by Fabrice Naps, France (April 03, updated June 06)
Note: Due to the inflation in Indonesia and the constant rises of prices, some prices may already be wrong, eventhough I have been there not so long ago. If it's the case, kindly help us keep the site updated...
Pulau Weh (updated Feb 05):
Aceh being open again to foreigners one can now go again
easily to pulau Weh as it used to be before. There is even now a speed boat,only
45 mns!It leaves fom the main land at 1 pm and costs 25000 rps. You won t be
disturbed by other foreigners,so come quickly and enjoy it before it s back to
how it was few years ago!!!
A must in Pulau Weh : rent a motorcycle and go around the
island, nice landscapes !
Along Sumatra' s west coast :
There are many wild beaches. No coral but nice scenery.
Around Meulaboh, 2 guesthouses: the famous camp Europa and another one more recent whose name i forgot. They both are in Kuala Doh, ask the locals, they will tell you.
Further south is Tapaktuan. When you come from Meulaboh, ask the driver to drop you few kms before
Tapaktuan at "air dingin" (tempat rekreasi) at Pak Djafar's place.
There Pak Djafar rents individual bungalows and a very nice big house with 3
rooms, living room, terrace, kitchen and
Pulau Banyak is a archipelago with 99 island of whom only 3 are inhabited. It sounds nice but unfortunately all the forest on the islands (except on the big ones) has been cut to grow coconut trees and most the coral has been bombed. Due to the lack of tourists all the guesthouses on the islands are closed, except on Pulau Balai (the place where you arrive from Singkil). But don't bother to stay there: the beaches are dirty and since it is a very small island, there is nothing to do. Go to Tuanku Island (the biggest of the group). You can sleep by the locals (the Luqman family had good reports, but there are many others). Don't forget to bring some supplies from Singkil as there is not much else to eat than fish in the islands! There, you can make some trekking in the jungle or check if there are some corals left...To go there, don't charter a boat (they want a fortune for that). Just go with a fisherman who goes there to fish... Don' t go to the turtle island as it's a disgusting business where none of your money goes into conservation but in the pocket of evil guys. If you want to see turtles laying their eggs, read further my snorkeling files and you will see where to go to see it for free!
A friend of mine has been to the 1000 islands near Jakarta and told me that the quality there was generally poor. The Karimun Jawa islands near Semarang are easy to reach by a twice weekly ferry from Jepara (a short bus ride from Semarang). You can sleep in the main town,or even better in pulau Menjangan where there are 2 guesthouses (free transportation from the mainland if you stay there) at:Wisma Apung(67000/77000 rps with/without bathroom, add 15000 rps per meal) or another one whose name i forgot (50000 for a room,a dd 11000 per meal).There's a reef at the back of Menjangan but it was not very good,and so was the snorkeling around the island. There's a resort that is being built on the island behind,but it will be expensive. There's as well the Kura Kura resort on Pulau Menyawakan and it's not cheap by far...
Boat trips were pretty expensive which prevented me from exploring the archipelago since the other snorkeling spots are far, who knows if it's worth, if you get there send us an up date, it would be much appreciated!!!
In Kalimantan (island of Borneo) :
One of the best and easy to reach spot is in east Kalimantan province:
Pulau Derawan. You first go by pelni boat (schedules: www.pelni.co.id) to Tarakan (or if from Tawau, Sabah, East Malaysia, take the boat to Nunukan then to
In Derawan, the cheapest place to sleep is at losmen Ilham (30000 rps a double) but it is not on the shore. Another one on stilts charges 40000 rps and another one takes
75000 rps including meals. This one can be worth as food is really not good and expensive on the island (no veggies) and, for the divers, he offers very cheap diving. To find it ask for "losmen orang perancis punya" (the guesthouse is owned by a Frenchman).
Don't miss as well Kakaban Island, where you will be able to swimm with inoffensive jelly fish in the lightly salted inner lake and make some very nice snorkeling along the drop off.
