How To Travel Raja Ampat On A Budget

How To Travel Raja Ampat On A Budget

 

Raja Ampat carries a hefty price tag that sits way beyond the average backpacker budget BUT to travel Raja Ampat on a budget is possible! Here’s some advice to help you navigate the options in Raja Ampat for a budget traveller.

Firstly it depends on what you want to do and how much you want to spend.

It is safe to assume you will want to do at least a diving based holiday or a snorkel based holiday as this is the best what raja is famous for right? So below we have compiled a list of awesome budget options to suit just about any traveller.

 

Liveaboard options:

Raja Ampat On a Budget: Diving

The cheapest diving liveaboard costs $250 a day for a 6 day tour with Wicked Diving. Here you have the chance of diving the best places on a northerly tour of Raja Ampat as well as having good food and lots of company. There are a few other boats that cost less than $300 per day which you can easily find out from the tourist information centre based in the Meridian Hotel in Sorong although booking prior to arriving is quite essential to secure a place. Note well that the diving season runs from November to April, this is the time to visit when the winds are lighter and the seas more manageable.

 

Raja Ampat on a budget: Non-diving

Take a 5-12 day island hoping tour with Deni from Raja Ampat Adventures. For 1 million per day including basic meals, accommodation and transport you will explore Batanta, Waigeo, Wayag, Fam, Gam and Mansuar. His tours usually leave once a month so early booking is recommended. In our opinion this is by far the best deal going in Raja Ampat. His website is http://www.rajaampatadventures.com/index.html or check out our info for an adventure to the incredible lesser known Wayag.

 

Homestay options:

If you a looking to travel a little cheaper you can opt to stay on one of the Island homestays and form a dive/snorkel package –there are three main islands to find a homestay on. Pulau Kri,  Pulau Gam and Pulau Arborek which are three very unique and incredibly pleasant places to stay. Expect to pay around 300,000 Rupiah per person for basic accommodation with shared bathrooms and no A/C. Prices are inclusive of meals. Stay for five nights or more and the guesthouse will typically cover the cost of transport to and from Waisai/Sorong. Due to bad signal connections prepare for slow communication, text is preferable over phone calls to make accommodation bookings and arrange transfers. Dives prices in Raja Ampat are dictated by the government tourist offices although many of these unmonitored areas might reduce the standard 650,000 Rupiah per dive fee.

 

Pulau Kri

 

Travel Raja Ampat On A Budget
Pulau Kri

Cheapest homestay: Yenkoranu Homestay – IDR 500,000 per couple and free boat transfer from Waisai if you sleep 5 nights.  Very basic (most are on Kri) and includes 3 meals per day and small snacks. For more information visit http://www.stayrajaampat.com/accommodation/yenkoranu-homestay Tel: 085254555526

 

Dive Package Deal: 5 day diving deal (10 dives) – IDR 3,300,000 per person including gear rental. Will take you to all the hot spots you ask.

 

Snorkel Package Deal: Snorkelling equipment is available for rental at IDR 50,000 day per set. Snorkelling trips to nearby locations such as Pulau Koh can be arranged for as little as IDR 50,000 per person. Great snorkelling is also available on your doorstep free of charge.

 

How to get to Pulau Kri: From Sorong take a ferry to Waisai on Waigeo Island and from there you can arrange a pick up by your home stay, or hire a local to take you from Waisai Pier.

Waigeo Island sits due north of Sorong and acts as the gateway to the Raja Ampat islands. Ferries to Waisai leave from Sorong at 2pm daily. Tickets can be collected from the ‘Peoples pier’ or ‘Waisai port’ from 10am, no-one is really certain when the tickets run out but we were turned away at 1.30pm so get there a little earlier.

Price for ferry tickets from Sorong to Waisai: Economy 130,000 Rupiah. 1st class 220,000 Rupiah. Both classes are kind of same-same although I swear the Karaoke is louder in the 1st class cabin which has fewer people and slightly better air-con.

On arrival you are expected to have a ‘Raja Ampat Token’ upon your person and have paid the marine park entrance fee of 500,000 Rupiah. If you have not bought your Raja Ampat entrance token from the tourist office in ‘Le Meridian hotel’ in Sorong you can do so in Waisai at the tourist Information centre. Tourist information staff meets every ferry arrival and offer their knowledge, including all of the available accommodation, with a smile and for free of charge.

