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Bethel Village

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Ekipe, Epao, Efate Vanuatu
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Ekipe, Epao, Efate Vanuatu
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kerryandjake wrote a review Jul 2010
Brisbane, Australia864 contributions100 helpful votes
I drove around the island in June 2010 and noticed that Bethel certainly isn't what it used to be. I spke with Joel Amos in Port Vila and he is sorry that he is unable to keep the bungalows running at the moment. Perhaps in the distant future.
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Date of stay: June 2010
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Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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SunMoonSky wrote a review Oct 2009
Brisbane1 contribution
Unfortunately my trip to Bethel Village was a huge disappointment and actually quite distressing. I contacted Joel Amos from Australia and booked a cabin for 4 days and then travelled by local bus, arriving late in the afternoon. It was obvious from the start that no one was expecting me and the place had a feel of general decline. The restaurant had obviously not been operating for quite a while and I was the only tourist there. Also there was no fuel for the generator so no electricity or running water. Also during the night I was harassed by a local man for sex. To be fair Joel Amos, who was in Port Vila, apologised for this and it was being discussed by the Council of Chiefs when I left. However, apart from the sexual harassment, Bethel Village itself was not in a good state. I would not recommend it at all.
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Date of stay: October 2009
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Trip type: Travelled solo
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jengaOZ wrote a review Jul 2009
Australia50 contributions
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I completely agree with the other reviews! This was our first stop in Vanuatu and it didn't disappoint. It is amazing this place has been built from scratch-- what an impressive accomplishement. The bungalows are set amongst pretty gardens comprising native flowers and fruits! Meals are served under a gazebo which is build around a living tree! Come here is you want to learn about Vanuatu culture and experience the beautiful surrounds. If you are into 5-stars and luxury, look elsewhere. There are lovely snorkelling spots nearby and the opportunity to try local foods which are organically grown. Away from the hustle and bustle and Pt Vila center, Joel (the owner and Chief) can educate you on many things including local herbs and medicines and the cultural aspects of Vanuatu. You also have the opprotunity to climb a 100+year old tree, drink from fresh coconuts and relax of course :) Give Joel a call to make a booking: [--]
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Date of stay: April 2009
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Trip type: Travelled with friends
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Lizzie M wrote a review Aug 2008
Townsville, Australia44 contributions10 helpful votes
My partner and I were lucky enough to spend only a short yet amazing time at Bethel Village at the end of July! We only had enough time to be there for four nights, but what a busy few days it was. Joel, Elizabeth and their extended family (the other villagers) were all so lovely and friendly. From some of them only speaking a little english to the young children being really quite well spoken, we were for ever busy in conversations about life at the village and about their traditional ways of life. We had a gorgeous little bungalow, which is much more then you would really expect to stay in when visiting a village (especially as joel and his family still choose to live their village lifestyle under small roofs etc). We had our comfy double bed, their is quite a good toilet facilities as well as a lovely cover were we were fed our brekky, lunch and dinner. While we were there we were lucky enough to spend 3 days involved in a ceremony where Joel was to become chief so we really experienced the traditional life from the slaughtering of the animals to the many different songs and dances. The times we werent involved there, we had the gorgeous kids take us down to the beach showing us other villages on the way, cracking coconuts open for us, just everything you really expect to do in a relaxing traditional couple of days on a pacific island. Although Joel was busy with his ceremony, the times he had to chat he would fill us in with great stories, places to see, and of course his lovely feasts.. Certainly cant say that we starved that four days. We had a great feast for breakfast lunch and dinner of plates of fresh breads and fruit, meat, salad and plenty of Tanna coffee. Yum! Over all we'd just have to say that if you want a traditional time in vanuatu being able to relax whilst still have the great conpany of the locals, and not just hotel staff.. Bethel village is the place to go. It is perfect just for a few days break, 4 days was almost enough time to see the local area and chill, but a few more days wouldn't have gone a stray, definitley recommend visiting it even as just part of a trip around vanuatu!
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Date of stay: July 2008
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Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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ozjo wrote a review Apr 2008
NSW Australia60 contributions39 helpful votes
I've just returned from my third visit to Bethel Village. It's my favourite place to stay in Vanuatu. I'm already planning my next visit! Joel, Elizabeth and their extended family are wonderful hosts. They welcome you with delight, share village activities such as harvesting, cooking laplap, hunting and weaving and they take every opportunity to feed you to bursting point. The bungalows are basic but comfortable with two single beds or a double bed, screened windows, table, chairs and shelves. They are set in amazing tropical gardens. Coral paths wind through the gardens, connecting buildings. The huge restaurant, built around a living tree, was designed by Joel and built without the aid of power tools by the villagers. The amenities block contains four bathrooms with a flush loo, sink and hot water shower in each. There is power for about two hours every night when the generator swings into action. (This is a good time to shower.) Candles and hurricane lamps are provided for 'after hours' lighting. My daughter thought I was exaggerating when I told her that sometimes it takes three people to bring out breakfast. After our recent stay, she now believes me! A typical brekky might be pamplemousse (sweet grapefruit), avocado, soursop, banana fritters, pancakes, eggs and freshly brewed Tanna coffee. Just when you think you have recovered from breakfast, lunch looms! BYOG if you need it, it's a long way back to Vila to get some. I find white rum mixes incredibly well with fresh green coconut juice which Joel can provide you with if you ask. The snorkelling off the coral coast is always interesting. We saw a seahorse on our last trip. Usually you have the whole bay to yourself. The kids from Ekipe village might join you for a chat and a swim in the shallow beaches on the weekend. If you travel 4 km north of Bethel you will come to Epule River. The Epule villagers provide a very entertaining outrigger trip and kastom dance for about $18 per person. Accommodation at Bethel and three cooked meals cost about AUS$65 per night for one person. Book directly by phoning Joel at Bethel village. He will arrange transfers from Port Vila. Transfers cost extra - about $60 return per person. It takes about 90 minutes to travel half way around Efate to reach Bethel (about 70 km). There is talk of a sealed ring road in the future but at the time of writing this review, the main road is unsealed which adds to the adventure. When you phone Vanuatu, be aware that the ring tone sounds like long beeps, a bit like our 'engaged' signal. You might need to ring a few times to reach the Bethel people, they might be working up in the gardens. 6pm to 8pm seems to be a good time to phone. If you read this review and go to Bethel, say hi to Joel and his family for me and tell them I'll be back soon. Happy travels, Jo
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Date of stay: April 2008
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Trip type: Travelled as a couple
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LOCATION
VanuatuEfateEpao
NUMBER OF ROOMS
12
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