Fri 25 May - Sun 03 Jun 2018

OVERVIEW

What to expect

ITINERARY

What you will do

COSTS

Ways to pay

INFORMATION

All you need to know

Everything you need to know

This page provides you with a variety of information about the challenge that you might find useful.

Level of Difficulty

Money

Visa

Typical day

Group Size

Vaccinations

Flights

Insurance

Leadership

Climate & Terrain

Swimming Abilty

Luggage

Responsible Tourism

Accommodation & Toilets

Food & Drink

Clothing & equipment

Phone & WiFi

Emergencies & Safety

Training

Training weekends

Level of Difficulty

The Sumatra Jungle challenge is graded as tough, which means that a good level of fitness is definitely required. You will need a very resilient and adventurous nature to take on this challenge, and you should train regularly in a period of at least 5 months leading up to the trek.  You can tell your supporters that on your Sumatra Jungle Challenge you will be:

  • Trekking for around 5-7 hours per day, covering approximately 45kms over 5 days.
  • Carrying all of your jungle gear on your back throughout each day
  • Battling the heat and humidity of the jungle
  • Sleeping in a shelter with the rest of the group, in the jungle environment
  • Attempting steep climbs and descents on muddy slopes, with the help of the occasional tree branch and ropes

Money

Currency: The currency in Sumatra is the Rupiah (IDR). For up to date currency exchange, go to www.xe.com. There are ATM’s and currency exchanges available at Medan airport, and although you can exchange money before your arrival, you may get better rates in Indonesia.

Credit/Debit Cards: Once you have transferred to Bukit Lawang you will have no access to money withdrawal, so you should ensure that you have withdrawn or exchanged all of the money that you need prior to leaving Medan airport. However, a credit card in case of emergencies is a good idea.  

Cash: All accommodation and meals are included within the price of the trip, as well as water during the days of your trek. You will not have any opportunities to spend money while actually trekking in the jungle, however at the Ecolodge there are opportunities to buy small gifts, souvenirs, softs drinks or alcohol, so ensure that you have a small amount of cash for those eventualities, as well as money for tips. There is also a small departure tax payable at the airport, of approximately 75,000 IDR (£5). £150-£200 would be a sensible amount, plus a credit card in case of emergencies.

Tipping: Tipping is at your sole discretion and all staff are paid a fair wage. However, tourism is a tipping culture, and our Sumatran guides will generally receive a tip at the end of a job well done. If you choose to tip, we would suggest an amount of £10 per day that you are with the guides (6 days with the full team), which can be given to the challenge leader at the end of the trekking part of the challenge. They will distribute it among the support teams in a tipping ceremony.

Visa

You don’t need a visa to enter Indonesia for visits of up to 30 days. Visa-free visits can’t be extended or transferred to another type of visa. For a list of airports, seaports and land border crossings for entering/exiting Indonesia under this visa waiver scheme, and more information about entry requirements, visit the website of the Indonesian Embassy in London or your nearest Indonesian embassy.

If you’re travelling to Indonesia for more than 30 days, you should apply for a visa before you travel, or get a visa on arrival at a cost of US$35, or the equivalent in Indonesian rupiah. This type of visa is valid for 30 days, and can be extended once (for a maximum of 30 days) by applying to an immigration office within Indonesia.

The visa waiver scheme and visas on arrival aren’t available if you’re a British Overseas Citizen, British Subject, or British Overseas Territory citizen, or if you’re travelling to Indonesia for journalistic purposes. Instead, you must apply for a visa before you travel.

Typical day

While in the jungle, you will wake at around 7.30, have breakfast and pack up your belongings for the next section of the walk, including your sleeping bag. Your porters and chef team will fully strike the camp after you start trekking at around 9am, and they will catch you up before running on to set up the next camp. You will be given enough water for the day’s trek. You will be walking for 4-7 hours each day, stopping for a lunch break in the middle of the day. Specific hours of activity for each day are given in the itinerary. The climbs and descents are steep, slippery and should not be underestimated. You will be using ropes in several places to assist your climbs and descents.

Group Size

Each group is intended to contain between 10 to 14 trekkers in total, which will be split down further once you begin your trek into 2 smaller groups of up to 7 people. This is to minimize our impact on the environment and ecosystem in the Sumatran jungle.

Vaccinations

For up to date vaccination information please check the NHS ‘Fit for Travel’ website: http://www.fitfortravel.nhs.uk/home.aspx. Although the Charity Challenge team are travel professionals, they are not medical experts and we would encourage you to visit your GP or travel nurse to discuss vaccination requirements. Your GP may ask questions about the specific locations that you are visiting in Indonesia, and as such it may be useful to take a copy of your itinerary with you. Malaria precautions should certainly be taken as Indonesia is a high risk area, and your GP or travel nurse can advise you on the different types of anti-malarials.

