Friends of Soibada East Timor Service Adventure 2017

Friends of Soibada East Timor Service Adventure 2017

Trip Highlights

  • Service project with Pittwater Friends of Soibada.
  • Enjoy the fascinating mix of history, culture and natural beauty.
  • Discover local markets and traditional villages.
  • Working alongside the community of Soibada to improve facilities in their village.
  • Return home with an intimate insight into one of our closest neighbors.

Trip Summary

Departing from Sydney we overnight in Darwin as the flight to Dili does not connect. We begin our exploration of East Timor in the Portuguese flavored capital of Dili, visiting the symbolic areas of interest in the city, all of which recount East Timor’s turbulent history from both recent and colonial times. We drive through picturesque coffee plantations, rice paddies, forests and mountain ranges to the remote village and proud community of Soibada. You will be greeted warmly and welcomed like family in anticipation of the service work to be completed and the friendships made. Exact details of the project are still being decided yet the work will bring sustainable, ethical and long term benefits to the residents. Your time in Soibada includes opportunities to visit traditional villages, colourful markets and historical sites with opportunities to interact with the welcoming and independent Timorese people. We return to Dili by 4WD and enjoy further exploring the capital before we depart the following day to Balibo where we learn about the old and more recent atrocities which occurred at the 400 year old fort. We return to Dili for your flight home to Sydney via Darwin. This is a learning service adventure to get excited over which will further cement the ties and bonds between PHS and the community of Soibada.


These trips involve outdoor activity in high heat and humidity and you will need a reasonable level of fitness and good health. (Note: These are not easy trips). The fitter you are the more you will enjoy the overall experience.

Suggested preparation: 30 minutes of aerobic type exercise, (either cycling or jogging) three times a week.


After so many months of planning and preparation the day has finally rolled around for you to depart on this exciting service adventure to East Timor! You deport Sydney on a QANTAS or Virgin Australia flight for Darwin where a forced overnight stop is made as the flights do not connect. Accommodation will be provided at a nearby airport hotel, dinner will be had at the hotel restaurant and is not included in the trip cost.

Meals:  Nil

This morning you will fly from Darwin to Dili aboard Air North Airlines. You will be met at Dili Airport and transferred to the centrally located Novo Horizonte Hotel. After you have had time to settle in and freshen up we meet for a detailed trip briefing with your guide and learn more about the coming days. After lunch we start a short tour around Dili, visiting historic sites and landmark monuments such as the statue of Jesus and Pope John Paul II lookout. Our introduction to Dili also includes visits to Santa Cruz Cemetery (site of the student’s massacre by the Indonesian army in 1991). We will also visit Chega Museum or the Timor-Leste Commission for Reception, Truth and Reconciliation (CAVR). The building was formerly a prison for the detention of political prisoners. It has undergone a transformation to become a human rights center and a place where you can learn about the struggles of the East Timorese people. A welcome dinner will be had at a local restaurant. Accommodation: Novo Horizonte Hotel.

Meals:  L,D

First we visit the Dare Memorial which is dedicated to the East Timorese people and built by the Australian Forces that fought in Timor during World War II. The Resistance Museum, showcases the 24 year struggle against the Indonesians with interesting displays and a timeline of events. After lunch we visit the Xanana Gusmao Reading Room, founded by H.E. Kirsty Sword Gusmao in 2000 as a not-for-profit organisation to develop a public library service and museum facility to inform and educate Timorese and to provide a space where people in Dili, can access information and resources in the official and working languages. Lunch and dinner at local restaurants. Accommodation: Novo Horizonte Hotel.

Meals:  B,L,D

After an early breakfast the real adventure begins when we depart Dili for the remote village of Soibada, teh location of the service work. We drive the coastal road East of Dili via the town of Manatuto. This is a good 1.5 hour drive along the north coast through some magnificent scenery and views of the azure waters and coral reefs, where most of the popular dive sites are situated. From Manatuto, we start our drive inland climbing towards the central ranges on the main Road to Natarbora turning right to Soibada crossing the upper stream of the Sahe River and climbing to Soibada for check in and lunch. In the afternoon a tour of the village will take place and we will turn our attention to the service project. A thorough safety and information briefing will take place before work will commence. Accommodation: Soibada Guesthouse

