Pulau Pef in Raja Ampat – Dream Island at the end of the world

Pulau Pef aerial view

Aerial view of Pulau Pef from the top of Mount Pef

It’s already four weeks since we arrived on the island called Pef. And we’re still taken aback by the beauty of this little paradise. But let’s start at the beginning.

After we finished our road trip around Australia we returned to Switzerland in November. We spent three months in Switzerland and enjoyed being with our families and friends and started the New Year in winter wonderland. In February it was time to say goodbye to Switzerland once more and start a new adventure. We are moving to Pulau Pef, a small island far away from everything.

Pulau Pef

Welcome to Pulau Pef

Welcome to Pulau Pef in Raja Ampat

Pulau Pef is an island in West Papua and the area is called Raja Ampat. By the way, Pulau means island in the local Indonesian language. Scuba divers know Raja Ampat as one of the most beautiful places on earth for diving. That is for a reason. Raja Ampat is in the coral triangle and therefore a place with the richest reefs and a huge diversity of marine life. We did some dives already and what we have seen so far does not need a lot of words to describe. WOW! Amazing! Beautiful!

Sunset on Pulau Pef

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We now totally understand why Raja Ampat is on top of divers to see list.

Discovering the area on a kayak

From now on we love Mondays! Do you wonder why? Monday is our day off.

Time to explore the island. We’re starting with a kayak tour and we explore the mangrove forests on the back side of Pulau Pef. First of all we want to see the „Hidden Lake“. On the way there we do a little side trip into the mangroves. It’s totally quiet here and we feel as we are the only humans on earth. It’s a special atmosphere.

The sea is calm and flat as a pancake. There is no wind at all and we are lucky to have perfect conditions for kayaking.

Kayaking in the mangroves

We explore the area and mangrove forests around Pef by kayak

We paddle along karst outcrops and we are amazed about the landscape. In Raja Ampat the rainforest meets the sea. The weather is changing between sunshine and clouds. But to be honest, we are happy that there are some clouds. Otherwise it would be quite hot in the kayak. After an hour it starts to rain, what a great feeling to feel the freak of nature.

Karst formation in Raja Ampat

The karst formations in Raja Ampat look like mushrooms

Finally we get to the “Hidden Lake“. It’s quite spectacular because we are paddling through a small passage and it feels like we’re on a small river until suddenly it opens up and we’re in the middle of a lake surrounded by rain forest.

Kayak tour

Great atmosphere in the mangroves and crystal clear water

On the way back we paddle along karst rocks and mangroves. Some areas are so shallow that we can see corals in all the details. No need to go snorkelling as we can see everything from above without getting wet.

Arborek Island

The diving trips in the morning are normally 2-Tank dives. After the first dive we stop on an uninhabited island and enjoy the surface interval with a snack and a tea or cappuccino. After the relaxing break we’re ready to do a second dive.

Raja Ampat beach

Coffee break on an uninhabited island in Raja Ampat

Sometimes we also stop on a local island for the coffee break, for example on Arborek.

Kids in Arborek

The Papuan kids love to play close to the water

This local island is close to the Manta spot. Arborek is a model village in West Papua. The roads are clean and well maintained. There is a school, a church and a few shops with drinks and a few things to buy on the island as well as the organisation Barefoot who is leading voluntary projects in the area.

Arborek Main Road

Main road on Arborek island

The landmass of Arborek is about 7 ha and 150 families are living on this small island. We’re walking along the main street of Arborek. It’s quite interesting to see how people live but this is not the typical Papuan village. We may visit other local island in the future to compare. We for sure will write about it on our blog.

House on Arborek

Ordinary house on Arborek, a Papuan village in Raja Ampat

We have one hour only to explore Arborek. Time flies but we’re coming back soon.

Jetty in Arborek

View from the beach in Arborek

Full-day diving trip to Fam Island

A very popular or probably one of the best trips in Raja Ampat is a full-day trip to Fam island. Not only because of the diving but also because of the amazing view from the top of a small mountain. In this blog post we share some first impressions but we will write more about it later on our blog.

Fam is a group of islands in Raja Ampat and if you have seen pictures of Raja Ampat, it could be that it was this view.

Fam island view

Beautiful view from the platform on Fam Island

When we arrived with the boat we had to climb some stairs. It’s quite a climb but it’s easy as it is a proper wooden stair up to the platform. And the view… beyond words.

We travelled a lot and we have seen a lot in our lives. But this is breathtaking!

That’s the landscape above water. The world underwater has also a lot to offer. We dove at Melissa’s Garden and Magic Blue both spectacular dive sites. We tell you more about it later as it would not fit into one blog post.


Which Indonesian island or island group is your favourite? What would you love to see in Indonesia? Or do you have anything you want to add in our comments? We’d love to hear your stories and travel tips.


2 thoughts on “Pulau Pef in Raja Ampat – Dream Island at the end of the world

  1. Many thanks for sharing. I have been to Indonesia 22 times and once to Raja Ampat. Have booked my 23rd trip for 2017 in which I will mostly stay in Papua and for sure to Raja Ampat again. Your information is very useful. Have signed for your newsletters. Have fun, and be safe!!

    • Thanks for your message. Wow, you’ve been to Indonesia 22 times.

      It’s such a big and varied country with so much to see. We wish you an amazing time in Papua and Raja Ampat. It’s a wonderful place on earth.

      Safe travels,


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