• Sri Lanka
1 to 40 weeks

Program Details

Age Min.
Year Round
Medium Group (16-30)


Starting Price
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Airport Transfers Meals Transportation
What's Not Included
Airfare Travel Insurance Visa
Jan 18, 2021
Jan 09, 2022
60 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

PMGY offers 1-week to 6-month volunteering opportunities in the lovely coastal town of Ambalangoda in Sri Lanka. Volunteers get involved in a wide-range of project work childcare, dog rescue, elephant, English teaching, medical, mental health & turtle conservation opportunities.

Our programs in Ambalangoda run throughout the year. We have two start dates every month so you decide when you go and how long you go for.

Consider your impact: Volunteering abroad can be a rewarding experience for both volunteers and local communities, and at Go Overseas, we believe all volunteers should have the resources to make informed decisions about the type of volunteer project they want to partake in. However, despite best intentions, some organizations offering placements in orphanages may unknowingly place children in danger. You can read about the potential dangers of orphanage volunteering here.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Most Affordable – PMGY’s programs are accessible to everyone who wants to make a difference, through low fees and high-impact projects.
  • Best Support – Our international and local teams provide extensive around the clock services to assist you every step of your PMGY adventure.
  • Safety Prioritised – With safety a PMGY number-1 priority, we have taken all necessary precautions to ensure our programs are as safe and structured as possible.
  • Extraordinary Experiences – With PMGY, you have the opportunity to truly immerse yourself in amazing cultural and travel experiences, ensuring you leave with unforgettable memories.
  • Friendships for Life – Your PMGY experience not only opens up a doorway for new experiences and exciting memories, but also life-long friendships when meeting new people from around the world.

Popular Programs


On this uncrowded, exotic and developing island there are many vulnerable children in much need of volunteer's care and support.


If you love elephants you will love this! Elephants in their natural habitat combined with meaningful research represent a perfect match!


Teach novice Buddhist monks or children displaced by the Tsunami. English is a valuable skill that will greatly enhance their future career prospects.


Do something different and amazing with your family and give back to a local Sri Lankan community whilst immersing yourselves in the culture and lifestyle.


Gain invaluable medical experience, an opportunity not to be missed in this gorgeous part of the world by those pursuing a career in medicine.

Program Reviews

9.51 Rating
based on 108 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 87.96%
  • 7-8 rating 11.11%
  • 5-6 rating 0.93%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Impact 9
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.3
  • Value 9.2
  • Safety 9.6
  • Program Selection 10
  • Pre-departure Help 10
  • In-program Support 10
  • Impact on Student 10
  • Value 10
Showing 1 - 8 of 108 reviews
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Yes, I recommend this program

Best two months in Sri Lanka

I spent 8 weeks in Sri Lanka and it was an incredible experience!
It’s hard to say anything negative about the pre-departure support. Whatever I had in mind I got an answer, sometimes even in few minutes! In country Ash and the rest of the local team were always happy to help when needed and with their help we got to experience so much more than what a ”normal” tourist would experience! I did the childcare project at girls home and everyday I left the project with a smile on my face. When we taught them English, they taught us to dance in return!

I highly recommend PMGY Sri Lanka, my advice is to book flexible flights because you might want to extend your trip!

10 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

PMGY Sri Lanka

One of the best decisions I have ever made was to volunteer in Sri Lanka through Plan My Gap Year. As an inexperienced traveler, I wasn't quite sure what to expect and I was hoping (at the very least) for a safe and happy trip. I can confidently say that PMGY FAR exceeded my expectations.

Prior to the trip even starting, Philip was a huge help in making sure everything was in order before I took off. Anytime I had a question, he got back to me immediately and we were able to talk on zoom about what I needed help with. I would not have felt comfortable going halfway across the world without being consistently supported and assured, which is exactly what I received.

