IN & AROUND TABANAN

PMGY’s volunteer in Bali programmes are based in the centre of Tabanan, a picturesque and lively city in central Bali. The Tabanan region itself has a population of over 350,000 and 10,000 of this is concentrated to the city centre. From 4pm to midnight runs an exciting night market where local cuisines can be tasted and traditional clothing and jewellery bought.

 

Tabanan is referred to as the ‘rice bowl of Bali’ for its infamous rice fields and agriculture industry that underpins much of Bali’s rice production. The Subak Museum is dedicated to the famed subak system of unmechanised irrigation which has been in use in Bali since AD 600.

 

Other areas to explore in and around Tabanan include the Bali Butterfly Park, the Batukaru temple, the Mengwi water temple and the Sangeh Monkey Forest. 30 minutes outside of Tabanan is the Tanah Lot temple which is a great place to experience a truly picturesque evening sunset.

Traditional fishermans boats on the beach in Bali

EAST BALI & SANUR

With arguably the island’s best dive spots right off the shores of Amed and Candidasa, and the island’s highest point, Gunung (Mount) Agung, looming authoritatively above them, east Bali is a place of literal highs and lows.

 

Make time for the floating palace of Puri Taman Ujung and seek out the quaint fishing village of Amed, home to the jam/tea/kombucha garden of Aiona, great villas (such as Bukit Segara), and restaurants offering every variation of mahi-mahi under the scorching Indonesian sun.

 

Sanur blends the best of the laid-back fishing village feel of the east and the great dining and lodging on offer in the south. Try your hand at kite surfing or learn the intricacies of Indonesia’s culinary favourites at Bamboo Shoots cooking school (bambooshootsbali.com). Coincide your visit with the International Kite Festival to see Sanur in full swing.

NORTH BALI

In north Bali, days start with dolphin-watching trips from Lovina in traditional outrigger canoes, followed by long afternoons bathing in the mossy air terjun (waterfalls) of Sekumpul, Gitgit and Sambangan. Be prepared for a few stairs, but as a general rule, more stairs equal less crowds.

 

For a window into Bali’s past, swing by the town of Singaraja, the administrative centre of Bali during Dutch colonial times and, until the boom of the south, the port of arrival for most visitors.

Dolphin Beach Lovina Bali, Dolphin Jumping
Dive boats wait at the dock on Menjangan Island, Bali

WEST BALI

Many travellers can’t look beyond West Bali as the gateway to good surf, blazing their way to Medewi or Java. All the while, they are skirting the stunning Taman Nasional Bali Barat (West Bali National Park) with its calm, secluded beaches that are home to families of wild deer, and unique regional flavours like ayam betutu, a wood-smoked chicken broth served with rice and spicy spinach.

 

Off the coast of west Bali, Menjangan Island offers one of Bali’s least crowded dive spots, despite the appeal of its fluorescent marine life and surreal coral cliffs. On the high edge of west and north Bali, the mythical stone fountain baths of Air Panas Banjar nod to the island’s strong spiritual roots.

KUTA, LEGIAN & SEMINYAK

Seminyak remains an epitome of sophistication, Kuta still plays the wild child, and Legian falls somewhere in between. But this 12km stretch of south Bali all boasts wonderfully diverse shopping, myriad accommodation options, world-class dining, authentic warungs (food stalls), beach bars, clubs and day spas.

 

Must-dos include sunset cocktails at Potato Head Beach Club; conga lines and coconut cocktails at Motel Mexicola (motelmexicola.com); haggling and people watching on Kuta beach; and a day of shopping and eating on Jl Laksmana, also known as Oberoi, Eat Street or Jl Kayu Aya. You will be hard-pressed to find a traveller on the island who hasn’t dipped into this lively precinct.

Vrikshasana tree pose from yoga by woman silhouette on sunset near Tanah lot temple
View of traditional Balinese fisherman village at sunrise

GREATER CANGGU

Greater Canggu, including Umalas, Kerobokan, Echo Beach, Berewa and Pererenan, has lured a carefree and creative crowd. You might find yourself manoeuvring a scooter between lost cows on your way to a perfect macchiato at Crate Café (about a kilometre back from the beach on Batu Bolong) or savouring vegan pad Thai at Green Ginger Noodle House.

 

The area’s to-do list has lengthened considerably over the past decade, with a ten-pin bowling alley, tennis courts, a water park, and trampoline centre in the Canggu Club precinct alone. Don’t miss a trip to neighbouring Tabanan’s Pura Tanah Lot temple that sits among crashing waves on an isolated rock.

BUKIT PENINSULA, NUSA DUA & JIMBARAN BAY

The Bukit Peninsula offers up the world-famous waves of Ulu Watu, surf-shack vibes of Bingin, and unfathomably clear waters of Dreamland and Pandang Padang. You might like to treat yourself at the famous Rock Bar at Ayana Resort, overlooking Jimbaran Bay. This glamorous venue is accessible by an open-air elevator that is rarely without a sizeable sunset queue.

