      Check out the StayRajaAmpat website, which I give the link in the article for cheap accommodation options. Good preparations!
      🙄

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