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“Amazing, wonderful, fantastic, perfect in every way”
Review of Sorido Bay Resort

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Sorido Bay Resort
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed October 4, 2012

My three daughters and I stayed on thjis ownderful island for just 7 days - we wish it had been for much longer. Everything about it was amazing, from the welcome to the ambiance, the food, the staff and the diving. We could not have wished for anything better.

It is a very long journey to get to Sorido but the benefit of that is that you literally dont see anything or anyone else apart from the odd local fishing boat for the entire time you are there. The dive sites are pristine and will be kept that way if Max, Jimmy and Julia have anything to do with it. The variety of corals, fish and sea life that is there to see is second to none and you are guaranteed to be the only boat at the dive site every time.

The staff are all local apart from the managers and they are just so happy to make you feel welcome and do everything to make your stay perfect in every way. The food is extrememely good - all local and freshly cooked. Service is very laid back and friendly. Dont go to drink alcohol because along with all other remote dive locations in this area, it is hard to come by and expensive but soft drinks are very reasonable and there is an unlimited supply of free tea and coffee at all times of the day, including delicious free cookies and other snacks.

The Managers, Jimmy and Julia are very committed to the conservation projects on the island started by Max. They are also committed to making sure their guests have an amazing time, both under and above the water. Nothing is too much trouble and by the end of our stay, we felt like part of the family. They put themselves out to dive with us most days and seemed to genuinely enjoy our company. We had a boat to ourselves and two guides and they were completely relaxed about timing for the trips according to our requests. Dinner is also a family affair and we were lucky enough to be joined by Max on a couple of the days and were able to share his stories and knowledge which we all found fascinating and most educational.

The Saturday non-diving day was not a rpoblem to us at all as we enjoyed relaxing with the staff and enjoying the sunshine. It is also possible to dive from the shore should you wish and any assistance for that is more than forthcoming.

I took a walk to the Kri Resort and thought it was beautiful. However, I was pleased to have the en-suite rooms at sorido and the hot water showerws. The rooms were excellent and thoughtfully equipped, all being just a very short walk to the main lounge and eating area. Torches are provided for your walk back at night and all rooms have a beachfront access as well as a boardwalk from the main area.

We found the boat transfers to be on time and reaonably well organised. They do plan to run their own boat and in time a sea plane from Sorong which would be amazing. I would definitely avoid staying in Sorong if possible - better travel overnight as we did because you can realax when you arrive rather than wasting a night there.

All in all - I cant think of one single fault and it is one of the very few places I would definitaly go back and visit for a longer period of time.

Thank you to everyone for such a fantastic time

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank hempsteadhouse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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81 - 87 of 119 reviews

Reviewed May 10, 2012

We stayed at the lovely Sorido Bay Resort for a few nights at the end of May. The resort is just over an hour's speedboat ride from the main local town of Sorong..so its close and accessable. Max, the owner, is a legend, he knows the area better than anyone, and is a true adventurer and great resource for local knowledge. We loved the food and dive masters Jimmy and Julia. I'd definitely stay there again, theres some amazing dive spots just near the resort..you wont be short of amazing diving at this great resort. Max will tell you some amazing stories hes been a part of during his time exploring Papua.
...and there were no mosquitos eating us alive at Sorido Bay.

  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled on business
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3  Thank thecameradude
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 19, 2012

I was surprised to be staying at Sorido Bay because I had made a booking at Kri Eco but was told on the boat to the island that I would be receiving a free upgrade because of renovations being done at Kri. Sorido Bay is a beautiful establishment and I was generally impressed with the accommodations, food, and diving operations. This is not to say, however, that all went smoothly. There is a severe lack of enthusiasm for making it easy for guests to pay and for getting the staff over to the island. Once at the resort, however, it is much smoother sailing.

Even before getting to Sorong, the booking process was a mess. Payment is expected in cash well in advance of arriving at the resort (25% deposit due at booking, remainder due 45 days in advance of your arrival date) and payment can only be made by wire transfer or bank transfer if you have an Indonesian account. The resort refuses to accept credit cards for bookings despite having credit card machines at both their office in Sorong and at the resort. I have been to many parts of the world found that virtually everyone accepts credit cards for bookings and payments and even if they didn't, they would not except you to pay such a large sum of money that far in advances before receiving service. Sorido/Kri's payment policies are absolutely ludicrous and, quite frankly, offensive, especially when they will accept a credit card to settle your account on departure but not for a booking. If you want to pay in certainly currency, make sure you specifically request and confirm twice that you have the correct bank account information. If you send EUR 1200 to the USD account instead of the EUR account, you will have to pay extra upon departure to make up for the whole amount not being received due to bank conversion rates. All of these problems can be easily resolved if they only accepted credit cards but they insist on hiding behind the "this is Indonesia" veneer.

