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Interested in Rah Island, Mota Lava, northern Vanuatu?

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NSW Australia
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42 posts
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Interested in Rah Island, Mota Lava, northern Vanuatu?

new footage re: Rah Island, Rah Paradise Bungalows & Mota Lava now on Youtube. Google one of the above to find 'southpacific2u' link to see them all. It's a wonderful place to stay. Hopefully will be posting a full review soon as I get approval.

Moreton Island...
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1. Re: Interested in Rah Island, Mota Lava, northern Vanuatu?

Looking forward to hearing about it ozjo

Adelaide
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2. Re: Interested in Rah Island, Mota Lava, northern Vanuatu?

Thanks jo, just loved the videos, and I think you have made up our minds to spend time on Rah and Mota Lava now. Look forward to reading your reviews.

Cheers, Barbara

NSW Australia
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3. Re: Interested in Rah Island, Mota Lava, northern Vanuatu?

Hi Barb,

I'm looking forward to posting the review .....

just waiting for TA to say they'll open a space for Rah Paradise Bungalows.

Adelaide
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4. Re: Interested in Rah Island, Mota Lava, northern Vanuatu?

Thanks jo, don't hold your breath but I hope TA co-operates this time. It seems to take ages to get new accommodation added, and sometimes TA refuses. I am hanging out for the review, as we have almost made our minds up about staying there.

We are thinking at this stage about 4-5 days on Malekula, a week on Santo and then a week on Mota Lava and Rah. How does that sound? Too long in the north? It sounds wonderful to ME right now, with snow on the hills near Adelaide last night, 5 degrees and hail on the way into work! YUK!

Thanks, Barbara

New Zealand
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5. Re: Interested in Rah Island, Mota Lava, northern Vanuatu?

Barbara - are you heading up there in March?? Interested in northern Vanuatu also after seeing some video of the areas mentioned - 83 islands - whew!!

Adelaide
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6. Re: Interested in Rah Island, Mota Lava, northern Vanuatu?

Yes kiwi - if all goes to plan we will be visiting again in March, THREE weeks of heaven this time! Wanna come too? :)

NSW Australia
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7. Re: Interested in Rah Island, Mota Lava, northern Vanuatu?

Hi Barb

Your plan sounds perfect to me too. Did u get the number from me for Santo B & B which is run by Father Luke & Rona? It's very nice & very comfy for about AU$25 pp, per night.

Still haven't heard from TA re review allowed for Rah so here it is ...

Rah Paradise Bungalows review

This place truly IS paradise.

Young & Rachel Dini, +678 7744093, 7745650 are your hosts at Rah Paradise Bungalows (formally Harry Memorial Guesthouse) on Rah Island, Mota Lava, Banks Islands in the Torba Province, northern Vanuatu.

I’ve travelled to Vanuatu about 20 times now, often staying in local bungalows on Efate, Nguna, Epi, Malekula, Maskelyne Islands, Vao Island, Santo and Ambrym. I’ve also stayed at the most expensive resorts Vanuatu has to offer such as Eratap Beach Resort (which is just as gorgeous every time I visit!) and Ratua (which I disliked so much that I cancelled my booking and left after the first night).

Out of all the places I have stayed, Rah Paradise Bungalows ticks ALL the boxes for location, ambiance, food, cleanliness, comfort, excellent hosts, personal attention, price, safety, culture and happiness.

Accommodation costs about $35 per night, per person, this includes three superb meals, snacks & coconuts. It is absolutely the best value for money I have found in Vanuatu so far!

If your idea of paradise is fresh lobster, coconut crab, fish, chicken, tropical fruits and salads and all the coconut juice you can drink ... this is the place for you.

Adore clean white sand beaches strewn with shells? Yearn to be floating in the warm Coral Sea, bluer than the sky? Seek stunning South Pacific views to gaze at by day and by night, stare in wonder at a sky brimming with platinum twinkling stars and golden meteorite streaks? Quite like the idea of staying in a traditional bamboo hut with a thatched roof but need a comfy bed and a clean flush loo or two? This IS the place for you!

Staying in ni-Van owned bungalows benefits the whole community. Your hosts employ other locals each day to sweep leaf debris off the beach, arrange fresh flower displays absolutely everywhere, service your room, scrub the bathrooms, hunt, gather and cook your food, tote water, carry your bags, provide entertainment for Friday night’s bonfire & cocktails as well as welcoming ceremonies and many more things I probably missed. The small amount of money you pay for accommodation goes a very, very long way.

You will be given a welcome ceremony when you arrive on Rah so have your camera ready and start smiling for all the locals who will be taking photos of you on their phones!

If you want to see the famous Snake Dance and Women’s Dances, just ask Rachel. You will need to pay to view these extra performances but it will be money well spent to witness unique cultural events. The performers are very grateful for the money they receive which will be used to pay school fees and buy food. Rachel will invite any other tourists in the area to special performances in order to cut the costs for you. You may stumble across other tourists in the Mota Lava/Rah area now & then but they are usually fairly scarce.

