Ambua Lodge
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Ambua Lodge

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ambua lodge lounge area
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4.0
#1 of 1 hotels in Tari
4.7 of 5 bubbles
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4.1 of 5 bubbles
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4.0 of 5 bubbles
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3.5 of 5 bubbles
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HOTEL STYLE
Mid-range
Property amenities
Free parking
Free breakfast
Bar / lounge
Airport transportation
Conference facilities
Banquet room
Meeting rooms
Laundry service
Restaurant

Location

Tari 255 Papua New Guinea
60Reviews1Q+A15Room tips

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Detailed Reviews
gadabout22 wrote a review Sept 2023
Raleigh, North Carolina43 contributions34 helpful votes
3.0 of 5 bubbles
We stayed 3 nights at Ambua Lodge as part of a trip with Trans Niugini Tours, which owns the lodge. It is on a hill at 7000 feet and the property is lovely with many flowers. It is about 1/2 hour drive from the airport and the town of Tari. When we were there one of the bridges you need to cross to get to the lodge had a section missing and our van had to carry wood to put across the open section for the vehicle to pass. The lodge's food and service are good.

The property has 30 separate cottages and a newer building with 18 rooms. We stayed in one of the cottages. The highlands are cool and rainy and our room was cool and damp, with no heat, although they did have electric mattress pads. Fortunately, there was plenty of hot water for the shower, although the water did get on most of the bathroom floor.

We went out in the van each day to have multiple "village experiences". These were visits to home sites right along the road, with the "village" behind sheet metal fences to block access from the road. Most of these visits seemed quite "canned" with people putting on makeup and costumes to demonstrate dances, how widows live, a marriage proposal, etc. The most interesting visit was to the Huli wigmen, where we learned how young men spend up to 2 years in a compound growing their hair, which is then cut off to be used for ceremonial wigs. They follow rituals and procedures to try to make their hair grow faster and stronger. Our main guide, Paulus, was very helpful in explaining what we were seeing.

One night while we were at Ambua Lodge the Papua New Guinea prime minister spent the night there as part of a trip to open a new airport in Tari, so it was fun seeing his entourage.

The most distressing part of our time in Ambua Lodge was the presence of rats. I saw a rat in the main lodge the first night we were there. The last night we spent there a rat ate several holes in my backpack, which was on a table in our room, not on the floor.
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Date of stay: August 2023
4.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Marco_Polo_73 wrote a review Aug 2005
Gibraltar139 contributions243 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Since Trans Niugini Tours – the operator of Ambua Lodge – offers „all inclusive“ Packages at the lodges I am going to do a review not only for the accommodation but for the whole package:

Some notes before
----------------------
I try to write in an objective way so you know what you can expect at the lodge.

However from a subjective point I would say that the trip to PNG (with Ambua – beside Karawari – as the main attraction) was one of our best trips ever. It is absolutely great and exciting!

The tour organization by Trans Niugini Tours is perfect.

Location
----------
Ambua Lodge is situated in an elevated location above the Tari Valley surrounded by highland rainforest. A very impressive place for a lodge. When you arrive by chartered plane you will arrive at the small lodge airstrip just below the lodge (alternatively you might arrive by scheduled flight at Tari airport about 90 minutes by car from the lodge).

The climate is nice with cool nights, so you will have a very good sleep. Its not really cold at night – you would be ok with a t-shirt but a sweater is more comfortable in the evening.

Accomodation
------------------
The lodge consist of the main building, an office building, some service buildings and the guest room cottages. The main building which is basically one large room with a open fireplace in the center and contains a lounge area with a bar and the dining area. In front of this main building you can sit outside on some garden furniture and enjoy the great views of the lodge and the valley below. The garden around the lodge has many flowers ad a well kept lawn. Just behind the lodge you can walk in original rain forest.

