If you follow us on Instagram, you probably saw that we ended our beautiful trip on Raja Ampat’s islands by 4 little days on Arborek.
Many of you asked us if it is worth it to go there as Arborek is really tiny. So small that you can walk the beaches all the way around it in about 30 minutes. Unlike the larger surrounding islands, Arborek is a sand cay. It’s a low, flat island, and is at risk of inundation from sea level rise, but it supports a village courtesy of the fresh groundwater beneath it, the abundance of the ocean and the island’s coconut palms.
There’s no jungle and associated wildlife on Arborek and no Birds of Paradise – the ocean is the big drawcard here.
BUT, If you’re looking to stay near a village that has better than average amenities, Arborek is a good choice. Arborek Village is a pretty village that has small restaurants and shops that sell beers and cold drinks.
Arborek is firmly on the Indonesian domestic tourism map, and is a stopover on the way to nearby Piaynemo, so the village and jetty are often quite busy, especially during Indonesian public holidays. Cultural performances are frequently staged in the village. The Papuan music and dance add to the noise and colour, but Arborek homestays are located on the beaches at the periphery of the village and afford quiet refuge if you need it.
Arborek is the closest village to the famed Manta dive and snorkelling sites, and is also well located for visits to Gam Bay and the karst island panoramas and dive sites of Piaynemo.
Plus, if you need a good internet connexion, you are in the right place ! Arborek has its own tower which transmits a strong 4G signal. Data connections are good. (Note that the tower is powered by the village generator, fuel for which is sometimes unavailable. When that happens, the tower goes offline. Fortunately, we did not experience this situation).
OUR HOMESTAY IN ARBOREK
As for every islands we stayed on, we booked our homestay on www.stayrajaampat.com. We took Kalabia Homestay as it was one of the highest rated and it was in our prices (350K rupiah per person/per night).
What a surprise when we discovered that it was one of the best homestay of the island ! All the people we met could’nt stop saying “Wow, is this your homestay? It is so much better than mine! How much do you pay? Oh and it is less expensive than mine!!”. We were so lucky.
It is the only bungalows of the island above the water, and it is very new! The size is the same as all the bungalows we had, with a balcony, but the novelty is that we had a fan in the room (we did not even use it since where we were exposed, there was always a nice cool breeze).
Plus, the food was absolutely delicious ! If we had to rank all the homestays in which we stayed on the criterion of food, the Kalabia Homestay wins the Golden Palm hands down! That said, we had a lot of luck concerning our homestays. Quality and variety of food was always there. (We even saw a Walking Shark just in front of our Bungalow !)
We absolutely wanted to book a dive to see the mantas. Indeed, we had been told that there were several spots near Arborek where it was possible to see mantas. We were advised to visit the Dive Shop on the island to book the dive, but the owner was not on there during our stay… A little disappointed, we gave up the idea of seeing the mantas.
And guess what ? We met (the exact same day) an Austrian girl in the homestay nearby (the Manta Homestay) who told us that she would like to do a snorkeling tour to see the mantas but she has no one to accompany her. We immediately said yes !
This is Roy, the man who takes care of the Manta homestay, that took us (for 100K rupees per person/about 6 euros) to see the mantas. We found out that he was actually an expert in mantas since generations. He knows the area like his pocket! He even dived with us and guided us throughout the tour.
We can tell you that it is maybe the most beautiful excursion we made at Raja Ampat. We remained speechless. We saw A DOZEN of mantas passing by, above, below us … A daydream. Roy really know how to guide and showed us beautiful landscapes. The whole day after that, we were overcrowded with what we had just experienced. Real kids. Impossible to go back down to earth!
If you go through Arborek, make sure to go see Roy at Manta Homestay and ask him to take you to the mantas!
Learn more in related article: 10 days in Kri Island