The Raja Ampat Islands, Indonesia
Raja Ampat. One of the world's last wild places. A vast sprawl of tropical island jewels amid seas renowned as being the richest on our planet - a nursery and refuge for coral and fish species that are rapidly disappearing from elsewhere in the region, and the perfect place to really get away from it all.
Forming the western extremity of the Bird's Head Seascape of Indonesia's West Papua province, Raja Ampat is the biodiversity jewel in the crown of the Coral Triangle. (Location map)
Raja Ampat is famous as a dive destination, but you don't have to be a diver to have the time of your life there. The ocean's wonders can be explored with nothing more than mask and snorkel and there's a lot more to see and do if you want a day out of the water.
Stay Raja Ampat is here to help you find a place of your own in paradise...
- Do you have feedback or new information about any of the places to stay that we have listed? Please let everyone know by commenting...
- Do you own accommodation in Raja Ampat or know of a place not listed here that should be? Please contact us so we can add it...
- Do you have information you think deserves a page of its own on this site? Please submit it - you'll make our day!
We want to do the best we can to help both the people of Raja Ampat and travellers keen on visiting the islands, but we don't live there and keeping in touch with folks in the islands is problematic. We'd love to hear from you if you've just visited the islands - or are lucky enough to live and work there - so please feel free to contact us by the method of your choice to let everyone know what's happening.
We'll publish all honest feedback and comments. Recommendations, criticism and news are all welcome. While it's great to be able to spread the word about the good stuff in Raja Ampat, we'll not be doing anybody any favours by editing out news of when things go wrong, so tell it like it is!
If you want to make a comment or write a review about a place listed on the site, it's probably best to do so in the comments section of the relevant establishment. You'll find those all on this page.
If you'd like us to list a new place or add your business to the site, please let us know by filling out our contact form.
Our Facebook Page is probably best if you have a comment or feedback that doesn't apply to any particular article or business on the site, but we'll be just as happy to hear from you via the contact form.
We hope you'll avail yourself of this invitation and look forward to hearing from you...
Although called homestays by their owners and by Raja Ampat government agencies, the budget accommodation places listed on this website are not homestays in the strict English sense of the word. You won't be sharing a family's home if you book any of the accommodation options listed here.
Constructed using traditional Papuan materials, the homestay buildings might be better thought of as bungalows, huts or even beach shacks or camps, but regardless of name, they provide the cheapest available accommodation for independent travellers to Raja Ampat.
There are 36 homestays in operation at present. They have been built in locations ranging from the center of local villages to isolated, uninhabited islets where all your food will need to be brought with you or delivered. These locally owned budget accommodation options can provide the opportunity to fully engage in the daily life of your Papuan hosts, or they can deliver the ultimate tropical island getaway - your own Robinson Crusoe adventure. Or anything in between.
Be aware though, that Raja Ampat homestay accommodation is basic and facilities are minimal. They won't suit everyone...
Whether the homestay is a typical Raja Ampat house on stilts over the ocean, or a bungalow on dry land, it will be bush wood or timber framed, floored with sawn planks and have palm or pandanus thatched walls and roof.
Construction styles range from a single room with door only, to large four roomed bungalows with verandahs and windows. All the homestays we have seen have bedrooms only - you won't find a kitchen, bathroom, toilet or laundry in the average budget accommodation building.
Construction materials and style means you'll be sharing your rooms with the local wildlife. Insects and small lizards live in the thatching and the buildings' many small gaps and cracks allow easy access for all kinds of critters. It's best to keep food in sealed containers to avoid attracting rats and any other scavengers that may inhabit the area.
Take care if using portable stoves or other naked flames indoors, and be extra careful if you leave mosquito coils burning unattended - palm thatch huts are obviously eminently combustible!
Chairs & tables: With the exception of bedding, many homestays are completely unfurnished. It could be that the only place you'll have to sit indoors will be the floor. Outside there might only be the front step, or perhaps a bench style seat made from a floorboard and bush wood. This varies from place to place. Some homestays have chairs and hammocks or separate shelters with tables and benches.
Storage: There might be a simple shelf in your room, or there might not, but don't expect to find cupboards or wardrobes. If you want to hang stuff inside you'd best bring a line with you. There's also no secure storage for valuables at any of the homestays we know of, but we've never heard of anyone losing anything either. The highest risk of theft is almost certainly from unscrupulous other travellers. You're unlikely to have a problem in a bungalow of your own where local people are always around, but if staying in an isolated homestay it'd be best to always keep your valuables with you.
Bedding: No "real" beds - just simple bedding that's usually rolled up during the day and spread out for sleep at night. All the budget accommodation places we've seen provide thin (~7cm thick), cotton covered foam mattresses, pillows, a sheet or two and a very light blanket for sleeping. You may want to consider bringing an inflatable mattress or sleeping mat with you if 7cm of foam on floorboards doesn't sound comfortable enough. Mosquito nets in good condition are always provided, but you might want to have a needle and thread with you in case mending is required.
Lighting: Bring LED light sources. Only some homestays have lighting, which might be solar charged, battery powered devices or standard bulbs running off a generator. Even if available, neither option is likely to be available after midnight.
Read more for details of what to expect from budget accommodation bathroom, toilet, laundry and cooking facilities...
Welcome to the new incarnation of Raja Ampat Homestays - there's been some changes, but our purpose remains the same...
The new name: We've changed our name because "homestays" really isn't the best description of the accommodation offered by our friends in Raja Ampat. You won't be sharing a home if you stay at any of the places here. The facilities on offer are probably better described as bungalows or beach camps or even huts. Read our Raja Ampat Homestays page to find out more about them...
The new design: While we loved our old design, we felt the site was lacking in a couple of important areas. The first of these was provision for visitors using mobile devices. This new site is fully responsive, adapting itself to display best regardless of device or screen orientation and size. We hope those of you arriving here on phones and tablets enjoy not having to zoom and drag like crazy to get to the places you want to go! We've also done our best to rework navigation and layout to make things easier to find. Finally, the old site was a little... well... dark. Raja Ampat is a light-filled, blue-washed paradise - we felt our new site should reflect that...
New information: We've added more information to the site - new maps, articles and a feed from our Facebook page - and in 2013 we'll be returning to Raja Ampat on an extended research trip to discover and list as many new establishments as we can. Let us know how we're doing! If you can provide any new info on places listed here (or have info on places that aren't) or think we've missed providing any essentials please contact us - we'll be happy to hear from you.
A new Facebook Page: Looking to contact other travellers heading to Raja Ampat to share costs with? Want the latest news from the islands? Maybe you've had an experience (either good or bad) that we should all know about... Our Facebook Page is a forum for exactly that - we hope you'll like it :P