PMGY’s volunteer in Bali programs are based in the centre of Tabanan, a picturesque but lively traditional city.
The Tabanan region itself has a population of over 350,000 and 10,000 of this is concentrated in 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.
Participants generally volunteer on a Monday-Thursday basis and the weekends are free to relax or travel further afield. As our volunteers will testify, the wider travel opportunities are extremely important to the whole experience and it is something we certainly recommend. Our local team are able to arrange activities, transport and accommodation but please note this is usually an independent experience outside of the core program.
EAST BALI & SANUR
East Bali has arguably the island’s best dive spots right off the shores of Amed and Candidasa, and also the island’s highest point, Gunung (Mount) Agung. Visit the floating palace of Puri Taman Ujung and seek out the quaint fishing village of Amed. Sanur blends the best of the laid-back fishing village feel of the east and the great dining on offer in the south. Sanur is Bali’s oldest upscale resort area and is a mature beach-side town. Despite the abundance of restaurants and accommodation, it has a quiet and relaxed feel to it.
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 generally, more stairs mean less crowds! For an insight into Bali’s history, swing by the town of Singaraja. Singaraja is a port town and is Bali’s second-largest city. Here you can learn about the culture, heritage and local traditions. There are lots of waterfalls, hot springs and temples to keep you occupied.
West Bali is not only the gateway to good surf but also houses 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. Off the coast of west Bali, Menjangan Island offers one of Bali’s least crowded dive spots. The island gets its name from the Javanese word for ‘deer’, thanks to an incredible natural phenomenon whereby flocks of the rare wild Javan rusa deer swim to the island.
KUTA, LEGIAN & SEMINYAK
Seminyak remains an epitome of sophistication, Kuta plays the wild child, and Legian falls somewhere in between. This 12km stretch of south Bali 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; haggling and people watching on Kuta beach; and a day of shopping and eating on Jl Laksmana, also known as Oberoi or Eat Street.
Greater Canggu, including Umalas, Kerobokan, Echo Beach, Berewa and Pererenan, has lured a carefree and creative crowd. You might find yourself manoeuvring between lost cows on your way to a perfect macchiato at Crate Café 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 a trampoline centre in the Canggu Club precinct alone. There’s plenty of vegan cafes and yoga hotspots too!
BUKIT PENINSULA, NUSA DUA & JIMBARAN BAY
The Bukit Peninsula offers the world-famous waves of Ulu Watu, surf-shack vibes of Bingin, and the clear waters of Dreamland and Pandang Padang. You can treat yourself at the famous Rock Bar at Ayana Resort, looking out over Jimbaran Bay. 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 warungs for Jimbaran Fish Market. Over at Nusa Dua, things revert back to excessive elegant, with golf courses and five-star resorts aplenty.
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 seaweed farming industry. If that doesn’t keep you occupied, walk the yellow suspension bridge to Nusa Ceningan.
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. It’s also in close proximity to the popular Gili islands.
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 programs 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. If you are in-doubt about joining one of these trips then you always have the option to sign up once you have arrived in Bali. Spots are subject to availability but in the vast majority of cases there are still spots available once you are on the program and it gives you more flexibility with your travel plans.
GILI PARADISE ISLAND WEEKEND TRIP – 270 USD pp.
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!) and you can walk everywhere!
There is so much you can squeeze out of your 3 days here, from some of the best snorkelling 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 there is the chic nightlife, including the most tropical beach setting for a cinema you’re ever likely to see.
DAY ONE - GLISTENING WATERS, TASTY DISHES AND SPECTACULAR SUNSETS
Once we arrive at Gili T around 11am, you’ll have an opportunity to drop off your bags, and collect your push-bike before we head to a local restaurant for a buffet lunch. You’ve then got a couple of hours free to explore the island and admire the bright blue waters of the ocean that surround you before your afternoon activity.
We hope you’re not too full from lunch as it’s now time for some activities with the group! Join in for a game of pool, mini golf or darts. After these activities, the evening is yours! You may choose to accompany your team leader to the East Coast of the island to watch the famous Gilis sunset, or return back to the hostel for some rest before enjoying the island’s evening entertainment!
DAY TWO - SNORKELLING AND FREE TIME
This morning, you’ll be heading off to out into the ocean to enjoy all the underwater beauty of the Gilis. The waters around the islands are shallow, and occasional sightings of sea turtles roaming freely will be an added bonus. You’ll visit 3-4 snorkelling sites, with a quick stop in Gili Air to grab a snack.
The afternoon and evening are then free for you to do as you wish. For the surfer in you, the Gili’s offer some great paddle out action and wave riding, with reef breaks available. For the cyclist in you, circumnavigation around either Gili is possible. With lengths of passably paved roads around most of the borders, what better or more convenient way to go around than by bike?
DAY THREE - OFF THE BEATEN TRACK BEFORE BACK TO BALI
Our local team will lead a trek off the beaten track to hike the treasure hill of Gili Trawangan to discover a couple of great finds. Firstly, a mysterious shrine sits adjacent a Muslim burial site, then further up is the crumbling remnants of a WWII Japanese machine-gun bunker. And upon reaching the top, you will claim your prize of a birds’ eye-view of the surrounding waters and the majestic outlines of Mount Rinjani.
UBUD WEEKEND TRIP – 270 USD pp.
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 2 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 Gunung Kawi with its rock-cut shrines.
DAY ONE - TEMPLES & RICE PADDIES
After an early breakfast, we drive to Batukaru Temple. Located at the base of Mount Batukaru, this ancient Balinese Temple boasts a variety of shrines, protected by tiered roofs. As we continue our journey onto Ubud we will next visit the Jatiluwih Rice Terrace. This area is a famous tourist attraction for beautiful rice terraces and has been designed with exquisite beauty in its hollowing rice field.
The final stop of the day is Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple, a magnificent water temple complex. After admiring the striking temple with its accompanying ponds and gardens, it’s time to put on a traditional sarong and sash, and head to the Holy Spring to take part in a blessing ceremony.
DAY TWO - MOUNT BATUR HIKE AND SOAKING IN HOT SPRINGS
The sacred mountain draws tourists from all over the island for its breath-taking views over Lake Batur. You’ll make it to the top just after 6am and arrive at the conveniently named ‘Sunrise Point’.
We will then head directly to Toya Bungkah Hot Springs for some well-deserved rest and relaxation. Here you can take a dip in the natural hot spring pool and soothe your calf muscles! After lunch, we will head into Ubud where you will have free time to navigate all the hustle and bustle Ubud centre represents.
DAY THREE - WATERFALLS, MONKEY FOREST & SUNSET IN TANAH
We will make our way to Tegenungan Waterfall, located in the sacred river of Petanu River. This is a really fun waterfall to visit in Bali. After you’ve dried off, it’s time to embrace the craziness of Alas Kedaton Monkey forest, populated by hundreds of grey long-tailed macaques. You will be led throughout the complex by a local guide who will share with you the history of the complex… and fend off any cheeky monkeys!
Our trip will end in Tanah Lot. We’ll first watch the sunset over the stunning Tanah Lot Temple, a historic landmark that has been a part of Balinese mythology for centuries. The temple is one of seven sea temples in Bali. To top off this exciting trip, we will be watching Kecak dancing – a traditional Balinese dance.