In Sulawesi :
The spots near makassar (Ujung Pandang) are not worth...There is a spot in Bima. It's not the best and there are no bungalows on the beach but it s ok for few days if you are waiting for your pelni... Stay in Riswan (about 40000 with meals), he has rooms on the hill and you can watch the sea and the sunset.
Further south is Selayar Island with a good spot on a beach but it's expensive to stay there as it's western owned and aimed at rich divers. But you can stay in the main town and look around. I heard about a cheap guesthouse somewhere nearby...
Further south is Taka Bone Rate atoll, the 2nd largest in the world, unfortunatly almost totally bombed.If you want to see it by yourself, you can go there from Selayar by charter boat, but it won't be cheap and I am not sure it will be worth...
There is an excellent spot at Pulau Hoga (Tukang Besi archipelago). To go there, take a pelni to Bau Bau, then a boat to Wanci (Wangi
The main spot is on the Togian Islands, a lovely archipelago of about 55 islands. No cars nor buses, only boats... Unfortunatly the coral suffered a lot of bombings and cyanide fishing and there are not too many fishes due to over fishing. Another problem is the crown of thorn starfish that over breeds and eats the coral (it has already destroyed some reefs) because its predator -the napoleon fish- has been over fished. But it's still a very nice place to go,the coral is still ok on some places and the landscapes are great.
The main place where people stay is in Kadidiri Island (near Wakai), although I don't understand why as it's the worst place for snorkeling (almost everything is destroyed!). There are 3 guesthouses
where prices range from around 40000 rps in Lestari up to 75000-100000 rps in Paradise
(the new bungalows are more expensive). Don't stay in
Black Marlin if you are not a diver as they have a tendancy to be unfriendly with non divers. In this area the best snorkeling spot is around Taipi Island, on the northern side, if they didn't bomb it since last time I was there, but there are not many fish.There are 2 reefs offshore, reef 2 has a drop off but is mainly bombed, reef 1 has still some average pockets of coral, but nothing fantastic and very few fish. Kota island (on your left when you look at the sea) has been bombed as well, so it's not worth. You can take a canoe and paddle around Kadidiri, but the coral is dead almost everywhere. Still, on the northern side, on the right after the channel in front of paradise you will find a bajo village and some nice scenery...
You can stay as well near Bomba Harbor and it's definitely the best place in the Togians for snorkeling as they have the most reefs around, and I mean good reefs, not bombed ones!!! To reach there, there are daily boats from the small harbor near Marina Cottages, a few kilometers away from Ampana (it's NOT the same harbor than the one to go to Wakai). Boats leave around 9 or 9:30, they might go only to Kuninkinari, but never mind, it's very near from Bomba and charterizing a boat to go there would not be more than 10-15000 rps. Around Bomba you can stay in the village with basic and limited comfort for about 35000 or ask the boat man to drop you at either Poyalisa (on a very small island) for 50-60000 rps or at the excellent island retreat which boasts the best food and the best bungalows in all Togians... During the high season, it costs 17 usd (145000 rps) for the beachfront cottages (which are superb!) and 10 usd (85000 rps) for the mangrove ones (which are still very nice). Prices are negotiable in low season...
As written above, Bomba has the most reefs. I could of course not check all of them but here are the ones where I have been: Pasir Tengah Atoll was good with its drop off and its big table corals and it's nice to see intact corals!! Nearby, Bulutuko was not as nice as it's a bit bombed (it's Togian!) but still not too bad, look for the drop off. Around Pulau Taupan's western and northern side there's a drop off as well and although it's a bit destroyed on the shallow part, the edge of the drop off and its wall are totally intact!!!!! Maybe the southern part is worth as well, just avoid to be too close from the village (on the eastern side) as it's destroyed around there!!! Tambagnoni Island (near Island Retreat) is not very nice but you can paddle there, if one day you have nothing else to do. The snorkeling around Poyalisa and Island Retreat is not worth... You can take a canoe and paddle around the coast and look if there's something interesting, but I didn't find anything (of course, I haven't been everywhere!) There are many reefs behind Batudaka Island, look at Island Retreat's map and choose where you want to go, I heard good comments about it!! There, they have as well diving equipement and a dive instructor.
