Please make sure you arrive into Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo (CMB) on the selected Monday start date.
Day 1 (Monday) Welcome to Sri Lanka
You will be collected at Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo by PMGY’s local coordinator who will be waiting for you at arrivals holding a name sign.
We will transfer you to a guesthouse in Negombo – a town 10 miles from the airport to relax and meet fellow volunteers. Our local coordinator will provide you with an orientation outlining everything you need to know for the upcoming weeks including safety issues, useful phrases in Sinhalese and what you can expect from the tour. Depending on the time of arrivals, it is likely that the full introduction will be given on the Tuesday morning.
Day 2 (Tuesday) Kandy & Cultural Dance Show
After some much needed rest, it’s time to begin your adventure. Today we will head of to Kandy, the spiritual capital of Kandy. We’ll check into the guesthouse and then head off to the well renowned Kandyan dancing and drumming show – Sri Lanka’s iconic performing art.
Day 3 (Wednesday) Kandy
Today we will check out some of Kandy’s iconic sites, which will include a visit to the world famous Temple of the Tooth and Bahirawa Kanda Temple.
Your evening is free. Our local coordinator will use their local knowledge to recommend an evening activity.
Day 4 (Thursday) Sigiriya & Polonnaruwa
Today is an action packed day. We will kick off the day by visiting a spice and herbal plantation. After lunch you will head over to Sigiriya known as ‘The Mount of Rememberance’. Sigiriya Rock Fortress contains the ancient city built on top of a 180 metre granite rock known as ‘Lion Rock’. You’ll get to climb the towering Lion Rock and explore the wonders of this former cultural capital complete with ancient graffiti and elaborate water gardens.
That evening we will take you to Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka’s splendid medieval capital where you will spend the night.
Day 5 (Friday) Polonnaruwa
How does cycling around one of the greatest ancient cities in history sound? Well, that’s what you’re doing today! You’ll be up early for a cycle tour around the ruins of Polonnaruwa – a royal complex scattered over an extensive area of woodland. Polonnaruwa holds some of Sri Lanka’s most important religious sites – known as the Quadrangle. You will then have lunch and a chance to relax before heading out for the afternoon activity.
In the afternoon, we will then go on a jeep safari around Parakrama Samudra, an exquisite artificial lake built by King Parakramabahu in 3rd century AD. We’ll end the day by watching the sunset over the lake and then make our way back to the guesthouse.
Day 6 (Saturday) Anuradhapura
It’s time to hit the road again that afternoon as we travel to the sacred city of Anuradhapura and the temples within – one of the most important cities of its age.
You’ll be up early to explore this great place – a city that oversaw the golden age of Sinhalese culture. The sheer scale and vast history of the place is overwhelming. You’ll get a real feel of what life must have been like during the early development of Sri Lanka.
Later on, we’ll head back to Kandy for the night, before heading Sri Lanka’s central highlands.
Day 7 (Sunday) Tea Plantations & Little England
It’s time to see a different side of Sri Lanka – the glorious southern hill country. The southern hill country is the highest, wildest and in many ways the most beautiful part of Sri Lanka.
Today, you’ll be heading off to Nuwara Eliya – located in the heart of Sri Lanka. Nuwara Eliya was established by British colonialists and is now often referred to as ‘Little England’. The town is surrounded by lush green hills and dotted with English country style houses and half-timbered bungalows. You’ll get the chance to take a tour of the tea plantations and even pick some tea yourself!
It’s now time to say goodbye to Little England as we head to Ella – a quaint village, which has become a favourite for backpackers over the years. On the way to Ella you will get to witness some of Sri Lanka’s most awe inspiring scenery which includes rolling hills and enchanting waterfalls.
You’ll have the evening to relax in Ella, have some dinner and enjoy the surrounding views!
Day 8 (Monday) Ella – Little Adam’s Peak & Nine Arch Bridge
After breakfast, we’ll take a trip to Little Adam’s Peak which is located just outside of Ella Town. Its a relatively pleasant and not so strenuous 45 minute hike up to the summit of Little Adam’s Peak and the stunning views are well worth it. Endless valleys of tea plantations and waterfalls. What a great way to start the day!
Our journey continues as we will stop at the famous Nine Arch Bridge. Based on the Demodara loop, it is a spectacular feat of engineering and construction spanning 91 metres. The beautiful nine arches make it a very picturesque spot especially as it is located in a dense jungle and agricultural setting. We will take a 20 minute walk off the beaten track down and around the bridges, with many picturesque views and photo opportunities along the way.
We will then head back to Ella town for a spot of lunch. You will then have the rest of the afternoon before reconvening for dinner to explore Ella at your own leisure, with plenty of spots for shopping, a relaxing massage or relaxing walks across this quaint town.
Day 9 (Tuesday) Time for Safari
After breakfast, we will be making the 2.5 hour drive across to Udawalawe National Park for an afternoon safari. On the way we will pass Rawana Waterfall where we will stop for a chance to take in the beauty of one of the widest falls in Sri Lanka.
We will arrive in Udawalawe for lunch time. After lunch, it’s now time for one of the highlights of the trip as we head on a three hour afternoon safari into Udawalawe National Park.
