Accommodations on Tarawa are somewhat limited, but this one is a gem. First, if you are traveling to Tarawa for vacation you must have a sense of adventure, so why not stay in a traditional style bungalow? In January 2007 it was $50 Australian for the "room" which included breakfast and dinner and the added benefit of being watched over by the resident family. There were rats in the thatched roof which you could hear at night sometimes, but you get used to it - really. :-)
I stayed in King's Motel simply for a change of scenery and also because Betio is the only place in Kiribati that has any kind of bar culture. I was due to take a domestic flight, but it was cancelled, so instead of returning to the Otintaai in Bikenibeu, I headed for Betio. It's a squalid, overpopulated town, full of rubbish and a horribly polluted lagoon. There are some interesting war relics, though, and as said, the only chance of a proper night's drinking in Kiribati outside of Friday nights. If you're not into that, there's no reason to stay in Betio. The war relics can be seen on a day trip. Anyway, I stayed here after a bit of searching around since the Betio Motel has closed down. The Seaman's Motel is apparently a real dive. King's Motel is decent - clean, comfortable and new. You get a doubled bed, air con, desk, telephone and cold water bathroom. For an extra AUS$20 you can have self-catering facilities.
Not much, just a decent room and the convenience of being in Betio (also a commercial centre, by the way, so you might want to be close to the workplace if you're here on business). You can't get out of Betio after 8pm as the buses stop running then, so an overnight stay is the only option if you want a night out. Friendly staff.
The Otintaai was at one time the ONLY hotel in Kiribati and even now remains the best one, although elsewhere in the world would be rated as a two-star. This is where most of the business travellers go. It was evidently once a much better place but not been maintained much in recent years. As a result, they now offer budget rooms as well as superior ones. There's a decent but not outstanding restaurant and bar there and a loud disco on Friday nights. Good fun if you go but annoying if you don't, as you can't escape the noise until the early hours. All the budget rooms are large, with a double bed, fridge, air con, desk, cold water bathroom and balcony facing the lagoon.
Beautiful lagoon views, very friendly staff, free internet if you have a wireless laptop (AUS$10ph otherwise), reasonable location, reasonable price. They also offer islet tours on Saturdays (didn't go). Cockroaches occasionally a problem, but you can't avoid that in this part of the world.
I went straight to Tabon Te Keekee Homestay on arrival at Tarawa. It's situated in Abatao village in North Tarawa, the rural half of Kiribati's capital island and a world apart from its urban neighbour, South Tarawa. I stayed in a traditional thatched bungalow on stilts over the lagoon. It was basic but very comfortable and quiet. There was electric running to the bungalow but toilet and washing facilities are shared. There is no running water so you have to slosh rainwater over yourself to wash. A basic breakfast and dinner is included in the price (AUS$45 per night). For lunch, you can get the short boat ride to South Tarawa or, if you are lucky like me, be befriended by locals who will invite you to eat with them (actually a common experience in Kiribati).
The location is the attraction here. North Tarawa is really beautiful and you can walk for many miles between the various islets when the tide is out. When I did this, I met very friendly locals and was a repeated source of open-mouthed amazement for some of the younger children who may well have never seen a white person before. When the tide is in, the lagoon looks stunning; an absolutely brilliant blue, with South Tarawa on the horizon. There is no fan or air conditioning but a good breeze keeps you cool at night and the sound of lagoon lapping underneath you lulls you to sleep quickly.
Here my mom and I are sleeping in our big double bed in our hotel room on Tarawa.
Since I am a moose I did not have to pay anything, but I think my humans had to pay about 70 australian dollars every day.
I loved this hotel beacause of the airconditioning, but my mother and brother kept turning it off, they said it was too cold :-(
It's really a paradise for us! There are several bungalows(they are native ones) just near the sea.And the next door is native village---many lovely children are playing together here and there.You can enjoy real Kiribati life there.
This resort can take you diving,too.
I hear that now(2005) they are planning to renew their accommodation. They would like to make more natural place. So now they are closed.
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