In Katupat, you can stay in the village for 35000 rps. If you prefer to be on the beach, you have
Pangempa island (Fadhila Cottage) for 60000 and Bolilanga island for about the same, both have friendly owners. You can dive as Fadhila Cottages has some new equipement, regardless of which accomodation you choose to stay. You can take a canoe and paddle between Pangempa and Bolilanga and around Pangempa, but don't expect good snorkeling, coral has been eaten by the crown of thorn starfish and therefore the quality is
In Malenge, 2 guesthouses in the village: Malenge Indah for 35000 rps (very friendly people) and Lestari for the same (bad comments from both tourists and locals). Both have bungalows on beaches for 50000rps, the nicest beach being the one where are Malenge Indah's Bungalows (the other one is near a Bajo village). It's currently closed, but they will open it if you come in a group and plan to stay for a while (you can understand that due to the lack of tourist they wouldn't open it if you come alone...).Both places have not good snorkeling and generally what I have seen from the boat when I turned around Malenge was not very attractive.
Between Katupat and Malenge are some coral reefs but the classification depends: there's an atoll that is called sometimes reef 2, sometimes reef 3. Anyway, from this one, the best reef is the one on the left (with the islands on your back): it has a drop off on the western side and eventhough you can see some bombs traces it's still good, you can see sharks and spot eagle rays (the north eastern tip is totally bombed though, so when you reach it, just take a short cut and swimm in the shallow until it gets good again). The atoll is a bit more bombed but still not too bad, it has a dropp off as well on the west and the outside ring is better than the inside one. The first reef on the right of the atoll is quite bombed, especially near the center, but if you swimm away from it you will find some intact ones along the drop off (on the west) and some funny coral hills on the east. The 2nd reef on the right of the atoll is less bombed and quite ok. To reach all those places from Malenge it costs between 50 and 75000 rps depending on how many places you want to see. Don't forget to bargain!!! From Katupat, to see the atoll and the one on its left (the best one) it's 75000. The atoll and the ones on the right are closer from Malenge while the one on the left is roughly at the same distance from either places. In Dolong, no guesthouses, but you can stay with locals. There's a reef one hour away, but I didn't go there, when you are alone it gets very expensive to charter boats all the time!
There are actually many other reefs on the southern side of the archipelago (everything that has been mentionned here is on the northern side) but it's the same story, being alone, my small budget doesn't allow me to charter all the time and go everywhere. Anyone interested to share the costs?
There's another spot in Donggala, near Palu. The coral is not fantastic, but it's ok for a few days if you are stuck in Palu waiting for a pelni or something like that. Don't go to the guesthouses listed in the guide books, there are expensive. Look for a local one, it's half price!!
Another spot is Banggai Islands, but no accommodations for tourists in bungalow style, you must stay with the
Backpacker's Tips : Wolfgang Schweitzer "Wus" (Oct
Near Manado are Bunaken and Siladen
where the snorkeling is quite nice. It's mainly a fringe of soft corals along a drop
off, with many fish. Bunaken is the most developed island, where one can find accomodation on 2
beaches: the main beach (Liang) is unfortunatly quite dirty as all the trash from Manado gathers in its bay and snorkeling amongst plastic bags and empty
bottles is not so nice. That's what happened to me when i was there, but maybe will you be lucky and come a day where there's
The good snorkeling at Panggalisang is on your left when you face the
sea. Near the village (on your right) all the
If you want a place with less tourist, a bit cheaper and where you don't pay this entrance fee, head for Siladen Island. The snorkeling is the same, there are less tourists (but of course less animation).
The Maluku Archipelago is now divided in two: North Maluku province (capital: Ternate) and Maluku province (capital: Ambon)
Update Dec 03: The maluku are now open again to foreigners, so
no need any more to play cat and mouse with the autorities!!! Just go there and
In Tobelo, there are many islands in the bay, but the ones that I saw have been bombed. I didn't see all of them though, maybe some are still ok, but I wouldn't bet on it!!