The PMGY Sri Lanka staff are absolutely incredible. I have never felt so safe and comfortable in an unknown place, and I can confidently say I am beyond pleased with the service we were provided. Our program coordinator, Ash, made sure to be there for us 110% of the time. His communication with us was consistent- which provided opportunity for us to speak up about adventures or excursions we wanted to explore and allowed us to understand the culture we were immersed in so much better. He arranged tuk tuk rides to the supermarket and ATM if we needed and was present at every project so he could help translate if we didn't understand something. All the drivers and support staff in the house went above and beyond to create an enjoyable environment for us everyday. For those wondering about the house itself, it certainly did not disappoint. The rooms have AC and lockers (if you want to keep something extra safe) and the house is securely protected with security cameras and locked doors. The dining room is on the rooftop where we could eat while watching the sun go down. The food, oh the food! We ate so many delicious dishes served from the heart of Sri Lanka. Tamari (the cook) was so good about adhering to food restrictions as well, no problem.

I did half my time on the turtle project, and half on the mental health project. Both projects were such an amazing experience for me, but the mental health project proved to be my favorite and I will definitely be back to learn and volunteer more through it! Some of what we did through the mental health experience was visit temples and learn more about Buddhism and its approach to mental health (meditation and mindfulness), learn about Ayurvedic medicine and the mind-body connection, and even visit mental health institutions to talk with therapists and psychiatrists. I have so many fond memories from this project!

I was worried we weren't going to get a full experience because of Covid, but I actually think we received an even better one in so many ways. With safety as his top priority, Ash made it so we could visit so many breathtaking places with virtually no one there but us. He made sure we stayed in our own little bubble while still getting to experience what the island has to offer!

There's so much more I want to say about my trip with PMGY but I think I've covered the majority of what made it so worthwhile. I will forever remember everyone I met and bonded with, and Sri Lanka will always have a special place in my heart. If I have any words of advice, it would be to TAKE THE TRIP! It will be the best decision of your life.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
My advice would be to embrace everything that comes your way, even if it is unfamiliar! You never know until you try, and for me this mentality ended up giving me experiences that I will cherish forever.
18 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Sri Lanka PMGY Childcare Project

I have recently spent 6 weeks in Sri Lanka on the Childcare/Teaching project at the SUNFO girl's home. The whole trip was amazing and I cannot thank everyone at PMGY enough for giving me this opportunity at a time when I didn't think it would be possible to travel and volunteer abroad.
From the beginning Phillip, at the UK office, was so helpful. He supported me through applying for a visa and answering any questions I had including what PCR tests I would need and when, the quarantine process in Sri Lanka and travel insurance queries. He also kept me informed of any Covid-19 travel updates that may affect my trip to Sri Lanka in the weeks leading up to my departure.
In-country, Ashika (the PMGY coordinator) stayed in contact with me throughout my quarantine stay to make sure I was comfortable. The hotel was really nice and right on the beach with a pool and friendly staff. On arrival at London House, Ashika welcomed us into his home and went above and beyond for our entire stay. Everyone there treated us like family and couldn't do enough for us. I am going to really miss the Sri Lankan food that Ashika's mother makes and all of the jokes with Manoj!
I was honoured to be part of the first group of volunteers to go to the SUNFO girl's home since the Covid-19 pandemic began. Ashika gave us all the support we needed throughout to enable us to carry out the project safely and adhere to Covid-19 guidelines. The project was extremely rewarding and by the time we left we saw a huge difference in the girls' confidence and ability to speak English. Every afternoon at the project we spent around an hour doing more formal teaching and then played games to include a more fun element too. I was extremely sad and emotional to leave the project as over the 6 weeks we got to know the girls' personalities so well! I would highly recommend this project to anyone looking to really make a tangible difference.
Whilst I was in-country there were changes to the Sri Lankan Covid-19 restrictions, which Ashika always kept us up-to-date with. Despite the changes to restrictions Ashika made every effort to make sure we could still go on trips to all parts of the country on our days off, which I am so thankful for! There are no lengths that he will not go to in order to make your experience the best it can be.
I feel so grateful for all the PMGY team that helped me to travel to Sri Lanka during the pandemic. I cannot recommend PMGY Sri Lanka enough, it is an experience that I will never forget where I met some amazing people. I will definitely be returning to see even more of this beautiful country.
Thank you for everything Ashika and all the PMGY team! ❤️❤️