Pickup from the hotel on Day 1 was a complete catastrophe. I was told to expect pickup between 8:00 and 9:00 AM. I checked out of my room for 8:00AM and waited patiently in the lobby until about 10:00AM. At that point, a lady who supposedly worked for the resort but who wore no identification, appeared to inform me that boats were leaving for Kri at 10:30AM and in the afternoon. I expressed interest in leaving sooner than later but the lady alternately appeared and disappeared until about 12:00 noon, only to inform me that I had missed the early boat and, along with another guest, I must go to their office to settle my bill. We got into a car and drive around town, eventually ending up in a residential neighbourhood. No signs identified their office but we went inside nevertheless only to wait 15 minutes for them to dig up our invoices. I had already paid the night before by wire transfer but I guess they needed me there in person to tell them that. We drove back to the hotel for lunch and finally managed to go out to the boat at 1:30pm, only 5.5 hours late. Aside from the docks being absolutely filthy with garbage and trash everywhere, the rest of the journey went smoothly, arriving at the resort around 4:00pm. A bit of a waste of the first day.

Rooms are private cabins with a deck that faces the beach. All very nice and well-appointed with a steady supply of hot water (so great after dives on days with miserable weather). The food at the restaurant was good and the service always came with a smile. No complaints there.

The diving operation ran smoothly and a big kudos to the dive guides and boat staff for always having the gear ready to go. We had to return once to the jetty to pick up a pair of fins but for the amount of diving we did, they had an excellent success rate. I find it a rather large coincidence that the supposed best dive sites of Raja Ampat happen to be closest to Kri which conveniently means very little expense in offering diving in from the resort (I don't mean to be excessively critical but have they really dived the ENTIRE Raja Ampat?). They have a strict 10km diving zone policy - if you want to go outside this zone, you need a minimum number of people (usually 4) and you will have to pay extra. Trips to Manta Point were definitely worth it and we had a trip to The Passage planned but when the day came, it was raining in the morning so the trip was cancelled. The Passage is only an hour away but the staff scrubbed the trip even though the weather was perfectly find from 10am onwards. I was really disappointed and was wondering if they might have been looking for an excuse to not run a trip out to The Passage since it would be more convenient to run trips closer to the resort. On that note, there are in excess of 30 dive sites around Kri but for some reason, we ended up repeating some of them in only 15 dives (South Kri and Cape Kri are favourites because they are close - not bad dives but not outstanding. Both located less than 500m from the resort). The quality of marine life is related to the level of human contact and despite the resort's claims of being eco-friendly, I did notice on several occasions gasoline and oil leaking from the boats at the jetty, dive guides urinating in the water off the jetty, and staff cleaning the boats and equipment with soap which was eventually washed into the water. Although well preserved, the coral and marine life around the resort is far from the pristine, untouched environment it is said to be. It would have been nice to see an effort to visit more untouched areas instead of doubling up on the closer dive sites. Beware the unlimited diving since you may get quantity but that comes at the expense of quality.

I understand that for religious reasons, the staff do not work on Saturdays. I was a little offended, however, that the package is marketed as a 7-night stay but given the late arrival, no working on Saturday, and an early departure on Sunday, it is more like a 5-day package. The no-working Saturdays are OK I suppose if you have an early flight home on Sunday but most people do not or decide to stay over in Sorong on Sunday night in hopes of doing some diving on Saturday. Something worth considering especially if you are looking at the unlimited diving. It's certainly not good value for a 7-night stay because you can only dive on 5 days and must do at least 18 dives to break even (that means 3 days of 4 dives per day).

On the Saturday, I took a walk over to Kri (15 minutes, a nice hike) to see how things were on the other side of the island. I was not that impressed with what I saw at Kri in terms of the quality of the accommodations given what is described on the website. They are basic to say the least. If you have a neighbour in your duplex, I can imagine that being a painful week since you can literally hear the person next door whispering (the rooms are by no means enclosed). Rooms have one plug so don't plan on plugging in a battery charger and a fan at the same time. I don't think I would have been that impressed if I had have stayed here.