The rooms are in individual round cottages. Each cottage has panoramic windows and from most cottages you have a perfect view. The furniture of the cottages is functional, like the bathrooms. Its safe to rate the accommodation standard with 3 stars. But at the same time you should not forget that the lodge is located in a remote area where nearly all of the people who live there (except some missionaries and very few local business people) still live in a “stone age” lifestyle. Therefore the lodge is real luxury compared to the lifestyle of the people around – but of course not by international standards.

Rooms and the entire lodge is very well kept, clean and actually a beautiful property.

Meals
-------
The food is international standard food (spaghetti, roast beef, chicken curry usually with some vegetables and potatoes).

Breakfast is pretty basic with some fruits, cereals, milk, tea, coffee, toast and eggs with bacon. Lunch is either a lunch pack (sandwich, fruits, cake) or a small meal at the lodge. Dinner is a three course meal with soup, main course and desert.

I would highly recommend to specifically ask to try the local vegetables (sweet potatoes and other potato like root vegetables…).

In the afternoon they usually serve some tea with cookies.

Tours
-------
The tours are actually the reason why you go there. Tours can vary according to the booked program (e.g. birdwatchers will have a different schedule as people who mainly want to see the culture of the Huli people).

The first tour in the morning (starting at 6 am) is a bird watching tour which will return at 8 am. You will have a very good chance to see several kinds of birds of paradise and many other birds.

The main tour will lead you down to the Tari valley and usually include several stops at Huli villages. There you will see “Sing Sing” group performances, learn about the lifestyle of the Hulis and get some hands on experience (e.g. trying to hit a banana tree with a traditional style bow and arrow). The whole experience is amazing and you will end up with (at home) unbelievable photographs.

Obviously Trans Niugini Tours arranges the performances and also pays the people for their performance. So it is guaranteed that you will see performances by Sing Sing groups and Hulis with the famous yellow painted faces.

The vehicles used on the tours are pretty old small busses with non-functional shock absorbers. I think some improvement is needed here.

People at the lodge
-----------------------
The lodge is managed by a Canadian couple – Ian and Pauline. They do a very good job and take really care of the guest. Beside that they give you some insights and have many stories about the Huli people and what its like living and working in such a remote area of PNG. All other employees of the lodge are local Huli people.

Usually there are not many guests at the lodge. In the high season (some days in August) there can be up to 50 guests but the standard would be between 5 and 20 guests. I found the other guests experienced travelers and good company. The atmosphere at the lodge is very open and you will get to know most of the other people staying at the lodge.

Price/Value
--------------
This is the big question – is it worth the high cost? Usually you will book the Ambua Lodge as part of a package tour so its hard to say how much one day at the Lodge will cost. There high-season rack rate mentioned by some operators is about 250 Euro per person – which means you pay 500 Euro per room per couple (all inclusive). This is a lot of money and expensive by international standards for the accommodation standard offered.

However there was no single moment when I felt paying too much because:
-the experience is great and unbelievable
-everything is organized very well
-the place is very remote and most supplies are flown in by air from Mount Hagen (or even from Australia)
-the occupancy rate is usually low (so many employees per guest)
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Date of stay: August 2005
4.0 of 5 bubblesValue
3.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
TravelingLemur wrote a review Sept 2010
Calfornia73 contributions239 helpful votes
4.0 of 5 bubbles
We went to Ambua Lodge as part of a Trans Niugini Tours package, and we stayed there 3 nights. I will say at the outset that I really liked Ambua Lodge overall, BUT there were some problems.

The Bad:

On our second day here, we had a bit of a scare with raskols, which is not at all what we expected here. Port Moresby, maybe, but not here. The raskols didn't rob us, or hurt us, because we were with a guide from Ambua Lodge, but 6 or so of these guys (looking not at all friendly and carrying machetes, and one of them had a rifle... they had painted their faces and so were disguised). They definitely had very bad intentions. We saw them smash up the window of a bus that was approaching us, which was quite frightening. They talked to our guide, but did not come into the bus. This was out at the Tari Gap, some 5-10km from the Lodge, right after some birdwatching. We thought the trip was going to be exciting, but this sort of excitement was not what we expected. This episode definitely freaked us out, although we never once considered leaving PNG because of this.

