|Dates:||June 28 – July 15|
|Grade||9th, 10th, 11th & 12th|
*Airfare for group flight from Los Angeles additional
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- Discover Wild Sumatran Orangutans in their Natural Habitat
- Hike Through the Pristine Rainforest of Northern Sumatra
- Surf the Famous Waves of Bali’s Beautiful Bukit Peninsula
- Meet with the Scientists of The Orangutan Project
- Work with an Orangutan NGO to Restore Lifesaving Orangutan Habitat
- Experience the Unique Culture of Bali, the “Island of Gods”
- Assist Poverty Stricken East Bali Communities Improve Infrastructure
- 30 Hours of Community Service.
Orangutan Habitat Restoration Project
Once widespread throughout the forests of Asia, wild orangutans are now found in just two places in the world, the rainforests of Sumatra being one of them. Due to clearcutting and habitat destruction, the Sumatran Orangutan is one of the most endangered primates in the world. Following our multiday trek in search of wild orangutans, we work with our Orangutan NGO partners to help restore what were once illegal palm oil plantations to healthy orangutan habitats. Through the collection of wild seedlings, work in a tree nursery, checking camera traps, and replanting important native species we can help ensure the success of the Sumatran Orangutan for future generations.
Soak in the unique culture of Bali and the untouched nature of Northern Sumatra as we explore two of the most beautiful and interesting areas in the world. First, we explore the island of Sumatra, one of only two places on the planet where orangutans live in the wild. Working with our Orangutan NGO partners and Rangers from Gunung Leuser Nasional Park, we hike through the pristine rain forest of Bukit Lawang in search of wild orangutans. It is here, through our direct observations of these fascinating primates, that we begin to understand the life and habitat of the Sumatran Orangutan. We further this knowledge as we head to Halaban, where what once was beautiful rainforest has been destroyed, clear-cut and replaced with illegal palm oil plantations. Working with a local NGO on their “Orangutan Habitat Restoration” project, we assist in recreating a healthy ecosystem and rainforest environment for not only the Sumatran Orangutan, but for Pygmy Elephants and Sumatran Tigers as well.
Saying goodbye to wonderful Sumatra, we board a plane bound for the mystical island of Bali, the “Island of Gods.” Surrounded by lush rice patties, we travel to East Bali and the spiritual village of Ubud to work with students in a nearby community to improve village infrastructure. We then head to the Bukit Peninsula for a relaxing, yet exciting surf camp on Bali’s perfect beginner waves. We close our adventure with a final feast and closing ceremonies, catching a sunset behind the famous Uluwatu Temple on the cliffs overlooking the Bali Sea.
We begin our exploration of the Indonesia Isles with a west coast departure and a long flight across the Pacific. Upon landing in Medan, the capital of Sumatra, we take a little time to adjust to new time zones and a new culture.
Once rested, we meet with the scientists supporting The Orangutan Project and explore the site of the future “Orangutan Haven,” a cage-less sanctuary for permanently incapacitated orangutans that can never be released into the wild due to illness and disabilities. Through our orientation with The Orangutan Project we gain an understanding of the plight that faces the Sumatran Orangutan and becomes a foundation of our service work in support of this endangered primate.
Hiking in Search of Orangutans
Leaving the congested capital we travel through the Sumatran countryside and the beautiful landscape that makes up one of the most diverse ecosystems in the entire world. We meet with our hiking partners, Rangers from the Taman Nasional Gunung Leuser, to learn about the protected rainforest that is home to one of the last populations of wild orangutans. With our new knowledge, we and the rangers embark on a unique journey, two days of hiking through the rain forest in search of wild orangutans. As the orangutan population moves throughout the jungle, we rely on the rangers to help track and discover these amazing creatures. If we’re lucky, they will accept us and might even approach us. Our hike finishes with a float down the beautiful Bohorok river back to civilization.
Orangutan Habitat Restoration Project
After learning about the plight of the orangutans and witnessing them in their natural habitat we travel to the rural town of Halaban to work on a project vital to the survival of the Sumatran Orangutan and countless other endangered species. Working with our Orangutan NGO partners we help convert illegal palm oil plantations into suitable habitat for Orangutans through our “Orangutan Habitat Restoration Project.” By collecting and planting wild seedlings, working in the tree nursery, checking camera traps, and planting hundreds of native trees we are helping to ensure the survival of the Sumatran Orangutan.
“Island of Gods” & East Bali Service
Bidding farewell to our new Sumatran friends, we catch an early flight for the world-famous island of Bali. Upon arriving in Bali we are met by our non-profit partners who work in Northeast Bali, one of the poorest communities in all of Southeast Asia. With the average income for families in East Bali at just a dollar a day, our service has an immense impact on the community. We work with the local Balinese communities on important infrastructure projects such as bringing clean water to local schools and repairing important roadways.
Ubud Exploration & Surfing
Saying goodbye to our East Bali community we head to the religious center of Bali, the famous community of Ubud. We explore the fascinating temples, religious monuments, and colorful street markets while walking the quaint cobble-stoned roads of this unique and vibrant city.
We leave the pulse of Ubud and head to the rhythmic waves of one of the world’s most famous surf spots in southern Bali. With waves appropriate for every level of surfer, the “dream” breaks of Bali are some of the most famous in the entire world. As our trip comes to an end, we enjoy the waves, sunshine, and each other’s company as we reflect on our Indonesian adventure. Enjoying our last days together with a sunset at Uluwatu Temple, we end the adventure with a spectacular final feast of Indonesian specialties, and lasting memories of this amazing nation.