20 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Elephant experience project

This was my first time away with PMGY but it certainly won’t be my last. I had the most amazing time away in Sri Lanka, for three weeks in November 2017 on their Elephant Experience Project. From the beginning, there was nothing to worry about. I was swiftly accepted onto the programme and they were very responsive with any questions which I had.

The handbook was full and thorough with great knowledge which meant I had a full understanding of the cultural differences, and what was available to me whilst there. They had a recommended packing list which was useful too. There was a pre-departure webinar which was really interesting and helpful, which eased any worries. A week before I left they sent a very useful email with the contact details of the place we were staying for relatives, and a reminder of the pick-up information.

Once out in Sri Lanka, the local team over there run by Ashika were professional and very helpful. The weekend trips which are organised were fabulous and totally worth every penny. They even planned the Maldives weekend trip at short notice for us – they really are a great bunch of people. We were able to help release Turtle hatchlings one evening which was wonderful, and one of the highlights of the trip. This certainly will not be my last experience with them. I’m now looking into the possibility of helping out on projects in Nepal, Bali and/or Fiji in the near future. Who knows which one?! Thanks for an amazing experience which I will never forget.

33 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Best experience of my life

So you’re probably on here right now as you’re feeling a bit skeptical about this whole thing, don’t worry I was the exact same. Checking the ins and outs to make sure this is all legit. It is and I can tell you that this was the greatest decision of my entire life. I spent a little over 2 weeks volunteering in Sri Lanka and I could talk for hours about the experience I had, the people I met and my overall experience. One thing I wish I had when I was making my decision to go travelling was a post like the one I am about to write.

I got talking to a girl I worked with about going volunteering abroad, I just wanted to try travel and I mean why not do it with a little bit more purpose. I started to google absolutely every company and country to volunteer in, I then came across Sri Lanka and immediately I knew that’s where I wanted to go. I found plan my gap year and I started to look deeper into it. I thought it was all too good to be true with the price and the photos. I took to Instagram and trustpilot to help make my decision. After realising it was definitely real I just booked straight away, I didn’t even care how much my flights were going to be. Eventually I revived a handbook from PMGY and I actually think I read the whole thing as I found it interesting and it told me everything I needed about my trip. I also got added onto the Facebook group and I found people I would be volunteering with, I never looked too much but it gave me a sense of comfort knowing I wouldn’t be alone on my journey.

As you might only be here for the advice rather than my personal experience I’ll list off my top 5 travel tips for volunteering in Sri Lanka:
Don’t be scared to do it, just do it. I can promise it will be the greatest thing you’ll ever do.
Use your time wisely; enjoy every second of it because you will look back on it and think about how incredible it was. There’s a few things I regret not doing, try fit in as much as possible.
Be ready to try new things, it might seem scary but again it’ll be worth it. Try all the food you can, try surfing if you have the time and interest, Try meditation, try anything you get the opportunity to.
Learn their culture, be a little prepared before you go. There are 4 main religions in Sri Lanka so be prepared to respect them all (i.e take respectable clothing).
Most importantly you will be learning so many new things but HAVE FUN. You will feel so good about yourself after volunteering, that little extra help you’re giving might be small but it will have a big impact.

