The Raja Ampat Nightmare
Bijgewerkt op: 21 jun. 2018
Before we started our 2017 Indonesia adventure, we had one thing we absolutely wanted to see:
Even though Raja Ampat is two to three thousand kilometres away from Bali, Java, Lombok etc. we still had our minds on Raja Ampat and the small islands so we switched on full YOLO mode and booked flights to get there.
How to get there?
This is where sane people normally give up. Take a look what we did.
We just finalized our Flores trip so we had to take the plane to Bali again and there everything should go quite smoothly:
- Flores to Bali: 1070km
In Bali we had to take a plane to Makassar, transit time was limited to three hours so we thought that was perfect knowing the South East Asia airlines and their delay frequency (it's a lot)
- Bali to Makassar: 1040km
About now is where the nightmare began. In Makassar we had a 9hour transit for our flight to Sorong.
- "Wasn't there another way?"
No, look it up. It's one of the things you have to go through when you make your way to Raja Ampat. It's slowly dying in the Terminal of the Airport of Makassar. We slept in the couches of Dunkin' Donuts and when our departure time came closer we (ofcourse) heard there was an hour delay. To make it even worse, our plane was filled with smelly old priests and nuns who make their way to the airplane as if they were walking to their last hours of life.
And they really smelled.
Okay, so we're in Sorong! Now you have to take a ferry to the harbor of Waisai which lasts two hours.
- Sorong to Waisai: 70km
The boat is a moist, dark place filled up with locals who look at you like some kind of alien. Other than that, it's okay.
When you arrive in Waisai you have to check in at the counter and buy a Raja Ampat clip (€60). It's a sort of entrance card and they say all of the money goes to the maintenance of the gigantic region of Raja Ampat. After that it's finding a motorboat that will bring you to your homestay.
We're loading in our backpacks and the captain of the small motorboat is saying there's a couple of crocodiles in the water. Not falling for the trap I keep a straight face and tell him: "Yeah right." He keeps on talking about the crocodiles and finally my girlfriend decided to take a look and to our surprise, there's frikkin' crocodiles in the same water where our little boat is. So we head off to Kri Island with 100% confidence that everything will be safe!
Arriving on the island was nothing short of spectacular. The water was crystal clear, the island looked unpopulated and fish were everywhere.
We walked on to the jetty and made our way to the island and we had absolutely no idea where we had to go. A kind lady helped us find the way to our Homestay but no one from the Homestay was there.
After fifteen to twenty minutes a guy hopped off his hammock and appointed us our bungalow:
Quite basic! But actually just as we expected.
The only problem was, e had no idea where the bathroom was, so we had to discover that one for ourself!
Our goal was to make it the Islands so we looked for the guy who was running things. We explained what we wanted and he said he was going to look for other tourists as well to plan a trip. But tomorrow was impossible and way too early to arrange it. We totally understood so we booked a snorkel trip to explore beautiful Raja Ampat:
The snorkeling is spectacular in Raja Ampat. The corals are the most amazing ones I've ever seen in my life and you can follow the divers wherever they go, because the water is so clear. A truly amazing experience.
During the boat trip to the reefs we saw everyone on the boat putting sunscreen on their bodies followed by putting on tshirts and wetsuits. It was a cloudy grey day, what the hell were they doing?
It was only a few hours after the trip I saw my girlfriends back. RED. Same thing with me, my body had a serious sunburn even though there wasn't any sunshine. I'm serious when I say the sun is pretty strong here!
In the afternoon we asked Onyx, the leading man in our homestay for the trip. He said he heard other tourists being interested as well and he would tell us tonight if there would be trip.
Before Dinner, nothing
During Dinner, nothing
After Dinner, we decided to ask ourselves and he replied it'd be a sure thing the day after. We were starting to worry because we made this LONG trip to see the islands and no one here seemed to help us.
The day after we decided to walk to the other side of the island and wait for low tide so we could cross the sea!
After our trip we hung out at our jetty to swim through the reef. It made for some cool pictures but we had only thing on our mind and that was the next day. Were we going to go on the trip or not? And if not, what the hell were we going to do on an island where there is absolutely nothing to do...
We had a conversation with Onyx before dinner and he told us there wasn't a trip planned. We were furious and we headed back to our bungalow and we decided to return to Bali and not spend the rest of our days on Kri Island. But... changing flights etcetera in the middle of nowhere isn't that easy.
We had to ask another homestay to call Air Asia, but that didn't work. So the sweet lady transferred some of her cellphone credit to us so we could call ourselves. To be honest, to switch flights was pretty easy. Kudos to Air Asia on having such a clear and quick procedure and costless as well. After we completed our flight booking we went to Onyx and told him we were leaving the morning after.
We spend about 25% of our entire travel budget to spend three days in Raja Ampat and we never saw what we wanted to see. That's why we call it the Raja Ampat Nightmare.
I guess we have to come back and plan it again to see those small popping islands...
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