“I think that the impact that we made during our service projects really made a difference, you could really see it in the faces of the people we helped.”— Katie S., Woodinville, WA
“Only with ARCC and it’s leaders are you able to form a family bond while exploring unseen parts of the world with complete strangers.”— Sebastian H., Greenwich, CT
“There were so many once in a lifetime moments on this trip that I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”— Alya S., Weston, CT
“This was by far one of the best trips I have ever taken. The people you meet, not only your group, but also your leaders and [in-country] guides are absolutely amazing. Hands down, it is completely worth coming.”— Gigi G., Piedmont CA
“Before she left on this trip, Gigi was an independent, confident young girl. Now I see her as a worldly young women, excited to explore new things and grounded in the new friendships that she made on the trip. The leaders were a perfect combination of caring, fun, relaxed and silly. This group seemed to have a very special bond.”— Parent of Gigi G., Piedmont, CA
What is the packing list for this program?
Each program has a specific packing list that has been designed to fit the program’s activities, length, climate and cultural differences. Please click here to view the Sumatra: Operation Orangutan packing list.
What is the weather like in Bali and Sumatra?
The Indonesian climate is tropical, warm, and humid all year around with two main distinctive seasons; dry season and rainy season. Our visit to Indonesia will fall during the dry season but there is always a chance of a pop-up shower so it is best to be prepared. The day-time temperatures in the summer months usually fall between 72-86 degrees with varying percentages of humidity depending on location and elevation.
What are the service projects like?
Through various travels throughout Southeast Asia ARCC has been able to make strong relationships with local organizations and communities to provide meaningful community service projects in both Sumatra and Bali. On this program we participate in two major service projects, an Orangutan Habitat Restoration project and a community project in Eastern Bali. Working with our Orangutan NGO partners we help restore illegal palm oil plantations to healthy orangutan habitat by collecting wild seedlings, working in the nursery, and planting hundreds of native trees that will help provide much needed habitat for the Sumatran Orangutan. Our second project takes us to one of the poorest locations in Indonesia, East Bali, where family income is about one dollar a day. Here we work with the community on various projects to improve village infrastructure with specific service projects dependent on what is most need by the community.
What kind of health precautions should I take before traveling to Indonesia?
Indonesia is a relatively clean and safe place to travel. However, ARCC does recommend that you take some health precautions before your trip to Indonesia. When you enroll in the program, you will receive more complete information on pertinent travel vaccinations and immunizations. Please also refer to the Traveler’s Health section of the CDC website. Our leaders carry a full first aid kit, and are all certified Wilderness First Responders (WFR).
Where will we sleep?
During this program we sleep in a variety of accommodations: hotels, rustic camping shelters, jungle lodge, and dorm style bungalows.
What is the transportation like once we are in Indonesia?
We use a variety of transportation on the Sumatra and Bali program. We travel by private buses and vans arranged by our in-country partner.
What is the food like?
Indonesian food is one of the most vibrant, colorful, and flavorful food in the world. We will have the opportunity to sample traditional Indonesian cuisine such as Rendang (spicy meat), Nasi Goreng (fried rice), and satay (skewered and grilled meat) throughout our program.
How much spending money should I bring?
In Indonesia the official currency is the Indonesian Rupiah (IDR). For this program we suggest you bring about $75 USD per week. We recommend that you bring some of your money in cash (small denominations… 5s, 10s, and 20s) and the rest on an international ATM card. ATM’s are found in Sumarta’s capital, Medan, and throughout Bali, but are limited outside the cities.
This money is for souvenirs, laundry, and other incidentals. ARCC pays for all meals, lodging, transportation and activities. There will be some time to shop for souvenirs in Bukit Lawang and Ubud during the program.
As with any international program, we strongly recommend talking to your bank about its international withdrawal policies to avoid any surprise fees or card cancellations.
Do I need a Passport?
Yes, all students traveling to Indonesia need to have a valid passport. Please make sure the passport expiration date is at least six months after your program start date. Be sure to make a photocopy of your passport and keep it in a separate place. If you lose your passport and you have a photocopy, it is much easier to replace.
Do I need a visa?
For our Sumatra/ Bali program we will be purchasing a Visa Upon Arrival which cost $35 at the airport in Medan, Indonesia. Please be sure to have $35 in an envelope in your carry-on bag on the first day of program so that we can ensure to have a smooth visa process upon arrival. This visa will allow us to stay in Indonesia for the entirety of our program.
What is the time difference between Indonesia and the USA?
The Indonesian archipelago actually stretches across four time zones, however during our visit we will only be traveling two different time zones. During their time in Sumatra the students will be 11 hours ahead of New York (Eastern Time), 12 hours ahead of Chicago (Central Time), and 14 hours ahead San Francisco (Pacific Time). When we travel to the southern island of Bali we will cross into a new time zone which adds one additional hour making Bali 12, 13, 15 hours ahead the U.S.
Do I really need to bring a backpack or can I bring rolling luggage on this program?
Although you will not be doing traditional backpacking on this program, it is important that you bring a backpack as your main piece of luggage. During the program the group will be navigating through airports, on and off buses, up and down stairways, and taking short hikes on unpaved paths. The group will be able to move much more efficiently if everyone is carrying their belongings on their back.
What Kinds of goods and supplies can we bring to donate for the people we meet?
We have the chance to live amongst some people who have the very basics for survival. With education being a tool to better their lives, basic school supplies are welcomed with open arms. Pens, pencils, notepads, and books are widely accepted. Sporting equipment such as soccer balls, volleyballs, and badminton are also an incredible way to cross the cultural border and share smiles. Because of limited space on our vehicles ARCC would ask that every person bring no more than a gym bag of goods to donate.