I also have a list of 10 things I wish I knew before volunteering in Sri Lanka:
I wish I knew how incredible PMGY were before going, they will literally do anything to make sure you have the greatest time.
It’s not just volunteering. It’s making new friends, new experiences, new feelings.
I couldn’t believe how cheap everything was out in Sri Lanka, I came prepared with a bit of money saved and I never even spent £300 on my entire 2 weeks there and that included a lot of food and drink. Not everyone will be in the same boat and might be budgeting but if you get the chance to tip a little more in the markets or that then it does go a long way and will be appreciated so much.
Although you’re staying in a safe place, be careful and trust everything Ash and the other guys tell you, they are only looking out for you.
Prepare yourself to see a different world, it is nothing like being back at home.
It really isn’t scary to travel alone. I’m still friends with the people I met out in Sri Lanka.
Try as much of their cuisine as you can, it is amazing.
Make sure to try their beer too, it’s also extremely cheap so try not get too drunk.
If you can, do the weekend trips. We done the organised one and it was amazing. We also planned our own one and I think it cost maybe £80 max including transport, food, and accommodation (we dined well).
Sri Lanka is still recovering from the Easter attacks and lost a lot of tourism due to it, when they see tourists you will be treated very well as they appreciate everything. Sri Lankan’s are some of the nicest people I have ever met so don’t be scared (still be cautious too of course)

A day in the life of a volunteer is different everyday, you’d wake up and get ready for project, have some breakfast made by the sisters. I liked to wake up that little bit earlier so I could sit out on the balcony and have my morning coffee whilst talking to a couple volunteers every morning. After project you’d come back and have lunch, it’s different everyday but it’s always delicious. After that you’d be free to do whatever you wanted. Some days we’d go to the beach, sometimes the pool house, others we’d visit the little town. You get the choice to have dinner back at the house or to go out and try new places. In the evenings the volunteers and I would go to the pool house where we’d sit and get to know each other and have a few drinks. Sometimes we’d just stay in and watch a film. Everyday was different but everyday was amazing.

I challenged myself to a lot since I wasn’t spending too long out in Sri Lanka and I overcame it all:
Visiting a new country and travelling alone.
Meeting new people, people I now call my friends.
Becoming an independent person, I now love doing everything alone, company is nice at times but I don’t feel the anxiety of doing things alone anymore.

I know this is a rather long sum up of my time in Sri Lanka but trust me I done so much I haven’t even wrote half of it down. I will leave my Instagram underneath for anyone who wants to see my pictures from my time in Sri Lanka

My experience
On October 4th I boarded my flight to Sri Lanka, 14 hours I think it was going to be. Eventually after a long and draining flight, I arrived in Colombo. I have never been to Asia before so this experience was so new and exciting to me. I did panic thinking “omg what if no ones here to get me” but it was all good and I was picked up along with another girl from London and we drove a couple hours to our house in Ambalangoda. After arriving we met everyone and got settled in straight away. Luckily we had a few days to try get used to the time difference and to meet all these new people. On the Sunday we had our induction and we got to visit a few local places (longest sleeping Buddha in Southeast Asia, moonstone mine, the pool house). Monday comes around and that was the day we all started our project, I chose to volunteer with the girls at the childcare. It was a lovely 40 minute drive in a tuk tuk (for someone who’s never been in a tuk tuk I loved it every single journey), the girls I met were absolutely amazing. The people of Sri Lanka were always so cheerful and happy to see someone new, it really made you feel good about being there. I continued my week volunteering with the girls, playing games, doing spelling tests, and just getting to know them whilst having the most fun. Getting your weekends off to be free to do whatever you want was a massive bonus too.

