Kri is one of the most popular islands of Raja Ampat due to the “Lonely Planet effect.” Although small, this narrow, forested island with long, silky beaches is bustling with life and record-breaking, dream-like coral reefs. Imagine a beach that only exists for a few hours a day. Imagine separate beaches that appear next to each other and disappear shortly after. Welcome to Pasir Timbul (arising sand) – concealed patches of paradise off Kri island, that emerge triumphantly out of the ocean when the tide is low. No wonder, the best walks on Kri island are along the coastlines during those special moments when the sea surrenders.
Despite Kri island being one of the most accessible and busiest islands in Central Raja Ampat, you will not be disappointed upon arrival. There is a high concentration of home-stays with decks that stretch out over the ocean. Due to the high density of home-stays, pre-booking is unnecessary, and most home-stays accept check-in upon arrival. However, tourism is dense; therefore, if you are looking for the quietest experience possible, book a home-stay on the southern coast of Kri or nearby on Mansuar island. Incredible snorkeling and scuba diving are made possible at each home-stay, and meals are prepared from freshly caught fish. Kri is a very tranquil island, with little entertainment inland except for small resorts.
There is one of Raja Ampat’s iconic dive sites on the southwest of Kri island – Cape Kri. Divers love Cape Kri for its consistency in producing schools of reef fish; it holds the world record for the number of fish species recorded in a single dive – 374! This sprawling cape reaches from the eastern tip of Kri to the sandbank of Pasir Timbul and is pure heaven for snorkelers and divers. With persistence, you can expect to find: barracuda, jacks, snappers, rays, sharks, turtles, and grouper. Currents are known to be active off of Cape Kri, so be sure to wear fins and go for multiple dives to appreciate this rare location of extreme biodiversity fully.
There are no human-made trekking routes on Kri island, and terrain can be tough, so if you plan to hike to see exotic birds, plan on wearing sturdy shoes. However, there is one path that leads to a startling lookout. The lookout on Kri Island makes for spectacular views of neighboring Mansuar Island and the Dampier Strait, speckled with the ridges of Batanta in the south and reaching across to Gam, Friwen, and Waigeo to the north. If you stay for sunset, make sure to have a headlamp and flashlights for the journey back, and you will want to wear durable shoes. There are also no birds-of-paradise to be found on Kri island, but there is no shortage of birdlife and reptiles.
Sardine Reef is quite simply one of the best dives in the world; witness the phenomenal diversity of Raja Ampat at full force. Sardine Reef is located to the northeast of Kri Island in the Dampier Strait and harbors a unique topography. The reef is an underwater oval plateau, the top of the bed lying about five meters below the water’s surface, and the base of the plateau descending to about 30 meters below sea level. Most notably, Sardine Reef allows divers to watch the ocean’s food chain on display in a manner of rare efficiency. You will hear “fish thunder” – a loud boom resulting from the rapid movement of large numbers of fish through open water. This sudden movement of large schools of fish occurs when they sense predators nearby. Funny, actual sardines are not here, but you won’t miss them at this action-packed site! Be careful at this site, as currents are known to be rather substantial, and not typical of other nearby dive sites around Kri Island.