“This small group adventure brings you face to face with both orangutans & komodo dragons in the wild, alongside active volcanoes, magical reefs and a real life bat cave!”
Gunung Leuser National Park | Bohorok Orang-utan Centre | Mt Sibayak Volcano | Bat caves | Wooden villages | Hot springs | Bali | Flores | Komodo National Park | Rinca Island | Coral reef boat trip | Pink beach Optional: temple tours, rafting, village tours, island boat exploring, cave exploring, snorkelling.
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Take plenty of mosquito spray as the mozzies are plentiful in Sumatra and Bali.
Small group, min. age 16.
4 nights comfortable hotel, 6 nights standard hotel, one night boat.
Solo travelers welcome. Single rooms available with supplement.
Accom., transport, international flights if requested, all listed activities, tour leader throughout.
All breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner.
Small group vacation
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.
The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.
We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!
Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.
Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.
Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.
“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.
“The accommodation will be basic” Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.
“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.
“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson
Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando
Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travelers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.
Responsible tourism: Indonesia wildlife vacation, primates and dragons
Accommodation and Meals: Our accommodation is predominantly locally owned and locally staffed and we try on this tour to use a variety of hotels so that several communities benefit. This is 4 nights in comfortable hotels, 6 in standard hotels and 1 night on board a boat in Komodo National Park. We support hotels with strong environmental and community policies which complement our own ethos. For example, we often use Bukit Lawang Ecolodge, which is a not-for-profit organisation run by ‘Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari’, which means the Foundation for a Sustainable Ecosystem. Money spent here goes directly back into community development and nature conservation. Where meals are provided, the spread will be fresh and plentiful. When eating out, guides will be able to recommend a range of locally run, authentic restaurants which will benefit from our business.
Activity: Our activity is based around the incredibly diverse wildlife and landscapes in Indonesia, so it is really vital that we are strict with our ‘leave no trace’ policy. Local guides will enforce this mentality through responsible tourism briefings to make sure that we minimise negative environmental impact and maximise our positive effect on communities. We visit two national parks- Komodo National Park and Gunung Leuser. The latter is one of the two remaining habitats for Sumatran Orang-utans and one of the largest parks in the world at over 800,000 of virgin rainforest. We visit the Bohorok Orang-utan Centre, which cares for semi-wild Orang-utans. This invites support for their conservation and well-being, and fuels the local economy. Other optional activities include visiting a bat cave, a temple tour, a downhill biking tour, rafting, and a Bali 4WD or village tour. Through this, we support local suppliers and alternative employment opportunities.
UK Office: It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
Charity: Since 2013, our local operators have financially supported the Water for Sumba project, which aids a remote, hilltop community with building wells, providing pumps and water towers to facilitate getting water. They have also sponsored improvements made to the Tolong Flores School near Labuan Bajo. The children often come from poor families and the school is lacking in facilities and supplies. However, with donations and contributions of educational materials, children are now able to enjoy a small library, toys and access to the internet. If clients are interested in making a charitable contribution, we can arrange to visit an orphanage in Bukit Lawang for dinner where profits go towards caring for the children.
Local Craft and Culture: Indonesia is full of rich culture and this is represented by a lot of traditional craftsmanship and organic production in the country. Ubud, surrounded by rice fields and temples is our final destination and is now known for its artistic community, awash with artists' workshops and art galleries. This is a great place to learn about traditional crafts and how they play into modern Indonesian art and culture. At Rinca and Komodo, local villagers also make and sell wood carvings which financially supports these fishing dependent villages. There will be plenty of chance to explore some local markets selling fresh produce. Berastagi, for instance, is known for its colourful fruit and vegetable market. Here you can buy passion fruit, rambutan (a type of lychee) and the foul-smelling (but, to many, delicious) durian.
Group Size: This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.
Reviews of Indonesia wildlife vacation, primates and dragons
You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.
I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
Reviewed on 15 Feb 2015 by Martin Wolverson
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
The surprisingly fast ride following the river rafting, up to 70kph, the scenery, the two islands that we spent 2 nights at each were lovely and to try something new - the zip wires at La Fortuna (not mentioned in trip notes, but leader will book for you)
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
Pack a dry t-shirt in your rucksack or leave on coach. When you have finished a riding stage and are soaking wet with perspiration (or rain), it is nice to have a dry top on if you are then going to have an hour or two coach transfer.
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Roberto the leader and the 'bike boys' were great. Very helpful and so well organised, meals, room keys, boats, all appeared exactly on cue.
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?
As expected, another excellent trip. The pace was felt to be unexpectedly high but suited most of the group. The pace could be compared with a 'drop bars' trip and for most of the cycling could be done on a road bike. I 'survived' thanks to some pacing on some days and did enjoy it. I can do some hills at home now that I couldn't before ! The meals were very good, far better quality and lower priced than at home. The boat trips and ferry journeys added to the interest and my companions were great - all ages from 20 to 68 (me)