 

What to see/do in Pulau Kri: Limestone cliffs drop off into the crystal clear shallows. Snorkelling from your homestay you can encounter Halimeda ghost-pipefish (if you know your stuff), a beautiful coral garden and the occasional Epilette walking shark. Hike to a lookout and watch the sun descend beyond the sand bank and island of Cape Kri which is also a world-famous dive site. Your guesthouse can arrange dives from here but we have seen footage showing a lack of knowledge in high currents putting divers lives at risk or sitting them down in the coral to regain control. If you have enough people you can make a day trip to Teluk Kabui, referred to as the ‘mini Wayag’ this cluster of mushroom islands is rather pretty.

 

 

Pulau Gam

Cheapest home stay: Tapor Aikos Homestay – IDR 250,000 per person including 3 meals per day. Very basic accommodation but lovely location. Transfers to Gam from Waisai usually cost between IDR 750,000 to 1,000,000 per boat however ask about transfer prices from Waisai when you make the booking. Website: http://www.stayrajaampat.com/accommodation/tapor-aikos-homestay Tel: +6282199824610 (Pak Makusi) (SMS text message best)

 

Dive Package Deal: No diving at homestay

 

Snorkel Package Deal: Snorkelling rental is IDR 150,000 per set per day and trips to Gam Bay can be arranged for IDR 500,000 with the cost able to be shared by up to 4 boat passengers. Further snorkelling trips to Manta Point are also available and cost IDR 500,000 per person.

 

How to get to Pulau Gam: From Sorong take a ferry to Waisai on Waigeo Island and from there you can arrange a pick up by your home stay, or hire a local to take you from Waisai Pier.

Waigeo Island sits due north of Sorong and acts as the gateway to the Raja Ampat islands. Ferries to Waisai leave from Sorong at 2pm daily. Tickets can be collected from the ‘Peoples pier’ or ‘Waisai port’ from 10am, no-one is really certain when the tickets run out but we were turned away at 1.30pm so get there a little earlier.

Price for ferry tickets from Sorong to Waisai: Economy 130,000 Rupiah. 1st class 220,000 Rupiah. Both classes are kind of same-same although I swear the Karaoke is louder in the 1st class cabin which has fewer people and slightly better air-con.

On arrival you are expected to have a ‘Raja Ampat Token’ upon your person and have paid the marine park entrance fee of 500,000 Rupiah. If you have not bought your Raja Ampat entrance token from the tourist office in ‘Le Meridian hotel’ in Sorong you can do so in Waisai at the tourist Information centre. Tourist information staff meets every ferry arrival and offer their knowledge, including all of the available accommodation, with a smile and for free of charge.

 

What to see/do in Pulau Gam: Tranquil Gam is not quite as pretty as Pulau Kri but holds its own wild card. From here you can make hikes into the jungle to find look-outs or to view the mating dance of the Bird of Paradise, they have the most successful sightings. It is a good base to make snorkelling trips and day trips to Teluk Kabui.

 

 

 Pulau Arborek

Arborek Island - How to Travel to Raja Ampat on A Budget

 

Cheapest home stay: Mambarayap Homestay,  – 350,000 per person/per night including 3 meals. Tel: 081248804877 – via text. They will pick you up from either Waisai or Sorong for a fee. Ask them for prices.

Manta Homestay, – 350,000 per person/per night including 3 meals. Tel: 0282199824610/or 0281344402542 – via text (speak Bahasa only).

 

Dive Package Deal:  Arborek dive shop offers diving. For 1 dive ( including gear) it’s 600,000IDR. 6 dives (not including gear) is 3420000IDR.

 

Snorkel Package Deal:  Manta Homestay has 4 sets of snorkelling gear available for hire at IDR 50,000 per set/per day.

 

How to get to Pulau Arborek: From Sorong you can arrange a pickup for IDR 400,000 per boat/on way.