Rats in our room got into my luggage and ate my emergency snacks. Also, I saw a rat running around the dining hall. Keep your luggage zipped up tight in the rooms.

We were 2 females traveling together, and when we were in the villages we felt a bit frightened; got some malevolent stares from many, many men. However, when we were on the Trans Niugini Tours more intimate (and pre-booked) look at village life, Huli Wigmen, etc., it was perfect. But when we just went to look at a random village, unbooked, we felt very, very uneasy, to put it mildly.

The Good:

OK, so you don't come to Papua New Guinea and expect it to be like Hawaii, so who cares about a few rats or bugs? Overall, the TNT tour, guide, accommodations and everything were very good. The bus picked us up at the airstrip right on time (and took us to our flight out on time as well), and our guide & driver took us to everything we asked for (except to return to see the birds of paradise -- we did not want to risk seeing those raskols again). The staff here was very helpful in general. The food at the lodge was so-so, kind of boring, but not terrible. The visit to the women's area of the village was excellent, as were the Huli Wigmen, the men with the yellow painted faces, the mourning ceremony re-enactment and the wedding ceremony re-enactment. The setting of Ambua Lodge is lovely, and there are some very pretty waterfalls nearby. We did see several species of birds of paradise here, but they were far away and hard to see. Definitely bring binoculars and the longest camera lens (300, 400mm) you are willing to bring.

We went during the off-season (that is, during the summer, but not during the sing-sing time). In some ways, this has a lot of advantages, such as practically private photo shoots, and a nearly private lodge stay. The main drawback is that there are few (if any) other visitors during this time, and if you seek the company of other travelers, it may get lonesome.

The temperature here at Ambua is pleasant, not hot and humid. Nighttime can be cool, do bring a fleece jacket. The heated blankets in the rooms were very nice.