On Morotai island, 2 main towns: Bere Bere and Daruba. A friend of mine has been to Bere Bere and told me that there was nothing there, so I went to Daruba and chartered a boat to the nearby islands. That was a loss of time and money: most have been bombed (there are a lot of explosives and bombs in Morotai, remaining from the 2nd world war, nice one!), and the other are used now to grow sea weed for commercial purposes and thus the coral has been uprooted and removed...
If you feel like exploring, there are some islands in the Buli bay (16 to 18 hours and 75000 rps to Buli from Tobelo) and in the Weda bay (from Ternate about 18 hours to Gane Barat, then 2 hours walk to Gane Timur, then charter a boat to the inhabited islands). If you do it, it would be nice to send an update. I would be happy to read something
On Banda Islands, Banda Neira is the main town where you arrive with the pelni). In Neira, many guesthouses for about 25000rps a night, including breakfast: Vitta and Matahari have sea view, but are near the market. Delfika has no sea view, but a nice small garden. Rosmina and the one next door are 5-10 minutes outside from the town and are a bit cheaper (25000 rps with breakfast and dinner), but some friends that i had send to Rosmina complained about the bill and the suddenly inflated price, so make things clear! Other accommodations are available in Ai Island, 1 hour away from Banda Neira, at Losmen Revenge for example (nice food, nice people), and there's another one as well. There are many villages in Banda Besar where there will be always a room for you. Same in Run and Hatta islands if you wish to stay there. Note that neither in Banda Neira nor in Ai you have bungalows right on the beach. There are only rooms in houses, away from the beach. There's actually a guesthouse on the beach in Pisang Island (sometimes called Syaril Island), they want an overpriced 100000 rps including all meals, but i guess it's negotiable...
Banda islands are amongst the best places in the country as they didn't bomb too much and as there are still plenty of fish that start to be hard to see elsewhere, like napoleons for example. Around Banda Neira there are some snorkeling spots, like Malole beach, or the area near the air strip, but nothing fabulous.
On Ai Island (that you can reach by public boat every day from the market for 5000 rps), the best spot is at Pasir Panjang (long beach), ask Tchotcho the owner of Revenge to bring you there. Pick up a day where there's a strong current, go on the far end of the beach and make an unforgettable drift snorkeling above the nice corals of the plateau along the drop off: you will see heaps of sharks, barracudas, napoleons etc... but beware if there are big waves! There are other spots around the island, quite good as well, one is at a beach near the village, Tchotcho will show you.
On Run Island (70000 rps with a small "ketingting" boat, if there are waves, sensations guaranteed!!!), when you arrive, don't bother to snorkel on the front side between Run and Neilaka as the coral has been bombed. Go instead on the back side, the drop off is said to be nice (i could unfortunately not check it due to big waves).
On Gunung Api Island, there are 2 lava flows where corals have grown (Karang baru), there are not many fish, but the corals are very nice, especially on the 2 nd flow (huge table corals). There's a 3 rd lava flow on the southern side of the island, but don't loose your time there, there's not much to see.
On Keraka Island (crab island), the good side is the one which faces Banda Neira. It's not spectacular, but when you make a trip to Gunung Api you can stop there on the way back. At the side which faces Gunung Api, there's nothing. It's not far from Banda Neira, so actually you can paddle to go there if you feel like it, but don't do it during the wavy season!! You can also charter from Neira's market to both islands for about 30000 rps.
On Big Banda (Banda Besar), the good snorkeling is on the back of the island. Many spots are reachable by public boat first, and then by a short walk to the other side. It includes: Batu Indang beach (you will se a big rock with few trees in the middle of the sea), I swam only on the right side of the rock and it was fine, then if you keep on swimming it gets a bit destroyed, then it's good again. To reach there, take a boat (1500 rps) from the market to either Spancabi or Waling villages, then walk to Tutra village, and then ask for Batu Indang. Another spot is at the beach behind Lonthor, same story, take a public boat for 1500 rps to Lonthor, then walk. Actually there are plenty of spots behind Big Banda, it seems that there's a reef all along the island...
