- Use the accommodation page search filters and see the guest reviews at the foot of each homestay page to decide where you want to stay.
- If you are sure of the dates you want, simply submit the booking request form provided on each homestay’s page.
- Only request a Waisai pickup from the first homestay you want to book. (You can easily arrange onward transfers with your host, or ask your host to call the next place to come and pick you up.)
- You can not use the booking request forms to check availability. (Booking forms can only be used to make a booking. Stay Raja Ampat cannot track availability. Your request is forwarded to the homestay by SMS. If the accommodation you request is available for the dates you want, the homestay will confirm a booking for you. If unavailable, you will receive an email advising you of that.)
- If you want more information than is provided on a homestay’s page before requesting a booking, then you will need to contact the homestay by phone (or email where available).
- Decide whether you want to book via the website or by trying to phone or email the homestay. Don’t request bookings by both methods. Complete confusion about your booking is the most likely outcome of using both methods.
- Read on to understand how the Stay Raja Ampat booking system works, and why it is different to others you might be familiar with.
How the Raja Ampat accommodation booking request form works
First things first: Stay Raja Ampat is a non-commercial, not-for-profit website. Use of the Raja Ampat accommodation booking request system is free for both you and homestay owners. We don’t charge any commissions or fees to homestays on our website or for them 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.
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 Raja Ampat accommodation 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!
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. Very few homestays require deposits or prepayment. Ones that do will contact you directly within a day or two of confirming your booking.
- 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.
- 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 our Raja Ampat accommodation booking 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. If you don’t have an Indonesian phone number, leave the phone field empty on the form. All guest notifications are in English language.
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.
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!
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 accommodation page search filters to quickly find all homestays where (at least some) English is spoken.
The only internet service available in the islands is supplied via satellite or the mobile telephone network. These technologies are 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 contact?
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 all Raja Ampat accommodation being fully booked is essentially zero.
If you can’t confirm an accommodation booking prior to arrival, or if you want to make enquiries and are having trouble contacting the homestay concerned, the Raja Ampat Homestay Information Center in Waisai will be able to help.
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!