 

What to see/do in Pulau Arborek: Idyllic Arborek is a flat sand island with a fringing white beach and lush coconut palms. It hosts Raja Ampat’s Manta research centre led by the barefoot conservation team. With close proximity manta-snorkelling and diving sites and epic sunsets this little haven is further than the others and best accessed from Sorong. If you wanted to get off the island and explore, the homestays on Arborek can put together a day trip to Piaynemo, Fam, or Sawingrai (to see the bird of paradise).

 

 

Waisai

Note well:  DO NOT STAY IN WAISAI FOR A HOLIDAY.

 

This baby town is only ten years old so is still in its developing stages with little access into the surrounding regions. On the south coast, a string of basic homestays sit upon an idyllic beach and one expensive dive resort called Weiwo quote 600,000 Rupiah per person (full board) and 650,000 Rupiah per dive. The information centre is perplexing boasting beautiful images but no information. However there is a list of accommodation on islands that are further afield. To access the true beauty of Raja Ampat you should be looking at staying on one of these islands that fringe the Dampier Strait (listed above). There you can find spectacular snorkelling and lookouts, manta or birds of paradise, low-cost accommodation and a wonderful holiday all whilst keep your budget in-tact.

 

There is accommodation to suit every budget in Waisai, however expect much lower standards than in Sorong where for 350,000 Rupiah you can expect crisp clean sheets, A/C, a hot shower and unlimited coffee for breakfast. In Waisai 350,000 Rupiah buys you a noisy homestay with a fan and a less than pristine bathroom (our water smelt like dirty river). Also it is almost impossible to explore the outer districts of Waigeo as there is no roads connecting towns, no maps and it near impossible to hire a motor bike.

 

 

 

Return to our destination guide: Raja Ampat Islands

 

 

 

 

 

Written by

Prue Sinclair is a twenty-eight year old Aussie who for the past seven years has been exploring the furthermost reaches of the World. Living anywhere but her homeland, she now resides somewhere in the UK where she writes about the adventures of her Ultimate British Road Trip. Her message is simple: You can get anywhere on any budget, you just need to think outside the box. You can trust she’s finding her way to somewhere lesser-known and writing a ‘How To’ guide.

16 Comments
  • Mantra says:

    Thanks for sharing great information, Nice ……

  • Baus says:

    Hello girls,
    I’m glad that I bumped into your website while searching some information about Raja ampat. I will visit Raja Ampat next year in March – April, and I will stay at Kri, Arborek and Gam island. I would like to ask if I arrive in Waisai, which island should I start first ? Kri, Arborek or Gam? and the transfer between islands is easy to arrange?

    Thanks a lot!!

    Baus

    • Hey Baus.

      Cool, I’m glad you found it useful. Indo is somewhere we have spent a lot of time over the past few years, it’s incredible.
      So transport between the island is solely up to your guesthouse you will be staying at. When you book with a guesthouse they will have a set fee for transfers from waisai (eg. the more people who go over in one trip, the cheaper for you).It’s not crazy expensive, it’s reasonable but there aren’t ferries just yet. Secondly, if you would like to transfer between island without needed to go back to waisai, the best option would be again to contact the guesthouse you re going to and see if they can arrange a transfer.

      Hope that helps, have a ball.

      Ps. if you’re looking for surf and good beaches check out our blogs on Roti island in West Timor (Indonesia) and Pacitan in south Java 🙂

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  • lisamay4 says:

    Hello. Thank you for your blog! Did you stay at Yenkoranu Homestay on Kri? Did you feel the diving from the home stays was safe?
    THank you

    • Good morning Chica,

      Yeah we did stay at Yenkoranu Homestay. The locals are friendly, super helpful and the snorkelling was great 🙂
      We didn’t dive from Kri, we did most of our diving around there from a couple of live-a-boards. Guests were diving from the Island and they seemed content with everything. The home stays usually band together anyway and have one dive company set up between them.

      I hope I’ve helped a little.

      Enjoy your stay and let us know how it went!!!

      Prue

  • Silvia says:

    Hello girls! We bumped into your blog..omg it is amazing 🙂 We will start following you for sure.
    If you have the time to answer it would be great 🙂
    There are many contradictory views regarding snorkelling in Raja Ampat. What is your opinion? You said it is fine, right? Then, we would like to opt for staying in one island you suggested among Kri, Aborek etc. Which one is your favourite or you think it is better? Of course it is a bit more expensive than the liveaboard but I am really seasick.
    Last question: do you think it is better Borneo (Malesya) or Raja ampat just to snorkel? Because one excludes the other. But in Borneo we can do much more..since we do not want to visit Indonesia right now.