Upon departure, the credit card machine was not working I needed to make a second visit to the office in Sorong. Not surprisingly, this required more driving around town, dropping off other guests, going to the office, and finally making our way back to my hotel. Part way to the hotel, the resort staff member asked the taxi driver to stop, exchanged some money with him, and asked if it was alright if I went back to hotel with just the driver. I guess the staff person couldn't be bothered to finish his day's work and wanted to be dropped off closer to his home. It seemed like all of the Papua Diving staff in Sorong were looking for every excuse to not do their jobs - providing incorrect invoices with incorrect banking information to neglecting guests at their hotels and bungling transportation arrangements to/from the hotels. It seemed to be all at their own convenience and left a hugely negative impression on my stay.

Despite the deficiencies, one person deserving a special mention is Ross, one of the dive guides and guest relations staff. It's too bad he didn't have an assistant because he was the go-to person for everything the guests needed and was always on the ball sorting out problems both large and small. I've never seen someone juggling so many things at the same time and doing such a great job of it. Well done!

All in all, an OK stay. Great facilities and great staff at the resort but don't let the impressions of your Sorong experience stay with you.

Thanks for the diving, there are some magnificent sights to be seen!

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled with friends
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20  Thank Ausiediver233
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 27, 2012

As a tour operator and trip leader, I am quite picky about the places I take my divers. Without fail, all of my divers said it was the best diving they had done anywhere in the world, hands down. I have to wholeheartedly agree. Even being there 6 weeks and logging just over 100 dives, it felt like I was just scratching the surface of what there was to see. There are plenty of dive sites within 15 minutes of the resort and a world class manta cleaning station just 30 minutes away. To update some of the other reviews, Max does have covers on all of the dive boats now. He has a great young couple overseeing the resort to make sure that quality control is done and the resort runs smoothly. Dive guides were knowledgeable and fun to be with even though communication in English was a bit difficult and it made for interesting dive briefings! It was a great way to learn Bahasa! Yes, there are still issues with "o" rings on the Nitrox tanks as some don't fit with the DIN inserts and this needs to be addressed.

Max, the owner, is a wealth of information and stories about Papua. Max discovered all the dive sites and knows more than anyone about the reefs, the culture and the people. If you want to learn from the pioneer, you need to come see Max. His zeal for his religion was kept in check during our month and a half long stay and there were only prayer meetings on Saturday mornings, never after dinner. It did not bother us nor any of our guests.


One change, we would like to see is Max's no diving on Saturday policy. After traveling halfway around the world, we didn't want to miss a day of diving and while you can dive off the dock, it's not nearly as good as on the reefs. Also, rooms were not cleaned on Saturday until after 6:30pm and sometimes not at all. We did feel that since the divers pay for every day, they should have all services every day.

The staff were amazing. They went out of their way for us, were very friendly and service oriented that is typical of Indonesian hospitality. Some even cried when we left. The entire staff came to the dining room to celebrate birthdays of the guests, singing, playing musical instruments and dancing.

The rooms were large and well air conditioned. They are tastefully done with genuine artifacts that Max has collected around the country. There are two room types and we preferred the Sentani over the Kaimana rooms (larger and more $). While the Kaimana rooms have a sitting room up front and bedroom in the back, I preferred to have the view and light from the bed. Showers are desalinated water so all of the salt is never completely out, something to note but it wasn't a bother. The outside back walls of the rooms need to be painted. A bit more shelf space would be nice in some of the rooms. Wifi is available in the dining room area and to my surprise it was fast. I could even Skype without any issues. If you stay in Sentani 1 room you can actually get the Wifi in your room. This is the only room it stretches to. There is a computer available to use in the gift shop at no charge.

The upstairs dining area is very communal which is fun for divers to gather and there are plenty of fish books to keep us guessing at what we saw. Meals were fresh and typical of the area, beef, chicken and fish and served buffet style. We loved the food and felt that we ate healthier than ever here, no heavy, saucy gut bulging stuff. Appetizers should be more varied, however, and less deep fried. I actually suggested a recipe for an appetizer and they made it for us! They always remembered our food allergies and cooked accordingly. Regarding the bar. Spirits are VERY expensive in the region so Max does not stock them. Wine is also VERY expensive so while he has some in stock, I wouldn't bother. Drink the local beer they sell and bring your own spirits or wine from duty free (only 1 bottle spirits/2 wine per person allowed in country). This is true wherever you go in the country.

Max's latest project is a deck at the water's edge for divers in between dives to relax without having to get out wetsuits. This will be a nice addition when it's done.

I highly recommend Sorido Bay Resort for the best diving in the world. Understand that it is a long trip to get there and there are simply some things that will be different due to the remote location. I would not recommend this place for non divers looking for a pampered spa type atmosphere. This is for the adventurous. I'll go back in a heartbeat.