To go to some other places around Big Banda you may have to charter as public boats don't go everywhere. If you do so, it should cost between 70 and 100000 rps depending on how far you go behind the island. There's a drop off that is supposed to be nice just before you pass the cape on the strait between Pisang Island and Banda Besar (i could not check it myself, the waves were too big). Then, you pass the cape, turn around the island and arrive on the other side where there's a spot called Selamon. The coral is not the best but is still intact and there's a lot of big fish along the drop off. Then, if you keep on swimming you will see an alternance of good spots and destroyed spots, until you reach Cornoval that is a really nice one (it's a bit before Tanjung Cengkeh): very nice corals along a drop off and as almost verywhere in the Bandas you will see tons of big fish, napoleons, turtles, etc... but Cornoval is a bit far from Selamon, so, if you are lazy, or if you don't feel like swimming too much, ask your boat driver to give you a rope and to pull you there!
To Hatta Island it costs 200000 rps with a fisherman boat, but it's worth the money: the coral in front of both villages is really nice, and so is the marine life along the drop off. According to the locals there's an atoll nearby, but you need a very calm sea to snorkel it, which was not the case when i was there.
On the Kai Islands, near Tual (where you arrive with the pelni boat) you can find accommodations on Ohoilihir beach (Pasir Panjang). Ask Mira Inn in Tual for informations (Mira Inn is a good and friendly place to sleep in Tual). But note that the coral reef is very far from the beach and that you will need a canoe and a lot of paddling to reach it. Note also that the coral is not superb. The beach however is gorgeous. On other place around the island it's the same story: the coral is far and a lot has been bombed. According to a friend, it's still ok in Kai Besar Island, but no accommodations outside Banda Elat (the main village, to sleep and eat ask for Ibu Haji's house), so you will have to sleep with the locals.
On Saparua Island (part of the lease group near Ambon), there was a guesthouse in Kollor Village but it has been destroyed at the time of the inter-religious war so now the only one is near Ouw Village (rooms in a house, above a nice beach, should cost around 50-60000 including food). It's closed but if you stay for a while you can ask the friendly owner in Ouw and he will reopen it for you or you can stay at his house in Ouw if you want. Many nice spots in this area, in the surrounding islands.
Important: if you want to travel in Maluku province you must have now a permit, otherwise they may kick you out of the province, especially if you arrive through the airport of Ambon or through its main harbors with a pelni. If you arrive with a small ferry or speed boat from another island it should be fine, but note that this permit is -in theory- requested for all Maluku province area (although usually they don't ask for it in remote areas). So, if you want to be on the safe side, make arrangements with: posko darurat sipil maluku, I don't know if they speak English... but their phone is: (0911) 352181. The last time I tried to sneak in Ambon (April 2003), they caught me but I had time to speak with them about that, so here is the story: you must send a letter from Jakarta to the Maluku's governor, have an Indonesian sponsor and apply for a "rekomendasi", but it seems that it's granted only for NGO people and that it's not for tourists. Try to check by yourself as the custom officers I spoke with were not certain about that last point. If you prefer to sneak, avoid at any cost the big harbours, especially Yos Sudarso (the main one) since there's now an immigration office there. Actually, the best is to avoid Ambon, go straight to Seram, Buru, Banda, Key or wherever by pelni without stopping in Ambon where there's anyway nothing and don't bother with the permit...
Note as well that last time (march 2003) I was in the Banda Islands the police asked for it and told me to leave as I had not any, but there were no more pelni for 10 days, and eventually I stayed until the next one... So, if you intend to go there without permit, check the pelni schedule and come with a boat that is not immediately followed by another one, like this, what can they do? The police wanted as well a baksheesh of 50000 rps that I could manage not to pay by leaving Banda Neira and "hiding" on other places of the archipelago. Anyway it's not legal, so you are not obliged to give it, just say that you will leave with the next boat!