    Thanks a lot and yes you girls are wonderful!
    Bye Silvia and Matteo

    PS sorry for our English,,we tried our best!

    • Hi Silvia,

      Aww you are very very kind, thank you!!

      Ok here goes nothing. You are right, there are big opinions out there for snorkelling Raja and also for Borneo Vs. Raja. I’m up for a challenge.

      If you are looking at both Raja and Borneo for snorkelling only I would 100% choose Borneo. Here’s why: Raja is awesome in so many ways, what makes it special is it’s diversity of fish but if you don’t know your blue fish from your red fish then I don’t think you will really care. Also Raja is known for it’s ripping currents, so if you’re planning on heading out to some popular dive spots chances are you’re going to be blown off the reef pretty quick. The islands you mentioned have some nice snorkelling off the beach, but it’s not the best of what Raja Ampat offers. Now over in Borneo, on the east coast of Sabah you’ve got Mabul and Sipidan. Insane snorkelling can be done just off the Jetty of Mabul and world class snorkelling off Sipidan Island. Currents aren’t as big an issue and the chance to see turtles, sharks and all the fun stuff are very high.

      Just to add, if you are home-staying in Raja and home-staying on Mabul island the cost for accommodation is similar.

      I hope that helps you make a decision. 🙂

      If you need any help with Borneo or Indonesia just ask, we’d be happy to help.

      Safe trip and happy travels.

      Prue

    • Silvia says:

      Hello,

      here again..your last article about the Vulcano, very interesting and a good source for my English improvement as well 😉 I took time since we wanted to get more information and…we decided for Raja Ampat! it looks amazing!
      Last questions promise 🙂
      Are currents really strong for snorkellers as well? Will owners of homestays suggest us where to go more or less?
      Which were your two favorite islands? Since we will not opt for liveaboard.
      Even if I sound stupid…fear of shark and it will possibly be my first time to see one. Do you know what to do in case of attack or in case they stare at you? There is not much in the web about this.
      Thanks a lot for your help!

      Besitos
      Silvia

      • Hi Silvia,

        snorkelling off the islands is ok but not out in the channels where the divers are.

        Owners of home stays will guide you I’m sure. 🙂

        Kri and Arborek are our two favourite islands.

        You will have a lovely time, have fun!

        Prue

  • lisa says:

    Thank you for your post. Can you share which homestay you were at in Raja and how safe/professional the dive team was?
    Thank you

    • Hi there Lisa, Becks and I stayed in Waisai, Arborek and Kri. We stayed at Mambarayap Homestay on Arborek, I cannot remember the little hotel in Waisai but I wouldn’t recommend staying there anyway at there is not too much to do and in Kri we stayed in a run down homestay which I cannot remember either but it had mice… :S The dive set up, beauty and idyllic location of Arborek was incredible appealing and would 100% recommend staying there. The diving is fantastic just off shore and the dive team and dive set ups on the island are established and professional. I hope I have passed on a little knowledge that will help you.

      Kind regards and stay in touch.
      I would love to hear how your trip went!

      Prue

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  • Derek says:

    I’ve spent nearly a year in total traveling around Indonesia but have not yet made it to Raja….hope to when I return there in December. Thanks for all the advice 🙂

    • Hey Derek, great to hear from you again mate! Last we time we were in touch, you were heading back over to Indo for another stint with some exciting prospects! How’s it all going?? We are missing Indo at the moment, Europe just doesn’t weigh up so far…. but it’s early days yet here and loads more to explore. We will see. x

      • Derek says:

        Well it went great at first, until it got myself deported for dropping the F bomb on Twitter and causing an international scene that got my locked up abroad for 16 days. Technically immigration may never allow me back into the country but I won’t find out for sure until Dec 20th, when my six month ban is complete…

        Have fun exploring Europe 🙂

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Hi we're Prue and Becks, travel writers and photographers who have been travelling the world together since 2012. Without taking ourselves too seriously, we divulge the lesser known, out of the way places and give you the tools to replicate it. Want to know more? Click on our pic.