On the first weekend I signed up for the adventure and safari trip. There were around 12 of us that went on this trip so it was perfect time to relax and get to know everyone. It was the busiest and most productive weekend of my life. We visited an old fortress down in Galle, stopping for lunch right next to a beautiful beach in Mirissa. That evening we visited a giant temple and walked the entire place (it was huge). We got up early on the Saturday morning and went to Yala National Park for a sunrise safari, definitely one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. We even got to see elephants rather close up. We then made the journey up the mountains, a total different side to the lovely palm beaches on the coast. It was proper rainforest and absolutely beautiful. Before arriving at our hotel we made a stop to the Nine Arch Bridge, this was definekty one of my highlights (wear comfy walking shoes) although it was monsoon season and we were all walking down a mountain in the pouring rain, its an experience I’ll never forget. We stayed in the most beautiful little town called Ella, we had the evening to ourselves and went for the most amazing food (it’s been 6 months and I’m still thinking about this place). Sunday morning we had another early start, the thought of a 5am hike up little Adams peak might put you off but it was another amazing experience for me. A little time to reflect my first week in Sri Lanka and enjoy this experience that will become amazing memories. It was a nice bus journey home to chill out and prepare for my second week volunteering.

After my last week of volunteering, the friends I had made and I decided we were going to plan our own weekend away. We managed to get a minibus, organised by PMGY so it was safe from Ambalangoda to Ella. We just had to go back to Ella as it was such a beautiful little town and we wanted to discover more of it. We stayed in Ella for 2 days just chilling, eating, drinking and walking around. One of the things you must absolutely do in Sri Lanka is travel by train. Sri Lanka is famous for their trains. We booked one from Ella up to Kandy, a city in the mountains. The journey was 7 hours long and the only seats we had available were third class. I did panic about third class thinking it would be something like slum dog millionaire. Luckily it wasn't bad at all and for £1.50 I couldn’t complain. Yes that’s right it cost us £1.50 to travel 7 hours on a train, pretty amazing. After arriving in Kandy we managed to find the hostel we had booked, it was called ‘bunk’ and whatever you do, do not stay there. We arrived and literally found bed bugs in the bed. For £7.50 a night we couldn’t really say much as we weren’t that surprised. Instead we found another hotel up the road for just £10 a night and it had an infinity pool up on the roof terrace. We found a really cool British bar that evening a got a drink there before going for food. After we dined we got a tuk tuk up to the giant Buddha situated on top of a hill. As our lovely weekend came to an end it was time to say goodbye to the lovely people I met. Im shocked to say how emotional it was. I really did make friends for life there. To this day I still speak every few days to a few of the people I volunteered with. I actually think I cried my whole journey back to Scotland. I definitely had such an eye opening experience in Sri Lanka and it’s a country I would love to visit again. To anyone thinking about it, just do it.

Instagram: @laurenmcintosh_
If you need advice on places to try follow @reviewswithreb on Instagram too.

Sorry for the length of this post but I hope it may help with your decision for volunteering.

What would you improve about this program?
I couldn’t fault a single thing with this programme. I recommend to absolutely anyone willing to try new things
35 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Sri Lanka Turtle Conservation Farm

I volunteered on a turtle conservation farm in Sri Lanka for 3 weeks with Plan My Gap Year and it was the most incredible experience. The staff involved in the program were all so lovely, welcoming and were a treat to be around. Ash, the country coordinator, went above and beyond to make sure the volunteers were all happy and comfortable at all times. He also organised many events that we could participate in when we weren’t volunteering to give us better insight into Sri Lankan culture.

The volunteer house had all the amenities you would need and also a pool. At the time that I went, the pool was under maintenance, so we had the choice to go to a pool house 5 minutes away from the main house which was really sociable and fun. There were also custom PMGY taxis which we could hire if we wanted to go anywhere which gave us really easy access to transport and was also very safe and cheap.

The volunteers themselves were such a great bunch and I have definitely made friends for life. The turtles in the farm were very endearing and feisty and we got to witness first-hand the devastating effects of pollution in the ocean on the turtles.

PMGY also organised weekend trips around the country which were very smoothly run. We always had someone from PMGY accompany us, so the trips were also really informative.

I would wholeheartedly recommend volunteering on this project as it was an amazing opportunity that I would love to take part in again.

