I stayed in at Bintang Bungalows for two nights, with a visit to Kelimutu and a tour of the local area as my activities. The homestay is centrally located in Moni village and offers a great view across the road to the church, with hills on both sides and as far out as the sea.
Bintang is split into two halves; the left side with the restaurant is run by Tobias, and the right side, where I stayed, is run by his sister-in-law Shinta. She is a powerful woman who has set up this homestay business on her own after living on many different Indonesian islands, though she is originally from the Moni area. I spent several hours chatting to her about her life and her family; she had a four-month-old baby when I was there, though she has three older children as well.
I haggled the price of my room down from Rp. 120,000 to Rp. 100,000. I had a private bathroom but it was somewhat rundown and in need of work. There was no door between the bathroom and the bedroom. The bathroom had a cold water shower and a large bucket for flushing the sit-down toilet. Outside the bathroom there was a sink. The weather can be cold in Moni, due to its altitude, and I showered less often than usual as a result of not having hot water.
The double bed was comfortable and came with a mosquito net. There was just one thin blanket and I was relieved I had packed my lightweight sleeping bag.
Breakfast was a banana pancake with tea or coffee, tasty but not very filling. I ate at Tobias’s restaurant downstairs and although it was expensive, the portions were large.
When I stayed at Bintang, they were doing renovations to build more rooms on the left side. This meant that all day every day the sounds of building work, drilling and banging, disturbed anyone trying to rest. The restaurant downstairs often played pop music and Shinta and her staff and family were quite loud people, calling to each other from right outside my room. These factors affected my sleep, in my room on the top floor, right next to Shinta’s living room. Other rooms may be quieter.
Bintang is very popular; it was full one of the nights I was there, and this was not tourist season. Staff were helpful and honest about travel information and prices. Shinta offers car rental and can help organise your onward travel. You can book a room by emailing [email protected] or telephoning Shinta on +62 (0)852 3916 8310.