Meals:  B,L,D

**Details TBC by PFOS** During the next three days you will work closely with the local people, and have a rare insight into village life in East Timor. The village will be ready for your arrival and you will participate in a variety of maintenance and improvement works across the village. The group will be divided into smaller work teams and each assigned separate tasks. Some of the work will involve debris clearing, shoveling, preparing then painting walls, ceilings and any exposed timber work, plastering the external mud walls, sweeping and general cleaning, light load carrying or possibly assisting the renders with their work. You will not need any specific skills or experience, just the willingness to participate and the ability to roll your sleeves up and get a little dirty (you should wear suitable clothes), all for a great cause. There will be a local professional builder supervising the project and ensuring we get all the work completed on time. regular breaks will be taken so as to keep hydrated and energy levels high. Accommodation: Soibada Guesthouse

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning we finish off the last remaining tasks before a handover ceremony will take place, a plaque will be unveiled and lots of singing and dancing will follow. We bid farewell to our friends at Soibada and return to Dili and the Novo Horizonte Hotel where you will have an opportunity for a deserving shower! There will be a chance this afternoon to further look around Dili and maybe do some shopping before dinner. Accommodation: Novo Horizonte Hotel

Meals:  B,L,D

After an early breakfast we depart Dili on an approx 3.50hr drive to the town of Balibo. We stop first at towns of Liquica and Tacitolu - the site of 20 May 2002 independence ceremony and celebrations. Then Maubara - with its impressive 17th century fort and colourful basketry for sale by the sea, and time permitting at Batugade - the border town with West Timor. Not far from Batugade is our destination, the town of Balibo. We first stop for a visit at Balibo House, a memorial house in honor of the 5 Australian journalists murdered by Indonesian soldiers while trying to cover the impending Invasion by Indonesia in October 1975. Dinner will be at the hotel restaurant. Accommodation: Balibo Fort Hotel

Meals:  B,L,D

Today we have a full day to explore the many and varied sites around Balibo. From the historical and imposing Portuguese fort that sprawls along the hillside to the natural where we visit some nearby impressive caves. To the small yet interesting town of Balibo. There will be time to return to the community centre and museum which houses a display and history of what occurred in 1975. Accommodation: Balibo Fort Hotel

Meals:  B,L,D

We return to Dili today and stop en route at roadside stalls where you can purchase tropical fruits and stretch your legs. Upon arriving in Dili, the remainder of the day you are free to explore. One of the fastest growing cities in Asia, Dili is set along the waterfront so you may like to explore the central area or head east to lovely beaches where you are sure to receive a warm welcome from the locals. A farewell dinner will be enjoyed in Dili. Accommodation: Novo Horizonte Hotel.

Meals:  B,L,D

After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home to Sydney via Darwin. The QANTAS flight to Sydney does not connect and there is a 13 hour layover in Darwin. TL 515  06OCT  DILDRW 1115 1305

Meals:  B

Your flight from Darwin to Sydney departs at 12:45am. Upon arriving in Sydney all services conclude yet the memories and friendships made will last a lifetime. Congratulations in completing a worthwhile and long term service project and supporting the Friends of Soibada charity. QF 829 07 OCT DRW SYD 0045 0630

Meals:  Nil

What's Included

  • Return economy QANTAS or Virgin Australia flights from Sydney to Darwin including taxes and luggage
  • Return economy Air North flights from Darwin to Dili including taxes and luggage
  • Darwin Airport Hotel accommodation as flights do not connect
  • Most meals. 11 breakfasts,11 lunches and 11 dinners
  • Return airport transfers in Dili
  • Comfortable hotel/guesthouse accommodation on a twin share basis
  • Well maintained 4WD vehicle transport to/from Soibada
  • Sightseeing and entry fees as listed in itinerary
  • Expert bilingual guide
  • Group medical kit
  • Pre Departure Information kit to help plan and prepare

What's Not Included

  • Sleeping bag for use in Soibada
  • Meals and beverages not indicated in the program
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, phone calls, souveniors etc
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Timor entry visa (approx US$35)
  • Departure taxes (approx US$10)


Duration:14 Days
Starting Point:Sydney. From 10 students
Adventure touring
Service Learning
Grade:Introductory  Click for more information
Trip Code:SOG4074