This is the hub of the nascent community-based tourism scheme running out of Merente, and when we say nascent, we mean nascent -- they hadn’t finished building our room and one wall was a sheet of plastic.
But good things start small and we think they are on the right track. The homestay is the home of local villager Eric and his family. Eric can lead trips to the amazing Agal and Saketok waterfalls. The room is a wooden floored attic, which we imagine will be quite comfortable when it is finished (we slept on the wooden floor with a couple of supplied blankets and pillows). There is a shared squat loo and mandi on the ground floor and a loungeroom where meals are served. While staying here you’ll eat with Eric and his family, so you get what they’re having -- the food is very simple, but tasty. Eric doesn’t speak English, but you’ll manage. He’s a very friendly guy with a deep knowledge of the jungle that surrounds Merente. They initially refused payment when we stayed, but what you decide to pay for the lodging and food is up to you. If you speak some Indonesian, call Eric to let him know you’re coming (they can pick you up by ojek in Alas). If your Indonesian isn’t up to it, call Takwa in Sumbawa Besar on T: (0812) 3843 9828 and he’ll be able to assist in arrangements. If you’d prefer to stay in a hotel or losmen and visit the waterfall from Alas, Hotel Telaga (Jl Pahlawan 32, T: (0372) 9291 233) is opposite Alas’ main market and is adequate (from 140,000 rupiah). There are also a couple of losmen to the west of the hotel on the main road. We recommend staying with Eric though.
What we were quoted as a walk-in.
|Dbl fan share bathroom|
Full board (exact price up to you)
|100,000 rupiah||100,000 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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