Indonesia Wildlife Sanctuary Frequently Asked Questions

You will find below answers to many frequently asked questions. If your question does not appear then please click here to open the 'contact us' page to ask us your question.

01. Is Indonesia safe?
Northern Sulawesi is safe and friendly, as always when travelling you must take the usual precautions to make sure you stay safe. Common sense and knowledge is the key phrase, and on arrival you will have an orientation meeting to advise you of any precautions you need to take. Most visits to Northern Sulawesi are completely trouble free. If travelling around Indonesia then please check your governments up to date travel advise such as the FCO in the UK -
02. What languages do I need?
You need to be able to speak English as this will be the common language at the project. English does not need to be your first language but you will need to be proficient in English to be able to understand instructions on how to care for the animals.
03. What are the living conditions at the project?
Volunteers stay in male and female dorms with up to 12 beds per dorm. Rooms are well ventilated and have fans and bed linen and mosqiuto nets are provided. Bathrooms are shared and western style toilets and cold (ish) water showers!

There is a large shared terrace where volunteers can relax. There is also a communal living area with TV and DVD player, kitchen, self-service laundry, a games room with pool and table tennis and an observation tower with spectacular views of the coast and Sulawesi's highest volcano.

Indonesian vegetarian and vegan meals are cooked daily by a local Chef. Local sustainably sourced fish is also occasionally available. 

Accommodation at the wildlife sanctuary.
04. What type of food will I be eating?
All basic food & drink supplies are provided for by the project, bought on a weekly shopping trip to Manado with a strict budget. There is a cook on site who prepares mainly vegetarian and vegan (with occasioanl fish) Indonesian-style meals for breakfast lunch and dinner but volunteers can also prepare their own meals and snacks if you wish to buy in extra provisions. Fresh fruit, bread and condiments are available 24/7 

If volunteers would like to buy any extra food for themselves, this can be done on the weekly shopping trip.
05. Will I have time for extra activities?
The rescue centre is situated on a volcanic beach next to a coral reef so many volunteers choose to spend their day relaxing and snorkelling. Diving equipment is available for volunteers to use as long as they have their PADI certificate or equivalent. Sulawesi is a beautiful island that volunteers may wish to explore and they have the ability to hire a car for 35 USD per day if they wish to do so. Please note that you should obtain an international driving licence in your own country if you wish to drive in Indonesia.

The centre is situated next to a natural lagoon that boat trips can be organised into for $5-10 USD per person. Tankoko National Park is 60-80 minutes from PPST and trips can be arranged with a local guide at a discounted price for all volunteers, (approximately $5 USD). Many volunteers choose to spend a night at one of the many hotels in the local city of Manado. Alternately, you can spend the day there shopping, sight-seeing or getting a well-earned massage. There are many western style facilities, shopping malls, restaurants etc.

Extra activities at the wildlife sanctuary.
06. Do I need to be qualified to work with animals?
No, you will be given guidance and training and will initially work with experienced volunteers. A certain amount of independence is required to volunteer.
07. Is there access to telephone?
Even if you are only staying a few weeks, the best option is to bring your own mobile phone and buy a cheap Indonesian SIM-card here (e.g. SIM-Pati), so you can receive calls/sms for free and make calls at a reasonable cost. The mobile wavebands in Indonesia are the same as Europe, Australia, New Zealand, etc. so a mobile phone from these regions will work fine here.

Cellphones from North America will need to be multi-band to be able to work here, however it is also possible to buy new phones here for less than 300,000 IDR (30 USD). If you do not have your own phone with you, it is not possible to make international calls from the rescue centre. If you need to make an overseas call you can do so at one of the nearby towns such as Bitung. In case of an emergency, you can receive incoming calls at the rescue centre.
08. Do I need travel Insurance?
Travel insurance is highly recommended for all our projects. To help make getting insured easier we have formed a partnership with award-winning travel insurers, World Nomads. They provide insurance to travellers from over 140 different countries and are the only insurer we have found that will allow you to take out a policy even after you have left your home country.
If you purchase an insurance policy from World Nomads through this link -Travel Insurance - they will also make a donation to Globalteer and the many projects we support.
Please note that Globalteer can accept no responsibility for your travel or insurance arrangements and encourages you to fully research all travel and insurance options available to you.
09. Is there access to E-mail?
There is internet access locally but use is infrequent so volunteers are advised to use one of several internet cafes in Manado city. In the nearby city of Bitung (30-40 minutes drive) there is infrequent internet access via internet café but this is still more reliable in Manado. The fee is approximately 10,000 ($1 USD), IDR per hour.
10. Who usually volunteers at your projects?
The Wildlife Rescue Centre will typically have between 4-8 volunteers, although there is capacity for about 10. We have volunteers from various countries and various backgrounds. Typically Anglophones (Brits, Irish, Americans, Canadians, Kiwis and Aussies), Dutch speakers (Belgians and Dutch), Francophones (French, Swiss, Belgian, Quebecois), German speakers (Germans, Austrians, Swiss), Scandinavians and a few others. Ages range from 18-70+, with the majority split between 18-30 year olds and 30-50 year olds. Many gap-year students, some animal/conservation related science students, many careerbreakers and some retirees.
11. What vaccinations will I need for Indonesia?
We require that all volunteers have their vaccinations for DTP (Diphtheria/Tetanus/Polio) up to date. This is mandatory. Other vaccinations you should consider are: • Hepatitis A/B. • Rabies. • Japanese Encephalitis (JE). • Tuberculosis. • Typhoid. Some travel doctors recommend vaccination against Hep-A for travellers to Indonesia, but not Hep-B. Hep-B can occur in apes and therefore there is a potential risk, although no cases have been recorded so far at the centre. Mention this to your travel doctor. A vaccination is available that combines Hep-A and Hep-B.

