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 of an article originally written in French. I apologise for any strange sentences and funny mistakes that may have resulted. If you read French, click on the French flag below to access the original, correct text: 


"Well? Tell us!" Telling Raja Ampat, not so simple. I have the feeling to come 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 landscapes of Raja Ampat... We see Otto, my great Papuan dive guide, and my partner 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, governed by Indonesia. It is a (still) preserved nature (but for how long?) where the National Geographic comes to film sharks and manta rays. It is a paradise of biodiversity for divers eager for underwater wonders.

I just came back from there. This is my third trip there!

And I still can't get enough of it... 😍

Island in the archipelago of Fam. Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia, January 2015.
Island 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 website Tripline with which I drew the route below (click on Show Map). The end of the world.

In this month of January 2015, almost three years have passed, already, since my very first trip to Raja Ampat. The archipelago is located in West Papua, in the extreme east of Indonesia. I dream of going back there. It is there that I made the most beautiful dives of my life.

I fly a few days after the attacks against Charlie Hebdo and the Hyper Cacher at the Porte de Vincennes in Paris. After the horror, I have in my sights two weeks of vacation and carefree time.

This departure feels like a balm after these terrifying events. There is something soothing about contemplating the Earth from above, sliding across time zones in the night, leaving one world for another. The iPhone becomes a sensor of moments.

It's a long trip, then. It starts in Rennes station, with the TGV that takes me directly to Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Paris. About 3 hours of travel.

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 again 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 fifteen minutes of road to the pier and one hour and a half of crossing in a fast boat to reach my goal: the island of Kri.

I am often asked about the time spent in transportation... For this trip, from Rennes, it represents about 24 hours in total. With the stopovers and if we allow ourselves a night of rest, it takes not far from two days in total to reach Raja Ampat from Europe! But it is worth it.

During the crossing between Sorong and Kri, a school of dolphins crossed our path, like a happy omen. When the familiar triangle of Kri starts to appear on the horizon, I don't want to see it anymore!

I will find the island I have been dreaming of for so many months. I will see the pontoon of the Sorido Bay Resort and its incredible blue hole in the middle of the coral. And then, above all, this fabulous, extraordinary, unique profusion of life under water. 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 the 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 little historical-political reminder: the western half of the immense New Guinea Island (formerly colonized by the Dutch) has been annexed by Indonesia in the 1960s (the eastern half became the independent state of Papua New Guinea). At that time, the Indonesian army committed massacres. Nowadays, a Papuan separatist movement continues to take action and the Indonesian authorities do not hesitate to brutally repress any opposition.

In March 2022The Indonesian government's bill to divide Papua into new provinces, without consulting the local population, has provoked a wave of protests, and Papuan protesters were killed by the police. Amnesty International has published a report denouncing the increased repression around the Wabu Block gold mine in the department of Intan Jaya (north central).

In April 2021, military reprisals were launched in the region of Puncak after the death of the head of the intelligence services during exchanges of fire with Papuan independence fighters.

In August 2019, violent riots broke out in Manokwari, Sorong and Fakfak, after the arrest of Papuan independence students in Java, against a backdrop of racist tensions: the government then cut off the internet in Papua and sent a thousand soldiers there as backup.

In July 2017almost twenty years after the Biak massacre (1998), the Indonesian military and police have carried out mass arrests in Nabire and Sentani, whilea petition for West Papua was attempting to bring the Papuan voice to the international stage that same year.

I close this parenthesis, but when you go there as a tourist, you 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!
    Great, and all the more motivating as we're leaving on Friday for Paris KL -Makassar-Sorong (the same Garuda flight)-Waisai - Kri - and ten days or so in a guesthouse diving in the area!

    Ben & Kayo

  2. Hello,
    It's freezing in Normandy and when I open my computer, I'm transported to the fabulous world of Rajat Ampat, my dream for several years! Your photos are as magnificent as ever, and it's with fervor that I follow you on all your travels. Quick question? (just in case?) what's the best time to visit 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 I'd like to discover (and will), because you've given me the bug. This year it was Rodrigues for us.
    I always look forward to your articles, to escape into the blue...Thank you.

