Project Description





Highlights: Tropical rainforest / Monsoon forest / Mangrove ecology / Savannah grasslands / Coral reefs / Inter-tidal zone / Marine mammals / Volcano geology / Crater lake ecology / River hydrology

Bali’s Hidden Nature – 7 Days

The island of Bali, Indonesia has long been one of the most popular tourist destinations in Asia. Renowned for its unique Hindu-Balinese religion and culture, this fabled isle attracts visitors from all over the world to marvel at its temples, terraced rice fields and beautiful beaches.

But there is a largely unseen nature to Bali, tropical forests rich in wildlife, grasslands with grazing deer, active volcanoes with steaming fumaroles, wild rivers, waterfalls and remote coastlines where sea turtles come ashore to lay their eggs and dolphins dance in the first light of dawn.

Our “Bali’s Hidden Nature” trip will take students to a variety of different ecosystems and natural history features on this legendary island to learn lessons no text book can offer. They will snorkel over coral reefs and raft wild rivers. They will enjoy breakfast on a sampan boat surrounded by playful dolphins and swim at the base of a paradise waterfall with butterflies fluttering about.

Community service projects will include shoreline clean up efforts to remove plastic bags that are often mistaken as jellyfish and consumed by leatherback turtles, and plastic cigarette lighters that surface-feeding birds like albatross mistake for squid.

Students will visit Bali’s Green School for first-hand lessons in sustainability. They will see an entire campus built largely of bamboo, the worlds fastest growing and most renewable construction material. They will witness energy being created by an innovative vortex generator that does not harm fish, and learn how human waste is converted to gas to power the school’s cook stoves.

In addition to the natural lessons and green living solutions, students will have ample opportunity to immerse themselves in Bali’s magical ceremonies and culture. Here on the “Island of the Gods” they will discover how a people can live their lives in balance with the natural world, maintain a distinct culture and high population density yet still protect a rich and largely hidden Nature.

Study Focus: Waterfall Micro Climes

  • Students will be greeted on arrival at Denpasar International Airport and assisted with immigration formalities before being transferred by bus to the north shore of Bali.
  • Along the way, there will be a stop at Git Git Waterfall for refreshments and an initiation swim at the base of a beautiful falls. The lush and varied vegetation growing here in perpetual mist will be the focal point of our studies.
  • Arriving at Pantai Mas, an idyllic family-run resort set right on the beach, students will be welcomed with traditional Balinese sarongs and flower garlands, before enjoying a delicious barbeque and Balinese ceremony.

Overnight: Pantai Mas Beach Resort

Study Focus: Marine Turtle Conservation/Tropical Rainforest Flora & Fauna

  • Today is a very special day as we rise at first light to prepare offerings, like every Balinese household on the island.
  • From 6:00-7:00 am small offerings of rice, flowers and fruit beautifully arranged in tiny trays made of banana leaf will be set out at over 50 sites on the grounds of our resort to honor the spirits of the land.
  • A traditional Balinese breakfast will follow this ceremony before we set off to the rice fields across the road for our morning work.
  • Here students under the close supervision of local farmers will learn techniques for plowing, planting, harvesting, threshing and drying rice, depending on the season.
  • As the day heats up and Balinese farmers head for cool shade of their field huts for lunch, we too will return to our resort to prepare our own food. Balinese cooking skills will become never-to-be-forgotten lessons as students immerse themselves in the preparations for our lunch and dinner this day.
  • After some time to rest during the heat of the day, boys will help local fishermen set out and pull in nets along shore, while girls will receive time-honored instructions in Balinese dance.
  • Dinner this evening will take on special significance as we dine on the fish the students have helped to catch and savor the meals the students have helped to create. Following our meal there will be Balinese dance and theatrical performances by the girls that have mastered their courses.

Overnight: Pantai Mas Beach Resort

Study Focus: Marine Turtle Conservation/Tropical Rainforest Flora & Fauna

  • As we wake to our another Balinese sunrise and enjoy a healthy breakfast we can watch fishermen setting out to sea with their nets and possibly see dolphins leaping in the bay.
  • It’s a one-hour drive west from Pantai Mas Beach Resort to our first study stop – a conservation project assisting sea turtle recovery in Bali.
  • From here we travel another 30-minutes to Bali Barat National Park, Bali’s largest and least visited protected area.
  • Following lunch we will set off on a 3-hour trek through a lowland rainforest where it’s possible to view barking deer, antelope, silver leaf monkeys, white hornbills, green jungle fowl, wild cat, scaly anteaters and giant squirrels.
  • Following a good dinner, prepared at our national park lodge, we will gather around a beach fire to share stories of our day’s adventures.

