WHO ARE THE TRIPS FOR?
Almost anybody can join our trips, but you have to manage the heat, sun and high humidity. We hope that you have some experience of paddling a kayak for several hours in one go and some experience of camping if you join our 2-week trips with accommodation in base camps. If you choose to join a trip with accommodation in homestays you only have to manage a bit simpler accommodation than at home.
VACCINATIONS & HEALTH
You will have to fill in our questionnaire about your health and possible medications before the trip. This is vital information for the guides in the unlikely event that something would happen to you during the trip. Misool is isolated and far from hospitals and any health care of western standard. Also check your teeth so you don’t get dental problems on the trip.
Always consult your doctor about the vaccinations needed before you travel.
- We recommend you to vaccinate against Hepatitis A+B and maybe also Japanese Encephalitis (especially if you are visiting other places in Indonesia before kayaking with us).
- Raja Ampat is a risk area for malaria but it is not common. We still do recommend malaria prevention drugs. You may want to try different kinds of prevention drugs at home before travelling so you know if the medication gives you bad side effects. It is highly individual how the drugs affect you.
- Avoiding mosquito bites is the only protection available against dengue fever, so bring protective clothing and a good insect repellent.
- You should also consider typhoid vaccine and cholera vaccine (the cholera vaccine may also protect you against “tourist diarrhea)
- Please check that your tetanus shot is valid.
You can read more here: More about vaccinations at Stay Raja Ampat
Hand hygiene is crucial while traveling in Raja Ampat. Be wary of uncooked food and fruit without a skin.
Our guides carry a huge medicine kit and first aid kit with them on every trip. We also have medication that work for several tropical diseases, stomach problems, skin problems, wounds, bites and so on. It is however important that you carry sufficient amounts of any specific medications you require, and that you make sure that you are allowed to bring them to Indonesia.
Emergency plan & evacuation
We have a emergency plan that is constantly updated. If a participant needs to be instantly evacuated we can use a speedboat transport to hospital in Sorong. The evacuation can also be done by the express ferry if the ferry departs that day (only 3 days per week). You should be aware of that it is difficult to arrange a quick evacuation from Misool to Sorong. Count with 12 hours if we get a speedboat from Sorong and the timetable fot the express ferry is not matching. If we have a real acute need for evacuation then a speedboat is the only more reliable option. The possibility to get a helcopter is close to zero. A helicopter is also most likely not faster than a speedboat. There was one emergency recently (October 2019) when a person trekking alone on Misool had problems and sent a SOS, but no helicopter could fly in for several days! There are also very few places to land, except on the villages soccer fields. Beaches are few and too small/narrow and too close to trees. There is one local village doctor for non-emergency cases.
The guides have first aid training, and one has military expedition training of emergency and evacuation.
THE SUN & SUNSCREEN
The sun is really strong close to the Equator so make sure to bring a bottle of good sunscreen. Use coral-proof sunscreen or sunscreen safe for marine life. Check that the products contain no oxybenzone or octino oxate as these destroy coral and damage marine life. Products with nano zinc are considered bad for the health. We recommend the brand Aethic sôvée 40 without pigment, or other products with pure titanium oxide/zinc oxide as sunscreen. We have used Aethic sôvée 40 for several seasons and it has been very good, long-lasting and water resistant. It is used by surfers and is not greasy, oily or sticky and does not leave white residue on clothes etc.
Aethic sôvée spf 40 https://aethic.com/product/aethic-sovee-40spf/
You should also protect yourself from the sun by protective clothing with long sleeves and trousers with long legs. A good shading hat is also recommended. More about clothing see PERSONAL EQUIPMENT and CLOTHING AND CULTURE.
PASSPORT & VISA
Make sure that your passport is still valid for more than 6 months when you enter Indonesia. Persons from the EU will get a visa for 30 days free at the border. That is also the case for citizens of 140 countries including UK, Switzerland, Norway, USA, Australia, Canada and New Zealand. Note that you cannot extend the free entry stamp beyond a 30-day stay. In case you intend to stay in Indonesia for longer than 30 days you must purchase a Visa on arrival which is valid for 30 days and may be extended once for a further 30 days. An alternative is to apply for a Tourist Visa at your local Indonesian embassy before traveling (for a 60-day stay, and it can be extended twice by 30 days). We advice you to check all details with the Indonesian embassy in you country as the regulations can change with short notice.
