The Best Homestays in Indonesia: Living Like a Local

Discover the heart of Indonesia through the intimate experience of a homestay. Unlike typical tourist accommodations, homestays offer a unique opportunity to live with local families, share meals, and participate in daily life as a local would. This immersive approach not only enriches your travel experience but also fosters genuine connections and provides deep insights into Indonesian culture and traditions.

Let’s explore why a homestay could be your most rewarding travel decision yet. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, Indonesia’s homestays offer a gateway to unforgettable experiences and lifelong memories.

Why Choose a Homestay in Indonesia?

Experience Authentic Indonesia

Homestays provide a unique chance to live and breathe the Indonesian way of life, far removed from the typical tourist experience.

You’ll share meals, celebrate local festivities, and engage in everyday activities with your host family, gaining insights that are not accessible through standard travel options.

Support Local Communities

Staying at a homestay helps put money directly into the pockets of local families, which supports the community economically.

By choosing a homestay, you contribute to sustainable tourism practices that prioritize local welfare over corporate profits.

Learn and Grow

Immersing yourself in a different culture teaches you about diversity and broadens your perspectives.

You’ll pick up new skills and knowledge, from traditional cooking techniques to local farming practices, depending on where you stay.

Personal Connections

Homestays offer a chance to build lasting friendships with locals, providing a more intimate and memorable travel experience.

These personal connections often lead to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the host community’s challenges and triumphs.

Tailored Experiences

Unlike hotels, homestay hosts can customize your stay to match your interests, whether it’s nature hikes, local markets, or art workshops.

Hosts often act as personal guides to the area, helping you discover hidden gems not mentioned in guidebooks.

Top Homestays in Indonesia


Family Homestay in Ubud

Cultural Immersion: Engage with a Balinese family in Ubud, known for its artistic heritage and tranquil countryside. Participate in daily activities like traditional cooking and temple visits.

Learn and Participate: Guests can join in crafting local handicrafts or attend a Balinese dance performance, all guided by the host family.

Environment: Nestled among rice paddies and thick jungles, this homestay offers a serene backdrop for relaxation and cultural exploration.

Beachfront Homestay in Canggu

Surf and Sand: Located right on the beach, this homestay is perfect for those looking to surf the famous waves of Canggu or relax on the sand.

Local Life: Experience the vibrant local scene with visits to nearby cafes and markets, all within walking distance.

Accommodation Details: Offers modern amenities without sacrificing the charm of Balinese hospitality. Rooms are air-conditioned and include private baths.

Candra Surf Homestay in Badung

Budget-Friendly: Ideal for solo travelers, this homestay presents a comfortable and clean bedroom with a small workspace, just minutes from top surfing spots.

Host Interaction: The hosts, known for their warmth and hospitality, often help guests connect with local surf instructors and recommend the best local dining spots.

Why Homestays in Bali Stand Out:

Each homestay offers a unique slice of Balinese life, from the artistic pulse of Ubud to the laid-back beach vibes of Canggu.

They provide a sustainable way to travel, allowing guests to contribute directly to the local economy and learn from the native Balinese way of life.


Payogan Homestay in Ubud, Central Java

Authentic Experience: Located within a traditional Balinese family compound, this homestay offers guests a genuine glimpse into daily Balinese life. The serene environment is a 35-minute walk from Ubud’s center, allowing for peaceful relaxation away from the tourist buzz.

Cultural Engagement: Guests can participate in local customs and practices, such as morning meditation and traditional cooking classes led by the host family.

Scenic Setting: Surrounded by lush greenery and the tranquil sounds of nature, Payogan Homestay is ideal for those seeking a spiritual or restorative getaway.

Mettaloka Homestay in Borobudur, Magelang

Spiritual Retreat: Run by a local novelist and spiritualist, this villa is not just a place to stay but an opportunity to engage in deep cultural and spiritual reflections. 

Unique Activities: Start your day with meditation and spiritual discussions, or explore the nearby Borobudur Temple with guided insights from the host.

Homely Comforts: Despite its focus on spirituality, Mettaloka offers all the comforts of home in a setting that’s both inspiring and calming.

Rumah Kalpataru in Yogyakarta

Local Integration: This homestay offers a perfect blend of local lifestyle with comfort, positioned away from the main tourist areas to provide a quiet, authentic experience.

Cultural Immersion: Guests can learn about Javanese culture through language lessons, market visits, and traditional music sessions offered by the host.

Accessibility: Conveniently located to access Yogyakarta’s famous historical sites, yet secluded enough to offer an escape into the local way of life.

Why Homestays in Java Are Special:

Java offers a diverse range of experiences from the historical magnificence of Borobudur to the cultural depth of Yogyakarta. Homestays here not only provide a place to sleep but also offer a deep dive into the heart of Javanese culture and spirituality.

By choosing these homestays, travelers support local economies and gain unparalleled access to authentic experiences that typical tourism can’t match.


Eco-Homestay near Bukit Lawang

Jungle Gateway: Situated on the outskirts of the Leuser Ecosystem, this homestay is a starting point for eco-tours and orangutan sightings.

