Cultural Orientation Week Sri Lanka

Volunteer in Sri Lanka with IVI. During this cultural orientation week, you will visit temples, explore Kandy and surrounding areas and watch a cultural dance show. You also get to learn about the local culture and have language lessons, enabling you to communicate with the local people. This is a great way to prepare yourself before your project starts and to feel comfortable in your home for the next few weeks.


Photos of Accommodation

Photos of Beautiful Kandy

Program Description

Volunteer in Sri Lanka with IVI! Before your project starts, why not join us on a week of adventure?! You will explore some of the countries highlights, as well as learn about the local customs and culture. This is a great way to be as prepared as possible before your project starts and to get comfortable with your home for the next few weeks.

Sri Lanka has a rich history, culture and traditions, as well as some stunning landscapes. The orientation week is spent in Kandy, a mountainous city packed with tea plantations and palm trees. First, we will have a welcome meeting and explain to you the do’s and don’ts regarding safety (including women travelling alone), transportation, and the rules of the local culture. We learn more about Buddhism, mysterious mythology behind the culture and visit several temples, including Kandy’s most visited sacred ‘Temple of the Tooth’.

You will have language lessons and get to practice by talking with the locals, you’ll have a traditional Ayurvedic massage, watch a traditional Kandyan dance performance and have a Sri Lankan cooking class.

Program Duration & Availability

Min duration (weeks):1

Max duration (weeks):1

Aims & Objectives

To help you develop an awareness and deeper understanding of the local culture, to learn about Sri Lankan customs and to explore your new environment and highlights of the country.



After a welcome meeting and collecting the necessary documents, we have a basic language lesson. After lunch you will have a cultural lesson before a tour around Kandy city. Later you will watch a colourful cultural show and have a delicious dinner afterwards.


After a delicious Sri Lankan breakfast, we visit a herbal and spice garden, where we will discover natural spices and traditional remedies. We then visit a factory and gem museum in Kandy (Sri Lanka is famous for its blue sapphire). In the afternoon, we take a relaxing boat ride around the beautiful Kandy lake.


Today you have a traditional Sri Lankan cooking experience, a fun experience where you can taste what you cook! We also visit a temple to learn some of the Buddhist religious rituals practiced by Sri Lankans. Get in touch with mind and soul with a soothing meditation session.


Today we have an early start to visit to a family practicing traditional Batik painting. Here, you’ll take part in a fun-filled, creative workshop and challenge your artistic thinking, making an original Batik design of your own. You will be creating your design using vibrant colours, techniques, tools and dyes. We then have a traditional lunch with the family.


Today we explore some of the surrounding temples, one being a sacred temple in a small forest and the other, a holy Hindu temple. An Indian lunch awaits you in Kandy city, followed by a soothing Ayurvedic massage later on.


Starting Dates

During 2019

This project starts every week.

During 2020

This project starts every week.

Volunteer Criteria & Requirements

Standard Requirements

Minimum age:-

Maximum age:-

Minimum English level: Basic

CRB required: On Signup

Passport copy required: On Signup

Resume copy required: No

Required qualification: None

Additional Requirements

  • Volunteers below the age of 18 should have parental consent.
  • Volunteers above the age of 65 should have medical clearance.

Additional Equipment

  • Hiking Shoes
  • Modest clothes for temple visits


Kandy, the last royal capital of Sri Lanka is a popular tourist destination, known for its tea plantations, sacred temples, spice plantations and cultural dance shows. It’s around 115 km from Colombo and sits at 465 meters above sea level. Famous for the Temple of the Tooth, it has a nickname as the cultural capital of Sri Lanka. This bustling market town has a rich cultural diversity and plenty of things to for tourists, from handicraft markets to ancient temples and adventure activities. It also hosts the Kandy Esala Perahera festival each year.

Accommodation & Food

About the Accommodation

You will be accommodated in one of our volunteer houses, which are located 2-4 km away from the centre of Kandy. There is a refrigerator for volunteers to use to store food and beverages.

Available Room Types

  Standard Room
All meals included Yes *
Free beverages Yes **
Persons per room 4-10
Wifi in public areas No
Laundry facilities Yes ***
Safety box Yes
Lockable rooms Yes
Hot shower Yes
Private bathroom No
Bed linen Yes
Towels No
Air conditioning No
Fan Yes
Mosquito protection No

* Three meals per day during weekdays and two per day on weekends
** Water, tea, coffee and milk
*** At an additional fee

Food Arrangements

You will be provided with three meals a day on weekdays and two meals per day on weekends. The meals will be a mix of Western and Sri Lankan style food, including mainly vegetarian dishes of rice and vegetables. You can also eat out at any of the local restaurants.


The volunteer house is located 2 kilometres away from the Kandy city centre, where you can find anything you may need.

The closest ATM and supermarket to the accommodation are a 15-minute walk away.

Mandatory Orientation Day

On your first Monday, you will join our orientation day, to get acquainted with your new surroundings, as well as local culture. Your project continues as usual from Tuesday onwards.


  • Welcome meeting, introduction to Sri Lanka and the various projects, general/ house rules, code of conduct and organising important documents
  • Sinhalese Language Lesson
  • Cultural Lesson- learn more about the do’s and don’ts
  • Kandy City Tour

Activities & Events

No scheduled activities outside the project.

Sights & Surroundings

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.

Adam’s Peak

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.

Tea Plantations

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.


From this location we do not provide free transport to other locations.

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