You need to have a valid travel insurance that will cover you during kayaking abroad in case you for example get sick, get in an accident or loose your gear or luggage. We have no insurances for our guests, so it is important that you make sure you are properly insured before your trip. We will require proof of your insurance prior to your departure.
You will get a more detailed equipment list before the trip.
- Sunhat or tropical hat
- Dark sunglasses
- Water pouch for our PFD backpack. A 1,5 liter pouch is the best size, maximum 2 l pouch. The alternative is several plastic water bottles.
- Paddle gloves (short or full cover)
- Tropical clothing, covers all if needed
- Swimming clothing, covers all if needed
- Eventual light rain jacket
- Coral shoes for kayaking/swimming (Camaro Coral Sea is a good one)
- Sandals, flip flop, Crocs or similar shoes (optional)
- Ventilated jogging shoes or toe protected sandals for trekking (Keen H20 is a good brand)
- Seat pad for the kayak seat if you want to sit more comfortably
- Small waterproof bag for clothes and personal things like books, electronics etc.
- Headlamp (gladly with rechargeable AA or AAA batteries)
- Snorkelling gear
- Travel towel for swimming or snorkelling (normal towel provided by the homestay)
- Toilet bag with personal hygiene/tooth care/medicines etc.
- Coral and marine safe sunscreen IMPORTANT: no oxybenzone or octinoxate
- Mosquito agents
- Malaria prophylaxis
- Water bottles (if you don’t have a water pouch for the PFD)
- Fishing equipment if you want to fish
If you join a trip with accommodation i base camps you also need these items:
- IKEA FRAKTA, 2-3 blue trunk bags with zipper. You need them for transporting the equipment out to Misool, for storing your equipment at camp and in the kayak. Also usable as a big backpack
- Pillow with pillowcase
- Silk sheet travel set e.g. Sea to Summit with stretch inserts fitting Exped LXW mattress (197x77x12 cm)
- Flight blanket or similar e.g. IKEA VITMOSSA
- Cutlery, for example a long spoon by Sea to Summit or other brand
- Plates for fish/rice and breakfast
- Water bags/containers total 15-20 liters (only needed if the trip is unsupported).
The kayaks we will be using during the trips are polyethylene Whisky 16 versions from Swedish Point 65. We also have Point 65 day trip tandem Doubloon in polyethylene for boat-supported trips.
For the season 2020/2021 we will add some composite kayaks. We have a few larger Whisky 18, they suit tall people over 1,95 cm / (6 ft 4 in) well. We will also have the fun tandem version DoubleShot for couples and families. This larger tandem is as close you can get to a single kayak. A few small Cappuccino-kayaks suitable for small or young people are also available. All kayaks are designed by Nigel Foster except the Doubloon.
The paddles are lightweight paddles (Point 65 SuperTourer, Nigel Foster GS, Kayak Sport Sea Touring, Epic Mid Wing full carbon etc.). We will also get some Greenland paddles by Gear Lab for the season 2020/2021.
The good quality PFDs are designed by Nigel Foster and have a pocket for a water pouch and several pockets for radios, cameras etc. We have PFDs of 3 different sizes. The spray skirts are all nylon with an adjustable waistband.
We have GMRS-radios for all participants fitting the PFD-pocket. The guides have combo WHF-radios to ensure good communication and guiding while kayaking.
There are no other good usable maps for Misool except satellite maps. No GPS-maps, or sea charts can be used, as they are far too inaccurate. If you want to print out some maps, you should use satellite maps. See for example Google Earth, or for better color and contrast the Apple Maps (choose satellite). Take screen pictures of the island chain in Apple, or print straight from Google earth, which is easier. We can send you a drop box link for satellite maps we have prepared for you. You have to take your own map case with you.
CLOTHING AND CULTURE
West Papua is not a very strict Muslim area. Female participants don’t have to cover more than at home, and our Muslim kayak guides are used to ”Swedish nudity” already. Please do not change clothes and expose yourself on the boat or at the beaches. Bikini/shorts are ok while camping and in Sorong normal summer clothes are fine just like at home.