Buru Island. In Namlea (the main town), the Muslims inhabitants are not very friendly and quite suspicious and the police is fussy. If you go there anyway, ask your hotel owner to make you fill the foreigner's registration form and to bring it straight away to the police. Mine didn't and I have been almost deported!! Otherwise some good corals around, but to see a lot you will need a boat. Anyway, in the villages away from Namlea, the people are friendly, so don't bother to stay in Namlea (where there's nothing anyway). There's a village about 15-20 kms from Namlea, near a sort of lake (that is actually more like the sea which comes into the land) where there's a nice beach and some good snorkeling along a very long reef.
Anywhere else in the Maluku, with the exception of Ambon (where there are some expensive ones but most likely they will be closed, check by yourself), there are no accommodations so you have to sleep in local houses. It can be nice, but sometimes heavy due to the constant attention... Some good spots in the far south eastern part of the province, but very hard to reach, for die hard travellers only!
Some spots to avoid are:
Still, there's a marine park on the south eastern part of the archipelago (Aru Tenggara), but it takes between 2 and 3 days to reach there by wooden boat, so you can calculate yourself how much it would cost!! As far as I know there are no public boats, but if you are in Dobo (the main town of the archipelago, sleep in losmen Risfany), check at the harbor master (Kantor Syah Bandar) if there are some perintis boats for this destination. Perintis boats are dirty cargoes which take passengers, they are very slow and unreliable, have no comfort, but are often the only way to go to remote places. You have to know as well that they are very irregular and that usually they pass on the same place only once every 2 or 3 weeks...
In West Papua (Papua Barat or Irian Jaya):
Many nice spots, unfortunately hard to reach and costly. They don't see many tourists but they think that we are richer than what we are and will tell you shamelessly crazy prices!! No tourists
accommodations except on 1 or 2 islands in the Padaido Islands (near Biak) but you will have to cook yourself. If you want to stay a few days anywhere, always bring some food supplies, rice, noodle soups, garlic onions, chilies, etc..
Another way, more flexible and that can allow you to go to small villages, would be to go to the "harbor" at the beach near the Boswesen market (in front of the big white church). On the right side of the beach are boats which go to north Waigeo, and on the left side (after the river) are the boats which go to south Waigeo. Other destinations on both sides include: Batanta, Salawati... Always remember that getting somewhere is not all, you have to get back as well. You can try to make your own itinerary by finding connections between those locals boats and the perintis, in combination with some hiking in order to see many places. But if you don't speak Indonesian it will be quite hard to organize the trip. Have a look on a good map, buy some food supplies and allow plenty of time...
The only guesthouse called Kobe Oser is in Saunek (South Waigeo district), it costs 40000m rps for a double (including as many coffee/tea as you want) and 7000 for an eat-as-much-as-you-can meal. You can of course sleep in any village by the kades/kepala desa (head of the village) but in that case it would be good to bring some food supplies.
Further east and not very far from Sen there's another reef, quite deep, where I could swim with huge manta rays (even bigger that the ones in east Kalimantan), that was really magic!!! This day the visibility was very poor due to the plankton and that's why they came, but I am not sure that it's every day the same. Further east are the Tapok Islands, I swam along the biggest one on the side that looks Batanta and it was nice as well, the coral was intact.
There are 2 reefs west of Sen Island, I could not check it, but I guess they are nice... Near Sorong I checked only Senapan Island but it was not worth. The locals say that all the area around Sorong (Doom, Jefman and Buaya Islands, Tanjung Kasuari, the eastern side of Salawati Island...) have been bombed so I didn't bother. Maybe some good spots around Kofiau? But it's far and hard to reach... Another good area according to the locals is above Waigeo's north coast: the Ayu Islands (read "ayiao").