Flights

Your flight will depart from London Heathrow and arrive in Kuala Namu Airport (Medan) via either Singapore or Kuala Lumpur. The flight tickets will be issued to you upon departure at the airport. If you choose to book your own flights please confirm with the Charity Challenge office first, otherwise you may be liable for your included group flights (please contact flights@charitychallenge.com for further assistance). For more general flights questions, please refer to our main FAQs page.

Insurance

It is a condition of booking that you have a suitable travel insurance policy whilst participating on the challenge. We have a special policy which covers among other things, medical (emergency, evacuation and repatriation) arrangements, cancellation and curtailment of the challenge, and more specifically for the adventurous activities undertaken on this challenge. If you have your own travel insurance policy, you must ensure that it provides at least the same level of cover as our recommended policy, including protecting the charity in the event of your cancellation 56 days or less prior to departure. If you choose not to purchase our recommended policy when you book we will send you a disclaimer which you should complete and return.

For more general travel insurance questions, please refer to our main FAQs page.

Leadership

There will be an English-speaking challenge leader who will be responsible for the logistics and co-ordination of your challenge. There will also be numerous local support staff to assist them, as well as an expedition medic. The challenge leader will be ultimately responsible for the running of the itinerary and the safety of your group.

Climate & Terrain

Climate

Indonesia has a tropical climate and is very hot and humid all year round. Many participants find this a shock and quite oppressive at first, and trekking in this type of jungle environment is not to be taken lightly. It is a rainforest environment so you should be prepared with wet weather clothes as well as cool, light layers.

Terrain

You will be trekking in the Gunung Leuser National Park, where you will experience the lust rainforest. You will encounter very steep slippery ascents and descents, for which you will need a lot of core strength as well as the assistance, in some circumstances, of ropes that our guides will attach. The trails can vary from well worn paths to barely visible breaks in the undergrowth, and you will be battling all of this in the humidity of the jungle! You will also be undertaking many river crossings throughout your journey. See below for information about swimming and water.

 

Swimming Abilty

We will not be expecting you to swim as part of the challenge. However, there maybe some river crossings in the jungle for you to navigate, and although Charity Challenge has put safety measures in place to ensure a safe crossing, in the event of an accident or emergency, confidence with swimming and water based activities is essential. Ideally, we would expect you to be able to swim 50m fully clothed.

Luggage

The luggage allowance will depend on the airline we are using for your challenge, but in general it will be one piece of checked baggage at around 23kg. However, the baggage situation is quite specific for Sumatra so please read carefully!
You will be carrying all of your trekking gear for 5 days with you throughout the trek, including your sleeping bag/liner but not including any ‘group’ equipment like food and tents, so you need a suitable rucksack for this kit. We suggest about 40-45l for the trekking section, which you can also use as your hand luggage bag. You can leave your ‘main’ bag at the Ecolodge, containing any casual clothes, extra toiletries etc that you won’t need during the trek. This should be the bigger bag that you will use for your hold luggage on the plane.

We would suggest that for the trek you are only carrying about 5-7kg of gear, and that you train with this weight. More details are available on our comprehensive kit list. As for valuables, the general rule is that if you don’t need it, don’t bring it. Your passport and any documents should be kept in a plastic bag to protect it from damp or water damage.

Finally, occasionally bags are delayed for 12-24 hours in Kuala Lumpur before coming on the next flight out to Medan, Sumatra. Please ensure that you wear your walking boots on the plane, and pack a spare change of trekking clothes into your main bag as well as overnight clothes, in case your bag is delayed in Kuala Lumpur.

Responsible Tourism

At Charity Challenge we are committed to sustainable and responsible tourism, and work closely with bodies such as the International Porter Protection Group and Climate Care to ensure that our challenges benefit the local environments and communities in which they take place. We ensure that all rubbish is disposed of responsibly, and following local guidelines on cultural and environmental protection and respect, we aim to limit our impact on the natural environment.

Accommodation & Toilets

Accommodation

When in Bukit Lawang, you will be staying at an eco-lodge, which is basic but very lovely and typical of the area, in twin-rooms with en-suite bathroom facilities. If you are travelling with a friend or partner who you wish to share with please ensure that you note this where appropriate when booking or email challenges@charitychallenge.com.

While in the jungle, you will be staying in a shelter alongside all the rest of your fellow trekkers. The sleeping mats will be lined up along the tarpaulin floor, and you will sleep side by side. Toilets will be a dug-out long-drop, surrounded by a toilet tent that the porters will erect and filled in completely every morning. Mosquito nets are not provided, for the reason that they are not generally necessary in your camping locations.

Tolilets

These range from very basic (‘communing with nature’ on the trek itself) to normal western standards in the accommodation. While in camp there will be a long-drop toilet, around which the porters will erect a tent, and there is always hand-washing facilities in camp. You should bring anti-bacterial gels to use frequently, particularly around lunchtime when there is not always access to a water source. It is difficult to stay hygenic in the jungle so anti-bac gels are absolutely essential.

