Divine on a budget
One of the the handful of bungalow resorts clustered around Bomba in the far western reaches of the Togeans, Poya Lisa has a bunch of eclectic wooden bungalows scattered around a small beachhead along with some magnificently set clifftop options.
Poya Lisa’s restaurant and “lobby” sits on a small islet connected to the rest by a sandy beach—in high tide you may be wading between the two. From the restaurant a wooden bridge runs down to the boat landing, which faces directly across the water to Bomba Divers. Also from the restaurant, a path leads down onto the primary beach real estate, essentially a triangle of soft yellow to white sand covered with shade trees and palms, and dotted with Poya Lisa’s cheaper wooden bungalows, in both private bathroom and shared bathroom flavours.
Behind the sand, paths lead up onto two stony “wings” which run to the left and right and are home to Poya Lisa’s best offerings. These wooden bungalows have verandas both on the front and the back, with the rear veranda in some cases being set atop a cliff dropping down into the teal waters. While the rooms are solid and simple, the views from these back decks are simply spectacular. In the case of the room we were shown (the door number was a 10 and an 11 painted atop each other so we are not sure what room number it actually is), beyond the back deck was a small platform specifically for jumping into the ocean below—superb!
A word on the cliff jumping potential: On a previous visit a friend jumped off the cliff (without problem, though it was a long swim back), but when we asked this time around the staffer emphatically said that particular spot was not safe to jump from, so do double check with regard to safety before throwing yourself off the cliffs here.
The room themselves are pretty bare bones basic. They are solid wood, with decent bed and mosquito net along with a bedside light. The bathroom in the room we were shown was a Western throne with a bucket flush, while the share bathroom down on the beach was a squat loo. The clifftop rooms are really the better value here and they’re also considerably more private than the offerings down on the sand (which are close by the boat mooring, and see passing people from the restaurant to the other rooms). The beachside rooms are a mixed bag—the share bathroom ones look reasonably new (or perhaps more likely are just well maintained), but there are small differences between them—one with glass windows, another open with wooden slats, though all have at least partial water views.
Poya Lisa enjoys long-stay and return custom, with a lot of older travellers staying here. While this kind of scene can be cliquey, we’ve always found the vibe to be welcoming—as are the family who run the place. Poya Lisa will appeal to those looking for isolation on a budget, with a friendly family atmosphere thrown in for free.
If you’re looking for something spendier but in the same area, both Poki Poki and Island Retreat are solid options. While we are not sure we got this story straight, the resort is apparently named after the original owner of the island (centuries ago...) named Poya, and the first guest they had was named Lisa. Recommended.
Address: Pulau Poya
T: (0823) 4995 1833;
Coordinates (for GPS): 121º39'35.92" E, -0º31'54.21" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Room rates: 150,000 to 400,000 Rp
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Bungalow fan share bathroom|
Per person full board
|150,000 rupiah||150,000 rupiah|
|Bungalow fan private bathroom|
Per person full board
|185,000 rupiah||185,000 rupiah|
Per person full board. Cliff bungalow.
|200,000 rupiah||200,000 rupiah|
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
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