How to book Raja Ampat accommodation

Communication in Raja Ampat can be difficult...

If you don’t need to ask any questions before making a booking, then

  • Use the homestay’s booking request form

If you need to ask questions or check availability before making a booking, or if the homestay of your choice does not have a booking request form, then you will need to

Don’t do both!

  • Use the booking form OR the contact details provided. Submitting a request by both will only create confusion and could result in the loss of your booking.

IMPORTANT!

  • PLEASE DO NOT use the booking form to request bookings for the same dates at different homestays! (It is impossible for us to track room availability. Submitting the booking request form is asking to MAKE a booking. If accepted by the homestay, a booking HAS BEEN MADE for you.)

Using the booking request form

First things first: Stay Raja Ampat is a non-commercial, not-for-profit website. Use of the booking request system is free for both you and homestay owners. We don’t charge any commissions or fees to appear on our website or to be connected to the booking system.

The purpose of the booking system is to make it easier and quicker for guests who don’t speak Indonesian to arrange a stay with homeowners who don’t speak English. That’s all. You’re still able to contact homestay owners directly if you prefer. As a matter of fact, if you need to ask questions before requesting a booking, then you’ll have to contact the homestay directly!

The booking system uses SMS to communicate your request in Bahasa Indonesia to the homestay. Some homestays do not have a telephone signal and sometimes owners may have no credit on their phone, so the booking system gives homestays 48 hours to respond. Most responses are much quicker than that, but we can only guarantee a response within 48 hours of receiving your request.

If you don’t need to ask questions and have decided which homestay you want to book and the dates you want accommodation for, simply fill out the form and click the “Send booking request” button. The system will take care of the rest. Easy!

It is impossible for us to track homestay room availability, so the booking request form can not be used to check availability. Please only use it to MAKE a booking!

Here’s what will happen after you click “Send booking request”:

  • You’ll receive an email from us acknowledging your request.
  • If you have provided an Indonesian mobile number, you will also receive SMS notifications at each step of the process.
  • You’ll receive an email/SMS the moment the homestay accepts or declines your request.
  • If the homestay owner declines your request or doesn’t reply within 48 hours, we’ll let you know by email/SMS and provide you with some options for what to do next.
  • If your request is accepted and the homestay needs a deposit to confirm your booking, they will contact you about it.
  • A week before your scheduled arrival we’ll email/SMS you a reminder containing a cancellation link in case your plans have changed.
  • Two days before your scheduled arrival, your homestay will be sent an SMS reminding them of your booking.
  • A week after your scheduled departure we’ll contact you by email/SMS to give you the opportunity to provide feedback to your hosts.

IMPORTANT NOTES

  • Please do NOT use the booking system to check if accommodation is available! (Submitting the booking request form is asking to MAKE a booking. If accepted by the homestay, a booking HAS BEEN MADE for you.)
  • Don’t call or send SMS messages to the number our SMS messages come from. The system is fully automated – there’s nobody there to respond to you.
  • System Emails: Homestays do not receive copies of booking system emails. If you reply to a system email, it will come to us.
  • We are not agents and are not based in Raja Ampat. Everything we know about each homestay is on that homestay’s page. If you need further information you’ll have to contact the homestay directly.

If you want to know more about how the system works, read on…

How the system works:

  • It translates your request form to Bahasa Indonesia and sends it by SMS to the homestay.
  • It notifies you by email (and optionally by SMS message*) as soon as the homestay sends our system an SMS accepting or declining your booking request.
  • It notifies you within 48 hours if the homestay does not respond to your request and provides you with options for what to do next.
  • It sends a reminder in Bahasa Indonesia to the homestay owner 48 hours prior to your arrival.
  • It provides the ability to easily cancel your booking if your plans change.
  • It provides you with all homestay contact details for further enquiries or communication with homestay.
  • It provides the homestay owner with your contact details for further communication or to arrange deposits or pre-payment where required.

*Optional SMS notifications are only available to Indonesian (+62) numbers. All guest notifications are in English language. Please note: Don’t call or send messages to the booking system phone number. It is an automated number and cannot answer or reply.

What the system CAN’T do (yet):

  • Accept payments
  • Check availability
  • Answer questions
  • Anything not included in the “How the system works works” list above

Contacting homestays directly

  • Contact details for each homestay can be found at the bottom of each homestay page.
  • Most homestays cannot return calls or send SMS messages to international numbers.
  • Email addresses are provided for homestays who have access to it.
  • Allow around a week to hear back. Telecommunications in Raja Ampat are unreliable and some homestays are in areas without telecommunication access. It can be some time before your email is able to be received and replied to.

Telephone Contact

Very few homestays are able to call or send SMS messages to international numbers, so you’ll need to call them to get in touch.

Although mobile telephone coverage in the islands is remarkably good for such a large and remote area, there are still times when the service can fail, a connection won’t be good or the person you are trying to contact does not live in a network coverage area. Keep trying!

Language Difficulties

If you have some Bahasa Indonesia there won’t be any. If you don’t, you may find it hard going as some homestays have minimal English. There’s usually someone around who can help though. If you hear the word “toong-gu” or “sebentar” you’re probably being asked to wait until an English speaker can be brought to the phone.

The features list on each homestay page shows if English is spoken. You can also use the Show advanced search function on the accommodation page to quickly find all homestays where (at least some) English is spoken.

Email Contact

The only internet service available in the islands is supplied via satellite or the mobile telephone network. These technologies are as yet unaffordable to the majority of guesthouse operators and guides on the website. Consequently, most of those who use email can only check it when visiting Sorong or Waisai, so don’t be disheartened if you don’t hear back immediately. You should probably allow a week before a follow up email, so don’t leave your planning to the last minute!

Having trouble making a booking?

If you are unable to make a booking in advance via telephone or email you shouldn’t worry too much. Go anyway! The chance of every available place being fully booked is essentially zero.

If you can’t confirm an accommodation booking prior to arrival, Amy at the Raja Ampat Tourism Management Team office in Sorong will be able to help. You should also be able to find a homestay owner at the ferry wharf in Waisai when the ferries arrive and depart.

By the way – if you discover a place that’s not listed here and you’d like to do your hosts a favour, please contact us with as much information about the guesthouse and its owners as you can and we’ll add them. Everyone wants to see photos, so it’d be great if you could include some to share – thanks!

2 thoughts on “How to book Raja Ampat accommodation

  1. I´ve seen there are some Homestays you can book and pay with agoda. You know if it works well? I´m wondering if there is trouble with the payment or overbooking!?

    • Hi Julia –

      With only a couple of exceptions, all those Agoda listings have been created by scammers with no connection to the homestays they have listed. Note the vastly inflated prices! We have no idea what the result of booking one of those would be, but it’s an absolute certainty that if the the homestay concerned received anything at all, it would only be a fraction of the price paid by the guest.

      Much safer to use the booking forms provided on this site. Doing so is communicating directly with the homestay concerned and is much cheaper.