  4. We're currently on a 10-month round-the-world trip with our two children (aged three and five). It was in a noodle shop in Burma, where we currently are, that we learned about this paradise while chatting to some Spaniards.
    From link to link I came across your blog, it's decided in May 2015 we will rally Raja Ampat!!!! Thank you for convincing us 😉

  5. This is it! I've decided to go! 🙂
    But what's the point, if not to go diving? Well, that's obviously not going to 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? 😉 Snorkeling and freediving alone will blow your mind anyway. And then there are the islands themselves, the villages, the jungle excursions, the birds and other land critters, and then the possibility of kayaking. For a nature lover like you, even without bottle 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 it.....In snorkelling, I was able to admire manta rays and many other creatures, the sound of the birds, the silence, the strange noises, the landscape, the sunsets, the sky, a trip in a canoe, the idleness that takes on its full meaning there, you feel so far away from everything...

  6. Hello
    And thank you! by the times that run a text images like yours are doing a good job!
    So thank you, 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... 🙄
    Since we're taking our 10-year-old son with us, who's only dreaming of one thing: getting on a plane to do as many hours as possible 😀 and diving again... Ok, that's 2 😉 it's true that I'm still hesitating about Sidapan - we'd already talked about it and we'd finally chosen Koh Tao for our first immersion last October, where we caught the "bubbles" virus as a 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 reach than Raja Ampat, and less complicated in terms of logistics (accommodation, transport time, etc.) for even the most intrepid traveler (and cheaper, too, for a family trip). But Raja Ampat has a taste of adventure, of wild paradise, of a truly exceptional end of the world...

      In Sipadan, I don't know the Seaventure platform, only from the outside. But I've heard good things about it. That said, with a child, it might be better to stay in Mabul itself, on the island, where there's the beach, the village, other children... Scuba Junkie's beach resort might be a good option.

    2. @ Corinne: thanks for your reply. Raja Ampat really does make us dream for a whole bunch of good reasons... now we just have to work out the budget 😉 For the moment we have the dry flight to Jakarta...
      I'm going to dive back into the various 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 3rd trip to R4 while I'm only on my 2nd. Yet I started going long before she did ➡ 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 non-stop trip and my woven palm hut on stilts ❗
    I agree that the R4 are not easy to get to, but that's precisely what has kept them free of mass tourism until now. Make the most 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 a friend says "soon there will be hordes of beer-swilling English watching Premier League matches on giant screens" 😥
    About the political context of West Papua ➡ I AM PAPU !!

    1. @Alimata: hey, hey... You didn't have to give me the idea of going there in the first place 😈 As for the rest, you know it's been a while since I've been playing the "cozy adventurer" game and I don't carry a backpack around anymore!!!! I guess I'm less Indiana Jones than Princess Pea... 😀
      All joking aside, the difficulty of access is probably Raja Ampat's best protection so far. Not sure it will last much longer.

  10. Like everyone else I'm going to thank you for always making us dream!!! Thanks to you I dived in Sipadan which is, for the moment and by far my most beautiful diving holiday!! 😉
    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 remain spectacular over the years. Happy diving in the Maldives, then. As for Raja Ampat... I've already said a lot in the article above!!!! 8)

  11. Another magnificent invitation to travel... After following your "bubbles" to the Perhentians and Sipadan, how could I not want to take advantage of all these tips while admiring these images?

  12. Hello Corinne

    Thank you for this wonderful post ..... I was there from January 25 to February 8 where I took a 12-day cruise, I didn't know it but it was a diver's dream and my dream came true. Having traveled to quite a few countries for diving, I must say that this trip took me by storm and to this day remains the most beautiful diving trip of my life and today all I want to do is go back! It doesn't matter if it's a long way to Raja Ampat, what counts is to be aware of having admired a natural world that's still intact 🙂
    Before returning to Raja Ampat, I'd like to try a Komodo cruise! Thanks

  13. Hello

    Super your accounts makes you want.

    I've got a three-week vacation at the end of April and the beginning of May. I'm wondering if it's not too late to go to raja ampat for the weather, at the risk of getting shaken up for the dives... what do you think?