Special note for women: PNG is a very unusual place. I am a pretty intrepid traveler (as is my female friend who traveled with me) but I do not recommend coming to Tari or Ambua Lodge alone as a female -- you may be a little freaked out. For PNG in general, (esp if you are traveling outside of the Trans Niugini Tour program) make sure you have arranged for transfers from all your flights, and that you go anywhere outside of your hotel room with a local guide/guard. It is not advisable for a non-PNG woman to wander around anywhere in PNG alone, especially not in the cities: Port Moresby (particularly) but also Wewak, Lae, Mt. Hagen, Goroka, etc. The only exception to these rules is the Karawari Lodge which is very safe (but far from any towns.) If you must go out in the evening in a town, make sure you are with a secure group, and minimize your time out in the evenings (outside your hotel or lodge, that is) if at all possible.
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Date of stay: June 2010
4.0 of 5 bubblesValue
3.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
3.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
3.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled with friends
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
alicerabbit wrote a review Sept 2015
Milpitas, California644 contributions372 helpful votes
1.0 of 5 bubbles
I spent over $9,000.00 USD for an 11 day tour of PNG with Trans Niugini Tours. Day 2 we were flown to Tari and driven 45 minutes to Ambua Lodge at over 7,000 feet in elevation. I was to share a hut with a roommate way down a pathway away from the eating area of the lodge. Halfway there, I said I could not walk that far on the rocky path at such an altitude. Returning to the lodge headquarters, I was reassigned to a room in the "motel" next to the dining room. Wine was $40.00 USD a bottle! for one worth $10 in Australia. Dinner was luke warm and not very exciting. The first night in the room was OK. Bed warming pad worked and the shower had hot water, but the cold water faucet fell apart when I turned it off. The next day was one of the worst days I have ever had on a trip. Breakfast was SLOW and cold. One man waited 30 min. and asked about his eggs, finally gave up and left on the tour. Our first stop was to a Huli men's village to watch some dancing and have the outfits described. After sitting on a very rustic wooden bench for about 15 min. taking photos of the Hulis dancing - the bench snapped and I fell backwards at about a 120 degree angle hitting my head on the ground. I had contusions to my head, back, and lower extremities, surface cuts to my skin, & torn pants. The chunk of wood that broke off was 6" X 12" and riddled by termites (I have a photo). [ Paul and the man working in the lodge bar area said they had told the Hulis many times to fix the benches.] We had one more village stop, awful picnic lunch (from lodge), and then a separate van took just me back to the lodge to rest and get ice for my wounds. I rested for a few hours and then decided that I needed to see a Dr. The rest of the group returned in the PM and Paul, lodge manager on duty, and Haro, guard, drove me to Tari to the hospital that had a Dr. from the group called Drs. without borders. Here comes the GOOD part! About 30 min. into the drive, still on the gravel road, Paul FALLS ASLEEP AT THE WHEEL!!!!! Haro and I yell and he wakes up as he is 20 feet off the road and heading straight toward a group of 15 men sitting beside the road. I was So scared!! Paul's excuse was that he got to bed at 2AM!!! NO EXCUSES - he had my life in his hands! The Dr. gave me a 10 min. look over, shot, and meds and ordered bed rest for 2 days. We drove back safely to the lodge and arrived at dinner time. Dinner was again not very appealing and almost cold. Got more ice for my boo-boos and went to bed. The next day, I was very sore. Had breakfast - this time it actually was hot and pretty good, especially with my peanut butter on the toast. I returned to my very cold room and found No hot water. Then I realized there was NO electricity that meant No warm mattress pad. I took a pain pill and slept all AM in my clothes, jacket, and covers. The times I got up to the bathroom, I shivered all the way. The lodge area was cold all PM with no electricity. By the late PM, I realized that I needed to seek better medical care in civilization, so we arranged for me to leave the trip and return to POM by airplane. Toward dinner, a fire was lit in the stove/fireplace. Dinner was again cool and not very good. Finally, we got electricity (after all day being off!) to be able to use the bed warming pad. The next AM brought no hot water again meaning no shower for 2 days. At breakfast at least 3 people were hanging their heads after a night with GI sickness. (Food?) This tour to a place with unsafe benches; poor facilities and food; lack of hot water and electricity and heat; and a driver who falls asleep the wheel was appalling. Know before you go and have insurance!!!
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Date of stay: September 2015
3.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
2.0 of 5 bubblesService
2.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled solo
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Response from TransNiuginiTours, General Manager at Ambua Lodge
Responded 8 Oct 2015
Dear Alice, Thank you for sending a report of your experience. We have been very concerned about your experience and have investigated and addressed your points with the lodge management.  We were shocked to hear about the incident with Paul falling asleep at the wheel. While it appears that, as manager, he wanted to drive you himself, if he was that tired he should not have been driving and putting your safety as well as others in jeopardy. We have made it clear that this was not acceptable. He has been instructed to use the staff drivers to transport clients rather than himself. The rotten wood on the bench that caused the problem was also unacceptable. I have had the manager inspect the village and talk to the village head about the incident and asked them to repair or replace all the seating. An inspection of the work by both lodge and head office staff will be done. Safety of our clients is of utmost importance to us. We take this seriously. The above two incidents have been addressed at the highest level and checks put in place to ensure that this is never repeated. As for the lack of electric power, I can only apologize as, with the current drought caused by El Nino, we have had problems with water supply for the hydroelectric plant there.  This is the only source of power there and this is the first that we have faced the challenge of a such serious lack of water to supply the hydroelectric system. We have technicians there now working on a solution to this problem. Under normal conditions Ambua has 24 hours of uninterrupted power from our hydroelectric plants. I am sure that the hydroelectric problem was the reason for the slow kitchen service and food not being hot.  We are aware that some guests had some GI problems but food poisoning would affect everyone eating so I think this was not the case.  There are many causes of GI problems and from experience we know they include shaking hands and touching various art and objects while on tour and then not fully sanitizing hands, the high altitude and dehydration.  We have strict rules for our kitchen sanitation and can assure you that the food is not contaminated. All the staff are trained in food handling and refresher classes are conducted. However, we have inspected again and are sure that the rules are being followed. I understand that my director has contacted you personally about these matters and do hope you have recovered from the unfortunate accident. Best regards, Jayesh Naduvil General Manager, Trans Niugini Tours
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RagnarKnox wrote a review Sept 2010
Hoboken, NJ5 contributions19 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Ambua Lodge is operated by Trans Nuigini Tours (TNT) just outside Tari in the Southern Highlands Province. I have reviewed TNT operations separately on TripAdvisor, so will only comment on the lodge here.
The rooms are nice, but basic. In PNG they are certainly luxury by any stretch of the imagination but by any other standards they are far from it. Everything works and is comfortable – that is about as much as you can really ask for. The central lodge is very homey and cozy and a great place to hang out in.
The views at Ambua used to be spectacular (as we understood), but now they are a bit less so as a result of the Highland Highway road expansion resulting from the PNG LNG project. The views further down into the valley are excellent and the grounds of the property itself are stunning, but that completely pristine look is now gone.
Birding, for which if the area is famous, is very good. We saw Kings of Saxony and other Birds of Paradise with relative ease, but we did feel that birding was considerably better, albeit a bit more physically taxing, at TNT’s other property, Rondon Ridge.
The unequivocal highlight, though, of the visit is the time you spend with the Huli people and learning about the Huli culture. You witness everything from sing-sings and other traditional dances to potentially having the opportunity to go to a woman’s village to learn about the role of Huli women (this was even more of a highlight in such a bifurcated culture). These cultural learnings are brought even more to the fore through the fact that all of your guides are Huli. They are very open and willing to chat about their traditions and culture, giving the guest the opportunity to learn on a very intimate basis.
With the massive PNG LNG project, Tari and Ambua Lodge are changing. As opposed to adventure and bird seeking tourists, most of the guests at Ambua now are oil field workers and businessmen, giving the place a very different vibe. The lodge still caters mostly for tourists (and does an excellent job of it), but you can definitely see the change in the air.
More information regarding our experiences there can be found at www.hobokencupcake.com.
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Date of stay: August 2010
4.0 of 5 bubblesValue
4.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
4.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Peter G wrote a review July 2008
Encinitas, California84 contributions91 helpful votes
4.0 of 5 bubbles
This is just to expand upon and update some of the previous exceptional reviews by others. Our price for a 5-night stay was about $360 per night per person. The reason I rated Ambua as 4 stars was that some might expect luxuries generally associated with 5-star resorts which are not present there but considering the location, etc. it is truly a haven to be enjoyed immensely. Air travel to Tari is always a question due to weather and reliability of local air carriers. We took a charter arranged by Trans Niugini Tours (operators of Ambua Lodge) from Mt. Hagen to Tari. This is probably one's surest bet but beware of luggage weight restrictions. The Ambua private airstrip was not in use when we were there due to a dispute with a local land owner. The on-site lodge management and staff were very helpful and went out of their way to help us in every respect. As they are on a contract of a limited time I would not expect that the outstanding managers present during our stay (Paddy and Suzanah) would be there in the distant future. As opposed to a previous comment I have reason to believe that little money is filtered down to the local villages and know that the local staff is not richly rewarded for their work. So, I would recommend donating if possible to a tip pool so all can reap the rewards of their labors. The buses are not only still without any semblance of suspension they're probably even worse with no operating headlights and parts falling off ont to roads.

