Skip to navigation, or go to main content.

WINGS Birding Tours – Information

Indonesia: The Lesser Sunda Islands

Sumba, Timor and Flores

Tour Information

Note: The information presented here is an abbreviated version of our formal General Information for this tour. Its purpose is solely to give readers a sense of what might be involved if they take this tour. Although we do our best to make sure that what follows here is completely accurate, it should not be used as a replacement for the formal document which will be sent to all tour registrants, and whose contents supersedes any information contained here.

ENTERING INDONESIA: A passport valid for at least six months beyond your planned departure and with at least two blank pages for entry and exit stamps is required for United States citizens to enter Indonesia. For stays of 30 days or less in Indonesia, a visa can be obtained upon entry at $20 USD per person (subject to change). 

Citizens of other countries should check with their consulate/embassy for instructions. 

COUNTRY INFORMATION: You can review the U.S. Department of State Country Specific Travel Information at  http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/indonesia.html, and the CIA World Factbook background notes on Malaysia at https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/id.html

PACE OF THE TOUR: Our birding days will normally begin relatively early in order to avoid the heat of midday when bird activity is also very low. We’ll then bird most of the day while warmer and light, with rests after lunch. There are some drives of three to four hours, and four internal flights. Most of the driving is on reasonably well-surfaced roads. 

The longest walk will be at Lewa in Sumba, where we take trails into the forest for perhaps four kilometers (about 2.5 miles) and possible a bit further There are some inclines as it is a hilly area, though not steep, and here we’ll walk at a very relaxed pace.  Mostly the walking is fairly easy, on flat or downhill terrain with plenty of stops for birding. Very often we’ll be birding from or close to the vehicle. It is hot and humid in the lowland areas, with maximum temperatures of about 30C, and sometimes lower. 

HEALTH: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all travelers be up to date on routine vaccinations. These include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot. 

They further recommend that most travelers have protection against Hepatitis A and Typhoid. The Typhoid vaccination is particularly important because of the presence of S. typhi strains resistant to multiple antibiotics. 

Please contact your doctor well in advance of your tour’s departure as some medications must be initiated weeks before the period of possible exposure. 

The most current information about travelers’ health recommendations can be found on the CDC’s  Travel Health website at http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/indonesia

Malaria:  The CDC recommends a malaria prophylaxis.  Please consult your physician. 

Yellow Fever: There is no risk of Yellow Fever.  Proof of a valid Yellow Fever vaccination is required only if you are arriving from a country where Yellow Fever is endemic. 

Elevation:  Most of our birding will be done at or close to sea level, except on Gunung Mutis at 7963 feet and a couple of sites on Flores, where we’ll bird along roads at no more than 4000 feet. 

Water:  All water including tap water is NOT potable. Bottled water will be provided throughout the tour. In many cases however you can safely enjoy the salads, fresh fruit and vegetables. Your leader will advise. 

Smoking:  Smoking is prohibited in the vehicles or when the group is gathered for meals, checklists, etc. If you are sharing a room with a non-smoker, please do not smoke in the room. If you smoke in the field, do so well away and downwind from the group. If any location where the group is gathered has a stricter policy than the WINGS policy, that stricter policy will prevail. 

Miscellaneous: Leeches are rarely a problem on this tour but there is the potential for chiggers. We suggest treating your clothing with permethrin. Most of our birding will be done at or close to sea level, except on Gunung Mutis at 7963 feet and a couple of sites on Flores, where we’ll bird along roads at no more than 4000 feet. 

CLIMATE: During the tour, we will experience a wide range of temperatures and climate, from the 70s, high 80s and 90s in the lowlands, to as low as 55 degrees at higher elevations. It is always possible we’ll encounter some rain. Generally it will be cooler in the morning and warm to hot, but dry at midday. At the higher altitudes of Gunung Mutis and other sites it will be noticeably cooler. A light sweater for the evening, especially if we go on a night drive, will be welcome. 

ACCOMMODATIONS: Our accommodations vary from Western-style hotels to very simple homestay inns. In some of the inns we stay in the bathrooms are shared, although in all cases privacy is possible.  

Inexpensive laundry facilities are available at most of our accommodations. 

WiFi: Free wifi is generally available in the hotels in larger towns. Most require a password, which we’ll receive on check-in. In the more remote areas it will be difficult to find internet access. 

FOOD: The food in this part of Indonesia is fresh and delicious but can get rather monotonous. Vegetarian options are available although somewhat limited. Most meals are served with a meat (usually chicken) and a seafood dish. 

Snacks: Snacks- you may wish to bring granola-type bars, dried fruit or other snacks. Grocery stores are very common and widespread; but they probably won’t stock many snacks and other products that you will be familiar with. 

Food Allergies / Requirements: We cannot guarantee that all food allergies can be accommodated at every destination. Participants with significant food allergies or special dietary requirements should bring appropriate foods with them for those times when their needs cannot be met. Announced meal times are always approximate depending on how the day unfolds. Participants who need to eat according to a fixed schedule should bring supplemental food. Please contact the WINGS office if you have any questions. 

TRANSPORTATION: We will be traveling in a 10 seat, air-conditioned mini-bus and in some areas in 4WD vehicles. Participants should be able to ride in any seat in our tour vehicles and to change seats on a daily basis.

Updated: 13 May 2015