Overnight: Bali Barat National Park lodge

Study Focus: Mangrove Ecology/Monsoon Forest Flora & Fauna

  • Right after breakfast we set off for nearby Gillimenuk Bay and board ‘sampan’ boats for an intimate look at a wonderful mangrove forest.
  • As we cruise slowly along the mangrove shoreline we should encounter a wealth of wildlife: crab-eating macaque monkeys, fruit bats, monitor lizards, mangrove snakes, black-backed kingfishers, wimbrells, purple herons and chestnut-breasted malkohas.
  • Low tide may reveal other amazing creatures like mudskippers and fiddler crabs, while giant sting rays, unexpectedly leaping out of the marine waters, will totally amaze students.
  • After a delicious lunch we will enjoy a late afternoon drive and hiking safari through a monsoon forest. Here in this dry land habitat we can view completely different wildlife: Javan deer, barking deer, wild pigs, southern pied hornbills and giant monitor lizards.
  • There will be an opportunity for students to share in large group games before dinner and a candlelight-sharing circle under the stars before bedtime.

Overnight: Bali Barat National Park lodge

Study Focus: Coral Reef Ecology/Inter-Tidal Life/Savannah Grasslands

  • Following breakfast we head out to sea with a picnic lunch for a full day of snorkeling on Menangan (Deer) Island, where Javan deer freely roam over vast savannah grasslands.
  • Students will learn about the complex interdependence of species living in the coral reefs and the beach zone between the tides. They will also engage in a major beach clean up effort as part of community service project.
  • Flotsam and jetsam cast from ships and washing down from rivers on nearby Java pose a serious threat to marine life in this region. Leatherback sea turtles are known to mistake floating plastic bags for their preferred prey species – jellyfish, which they ingest and die. Albatross are known to mistake floating plastic cigarette lighters for their prey – squid, and suffer a similar fate. Removing this trash helps protect endangered marine animals.
  • Before departing the island, we will visit the last sanctuary of the critically endangered Bali starling. This brilliantly colored bird is the most threatened in the world.
  • We will enjoy a sunset cruise back to the mainland before driving 1.5 hours back to Pantai Mas Beach Resort for dinner and the comfort of our lodge.

Overnight: Pantai Mas Beach Resort

Study Focus: Marine Mammals/Crater Lake Geology/Balinese Ancient Settlements

  • We all rise before day break this morning to board ‘sampan’ outrigger boats and head out to sea to view dolphins.
  • Breakfast will be served aboard our vessels as we search for small whales and several species of playful dolphins that seem to delight in the rising sun.
  • Returning to shore on the black volcanic sands of Lavina Beach, we help haul our boats up above tide line before boarding a bus for our next adventure.
  • It’s a 1.5-hour drive to Batur Crater Lake high in the mountains where we check in to a romantic restaurant/lodge built over the water and enjoy a delicious lunch.
  • We then set off on a scenic bicycle trip, following a quiet road that wraps around the lake to Trunyan Village, one of Bali’s most ancient settlements. Here we can get a glimpse of traditional Balinese village life.
  • Returning to our lodge, there’s time for a sunset swim in the lake and a delicious dinner before retiring early to bed.

Overnight: Kedisan Restaurant/Resort

Study Focus: Bali’s Green School

  • Our final morning on the “Island of the Gods” will be spent touring Bali’s internationally acclaimed Green School where leading edge technologies and sustainable living policies are built into the campus and the curriculum.
  • Students will see school facilities built from bamboo – one of the worlds strongest, fastest growing and easily renewable building materials. They will see a vortex generator that harnesses energy from a diversion in the Ayung River without restricting fish flows, and they will marvel at the conversion of human waste into gas to power the school’s cook stoves.
  • It’s a relatively short drive from the Green School campus to Denpasar International Airport where students will board their return flight home.
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