Around the Teluk Cenderawasih (the paradise bird bay, go from Manokwari): Rumberpon (where the locals are very money orientated about boats stories), Roon Island... To reach those islands, you start from Ransiki (few hours away from Manokwari) and try to find a boat at the harbour. Better to sleep a night in Ransiki (ask for Pak Camat's house) and then go in the harbour in the morning as there are more boats. If you want to charter they will charge crazy prices (they don't even realize how ridiculous their prices are but they just think that we pay whatever we are asked!). Just wait and you will find a local boat to Rumberpon or to Wasior (you can negotiate to be dropped where you want to). No fixed schedule and don't forget to bargain!
In Rumberpon, there's a beach called Anieri. The beach is very nice but there's nothing to see in the water. For beach freaks only (you can sleep in local huts, bring your food). Some corals near Jembekiri Village (where most likely you will arrive with the boat from Ransiki).
Biak Island: the Padaido group nearby is famous among snorkeling freaks but locals are totally spoilt and will try (once more) to charge crazy prices. But if you are patient you will get local boats. Agree a price before and make clear that you don't want to charter. For the closer Padaidos, boats are from Bosnik (more boats on market days), just go there in the morning and see what's going on. For the far padaidos boats from "Kehutanan" (near Mapia Hotel, ask your way. It's on the street in front of the Mapia Hotel (cross the main road before), then, when the street forks, take on your left and then on your right, between houses, in direction of the beach. Beware that many people will tell you bullshits and try to mislead you so that you have to charter their boats). Go one day in advance, meet a "kapten" who goes there for his own business the next day and ask if you can go with him. Haggle like hell!!! (pak, mau ikut, tapi tidak mau charter, mau ikut sebagai penumpang biasa = sir, i want to go with you, but i don't want to charter, i want to do it as a normal passenger). There are some bungalows in the Padaidos but i forgot the names of the places (sorry!). Ask the tourist office in Biak. I have been to one in the far Padaido, the island was nice (orchids growing on the trees) but the coral was crap (there was a island nearby, reachable by paddling boat, where it was ok though, on the left part). Avoid the registration in the village in the island before the one where are the bungalows as they will ask for 50000 rps. For what? They themselves don't know! Anyway if you are obliged to go there, just refuse to pay. That's what i did, no worries! Many places have been bombed in the Padaidos, so you will have to search for intact ones... There's another island near Biak, but it's not part of the Padaidos and there the snorkeling is GREAT. You can sleep by the head of the village. Ask in Biak town...
Around Yapen Island (Serui harbour), a lot has been bombed but there are still some good spots. Look around. There's in particular a nice one, with nice landscape and super friendly locals, in a small village near Serui. Around Pulau Ambai (sometimes called Arumbai or Anumbai) most of the coral has been bombed, but it's a nice boat trip around the many islands of this small archipelago offshore of Serui.
Forget it! The only spot is at Lovina, it's not very nice and they want crazy prices for boat trips. There may be some spots around Nusa Lembongan or Nusa Penida, if you feel like exploring, but i am not sure that it's worth...
The Gili Islands are very touristy. In Gili Air, there was a nice spot on
the east coast, but i heard that it has been destroyed by anchorage since the time where i was
there (1997). Check...
The only spot is around Moyo Island. I was only on the south coast
where the forestry office runs a guesthouse (when i was there there was no
Around Labuanbajo, almost everything has been
bombed, including the spots listed in the guide books and Rinca. There are 2 islands with
East of Flores:
Many good spots on the islands east of Flores, around Pantar, Alor, Pura... There's a guesthouse in Kepa island (15 kms from Kalabahi, Alor's main town).It costs 75000 rps full board but it may increase in the next few months. The corals around Kepa are quite good on the south east, south and south west coasts, but beware of the currents. Read the old comments book at the guesthouse (don't miss the map drawn by my friend Frank) for more snorkeling spots in nearby Pura, Ternate, Pantar.
Backpacker's Tips : Marc, Canada (Dec 02)
I am a backpacker like you and I am not sponsored by anyone. I meant these snorkeling files as an help to my fellow travelers. If you follow them you will save some money, time and energy. So in return it would be nice to send some updates. If you have been to some remote places that are not listed here, it's always nice to get some info Let's share the underwater beauty of Indonesia! Thanks in advance. Fabrice.