Accommodation on Nias Island
Even though tourism on Nias is relatively undeveloped there are some 90 different accommodation providers here. Starting at very basic homestays (losmen) the range goes to hotels and surf camps all the way up to top end luxury resorts. The majority of hotels cater for surfers or local business travellers and are concentrated in very few areas of Nias, such as Sorake or Gunungsitoli. This means large areas of Nias have very little or no accommodation at all. Read this information before planning your travels around Nias Island.
For specific advice about hotels and guesthouses continue to our “Where to Stay” pages for each area.
This is the economic center and largest town on Nias Island. Many tourists begin and end their stay on Nias here. The airport is located 20 minutes’ drive south of town and the ferry terminal just north of the city center. Gunungsitoli is a good base from which to explore the northern east coast and upper parts of the interior. There are some 20 hotels to choose from in and near town. Most of them cater for local people and Indonesian business travellers. Foreign tourists tend to stay in Miga Beach, Wisma Soliga or at the Museum Nias Lodges. Business travelers usually favor Kaliki Beach Hotel or Hotel S’Three.
South Nias (Nias Selatan)
The vast majority of foreign tourists coming to Nias head straight to Sorake in South Nias. Some 40 homestays, guesthouses and so-called surf camps are concentrated along a kilometre long strip called The Point. Surfing is the main priority here and standards range from budget guesthouses to mid-range hotels. For non-surfers there are also some good options here, especially a bit away from the hustle and bustle of the Point.
This is the second largest town on Nias and the economic center of the south. There are 16 guesthouses and hotels in and around town. Most of them serve visiting government officials but also increasingly cater for domestic tourists. For group tours, or travellers who are not interested in surfing Teluk Dalam is a good option. Telo Islands bound travellers usually stay in Teluk Dalam before catching the ferry.
Gomo is a region in the hilly interior of South Nias considered to the cultural and spiritual home of Nias people. Until recently the access was very bad and there were no places to stay. Today the roads are much improved and travelers make their way to Gomo by car or motorbike. It is now also possible to stay overnight as 2 guesthouses have opened in Orahili Gomo village, the center of the Gomo Region.
Telos – Batu Islands
The Batu Islands (Telos) is a group of islands south of Nias, which technically falls under South Nias administration. This is another area known for its world class surfing. Generally speaking the style of accommodation is very different here, significantly more up-market than the rest of Nias. Some of the more exclusive surf resorts in Asia can be found here. At the moment there are six foreign owned resorts and about 10 local guesthouses on Telos.
West Nias (Nias Barat)
Asu Island – Hinakos
Asu Island off the west coast is one of the highlights of Nias. World class surfing, snorkelling and tropical island vibes are some of the reasons why people come here. There are three places to stay on Asu; two foreign owned surf camps, and a local guesthouse consisting of a number of beach bungalows. The surf camps only operate during swell-season (May to Sept) but the beach bungalows are open all year.
Onolimbu – Lahömi
Apart from Asu Island there is only one other hotel in West Nias. Hotel Tokosa in Onolimbu village caters mainly for civil servants working in West Nias district.
North Nias (Nias Utara)
This is a small village on the west coast very near a famous surf location. There is a nice surf camp here catering for visiting surfers and travellers. Afulu Retreat is the only dedicated tourism accommodation in North Nias. There are also two local basic guesthouses in the nearby village.
This is the largest town in North Nias, located in the northwest corner of the Island. There is one basic guesthouse here catering for visiting civil servants and domestic tourists.
Central Nias (Nias Induk)
There is currently no accommodation in Nias Regency (Kabupaten Nias). Visitors to this region of Nias usually base themselves in Gunungsitoli.
Travelling in areas where there are no hotels
The first travellers coming to Nias slept on the beaches or in local people’s homes. If you are travelling off the beaten path in areas where there are no hotels you can try to arrange to stay with a local family. Speaking some Indonesian will be very helpful. In remote villages it is best to ask the village chief first. If he cannot accommodate guests himself he can often find someone who will. Reactions to visitors differ; some poor people may be embarrassed to let people into their home, while others are more than happy to welcome you.
If you are not specifically invited as a guest, clarify the price first. Typically it may be around IDR 50,000 per person per night. Even if the family doesn’t ask for money a small ‘donation’ is in order. If you are planning this kind of travel it’s a good idea to bring a mosquito net and an inflatable mattress.