There are lots of other things to do in the area besides relax on the beach. You can pay a little bit of money and take locally run tours to the Rocks of Rah, Sleeping Mountain and canoe tours, etc.

We visited the school, clinic (gave the male midwife head torches which he received ecstatically), bought a walking stick from a local carver, had a wonderful cooking lesson from a new friend, we watched how the locals wove mats and fished, all for free, but one of the best things we experienced was a Sunday service at the Pillar Of Fire Revival Church. It was so much fun! Elements of the Blues Brothers!

My husband drank kava at the local nakamal most evenings and got a kick out of ‘shouting the bar’ for a few hundred vatu. He said it was the sweetest kava he’s ever had.

We really enjoyed taking one of the official water taxis (yellow canoe with ‘water taxi’ painted on the side) between Rah and Mota Lava. It costs 10 vatu per trip which is about 10 cents. That taxi man is now several dollars richer!

I don’t want to give too many more Rah secrets away; you’ll want to discover them for yourself. If you must see more, check out my Rah clips under the name of southpacific2u on YouTube.

To get to Rah Island, book a flight with Air Vanuatu from Santo to Ablow airfield in Mota Lava. Flights to Mota Lava go 2 to 3 times a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays and sometimes on Mondays. If you want to stay at Rah Paradise Bunglaows, it’s as easy as ringing Young and booking. He speaks English and will arrange transfers, including porters and a personal escort from the airport. Be aware that when you phone Vanuatu, the tone that you will hear sounds like a long beep, almost like an ‘engaged’ signal. Just hang on & wait. If the line is busy you will hear a recorded message sooner or later. Vanuatu has an extensive phone network these days so it’s possible to call just about anyone, anywhere, provided you have the right number!

Have a look at my review on Santo Bed & Breakfast which is being run by Young’s parents; Father Luke and Rona. At about $25 a head, it’s the perfect place in Santo to transit in & out of Rah.

If you are a ‘cash-packer’ you might like to fly to Rah with Seaplane Paul which is a wonderful experience, gliding over the lake-filled crater of Mt Garet on Gaua; the most dangerous volcano in Vanuatu. It costs about AU$1750 one way, yeah I know... but I wrote it on my Bucket List just so I could have the pleasure of the ride and it was seriously worth it. This is a totally cute, fully renovated sea plane. Look at paradise@vanuatuseaplanes.com or call +678 5554200. Paul is an absolute hoot and does some really interesting seaplane tours to remote islands, beaches and volcanos... where did I put that Bucket List?

Gifts are very welcome but please don’t take things that will rot kids teeth (like lollies) or will become unwanted plastic rubbish (like textas or flimsy plastic toys). Useful gifts are pencils, exercise books, tennis balls, footballs, volleyballs & pump, Frisbees, skipping ropes, strong toy cars & dolls, sewing kits, babies & kids clothing, T-shirts, board shorts, skirts, undies, bras, hats, torches & lights that don’t use disposable batteries such as solar torches, guitar strings, fishing line, hooks, lures, tarps, towels, shoes and stainless steel pans. I leave much of my baggage behind when I leave and usually donate the contents of my first aid kit to the local Health Clinic if I’m heading back to ‘civilisation’. Air Vanuatu may insist on only 10kg of checked luggage and 7kg hand luggage as per ticketing, but you may get 23kg checked through for each person as we did. Just smile and keep chatting about how much you love Vanuatu as you check in!

Go to a travel doctor before any visit to outer islands to get your shots plus malaria tablets, a course of emergency antibiotics and a comprehensive first aid kit. Always, always have travel insurance.

Happy travelling!

Jo x

Adelaide
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8. Re: Interested in Rah Island, Mota Lava, northern Vanuatu?

Wow what a great read Jo! But don't say it TOO loud... I want to selfishly save it all for ourselves :) 99% sure we will stay there now, probably for a week. It really sounds exactly like what we enjoy, ticks all the boxes.

So far we haven't bothered with malaria tablets, mostly because I'm not keen on side effects. You would advise them for a visit to Rah/Mota Lava? We will definitely take some emergency antibiotics this time - last visit my husband needed some because of an ear infection, and luckily we were staying near to Luganville. Not so easy to pop into a pharmacy on Rah! My medicine kit usually takes up more space than my clothes. I like to be prepared for anything that might spoil paradise.

Where on Santo is the Santo B&B? We are planning a week on Santo if possible, with some time at Port Olry which we loved last visit.

Thanks again for your help, cheers, Barbara

Sydney
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9. Re: Interested in Rah Island, Mota Lava, northern Vanuatu?

Thanks for that report Jo, Rah Island sounds great. Yet another reason to return to Vanuatu! We are very keen on snorkeling - how would you rate Mota Lava or Banks Islands generally in this regard?

Kind regards,

Annette

10. Re: Interested in Rah Island, Mota Lava, northern Vanuatu?

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