Room Tip: Wifi stretches to Sentani 1 room and it is the closest to the action. All rooms are 2 steps from th...
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  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled on business
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8  Thank mantagirl1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 26, 2012

Exceeded all expectations. The accommodations are lovely, with large comfortable bed, air conditioning, and porch right on the ocean. The public areas are very attractive and conducive to post-dive conversation. Administration and staff are friendly and responsive to any request. Meals freshly prepared, healthy and tasty.
And the DIVING is all anyone could hope for and more. Everything that has been written about the Raja Ampat reefs and fish variety and abundance is true.
This place is remote and, in the interest of ecologic preservation, that's a good thing.

  • Stayed: February 2012, traveled with friends
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5  Thank DMM537
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 16, 2012

Well, I have owed Sorido bay this review for quite some time now Last year with new flight from Manado and also I guess due to some positive changes in resort management I could fit Sorido bay into my travel plans and actually visit it having to spend only one night in Sorong on the way from Manado.
PROS: The trip was full of surprises, I expected to see a less than average resort with 5 star diving as the ony excuse to stay there. But I absoutely fell in love with the resort itself - beautiful settings, tranquility, nice and spacious rooms. Food was basic but really good, nothing to complain about and much better than what you usually get at Lembeh resorts. New managers - Johny and Julia are amazing, they seem to be perfect fit for the resort and I only hope Max can keep them there for a long time, if they stay there, then hopefully customer service prolems experienced by me and some others will become a non-issue. Johny and Julie seem to understand how to build relationshp with the guests quite well, at least on my trip they couldn't be more helpful and caring.
Max, the owner, was indeed present at the table for every meal but at least during our stay I've never heard him talking about God, singing religious anthems or doing anything that could make me, an atheist, feel uncomfortable.
CONS: The internet access was there only part time, often it wasn't availale but I guess they were planning to change ISP. Well, for a remote island that's understandable.
Surprisingly diving was somewhat disappointing. While generally it was great, I expected more. Probably marketing hype about Raja Ampat increased my expectations too much. Very good for mid-size fish and hard coral but very poor macro comparing to just anywhere else I dived in Indonesia and less than average for soft coral (Bangka wins in terms of soft coral easily). For larger fish - reef sharks on every dive, napoleons, wobbegong sharks and that's about it. Manta dive was amazing, 5 mantas staing really close (one could touch them) for the whole dive.
Also the area is heavily over-dived, we almost never were the only divers on the site, numerous liveaboards and smaller boats from nearby resorts were always there.
Dive guides weren't the best I've had, dives sometimes weren't planned the best possible way, ie we were dropped on the wrong side of cape Kri and instead of drifting towards fish action on it's tip drifted in the opposite direction.
Also I wish Sorido got better transfer boats, getting back on one of there "flat bottom" boats when there were some waves was literally a painful experience.
I want to return to Raja Ampat but I'll probably do it on liveaboard to increase diversity of dive sites. But I'll try to plan my trip so that I could spend a few days after the liveaboard at Sorido Bay to have another chance to enjoy it's tranquility.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with friends
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6  Thank dancing_shiva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 3, 2011

If you're looking for a first class diving experience go to Raja Ampat. Sorido Bay Resort offers the best diving in this region. It's remote and for some people maybe to remote but I would certainly give it a try, you definitely won't be disappointed. The fact that it's remote guarantees unspoiled coral, in astonishing amounts and variety. You'll see loads of fish not just a few, you don't have to search for them that's for sure. But also the small stuff can be found, the dive guides for certain will find them for you. They are very helpful and always smiling!

The Resort has very nice beach bungalows with lots of space, privacy and stunning views. The food is good, especially the fresh fish, witch was brought to the resort by local fisherman, was excellent. Maybe a bit more variety would be better if you stay more than two weeks. That's the only but I have.

The resort is owned by Max Ammer, who is a real character. He knows everything about WOII in this part of the world and if you like wreck diving, there are many airplane wrecks to explore in this area. He knows where to find them! What I liked about his way of doing business here is the fact that he only or mostly works with local people: the Papua's. Education is important in this aspect and to develop and in the same time conserve this part of Papua you really need pioneers like him.

You get spoiled in such a lovely place where we had the privileged to stay three weeks.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Nico1962_01_04
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Sorido Bay Resort

Address: Kri Island, Raja Ampat 98413, Indonesia
Location: Indonesia > West Papua > Raja Ampat
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 52 Specialty Lodging in Raja Ampat
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Sorido Bay Resort 3.5*
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Upscale Dive resort based on the private island of Kri. Located in the centre of Northern Raja Ampat with the famous Cape Kri as a house reef.Top quality diving and bird watching. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Sorido Bay Hotel Supiori Island

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