It is still as others have said an unforgettable experience.
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Date of stay: July 2008
4.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesCheck-in / front desk
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled with friends
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
KarinP63 wrote a review May 2013
Sydney, Australia376 contributions165 helpful votes
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
We spent 2 nights at Ambua Lodge and the accommodation has seen better days but it is warm and comfortable, the food is hearty, the bathrooms clean, the toilets flush and the service friendly. The locals live in grass huts with no gas, electricity or running water so in contrast Ambua lodge is luxurious. The price was inclusive of everything for us and the highlight was the access to the local villages and the school for the Huli Wigmen, bird watching where we spied a bird of paradise and bush walking in the jungle. It is one of the most beautiful and remote places on earth and yet we stayed in comfort. My son left his teddy bear which was located and posted home which has never happened at any resort in Australia. I would return in the blink of an eye. The only complaint is the noise of the trucks from the local gas mine which could be heard from our room whilst trying to fall asleep.
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Date of stay: May 2013
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
3.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
4.0 of 5 bubblesService
4.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
Trip type: Travelled with family
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Alex B wrote a review June 2008
Toronto, Canada1,208 contribution192 helpful votes
+1
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Ambua Lodge is as photogenic as the brochure photos. It is very picturesque, well maintained with the full comforts of home:plenty of hot water, good sized bathroom, good kitchen, very comfortable beds but minus telephone, t.v., radio, internet/mobile service or hairdryer.