32 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

PMGY Sri Lanka Medical Programme

PMGY Sri Lanka, was by far the best experience ever. I have done a programme with PMGY before and that inspired me to go on this one. I have taken part in other similar company programmes but PMGY do it right and is by far the best value for your money. Everything is very simple from booking your place to getting to Sri Lanka. Before you leave, the website offers all the basic info you would need and along the way you will get emails from the team in Sri Lanka helping you every step of the way, to decision making and any questions you might have. Once you have applied you receive an information handbook with every thing you need to know from visa info with step by step guides on how acquire one and also about location, projects and other general information (even what you should back and country background information). The volunteer house is amazing, with a pool and roof top terrace, all meals are included and is local cuisine (absolutely delicious btw). Rooms are shared and allocated by gender, the volunteer house is a great way to make friends and for those who are afraid because of travel, PMGY Sri Lanka have their very own tuk tuk services. These tuk tuks will take you to and from projects, the beach, supermarket...essentially anywhere you would need to go.

I did the medical project and worked in the government hospital and had an amazing time, we got to experience many different departments in the hospital, including A&E, paediatrics, labour room (female only) and surgery. The position was mostly observational, but I can only recommend that you ask questions and ASK to be shown around and what is going around you. But you have to appreciate that it’s a hospital and they will be busy, you need to put in the effort to ask and they will happily show you around and teach you the ropes.

I also did the Maldives trip, honestly if you can I would defo recommend, you will never be able to go in your life for the price of £350.....NEVER!! But if that doesn’t float your boat, a lot of the other volunteers ended up going away for the weekend to other areas in Sri Lanka like Kandy, Ella,etc. If you are ever stuck with what to do there is an amazing team of people like Meena and Bea who will happily help you with anything you need help with and also with travel ideas. It’s an experience you don’t want to miss, I recommend that anyone who is thinking of doing it should definitely do.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
If I could do this again, I would go for longer and explore other volunteering projects and other areas in Sri Lanka.
32 people found this review helpful.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Sri Lanka Turtle Conservation and Childcare Project

This past week I returned home from my program with PMGY. I initially started with a two week program but that wasn’t enough and I added an extra week to work with children. Everything couldn’t have gone any better. Pickup from the airport was nice as our leader knew who I was! Reading the volunteer handbook was extremely helpful in what to prepare along with what to expect. It doesn’t capture how truly beautiful Sri Lanka is. The projects were Monday-Friday unless there was a bank holiday going on in Sri Lanka. During the Turtle Project there are different things that have to be done. You cut up sardines to feed to the larger fish, move sand so the eggs can hatch properly, sometimes you get to see them hatch(this is luck and dependent on when the turtle eggs were buried)! There is also painting the walls to decorate to look like turtles with information regarding the different types! The feeding is absolutely the best part. There are super tiny baby turtles, regular sized turtles and massive ones! They all are unique and have their own names! I also did the Childcare Project, this one is different in the sense you get to teach the girls something. That part is rewarding, they also love to dance and listen to music! They’re just little kids who want to have fun however they can. The accommodation in Sri Lanka for the turtle and childcare project was perfect. Ashika made it feel like home and is the absolute perfect person for these conservation projects. The house had a swimming pool, a rooftop, food was made everyday and there was a list of what we would eat each day. They can make accommodations for vegans and vegetarians you’ve just got to let Ashika know! You’ll find that many people there have been or are vegans! It didn’t matter where you went in Sri Lanka, say on your own or with some friends over the weekend, there are many people who can help you find your way or learn the best ways to come back. Ashika and Manoj were always readily available and excited to help out. The energy in Sri Lanka is one to match from everyone. If you’re thinking of trying this out I highly recommend it. There is very little advice I can give to truly help you prepare for this amazing experience, you may find this is what you want to do for the rest of your life as I have. I was only there three weeks! Join PMGY it is something you will always remember and won’t be able to wait to do again.

33 people found this review helpful.

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