    1. @Nuse: I can't predict the weather!!! So I can only answer that I don't know anything about it... It all depends on where you are. If it's close to the dive sites, it won't make much difference in case of wind or swell if it's a matter of 5-10 min drive. As for me, I've already been to Raja Ampat in July, where there could be very windy days, but that didn't stop 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 "petites bulles d'ailleurs" several weeks before leaving for Raja Ampat and now........the return trip was yesterday already!
    But the dream of several months turned into reality...everything was there....the landscapes, the diversity, the intense underwater life, my first turtles, mantas,....the color, the schools of carrangues, barracudas, ....unimaginable proportions, the encounter with a swordfish! and the surprising Ghost Pipe Fish already encountered at Lembeh!
    Home smiling in villages despite the language barrier ...
    It was surprising, magical, majestic....to experience!
    Don't hesitate.........thanks to "petites bulles d'ailleurs" for future dreams that I hope will become reality.

    1. @Nicole: thank you for this little enthusiastic message! Delighted to have helped turn a dream into reality!!! You have to admit that Raja Ampat is a special place... I'd almost be jealous, I haven't managed to come across a swordfish there, me!!! 😀

  16. Hello Corinne,

    First of all, thank you for your site, which is really brilliant and a real change of scenery!
    It really makes you want to go on a special diving trip around the world 🙂

    For Raja Ampat, I wanted to know if with a Padi Open Water we could do a lot 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 in Raja Ampat with just Open Water. The guides adapt the profile of the dives to the level of the participants. Quite simply, you won't go beyond your prerogatives. There are even beginners who take their Open Water there (lucky them, they'll have a hard time finding such good dive sites afterwards).

      As far as I'm concerned, yes, I've dived above 18 meters on almost all sites, since I have the experience and level to do so. Just because you're limited to 18 meters doesn't mean you can't dive at sites where you can go deeper. You'll stay at the depth that suits you. Most of Raja Ampat's dive sites are suitable for all levels of divers.

    2. Thank you for your answer.

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

      It's good news, in any case, if there are still dives to be made below 18 metres.

  17. Hello Corinne,
    Apparently I was in Kri at the same time as you, but in a homestay (in Yenkoranu). It's my second stay there and it was you who convinced me to go last year, thanks to your excellent, practical Raja Ampat post. If I'd known, I would have bought you a drink to meet you and thank you (but Sorido is a bit far from Yenkoranu and there's a fence on the beach in front of the Kri eco resort that prevents you from passing).
    In any case, for me too, these were the best dives I've ever done, even if I didn't get to see the oceanic mantas at Blue Magic, even though they were in the area. But everything else was there. And just a little snorkeling on the reef in front of the island is already better than the best dives in some places on land (or in the sea, for that matter).
    Thanks again for introducing me to this paradise. Something tells me I'll go back, hoping it doesn't develop too fast (the Sorong airport expansion scares me a bit)...
    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,

    i've made up my mind! i'm convinced that raja ampat is the place to go. i'm trying to get organized, i get it, you're not a travel agency but i don't know this region very well, i have to leave in may. what do you think about the weather? i've got the info for the rest, i won't bother, i promise!

    thank you and have a nice day

    1. @Mohela: I've never been there in May. It's 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 explained in the post "Practical info for organizing your trip to Raja Ampat", is very difficult to predict for me, living in Rennes in Brittany... The information I have is compiled here:
      http://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/plonger-raja-ampat-voyage-20130303/
      It's best to ask people who live there (resorts all have a "contact" page or e-mail address).

  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 bumped into you on the wildlife photographer training forum! 😉

  21. Hello, your trip looks great, I plan to go this winter, however the hotel you mention "sorido bay resort" looks great, however I find the price aberrant more than 2000 euros per person for 7 days or more than 4000 for two. is this really the price or is there something cheaper at this hotel?
    Thank you

    1. @ Julie33: there are cheaper options than the Sorido Bay Resort in Raja Ampat. It is indeed the most "luxurious" place to stay in Raja Ampat. The resort is ideally located in the Dampier Strait, just a few minutes from the most interesting dive sites. The same owner (Papua Diving) also has the more affordable Kri Eco Resort on the same island (Kri Island). Otherwise, for tighter budgets, there are other hotels and resorts listed in this article, as well as homestays run by locals, at around 500,000 Indonesian Rp (sometimes more), including accommodation and 3 meals a day:
      http://petitesbullesdailleurs.fr/plonger-raja-ampat-voyage-20130303/
      Check out the StayRajaAmpat site I link to in the article for cheap accommodation options. Good luck with your preparations!
      🙄

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