What is an Encounter?

Want a genuine experience in a new culture without having to commit to long-term volunteering? Let us take you on an intimate, authentic tour of Timor-Leste with one of our Encounters.

Palms Australia’s Encounters are ethically run group tours that provide participants with authentic, hard to come by experiences. The tours have been carefully designed to give you an insight into the daily life of people of another culture, an understanding of sustainable approaches to development, and an insight into the life and work of our development volunteers.

Our Encounters are designed to benefit both participants and the communities you’ll encounter. You won’t be staying in luxury, and you may not always be comfortable. You will, however, gain genuine insight into life in a new culture, make life-long friendships, and return home with a new perspective on global development and the roles that different people can play in making the world a better place for all. You can read more about the guiding philosophy of our Encounter trips here.

An experienced development professional will guide your trip, providing food for thought and opportunities for deep reflections on your observations. Issues relating to culture, development, poverty, trade, ecology and education will be raised frequently.

The full Encounter program includes pre-departure preparation, a fully organised guided tour (including support and guidance in-country) and activities upon re-entry to help maintain the new ideas and relationships you will develop.

Encounters are limited to a maximum of eight participants per trip, to avoid overwhelming our host communities and to provide you with a genuine, intimate experience.

We are currently taking bookings for guided tours of Timor-Leste in March, June and September 2018. To find out more, please complete the form on this page or email palms@palms.org.au.

How Do I Book?

If you would like to secure your place for an upcoming Encounter, please complete the form on this page or email palms@palms.org.au. Participants will receive an Encounter pack, which includes advice on preparation for departure, information about Palms Australia, and some information about what to expect from the experience.

We also welcome private group bookings from work, school or community groups. If you are interested in organising a group booking, please get in touch.

How Much Does it Cost?

The price of Encounters varies depending on tailored group requirements and exchange rates. In 2018, the price for public Encounters to Timor-Leste is $2900* per person. This includes pre-departure preparation, in-country transportation, meals, accommodation, activities and a friendly, informative tour guide. Return flights to Australia are not included.

*Price subject to change.

The Itinerary

Part 1: Pre-Departure Preparation

To get the most out of your Encounter, you will be provided with comprehensive resources that prepare you to engage cross-culturally in a respectful and appropriate way from day one.

Part 2: The Journey

Each visit includes three days on tropical Atauro Island and approximately nine days visiting development projects in the field. The exact number of days spent in each location may vary depending on transport, weather and other considerations.

The people of Suco Beloi and Nema’s Eco-Lodge on Atauro Island give participants an introduction to eco-tourism, Timorese culture, history, art, permaculture and food. Throughout your journey, you will visit Palms Australia’s volunteers in placement and will meet their local counterparts. You will have the opportunity to learn about their work and will see the role Australians can play in reducing global poverty.

At the end of each day, guided activities will help you gain a deeper understanding of the new sights, smells, sounds, tastes, textures and experiences you’ll encounter, and perhaps challenge some of your own ideas.

Part 3: Post Encounter

Upon return to Australia, Palms Australia will facilitate further reflection activities and opportunities for action, based upon your new experience and understanding of another culture.

For more information or to secure your place, please complete the form on this page, call us on (02) 9560 5333, or send us an email.