OUR GUIDES AND ASSISTANTS
We have the best kayak guides in the world, and you will love them too! Our two Indonesian kayak guides speak excellent English. They are young, very experienced kayakers and guides and well accustomed to western participants. One or both will lead the trips, depending on how many participants the trips have. On some trips guest guides will join them. Nigel Foster and his wife Kristin Nelson join on 2-3 trips every year. The Swedish adventurer Sören Kjellkvist will also guide yearly trips for us in March and April. Nicklas Millegård, who is the founder of Millekul Adventures, will also guide some trips. Read more about all the guides on the page ABOUT US.
The guides always take the final decisions about the route depending on weather and other circumstances. The guides negotiate with the local people and answer all your questions. Do not hesitate to inform the guides if you have some health matters during the trip that need attention.
We also have assistants from the local villages. They kayak and help putting up the camps, making food, cleaning equipment and other things necessary.
Please respect that the Indonesian guides and assistants may sometimes take a few moments to make a prayer.
Internet and phones
Signal strength is excellent in the areas around Sorong. At the hotels in Sorong there are normally WiFi that mostly works well. At the ferry half way out to Misool the 4G network will be gone. In Misool you can get 3G in some villages, but mostly slow GPRL signal or no signal at all. There is in other words no need to buy a local SIM card for you phone, unless you are planning to stay a longer time in Raja Ampat or other parts of Indonesia.
Telkomsel is currently the only network provider in Raja Ampat. Telkomsel markets a variety of SIMs, but the most common prepaid ones are branded SIMPATI and HALO. HALO is data only.
The guides have 2 satellite phones with them on the trips. You will get the numbers for the phones before the trip in case your family or friends need to contact you (only for sending messages, no calls). If you want to send an sms or call out its possible with an additional cost of 0,50 USD per each sms and 2 USD/minute for a voice call.
MONEY & ATMs
You don’t need much cash unless you are drinking a lot of beer and buying many souvenirs. Almost everything is included in the price for the 2-week trips. So with one ATM withdrawal of 2,5 million IDR you manage well for the start of the trip.
There are many reliable ATMs in Sorong that work with Visa and MasterCard. You should use ATMs that give you 100 000 IDR bills, with a withdrawal of maximum 2,5 million IDR. Make sure that there is a sign that stating 100 000 Rp. The ATM will work in English when you enter a foreign card. Our guides can assist you if you need help. You can also withdraw money in ATMs in Jakarta or Makassar.
A beer at the hotel costs 70-80 000 IDR, at a restaurant about 50 000-60 000 IDR for 330 ml. At a Supermarket around 25 000-28 000 IDR per 330 ml. Add 10 000 more for a bigger 500 ml beer at a restaurant and 5 000-7000 more at a Supermarket. The cost for drinks is the same in shops and restaurants.
SOUVENIRS & WHAT TO BUY
Souvenirs in Misool as necklace figures in mother of pearl are about 200 000 IDR each. We sell special designed kayak figure necklaces, ask our guides if you want to know more. Sarongs has been a popular souvenir in the Misool villages and they are from 50 000 IDR each. You can also buy extra snacks, biscuits and cold drinks in the village kiosks, those cost around 10 000 IDR each.
In Sorong, T-shirts and traditional Papua bags are around 100-150 000 IDR each. Necklaces of shell etc. 40-50 000 IDR. Lovely Papuan Batik shirts costs from 250 000 to 400 000 IDR. They also sell nice skirts, blouses, dresses or table cloths with the same papuan batik patterns. You can also buy loose fabric per meter. A machete costs 150 000 to 200 00 IDR. Of course there are much more expensive souvenirs like crocodile bags or pearl necklaces etc . On the last day of the 2-week trips we will also go to the local market. In the local market you can find almost anything. Please do not buy souvenirs made of any endangered species.
The guides and assistants have fair salaries and do not expect tips. An extra gift is still always appreciated if you like their work. You can also tip the boatmen with 100 000 Rp each (1-2 of them) if you want to. Tips should be paid in rupiah because there are limited possibilities to exchange foreign currency in Raja Ampat.
GIFTS TO THE SCHOOL CHILDREN
On some of the trips we will visit local Muslim or Christian villages. The schools there have limited budgets and lack many things for the school. They have especially asked us if we could help them with sports equipment and English books with pictures for the smallest children 6 to 8 years old. Other kinds of school equipment (world maps, pencils, skipping ropes etc.) is also appreciated.