Food & Drink

Food is delicious and very plentiful. When in the eco-lodge you will have a set breakfast and a buffet evening meal, with a variety of meat and vegetable dishes. Food in Indonesia is based around the staples of rice or noodles, and is not as spicy as in the neighbouring South East Asian countries. Food during the trek will be pancakes or toast, cheese and eggs for breakfast, fruit and a rice or noodle dish for lunch and various dishes for dinner. Your guides will also be able to show you their techniques for cooking in banana leaves! If you have any dietary requirements please note this on your booking, or email challenges@charitychallenge.com. We would recommend that you also bring plenty of snacks for your trekking days, and particularly something comforting that you will like to eat at the end of a hard day.

Tea, coffee and water will be provided for you throughout the trek.  The water is boiled rather than bottled which cuts down on the amount of plastic used.  You may want to take a small bottle of cordial with you to flavour the water.  You may also wish to take water purification tablets with you.

Clothing & equipment

Good quality, durable kit could mean the difference between a fantastic challenge experience and an uncomfortable one. For this challenge, waterproof, well-worn in boots will be indispensable, particularly coupled with some really good quality walking socks. You will also need river shoes for your river crossings, and a very comfortable rucksack of approximately 40-45L to be used while trekking. Make sure you train with your rucksack to get used to the weight of carrying your belongings. Other essentials are a high quality gore-tex waterproof jacket and technical/wicking t-shirts rather than cotton shirts.

Please check the kit list provided for recommended equipment.

Phone & WiFi

In the eco-lodge you will have access to WiFi and phone signal, if your phone provider has service in Sumatra. However, in the jungle you will be away from all connectivity throughout.

Emergencies & Safety

Emergencies

The event is not a race and there is always a large discrepancy in people’s walking abilities. This is allowed for. There will be a staff member at the back of the group at all times to ensure that you are not left behind and can take things at your own pace. In the event of an emergency, your leader will take control, and the procedure will depend on the nature of the emergency and the distance from the eco-lodge.

Safety

Charity Challenge considers the safety of all of our participants and staff to be a top priority, and as such we have set up Challenge Safe, one of the most advanced and thorough safety management systems in the industry. Challenge Safe formalises our ethos when it comes to safety, and brings together the procedures and risk management strategies that we use to audit all aspects of our challenges, from vehicles to accommodation to the challenge activity itself. Your welfare is absolutely paramount!

In terms of your Sumatran Jungle challenge, there are a couple of important points that you should be aware of:

  • You may need to undertake a river crossing which may be up to the knee. Your leader will show you the best practice in crossing rivers, and you will have assistance from the leader and guides. However, for safety reasons you should be able to swim 50m fully clothed.
  • Most of this trek is very remote, with no vehicle access, and emergency evacuation could take several hours to a road, with the nearest hospital being 4 hours away from the road in Medan.  
  • The Guardia bacterium is present in Sumatra. You should not drink from rivers or streams without boiling the water first. All water given to you on the challenge will be boiled.
  • You will be in a jungle environment, and sharing the environment with wild animals. There is the chance that you will see snakes, and certainly insects and primates.

Training

Training and fitness is definitely required. It is important that you work specifically on your stamina, leg and joint strength, and balance in order to get as much out of the challenge as possible. You will need both lower and upper body strength, as you will be grabbing onto tree roots and using ropes to ascend slippery paths. Core strength is also useful for balance and descents. Although it’s difficult to replicate the trekking environment in the UK, the best training advice is to get outdoors into some of the mountains of the UK, and carry all of the weight in the rucksack that you will be using on the challenge. You need to be able to sustain around 4-7 hours of trekking for 5 continuous days, so if you can then replicating this over a weekend would be fantastic training.

Training weekends

We offer superb training weekends across various locations in the UK, from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon. These training weekends not only help you become physically prepared for the challenge, but our experienced instructors and leaders will talk you through your clothing and equipment, camp craft, health and wellbeing, trekking skills (walking on different terrain/at altitude/at night/using walking poles), teamwork on expedition and many more themes designed to make you get the most out of your challenge. The weekends are great ways for you to get out into the mountains of the UK, while also meeting other Charity Challengers and sharing your experiences. To read more about our training weekends, including dates and prices, check out our dedicated page here.

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We hold an Air Travel Organiser's Licence granted by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 6546. Many of the flight-inclusive challenges on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. But ATOL protection does not apply to all holiday and travel services listed on this website. This ATOL protection only covers challenges that include flights booked by Charity Challenge and that originate in the UK. Please ask us to confirm what protection may apply to your booking. If you do not receive an ATOL Certificate then the booking will not be ATOL protected. If you do receive an ATOL Certificate but all the parts of your trip are not listed on it, those parts will not be ATOL protected. Please see our booking conditions for information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLcertificate

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