The Lodge is comprised of about 40 individual round huts, with 180 degrees picture window, French doors opening outward to the park-like garden, thatched roofing, walls made of woven bamboo (or rattan) strips. A walkway separates the complex from the thick forest growth and the stream that provides hydroelectric power to the Lodge.

The one luxury worth mentioning is the electric bed warmer with its own thermostat. At 7,000 ft (2100 m), nights (and days) can get very cool and very damp. The little gadget kept my bed dry and toasty, as well as my clothes. (I would slip them under the bed cover whenever I left the hut.) Ambua Lodge is by far the quietest place I’ve stayed, with only the murmur of the stream, the occasional rustle in the forest and the soft pitter-patter of the night rain for “noise.”

The Lodge staff is very accommodating and provides a “homey” vacation experience in Tari. A good thing to remember is that the Lodge provides monetary support to the different hamlets that we visited to ensure continuity of their traditions. One is advised not to tip or give donation to any villager. The all inclusive package (including local tours) at Ambua Lodge booked through Trans Niugini Tour (it’s parent company) was very well worth the price.
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Date of stay: February 2008
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
Trip type: Travelled solo
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
PaulC3750821 wrote a review Oct 2017
Albuquerque, New Mexico1 contribution5 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
In contrast to the negative experience related by Tapan B, we had a wonderful 4 night stay at Ambua Lodge during the same time period. We were with Tapan B on the “trecherous walk” and found it to be a very enjoyable hike through a lovely cloud forest. We are in our sixties and had no difficulty on the well-maintained trail. The several cane suspension bridges were well-secured and fun to cross. We walked ahead and were able to spot a few birds while our guide solicitously stayed behind to help Tapan B and his wife, who were not at all suited for hiking -very unfit, not at all sure-footed, and asthmatic.

Ambua is operated under a typical nature lodge set-up where there are activities scheduled at certain times of the day - including, in this case, birdwatching, hiking, and cultural experiences. Tapan B came with unrealistic expectations and was not content to follow the lodge program. He alienated the rest of the lodge guests, who could not help but overhear his rude complaints and insults to the guides and management. From our perspective, rather than being “ignored”, the lodge manager did a good job in trying to accommodate Tapan B, and the rest of us, by hiring an extra vehicle to transport the couple on their own outings, so they could walk at their own very slow pace and spare the others of their complaints.