 

Sweeping south from Bali’s airport, Jimbaran Bay itself is more low-key. Tourists line up for freshly barbecued seafood, but more adventurous travellers should swap seafood warungs for Jimbaran Fish Market.

 

Over at Nusa Dua, things revert back to elegant and excessive, with top-of-the-line golf courses, umpteen high tea options and five-star resorts aplenty.

Traditional fishermans boats on the beach in Bali
Volunteer Cambodia

FURTHER AFIELD

Bali Nusa

NUSA LEMBONGAN

When the madness of the mainland gets too much, Nusa Lembongan is just a 30-minute boat ride across the Badung Strait. Ignoring the presence of a few new resorts and modern cafes, the appeal of Lembongan lies in the authenticity of island life.

 

While away your days surfing, diving and snorkelling, experimenting with yoga moves on a stand-up paddleboard, kayaking through mangrove forests, or getting a feel for the island’s seaweed farming industry. If that doesn’t keep you occupied, walk the yellow suspension bridge to Nusa Ceningan where you can dine or sleep at the boat shed-style Le Pirate Beach Club.

LOMBOK

The island of Lombok is well worth a visit with white sand, clear waters and the second highest volcano in Indonesia! You can travel to Lombok on regular, inexpensive ferries that run 24 hours a day.

 

While the Hindu island of Bali has an ‘anything goes’ vibe, Lombok has a different character. The scenery is more mountainous and arid, and the vibe more serious. A largely Muslim island, tourists visit for the peace and quiet, the great beaches and diving and proximity to the popular Gili islands.

Bali-Lombok
Architectural wonders at the Karangasem water temple in Bali, Indonesia

PMGY ORGANISED WEEKEND TRIPS

PMGY operate a number of amazing weekend trips in Bali.  Everything is planned for you and the group is accompanied by a PMGY member of staff who knows the country inside and out, which is the ideal way to travel. As with everything in life though it pays to be organised, so if you have your heart set on any of the trips below and would like to be guaranteed a place please book well in advance of travel.

 

If you’ve already signed up to one of our programmes and would like to book, click the book button below. If you haven’t signed up already, you can add the weekend tour onto your trip during the online application form. Please note places on weekend tours are non-refundable and non-transferable.

GILI PARADISE ISLAND WEEKEND TRIP - £149pp

INCLUDES - PRIVATE TRANSPORT, ACCOMMODATION, ALL MEALS & ENTRANCE FEES

The Gili’s are a tiny group of three practically untouched palm fringed, paradise islands just an hour and half by boat from Bali. Each island has its own unique character. Trawangan (universally known as Gili T) is by far the most cosmopolitan, with its vibrant night life and tropical chic accommodation and restaurants. It hasn’t lost its serene atmosphere though, with no cars, motorbikes (or dogs!) you can walk everywhere or maybe thumb a lift on a local horse and cart!

 

There is so much you can squeeze out of your 3 days here, from some of the best snorkelling, scuba diving and kayaking in Indonesia to hiring a bike to cycle around the 3km long islet, stopping for picnics and swimming in the crystal clear waters en route. Then of course there is the chic nightlife, including the most tropical beach setting for a cinema you’re ever likely to see.

UBUD WEEKEND TRIP - £149pp

INCLUDES - PRIVATE TRANSPORT, ACCOMMODATION, ALL MEALS & ENTRANCE FEES

Based in the picturesque village of Ubud, the cultural and spiritual centre of this idyllic island, you will spend 3 days and two nights exploring the culture of Bali. Home to stunning sacred temples, rice paddies, steep ravines and forests it is also where Elizabeth Gilbert author of best-selling “Eat, Pray, Love” found her inspiration.

 

A haven for the artistic, spiritual and alternative, Ubud is teeming with vegan cafes, crystal shops, chakra cleansing workshops and boho shopping galore. It also has its fair share of ancient sites such as; the Royal Palace, the cheeky inhabitants of the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, the Tirta Empul temple complex, intricately carved Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) and GunungKawi with its rock-cut shrines.

 

In the past, Ubud was just a small village, but now it has grown into a thriving yet laid back cosmopolitan community pampering visitors in body and soul. A walk through the lush paddy fields, watching colourful processions of women gracefully balancing piles of fruit offerings on their way to the temple, are lasting impressions and simply breathtaking.

DUBAI RETURN STOPOVER TRIP (INDEPENDENT) - £199pp

INCLUDES - PRIVATE AIRPORT TRANSFERS, ACCOMMODATION, BREAKFAST & ACTIVITIES

If your flight itinerary includes a stop in Dubai, then grab an opportunity to spend 4 days and 3 nights in this powerhouse of a city with both hands.

 

Your trip includes a city tour, so you don’t miss any of the best bits as well as an exhilarating 4×4 excursion across the deserts of Dubai. You’ll be sandboarding down huge dunes, taking a camel ride and getting a henna tattoo! The day is topped off with a delicious barbecue dinner under the twinkling Arabian stars while watching a traditional tanoura dance performance.

 

The PMGY team will arrange your city tour, desert safari, transfers and accommodation but please note this trip is unaccompanied and is an opportunity for some independent travel.

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