Conservation Efforts: Guests can learn about and participate in local conservation initiatives, including reforestation projects and wildlife monitoring.

Rustic Living: Experience life off-the-grid in simple, yet comfortable accommodations, enhancing your connection to nature.

Lake Toba Homestay

Cultural Insight: Nestled by the largest volcanic lake in the world, this homestay is operated by the Batak people, offering insights into their rich cultural heritage and traditions.

Scenic Beauty: Enjoy breathtaking views of Lake Toba and its surrounding hills; perfect for nature lovers and photographers.

Engaging Activities: Participate in traditional fishing, Batak cooking classes, or kayaking on the lake.

Why Homestays in Sumatra Are Unique:

Sumatra presents an unparalleled opportunity for eco-tourists and cultural enthusiasts to engage directly with local communities and pristine environments.

The homestays here offer more than just accommodation; they serve as a bridge to understanding the complex ecosystems and diverse cultures of one of Indonesia’s largest islands.


Torajan Traditional House in Tana Toraja

Cultural Heritage: Stay in a Tongkonan, a traditional Torajan house known for its unique boat-shaped architecture and elaborate wood carvings.

Cultural Immersion: Engage in Toraja’s rich cultural practices, including their famous funeral ceremonies, traditional dances, and buffalo markets.

Scenic Surroundings: Nestled in the highlands, this homestay offers stunning views of the terraced rice fields and the dense tropical forests of Sulawesi.

Homestay in Batuputih, Near Tangkoko Nature Reserve

Wildlife Encounters: Located near the Tangkoko Nature Reserve, this homestay offers guided tours for spotting unique wildlife like tarsiers and black macaques.

Community Interaction: Learn about local conservation efforts directly from the villagers who are active in protecting their natural heritage.

Eco-friendly Living: Experience sustainable living practices in a community deeply connected to its environment.

Why Homestays in Sulawesi Stand Out:

Sulawesi is known for its diverse cultures and spectacular natural landscapes. Homestays here offer a personal connection to these elements, allowing visitors to experience Sulawesi beyond the surface.

By choosing to stay in a homestay, travelers support local economies and gain an authentic insight into the Sulawesi way of life, making their travel experience more meaningful and impactful.

How to Choose the Right Homestay

Choosing the right homestay can greatly enhance your travel experience, making it more authentic and personalized. Here are some tips on how to select the best homestay for your needs:

1. Define Your Comfort Level

Amenities: Determine what basic amenities you require, such as private bathrooms, Wi-Fi, or air conditioning. Not all homestays offer the same level of comfort, so it’s important to choose one that matches your needs.

Privacy: Consider whether you prefer a place with more privacy or if you’re open to more interaction with your host family.

2. Consider Your Interests

Cultural Activities: If you’re interested in cultural immersion, look for homestays that offer cooking classes, language lessons, or traditional crafts.

Nature and Surroundings: For those keen on nature, choose a homestay near natural attractions or one that offers guided tours or eco-friendly practices.

3. Check Reviews and Ratings

Spend time reading reviews from previous guests. This can provide insight into the quality of the accommodation, the hospitality of the hosts, and the overall experience.

Pay attention to comments about cleanliness, safety, and the host’s interaction with guests.

4. Location

Accessibility: Consider the homestay’s proximity to public transportation, tourist attractions, and other areas of interest.

Environment: Decide if you want to be in a bustling city center, serene countryside, or near the beach.

5. Language Considerations

If you do not speak the local language, you might prefer a homestay where the host speaks your language to ease communication.

Alternatively, a homestay where only the local language is spoken can be a great opportunity to learn and practice a new language.

6. Host Interaction

Host Profile: Look at the host’s profile to get an idea of their background and interests. A good match can enhance your stay.

Expectations: Clear communication with potential hosts about your expectations and their rules before booking can prevent misunderstandings.

7. Budget

Homestays can range widely in price. Set a budget beforehand and choose accordingly. Sometimes, paying a bit more can significantly enhance the quality of your experience.

8. Safety and Security

Ensure the homestay has good safety measures in place, especially if traveling solo or to less familiar destinations.

Check if the homestay has any certifications or affiliations with reputable travel organizations.

9. Special Needs

If you have any dietary restrictions, disabilities, or other special requirements, make sure the homestay can accommodate these.

By taking these factors into account, you can choose a homestay that not only meets your needs but also enriches your travel experience, allowing you to live like a local and create lasting memories.

Preparing for Your Homestay

Preparing for your homestay can significantly influence the quality of your experience. Here are some key tips to help you get ready for this unique travel opportunity:

1. Understand the Homestay Arrangement

Research: Learn about the homestay’s location, the family’s background, and what kind of experience you can expect.

Communication: Before your arrival, communicate with your hosts about your arrival times, dietary preferences, and any allergies or special needs.

2. Pack Appropriately

Essentials: Depending on the location, pack suitable clothing, toiletries, and any medications you might need.

Cultural Sensitivity: Bring attire that respects local customs and traditions, especially if you’re staying in a conservative area.

