Why Involvement Volunteers International?
Volunteer in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka is a beautiful country, complete with tranquil beaches, surfing, mountains, wildlife parks, tea plantations, temples and plenty of culture. Prices are very cheap, the locals are friendly and it’s also easy to get around. Being a small island, most things are never too far away. Sri Lanka is also known for it’s scenic train rides, particually around the Kandy area.
Get involved in Sri Lanka. Test yourself and expand your awareness. Do something you’ll never forget.
We have three destinations in Sri Lanka, althought most projects are situated in the Kandy area. Kandy is known as the cultural capital, with incredible hillside scenery, warm hospitality, dance shows, tea plantations and green rolling hills. Ambalangoda, has a relaxed beach vibe and is close to the pretty town of Galle, in the South where the turtle conservation project lives. Hanguranketha is about 1 hour from Kandy and even deeper into hill country.
Volunteer Projects in Sri Lanka
Volunteer with IVI at various kindergarten schools in and around Kandy. You can also teach at a special needs school or to adults in the evenings. Help the kids improve their English skills through fun, educational games, creative activities and singing/dancing etc.
Teach English to Buddhist monks with IVI Volunteers in beautiful Sri Lanka! Provide the monks with an opportunity to become proficient in English, teaching them communication, written and spoken skills.
Situated right on the beach, assist at the turtle conservation centre in caring for, cleaning and protecting these incredible animals. Help educate the local community on the importance of conservation and if you’re lucky, get to release baby hatchlings back into the ocean!
Get the chance to observe the patients at one of the oldest and the largest hospitals in Kandy. Volunteer at a Sri Lankan Hospital and learn about overseas practices, medical techniques and procedures by observing local doctors and nurses. A fantastic experience for inspiring medical students.
Volunteer in a special needs home or a childcare centre. Dive into this project with a warm heart and a big smile, and you will be rewarded by seeing the residents happy and comforted. Help underprivileged communities in and around Kandy.
Contribute to renovating and restoring ancient temples in a quiet village and bring them back their former glory. You will also get a chance to renovate educational institutions, schools and community centres! Bring along your creative ideas and turn these buildings into something special for the local communities.
You will visit ancient temples, explore the hills of Kandy and surrounding areas and watch a stunning cultural dance show. You also get to learn about the local culture and have language lessons, enabling you to communicate with the local people.
A great add on before or after your project. Immerse yourself in Sri Lankan lifestyle by exploring the beautiful hill country of Sri Lanka. Take trips to waterfalls, try cliff jumping, taste the local cuisine, drift along the river on a raft and climb the famous Lion rock.
You will explore the lush green hills and learn about the local culture. For the last 3 weeks you have a choice between volunteering at the elephant or turtle program and enjoying a beach week or mind and body week.
30 Years Experience
IVI is an Australian charity & non profit organisation founded in 1989 and is one of the pioneers of overseas volunteering successfully placing over 20,000 volunteers globally. We accept volunteers from all over the world and place them in meaningful overseas missions.
Affordable Volunteer Travel
Safe & Responsible Projects
Work Experience & University Credits
With a population of 20 million, the democratic socialist republic of Sri Lanka, formally known as Ceylon is a tear drop shaped island off the south eastern coast of India. Steeped in over 2000 years of history, the culture is unique to Sri Lanka and known for it’s export of tea, holistic medicines, cinnamon and gemstones including a unique blend of music, dance and visual arts.
Colinised by the British, Dutch and Portugese, there is a multi-culturalism with distinct Sri Lankan flair that feels similar to India, only a whole lot more chilled out! Sri Lanka, better known as the “nation of smiling people” is predominently buddhist (approx 80%) with some Hindu, Muslim and Christianity.
Sri Lanka has eight UNESCO World Heritage sites and given it’s size it’s easy to experience them all in a short period of time. From the world’s oldest living tree in Anuradhapura, to the colonial architecture of Colombo, to the white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, to lush natural forest, picturesque cities, thousand year old temples, and ancient civilation ruins there are really so many reasons to visit this amazing land.
Sri lanka has a tropical climate with distinctive wet and dry seasons. Temperatures vary and it can get much cooler in the mountains than it can on the beach.
On average temperatures in Sri Lanka vary from 28- 32 degrees, but in the mountain regions this can go to as low as 16 degrees.
From mid-April to September the Southwest moonsoon rains come, affecting the West, Southwest coastline and the Hill Country. On the East coast, the monsoon rains start from November to March but are not quite as severe.
December to March are the best months to visit the West or South coastline and the Hill Country. For the East coast or the North, the best time to visit is from April to September.
Sri Lanka and known for it’s export of tea, holistic medicines, cinnamon and gemstones including a unique blend of music, dance and visual arts.
Colinised by the British, Dutch and Portugese, there is a multi-culturalism with distinct Sri Lankan flair that feels similar to India, only a whole lot more chilled out! Sri Lanka is predominently buddhist (approx 80%) with some Hindu, Muslim and Christianity.
There are many festivals in Sri Lanka. Here are the dates for some of them!
- January: Duruthu
Celebrates the Buddha’s first visit to Sri Lanka. During Duruthu, thousands of people attend colorful parades, which consist of three processions on the nights before the full moon. The processions consist of fireball performers, drummers, dances, decorated elephants and the most important – a gigantic tusker treading a white carpet.
- April 13th or 14th: Avurudda (New Year)
Avurudda celebrates the Sinhalese New Year in Sri Lanka. According to Sinhalese astrology, the new year begins when the sun changes from Meena Rashi (Pisces) to Mesha Rashi (Aries).
- June: Poson Festival
Poson Festival takes place on the full moon day of June and celebrates the arrival of Buddhism, which occurred when Arahat Mahinda, the son of the emperor of India, converted King Devanampiyatissa to Buddhism.