Rabies pre-exposure vaccination is not essentially required for stay at the centre, but you may want to consider it to protect yourself from infection from stray dogs in other areas outside the centre. There are medical facilities within 1 hour reach of the rescue centre. Many consider Northern Sulawesi to be non malarial although as it is in a tropical region, malaria cannot be ignored. Outbreaks of Chikungunya Fever – known in Indonesia as “Cikamunia“ can occur in Sulawesi.

In tropical regions, many diseases are transmitted by mosquitoes, we therefore strongly recommend using some form of mosquito repellent. Chikungunya Facts: Is a viral disease, able to catch only once. Currently there are no vaccines or specific medicines. Transmission is through mosquito bite. Direct human to human transmission is not possible. Mosquito control is the only effective prevention technique. Is usually nonfatal, symptoms pass after a few days. Main symptom is fatigue with persistent joint pain and fever, can be coupled with a skin rash. Symptom treatment includes anti-inflammatory (e.g. ibuprofen) against joint pain, and paracetomol against fever. Patients are advised to drink plenty of fluids, eat well to maintain immune response, and remain active as soon as physically able to get out of bed. Too long resting in bed will prolong the recovery.

Please consult your travel doctor for the latest health advice. Some information can be found online on the following websites: World Health Organisation: MASTA (Travel Clinic Network in the UK): Please note that some of the above-mentioned vaccinations require a course of injections over a period of 3-4 weeks and may be expensive depending on your health service. Therefore you are advised to organise this in plenty of time before you travel and include it in your budget.
12. Do I need a visa?
To volunteer in Indonesia, you will require a 'Social - Cultural' visa. 

You will need to apply for this visa before you travel from the Indonesian embassy in your country. You will get a 60 days visit, monthly extendable in immigration to a total stay of 6 months.
A single entry Social-Culture Visa is valid if presented within 3 (three) months from the date of issue.
You will need to complete an application form, submit supporting documentation and pay a fee (check your consulate for the amount). You may will also require proof that you are leaving Indonesia on the specified date e.g. flight itinerary, or letter from an employer or student body confirming your return home. 

For all visa requirements you should visit the following page:

13. What cultural differences must I consider?
Indonesia is such a friendly place that there are generally no major cultural issues, but to really fit in here are a few pointers:
  • When Indonesians meet, they touch their heart after shaking hands. If meeting a Indonesian, do the same. This will really impress them!
  • Do not point the soles of your feet at anyone, or step over anyone’s head.
  • Remove shoes when entering Indonesian houses.
  • Physical expression of love (eg. hugging, kissing) is not very common among the conservative Indonesians. You are strongly asked to avoid such actions in public.
  • Indonesians are non-confrontational, if they are upset about something you do, they will just walk away. Instead of denying any request with a direct no, they will say “maybe later”. You will cause a lot of trouble for the project if behave in a confrontational manner towards the Indonesians, including shouting or making tempered or stern remarks towards them or anyone else.
  • Smile and speak a little Indonesian and you will be loved by the locals. Do not take offence if they call you ‘bule’ – this translates as white person and is just used to describe westerners. Indonesian people are very proud of their country and culture and we would encourage you to read through the culture section of a guidebook (e.g. lonely planet) and make a real effort to understand and respect the Indonesian culture. You will find this really enhances your experience of Indonesia.
14. Can I drink alcohol and smoke?
Of course, but we request that you use common sense. Please note that alcohol is allowed but restricted to a social drink between the hours of 17.00- 22.00. We ask that volunteers respect the project and do not get drunk, disrupting others and being unable to work the next day. Volunteers can go to the local towns to visit bars during down time.
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