How can you get the most out of your Indonesian holiday, save money and get to know local cultures and local people? Stay in a homestay!
Homestays are accommodations offered either in a local person’s home, or in a home-like setting.
Why Stay in a Homestay?
One of the best things about staying in a homestay is that your money goes directly to local people, which has a positive effect on their lives, and can have a positive effect on the environment. Some communities in Indonesia rely on slash and burn agriculture to survive, and tourism can provide an alternative source of income to reduce the threat of deforestation.
Homestays can often help you hire a car and driver, or offer you transportation in between cities or from the airport. They can also organize tours for you or connect you to local tour guides.
Favourite Homestay Indonesia
My favorite homestay is in Batuputih, North Sulawesi, near Tangkoko Nature Reserve. Ranger Homestay is located a few minutes’ walk from the park entrance. Sakar, who formerly worked with English-speaking NGOs, served as our driver and nature guide during our short stay. He and his daughter Fiona showed us the wonders of the forest: black tail macaques, cuscus, hornbills, tarsiers, and miscellaneous exotic birds. They welcomed us into their village, and even invited us to a family wedding. Ranger Homestay felt like our home away from home, in this small seaside village.
What to expect when you stay in a homestay
Accommodations are similar to how local people live. In Indonesia, this typically means the furnishings will be sparse (the mattress may be on the floor and dinner may be served on a rug), the toilet may be a squat toilet, and showers may consist of dumping a small bucket of water over your head. While these accommodations might be outside of your comfort zone, you can relax knowing that you’re being taken care of by a local family. Meals are usually included, which is a great way to try out local dishes. Most of the family will probably not speak much English, but don’t worry if you don’t speak Bahasa Indonesia – there is probably a younger relative who speaks good English.
What to bring
Definitely bring cash. The local ATM might not work, and the homestay will only take payments in cash.
If you’re coming from a cooler climate, bring a sarong or bed sheet. Don’t be surprised if your room comes without a blanket, or with a very thick blanket. It’s best to bring your own sheet for covering up.
In the beautiful small towns of Indonesia where homestays are common, the nightlife can be quite sleepy. Bring a book, a deck of cards, an iPad loaded with movies, or other evening entertainment.
And definitely don’t forget your sense of adventure, and your curiosity! Homestays are a great way to get to know local people and to understand their way of life.
|OurInternationalLife.wordpress.comHeather is an American living in Jakarta, surviving the macet and trying to get the most out of life in “the big Durian.” She loves traveling around Indonesia and writing about her discoveries here, and at|