What is an Encounter?

Palms Australia’s Encounters are ethically run small group tours that provide curious travellers with authentic, hard to come by travel opportunities in countries such as Samoa, Timor Leste and Thailand.

Comprehensive insights into daily life and culture, and sustainable approaches to development are gained by tapping into relationships of understanding, acceptance and care between local communities and the Australians Palms’ are supporting on long-term assignments.

See Why Palms Encounters are different to volunteer tourism trips.

Read all about our Encounters below:

You won’t only see travellers like yourself. Each tour has been carefully curated by local guides to give you an insight into sustainable approaches to development and a view into the life and work of communities putting these approaches into action.

You won’t be staying in luxury but you will be given enviable intimacy with the history and culture of Timorese, Samoan or Thai communities. Read more about the guiding philosophy of our Encounter trips here.

You won’t tread the beaten path. Few other tours offer travellers the opportunity to see, first-hand, issues of culture, development, poverty, trade, ecology and education in remote areas away from tourist hot spots.

You won’t be fighting for a seat against 30 other travellers. Palms limits Encounter groups to a maximum of eight participants per trip to provide you with a genuine, intimate experience.

Most importantly, you won’t have another travel experience like this. 

The Program

The full Encounter program includes pre-departure preparation, a fully organised guided tour (in Samoa, Thailand or Timor-Leste) and follow-up activities to encourage engagement in appropriate action for mutual global development.

Part 1: Preparation

To get the most out of your Encounter, you will be provided with insightful resources and other material to prepare you for appropriate cross-cultural engagement from day one.

Part 2: The Journey

Our guides will take you through historical sites, stunning natural wonders and on some of the most remote paths in each country. You will explore sites of rebellion and repression in Timor Leste or relax in the pristine natural pools of Samoa.

You will meet the local counterparts of those engaged in the long-term assignments.  You will have the opportunity to learn about their work and development objectives and discern the role Australians can play in reducing global poverty.  Local history, art, permaculture and food will supplement your cross-cultural competency.

In each tour, you will be welcomed into local guesthouses and treated to delicious local cuisine. The tastes and flavours of the local culture will change as you travel to new villages. With small numbers, we can adapt our itineraries to suit the group, spending time where you want it most. 

Guided reflection will help you gain a deeper understanding of the new sights, smells, sounds, tastes, textures and experiences encountered, and perhaps challenge your world view and ideas about life.

Part 3: Post-Encounter

Upon returning to Australia Palms will assist you to integrate the experience and provide further opportunities to cooperate in achieving a just, sustainable, interdependent and peaceful world free of poverty.

How Much Does it Cost?

Encounters to all locations are $3,500* per person. This includes accommodation, meals, activities, an experienced guide, visas, and in-country transportation. Flights to your destination and insurance are not included. 

If Palms Australia is forced to cancel a tour, travellers can choose to be refunded or join another tour at a later date.

Next Encounter:

Our next Encounter is destined for Timor Leste from 20-31 October 2024. Throughout your journey, you will witness the work of Palms Australia’s local partners. You will have the opportunity to learn about the role Australians can play in reducing global poverty by supporting local initiatives. There is the choice between a more active Encounter or a more culturally focussed Encounter.

For more information, call us on (02) 9560 5333. 

*Price subject to change.

 Read Encounter terms and conditions.