- October or November: Diwali (Festival of Lights)
Diwali is an ancient Hindu festival that signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, hope over despair, and good over evil. It is celebrated with millions of lights shining over houses, temples, and buildings.
Kandy, is an amazing destination high up in the hills approx 3 hours drive from Colombo with incredible views, dense forests and a buzzy atmosphere with locals and tourists. Kandy is the last royal capital of Sri Lanka and is famous for it’s culture and temples such as Temple of the Tooth and plenty of others. The city has bustling markets with all kinds of interesting and diverse goods and services from unique handicrafts, exotic foods, arts, music and dance. Kandy has a really cool vibe and is somewhere you can happily explore for an extended period of time.
Ambalangoda, the beach town close to Galle in the southern province is a known as a Buddhist city and is a working class area not known for tourism despite having beautiful beaches! Plantations of low country tea, cocount, cinnamon and rubber are common. The area is also known for puppet shows, moonstone, antique furniture and devil dancing. This town is where you can participate in the turtle conservation project and beach week.
Hanguranketha, about 1 hour from Kandy and even deeper into hill country is the ancient city which was home to the kings of Sri Lanka, especially during the Kandyan period. This is a great location for those who want to experience rural parts of Sri Lanka away from the crowded cities. The area has significant historical importance with 119 temples and many historical sites. The village faces several challenges from a lack of clean drinking water, frequent power cuts, poorly staffed schools and run-down temples. Your presence in this village will be so incredible valued by the locals.
Accommodation is included for the duration of your volunteer program. The volunteer houses are all conveniently located no further than 2 km’s from the city or village centre and about a 15 min walk to the nearest supermarket and ATM. You’ll share rooms with 4-6 other volunteers of the same gender with a shared toilet per room. A fridge, safety deposit boxes, lockable rooms, hot showers, bed linen and fan are included with volunteers expected to bring their own towel. Laundry facilities are available at a small fee. The centres do not have Wi-Fi. Most volunteers will purchase a local data plan and connect this to their personal devices. The house in Ambalongoda is located only a few meters from the ocean!
3 meals per day are provided during weekdays and 2 meals per day on weekends. Safe filtered drinking water is provided along with tea and coffee. Sri Lankan cuisine is amazing with influences mainly from southern india with lots of beautiful coconut based curries. The menus are on rotation so you will not keep having the same food over and over. You can expect meals with rice, coconut, spices, roti, lots of vegetables & sparing amounts of meat. Sri Lankans eat with their right hands, which can be hard to adjust to at first. However, many restaurants will provide cuttery if requested.
On your first day of the program (Monday), you’ll be provided a country orientation with introduction to Sri Lankan customs, culture, expectations, safety procedures, weekend travel options etc etc. You’ll also get a city tour of incredible Kandy! (Amazing place). Additionally, a cultural show and basic language lesson of Sinhala are also provided to help build your confidence in communicating with the locals.
For those desiring a longer orientation, the optional 1 week cultural orientation is available for a small fee and provides you a more in-depth orientation and various other fun things.
Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted at the airport and transported to the volunteer accommodation in Kandy. Your Program Fee includes accommodation on the Sunday night before your program orientation. An arrival airport transfer is included from Bandaranayake International Airport on Saturday or Sunday free of charge. If arriving on Saturday, you can book an additional nights accommodation for US$50 including meals.
The transfer coordinator will meet you at the designated point which will be clearly described in your welcome pack which is provided after final payment is made pre-departure.
Here are a few things you can do in Sri Lanka!
Royal Botanical Gardens
The Botanic Gardens are situated around 5. km to the West of Kandy. Once being only for the Kandyan royalty, they are now open to the public to wander around at their leisure. There’s 60 hectares of beautiful garden to explore, where you will see a huge Javan fig tree, pretty orchids and even monkeys!
Knuckles mountain range
This stunning mountain range is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and hosts many walking trails. You will find small villages, beautiful waterfalls, numerous native wildlife and rice fields. This is the perfect place for people who love the outdoors and adventurous hiking trails.
Sigiriya (Lion Rock)
Another UNESCO World Heritage site, this ancient rock is situated around 91km North from Kandy and is very popular with tourists, who can climb up to the top for some seriously stunning views. Along the way you will see antient rock carvings and paintings on the walls of this sacred rock. It will take roughly just over an hour to climb up.
Yala National Park
Located on the South coast of Sri Lanka, this stunning park hosts one of the highest leopard densities in the world. Not only that, you can also spot elephants, monkeys, birds, buffalo and more. There are numerous tours in Yala, from day tours to over several days of safari.
Around 91km South of Kandy you can climb to the top of this sacred sight, just as the locals do for pilgrimage. It’s a bit of a trek up in the dark but totally worth it to see the sun coming up over the clouds, mountains and lush forest. You will be greeted by stunning views to reward your efforts!
Hortons Plains National Park
You can trek through this beautiful national park to ‘World’s End’, a 9.5km round loop trail, taking around 3 hours. This is a pretty easy walk, but you will be greeted with amazing views out over the countryside and above the clouds! It’s best to visit here early (before 10am) as the clouds can roll in after that and block the incredible views.
Udawatta Kele Reserve
Situated near the Kandy lake, this nature reserve is complete with monkeys and birds- fantastic for wildlife and nature lovers. Here you will find wooded forests, over 400 species of plants and 70 bird species. You can trek through the forest for a relaxing break away from the city.
Kandy and Nuwara Eliya are both popular places to visit a tea plantation, for a refreshing taste of some of Sri Lanka’s best fresh tea! Not only do they produce great tea, the landscape is stunningly green, with endless hills rolling off into the distance.