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 ...

Return to West 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 huge island of New Guinea, once colonized by the Dutch, was annexed by Indonesia in the 1960s (the eastern half became the independent state of Papua New Guinea). At the time, the Indonesian army committed massacres. Nowadays, a Papuan separatist movement continues to take action and the Indonesian authorities do not hesitate to brutally repress any demonstration, even peaceful ones. Riots broke out in August 2019. in West Papua (in Manokwari, Sorong and Fakfak, among others) after the arrest of Papuan independence students in Java, against a backdrop of racist tensions: the government has then cut the internet in Papua and sent a thousand soldiers In 2017, almost twenty years after the Biak massacre (1998), the Indonesian military and police have carried out mass arrests in Nabire and Sentani, whilea petition for West Papua was trying in the same year to make the voice of Papuans heard on the international stage. I'm closing this parenthesis, but when you go 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.
    From link to link I fall on your blog, it is decided in May 2015 we will join Raja Ampat!!!! Thank you for convincing us 😉

  5. That's it! I decided to go! 🙂
    But what for, if not for diving? Well, that obviously won't be the case for me. 😥
    So, just to take a break, after a long trip I'll make to Asia... When? Uhh ...2020 or 2021, I won't work anymore !!! 😆
    Pfff! Five more years to wait! 🙁

    1. @Didier: ah, ah!! Convinced? 😉 Just by snorkeling and snorkeling, you're going to hallucinate anyway. And then there are the islands themselves, the villages, the jungle excursions, the birds and other land creatures, and then the possibility of kayaking. For a nature lover like you, even without scuba diving, it's bound to be great. 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!
    So thanks it's nice it's free and it's good for morale 🙂

  7. Well, well, well, well... how nice is this little morning window full of beautiful pictures... 🙂
    We just have a flight to Jakarta with Emirates in April and are wondering about Raja Ampat or Sidapan... 🙄
    As we're taking our little 10 year old boy with us who only dreams of one thing: to be on a plane to do as many hours as possible 😀 and dive again... Ok, that's 2 😉 , it's true that I still hesitate for Sidapan - we had already talked about it and we finally chose Koh Tao for our first dive last October, where we caught the "bubbles" virus with our family...
    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: Thank you for your answer. Raja Ampat really makes us dream for a lot of good reasons... now we just have to close the budget 😉 For the moment we have the dry flight to 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 ...
      in short... I'm thinking, I'm thinking... Which is part of the pleasure of the trip too 🙄

  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. I can't believe it, Corinne is on her third trip to R4 when I'm only on my second. Yet I started going long before her ➡ life is really too unfair 😡
    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 ❗
    The R4s are not easy to get to, but that's exactly what has kept them away from mass tourism so far. Take advantage of it, because obviously with the speed with which resorts and airports are being built, the charm of this beautiful province is likely to suffer greatly and as one friend says "soon there will be hordes of English people drinking beer and watching the first league matches on giant screens" 😥
    About the political context of West Papua ➡ I AM PAPU !!

    1. @Alimata: hey, hey... Shouldn't you have started by giving me the idea to go there 😈 For the rest you know that it's been a while since I've been playing "cozy adventurer" and that I don't hang around any more backpack !!! I guess I'm less Indiana Jones than Princess Pea... 😀
      Joking aside, the difficulty of access is undoubtedly the best protection, for the moment, Raja Ampat. Not sure it lasts a long time.

  10. Like everyone else I'm going to thank you for making us always dream ! Thanks to you I dived in Sipadan which is, for the moment and by far my most beautiful diving trip ! 😉
    In March, I go to the Maldives for a diving cruise and I think Raja
    Ampat will be my first destination in 2016. I'll have to start planning this trip! 😀

    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

    Thank you for this wonderful post ..... I was there from January 25th to February 8th where I did a 12 days cruise, I didn't know it but it was a diver's dream and my dream came true because I travelled around a lot of countries to dive. I must say that this trip took me in the guts and to this day remains the most beautiful diving trip of my life and today I only want to go back! It doesn't matter if it's a long way to go to the Raja Ampat what matters is to be aware of having admired a still intact nature 🙂
    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: thank you for this enthusiastic little message! Nice to have contributed to make the dream come true !!! You have to admit that Raja Ampat is a special place... I would almost be jealous, I couldn't find any swordfish there !!! 😀

  16. Hello Corinne,

    First of all thank you for your site which is really great and exotic !!
    It really makes you want to go on a special diving trip around the world 🙂

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

    Thanks again 😉
    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.

      I confirm, we spent our PADI in Mexico...(hard to find such nice dives after 🙂 )

      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 .....what a dream destination! Luckily you're here to give some consistency to my dream because I don't think I'll be able to go there one day (not at all in my budget 😥 )
    By the way, I'm delighted to have met you on the pet photographer training forum! 😉

  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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