ACCOMODATION ON THE TRIP
Hotel and homestays
If you join a 2-week trip, or have bought the extra Sorong-package, you will stay two nights at a very comfortable hotel in Sorong (Delux Rooms). The rooms are for 2 persons (max 3 persons with an extra bed). A single supplement is added in case you do not want to share a room.
In Misool we will stay, depending on the trip, at 4 different homestays. The homestays are traditional build houses, with beds or bunk beds, and shared bathrooms with a squat toilet and fresh water in a tank for showering. Panun paradise is situated on an island and Yapap homestay is built completely over the water and has no beach. We also use 2 other homestays during the 2-week trip with accommodation at homestays only. The homestay owners provide the guests with a basic breakfast, lunch and dinner. The meals are traditional with rice, fish or chicken, eggs and maybe some fruits and vegetables.
The base camps
You who join a trip with accommodation in base camps, will also spend nights in different base camps on the beaches. In the base camps we sleep on 12 cm thick Expeed basecamp mattresses (197×77 cm) in Hilleberg mesh tents with tarps as rain cover. In the tents we have a fan, and a battery that you can also use for charging your phones and small electronics as cameras. We charge the large batteries in the tents with marine solar panels. The toilet and shower is located in the forest near the camp. We eat Lyofood high quality freeze-dried food or/and buy fish and seafood from the local fishermen if possible. You will also get coffee, tea, eggs, snacks and fruits. We use several high capacity Primus gas stoves for boiling water and frying fish etc.
WATER ON THE TRIP
We provide all drinking water during the trips. Most of the drinking water is bought from a local water plant in five-gallon tanks and it is filtered and UV-treated. At base camp in the jungle we use Katadyn-filters to clean the fresh water from a spring in the forest. We provide you with one small refillable water bottle. We do not buy any other single use water bottles due to environmental reasons.
Do not drink the water from the tap at the hotel or at any restaurant or homestay.
LEAVE NO TRACE & NO WASTE
We aim to minimize the amount of waste we produce on our trips. All waste that we produce while at base camp and at the homestays, and all the rubbish that we can manage to pick up while paddling, is transported to our home base on the island of Panun. We collaborate with Bank Sampah Sorong Raya (Waste Bank), to organize our waste. Every month their rangers will pick up our sorted waste from Panun. The waste is transported to Sorong and sorted and treated properly. The only things we leave behind are footprints in the sand and photos on our memory cards!
ELECTRONICS AND HOW TO CARE FOR THEM
Electronic equipment, like cameras and mobile phones, can be badly damaged by the salty water, high humidity and the sand. We recommend using waterproof cameras only in the kayaks. They should be thoroughly rinsed in fresh water if used while snorkeling or kayaking. Consider bringing a separate waterproof bag for the camera and some silicon packs to dry out the moist that can get in the camera. All electronic equipment, and the batteries we provide for you during the trips, should always be stored in waterproof bags when not used.
Raja Ampat has so much life under the surface and is one of the best places to snorkel in the whole world! You need to bring your own snorkelling equipment (mask and fins) if you want to snorkel. We have time to snorkel at least once a day. The snorkelling is best during the 4 first days of the trip. Sometimes we can jump in straight from the kayak.
Although your chances of encountering truly dangerous creatures on land are very low, you should always be careful while exploring. Never touch any spiders, crabs, octopuses or snakes if you happen to encounter one.
Walking barefoot: If you’re exploring sand flats or limestone reefs at low tide you should never be barefoot. There are lots of animals like stingrays and stonefish lying concealed in the shallows waiting for the water to return.
Saltwater crocodiles: We kayak up in the mangroves of the jungle of Misool and there is a small possibility to encounter some small saltwater crocodiles. We are however very careful and do never swim in the mangroves.
Sea snakes: Sea snakes can be seen while snorkeling and although some are exceedingly venomous, they are not aggressive. Stay calm and don’t make the snake feel threatened too, everything will be ok.
Snakes: We have hardly ever encountered any snakes in Misool, but it is always good to be careful while walking in the jungle.
Stinging jellyfish: During all our trips we have only once had a case of a box jellyfish stinging a person standing in a shallow lagoon, so box jellyfish are not common in Misool. We are equipped with hot water and vinegar and can treat possible burns if this happens again. Covering clothes while snorkeling is a good protection against stinging jellyfish.
PROBLEMS, DELAYS & QUESTIONS
Problems at the last minute?
Contact Millekul Adventures on +46 72 540 2131