The national park was specifically created to provide a sanctuary for the wild animals displaced by the construction of the Udawalawe Reservoir. The reserve thus provides an important habitat for many Sri Lankan elephants with many attracted to the park because of the reservoir. With a herd of around 250 permanent resident elephants, the area is one of the most visited national parks in the whole country. Be sure to keep an eye out for many of the wild birds and reptiles that you will also encounter on the safari as well.
After an action packed afternoon we’ll settle in Udawalawe for the night with an exciting morning ahead to follow.
Day 10 (Wednesday) Baby Elephants & off to the Beach!
Be sure to be up nice and early for this mornings activity as it is not to be missed! At 9am, you will get the chance to see between 20 and 50 baby elephants at a nearby elephant orphanage to Udawalawe. This is the only place in the whole of Sri Lanka to see baby elephants feeding. Volunteers will spend an hour or so observing the morning feed of these wonderful animals.
Sadly it’s now time to leave Udawalawe, but don’t worry more excitement lies ahead as we make the 2.5 hour drive to Mirissa Beach where after lunch you will have the afternoon to acclimatise to the beach life!
Day 11-12 (Thursday-Friday) Mirissa
So far you would have experienced a lot in such a short period…it’s definitely time to use these couple days too kick back, relax and enjoy the much needed beach break in Mirissa. This location is regarded as one of the best stretches of coastline in the whole of the island!
Your time in Mirissa is your oyster over the next couple days! Whether you want to relax on the beach, get involved in water sports or explore the surrounding villages – Mirissa is a prime spot to be.
Day 13 (Saturday) Stick Fishing & Galle Fort
After some much needed rest, we’ll make our way to our volunteering base in Ambalangoda. However, first things first…it’s time to go stick fishing in Weligama. This is your chance to learn about (and even try out if you fancy it) the traditional Sri Lankan art of stick fishing!
We’ll then head to Galle, to visit Galle Fort, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site – a really enjoyable place to visit. As the day draws to an end we’ll drive up the coast to Ambalangoda in time for lunch to meet your fellow PMGY volunteers and learn about the projects we support.
For the rest of your stay you’ll be living at our Volunteer House in Ambalangoda.
Ambalangoda is a quaint oceanside town located on the South West coast of Sri Lanka. It is traditionally a fishing community but is famous for being the major production centre for demonic wooden masks. The traditional masks were originally designed to be worn by performers in kolam and other southern Sri Lankan dances, but are now mainly used as souvenirs. Many families hang a mask on their front door to warn off evil spirits.
The town has all the amenities you could require such as banks, hospitals and shops. There is also a central bus and train station, which has good links to all the major destinations you are likely to go to. Plus, the beach is only a 5 minute tuk tuk ride from the Volunteer House!
Life in Ambalangoda is slow and laid back. The people are unbelievably friendly – you’ll receive smiles from the locals as you walk around town. If you’re looking for some places to go out in the evening then Hikkaduwa is only a 20 minute tuk tuk ride away (around $5 each way). This has a number of beachside bars and restaurants where you can hang out.
Day 14 (Sunday) Orientation in Ambalangoda
We’ll start the day with a full introduction into PMGY Sri Lanka’s volunteer projects, a tour of the local area and discussion about the plan for the next couple of weeks.
Our local team will teach you more about life in Sri Lanka, the do’s and don’ts, the local culture and religion. Your Ambalangoda orientation will continue with an introduction to the transport system, safety advice and all the projects we support in the community.
On the Sunday afternoon, our local coordinator will take you to see some of the famous sites around Ambalangoda, including the longest sleeping Buddha statue in Asia, an original blue moonstone mine and some famous Buddhist temples. You will also have the chance to head into Ambalangoda town centre.
You’ll get the chance to chat meet some more of the PMGY Sri Lanka staff network across the day as well.
Day 15-26 (Monday-Friday) Volunteering Begins!
Today is your first day of volunteering, one of our local coordinators will travel with you to the Monday is your first day of volunteering. You will be transported to and from our projects daily by our transport network from the Volunteer House. Our project coordinators will be on hand to meet you at the project and introduce you accordingly. Depending on your project you may get the chance to meet other PMGY volunteers along the way!
Depending on which project you choose to do on your online application will influence the daily timings you join us at the project.
Generally speaking our wildlife, renovation and medical experiences take place in the morning for 3-4 hours and our teaching and community programmes take place in the afternoon for 3 hours.
The final weekend in between your volunteering is free for you to explore how you wish too. If your dates match then there may also be the opportunity to join our Maldives chill out weekend trip if you wish too.
You’ll be in personal contact with our local coordinators every day across your two weeks volunteering with us so if you need anything we are there for you 24/7.
Day 27 (Saturday) Last Day
Unfortunately, your epic journey has come to an end. Saturday is your last day on the programme. It’s time to head home or onto your next far away destination.
If you are heading home then we can help you arrange your return airport drop off. Please note that this is not included in your Programme Fee. A taxi from the Volunteer House to the airport will cost around $75 (10,000 LKR). If fellow returning volunteers have flights at a similar time to yours you can choose too travel together and split this fee accordingly.
If you’d like to stay on with one of PMGY’s volunteer programmes in Sri Lanka then we can certainly arrange this for you.
* This itinerary is subject to change as a result of unforeseen circumstances.