We stayed at 3 lodges under the Trans Niugini umbrella - Rondon Ridge, Karawari and Ambua, and found them all to be very well-run, especially considering the complexity of operations in such remote locations. All were beautifully situated, served a high standard of food and had clean and comfortable accommodations. We were quite impressed that the thatched ceilings were kept totally free of cobwebs and crawly critters. There were nice conveniences, such as walking sticks, umbrellas, and plastic water bottles available for guest use. The staff and guides were all very friendly and helpful. The cultural outings were interesting and informative. It is important to come with realistic expectations about birdwatching. It takes effort, and good luck, to view the elusive birds of paradise and others in the dense tropical forests, but it is highly rewarding when you do! We had a few hiccups with plane flights - we had been forewarned by Trans Niugini of this possibility. Otherwise, our trip exceeded our expectations. We were warmly welcomed by the people of New Guinea and highly recommend a visit.
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Date of stay: October 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
KT1Png wrote a review Feb 2013
Papua New Guinea2 contributions5 helpful votes
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Have stayed here several times whilst on business. No other real alternatives that offer easy access to the Hela basin. Most recently stayed in one of the new hotel-style rooms. Not as "authentic" as the round houses, but more comfortable. Unfortunately the local rat community has already taken up residence! Can't complain about the service. The manager is most accommodating. Food basic but nourishing. Check with your bank manager before buying alcohol - if any is available. Likewise accommodation charges. 3 star standard at 6 star prices.
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Date of stay: February 2013
1.0 of 5 bubblesValue
3.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
4.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
4.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Answer from S McLeod
Ambua Lodge1 contribution2 helpful votes
Hello Andrew. Gary has answered your questions well. (Thanks Gary) Yes, bookings need to be made in advance, You can book through a travel agent or directly with Trans Niugini Tours, the owners and operators of Ambua Lodge and six other lodges in PNG. Trans Niugini Tours can be reached by email. Since Trip Advisor does not allow inclusion of email addresses in replies, I refer you to the Trans Niugini Tours web site or Facebook page for the email address. Here's to good birding.
Jules E wrote a tip Nov 2017
London, United Kingdom90 contributions111 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"the newer rooms are closer to the main hotel and have great little balconies."
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kdyer920 wrote a tip Nov 2017
Mill Valley, California104 contributions25 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"Ask for the new wing if you want modern or have allergies. If you like quaint or authentic then ask for a bungalow."
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Redfoot wrote a tip June 2017
Sun City, Arizona365 contributions232 helpful votes
4.0 of 5 bubbles
"Lower number bungalows are closer to main lodge, important to avoid a steep climb and huffing and puffing in the high altitude"
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kllamera wrote a tip May 2017
Port Vila, Vanuatu46 contributions19 helpful votes
5.0 of 5 bubbles
"best view, remote travel"
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Frans d wrote a tip Dec 2015
San Antonio, Texas234 contributions127 helpful votes
4.0 of 5 bubbles
"Be prepared, you are out in the middle-of-nowhere. Bring flashlight."
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Not the right property for you?
There are more places to choose from in the Tari area.
ALSO KNOWN AS
ambua hotel tari
LOCATION
Papua New GuineaHighlands RegionTari
NUMBER OF ROOMS
42
Prices are provided by our partners, and reflect total costs of the stay, including all taxes and fees known to our partners. Please see our partners for more details.
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AMBUA LODGE: 2023 Reviews (Tari, Papua New Guinea) - Photos of Hotel - Tripadvisor

Frequently Asked Questions about Ambua Lodge
What are some of the property amenities at Ambua Lodge?
Some of the more popular amenities offered include free breakfast, an on-site restaurant, and a lounge.
What food & drink options are available at Ambua Lodge?
Guests can enjoy free breakfast, an on-site restaurant, and a lounge during their stay.
Is parking available at Ambua Lodge?
Yes, free parking is available to guests.
Does Ambua Lodge have airport transportation?
Yes, Ambua Lodge offers airport transportation for guests. We recommend calling ahead to confirm details.
Does Ambua Lodge offer any business services?
Yes, it conveniently offers meeting rooms, a banquet room, and conference facilities.