3. Bring Gifts

A small gift from your home country can be a thoughtful gesture to show appreciation to your host family. This could be something typical of your region like chocolates, tea, or a handicraft.

4. Learn Basic Local Phrases

Knowing simple greetings and phrases in the local language can help break the ice and show respect for the host culture. It also makes daily interactions smoother and more enjoyable.

5. Set Expectations

Discuss your daily routine and see how it aligns with the family’s schedule. Understanding whether you’ll eat meals together, what the arrangements for laundry are, or how late you can come in at night helps avoid any misunderstandings.

6. Prepare for a Different Lifestyle

Flexibility: Be open to adapting to a different way of living. This might include different meal times, unfamiliar foods, and basic amenities compared to what you’re used to.

Privacy: Understand that privacy levels might differ from what you expect at home, especially in communal living situations.

7. Cultural Etiquette

Research and understand the local customs and etiquette. This can include dining manners, appropriate conversation topics, and general behaviors that are considered polite or impolite.

8. Health Precautions

If you’re traveling to a region with specific health risks, make sure to get the necessary vaccinations and carry any required medications.

9. Document Safety

Keep copies of your important documents like passports and insurance details both online and with someone you trust back home.

10. Insurance

Ensure you have travel insurance that covers health, accidents, and any activities you plan to engage in during your stay.

By following these guidelines, you’ll be well-prepared for your homestay, allowing you to fully embrace the experience and the cultural exchange that comes with living like a local.

Cultural Etiquette and Customs

When staying in a homestay, understanding and respecting the cultural etiquette and customs of your hosts is crucial. Here are some key guidelines to consider:

1. Greetings and Communication

Language: Learn basic greetings and expressions in the local language. This shows respect and effort in engaging with the culture.

Non-verbal Cues: Pay attention to local customs for greeting (e.g., bowing, handshakes, or nods) and try to emulate them.

2. Dress Appropriately

Always research and adhere to local dress codes. In many cultures, covering shoulders and knees is necessary, especially when visiting religious sites.

3. Dining Etiquette

Meals: Understand whether it is customary to wait for the host to start eating. In some cultures, saying a prayer or a word of thanks before meals is common.

Eating Habits: Use the dining utensils as the locals do. For instance, in some Asian cultures, chopsticks are used, and it’s important to know the taboos associated with them, like not sticking them upright in a bowl of rice.

4. House Rules

Respect the household’s rules and routines. Ask about and observe rules regarding shoes inside the house, smoking areas, and the use of shared spaces.

5. Gift-Giving

Bringing a small gift for the host can be a polite gesture. Opt for something that represents your culture or something that you feel will be appreciated by the host.

6. Personal Space and Privacy

Be considerate of personal space and privacy, both yours and your hosts’. Different cultures have varying norms regarding these aspects.

7. Religious Practices

If your hosts practice religious customs, show respect towards their practices. Ask permission if you’re interested in observing or participating in religious ceremonies.

8. Punctuality

Time sensitivity can vary greatly between cultures. In some places, being on time is crucial, whereas, in others, a more relaxed approach is common.

9. Photography

Always ask for permission before taking photos of people, their homes, and personal belongings. This is crucial in maintaining respect and privacy.

10. Openness and Flexibility

Stay open and flexible to new experiences and ways of doing things. Showing willingness to adapt is a sign of respect and can lead to a richer, more enjoyable stay.

By keeping these points in mind, you can navigate your homestay experience with sensitivity and respect, ensuring a mutually enjoyable and enriching cultural exchange.


Homestays offer a unique window into the life of a place, far beyond what typical tourist experiences provide. Choosing to stay in a homestay in Indonesia not only enriches your travel experience by connecting you intimately with local cultures and communities but also supports local economies and promotes sustainable tourism practices.

Whether you’re weaving through the vibrant traditions of Bali, exploring the spiritual depth of Java, or uncovering the hidden natural wonders of Sumatra and Sulawesi, homestays provide a pathway to experiences that resonate long after your return home.

For travelers seeking authenticity and a deeper connection to the places they visit, homestays in Indonesia offer an unparalleled opportunity to “live like a local” and carry home stories and friendships that last a lifetime. So pack your bags, prepare your spirit for adventure, and get ready to discover Indonesia in the most authentic way possible.

Ready to immerse yourself in the heart of Indonesian culture? 

Start planning your journey today! Visit our curated list of the best homestays across Indonesia, from the tranquil rice fields of Ubud to the pristine beaches of Sulawesi. Each homestay offers a unique glimpse into the local way of life, promising more than just a place to sleep—expect a true cultural exchange.

Explore More: Interested in learning more about Indonesian customs, cuisine, and the best local attractions? Dive deeper by exploring our detailed travel guides and blog posts. They’re packed with insider tips and practical advice to help you get the most out of your visit.

Share Your Experience: After your trip, we’d love to hear about your adventures. Share your stories and photos with us, and join our community of travelers on social media. Your insights could help inspire others to embark on their own Indonesian adventure.

The information provided in this article was accurate at the time of publication. However, it's important to note that dates, times, fees, and other related details are subject to change without prior notice. We will always make every effort to update the information whenever possible.

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