Volunteer in Bali - Ubud
At a glance…
- Available year-round
- 6 meaningful project options
- Projects based in and around the cultural center of Ubud
- Accommodation in volunteer houses
- Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
- Affordable program fees
- A special 1 week volunteer program is available
- Between 40 and 80 volunteers start in Bali each month
- Most affordable fees - as the world leader in affordable volunteer travel, we’re able to keep our fees low by partnering with a local organization in Bali to support meaningful community projects and local employment.
- Superior support - your experienced IVHQ Program Manager, teamed with our local team in Bali will ensure you feel supported every step of the way - from planning to volunteering.
- Responsible projects - we’re dedicated to ensuring that our projects are responsibly run and have sustainable positive impacts that are supporting local needs.
- Online training - as soon as you register on an IVHQ program, you will gain access to our interactive volunteer training to ensure you’re well prepared for your program.
- Safety-first - volunteer safety is a top priority for IVHQ and we have clear standards for risk management on each program. You can feel confident that you are placed with trustworthy institutions, organizations and families that have been screened by our local teams.
- New friendships - as an IVHQer, you’ll always be in the company of friendly locals and like-minded volunteer travelers who will quickly become your life-long friends.
- Epic weekend adventures - you’ll have your weekends free to explore Bali with your new-found friends.
The program is based in Bali’s cultural center of Ubud, with volunteer projects based in and around the area. The Turtle Conservation volunteer project is located on the island of Nusa Penida, 45 minutes by boat from Sanur. Volunteers are required to fly into Ngurah Rai International Airport (DPS), which is a 16 to 20 hour flight from most major airports in Canada. IVHQ also offers a separate volunteer program on the northern coast of Bali in Lovina. If you are interested in volunteering in Lovina, you can learn more about the Lovina volunteer program here.
Volunteers begin the IVHQ Bali - Ubud volunteer program every Monday and can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 1 week to 12 weeks. The first week of your volunteer program will be orientation, after which you will begin your volunteer project.
Short-term volunteering in Bali - If you wish to experience a taste of volunteering in Bali, you can register for a special one week volunteer program. You will spend the first part of your week with the other volunteers on orientation, gaining a cultural insight into Bali. This will be followed by two days visiting a volunteer placement to get an idea of what it is like to volunteer. Please note, this option is not available for volunteers on the Turtle Conservation and the Construction and Renovation projects, as this projects have a two week minimum duration.
Construction and Renovation
The Construction and Renovation project consists of a variety of construction and renovation based initiatives within local communities around Ubud. Volunteers work with a local coordinator, who provides guidance and training, along with local families and other volunteers. Volunteers should come ready to work hard, as you may be laying bricks, doing carpentry, painting, laying tiles and landscaping/gardening. Volunteers are not required to have experience with construction work, but a reasonable level of fitness and strong dedication to the work at hand will go a long way in ensuring you get the most out of your volunteer project. Please note, this project has a minimum duration of 2 weeks and incurs a surcharge of US$50 per week (excluding the first week) for supervision, materials and the logistics involved in this project. This amount will be included in the Program Fee quoted to you by IVHQ when you apply.
Bali is well known for its astonishing beauty and greenery. Unfortunately, with rapid development and the rise in tourism, it is evident in certain areas the detrimental impact this has had on the local environment. Plastic water bottles and plastic food wrappers are of great concern and you will often see people simply throwing these on the ground, as food in Bali was traditionally wrapped in biodegradable banana leaves. The relationship between humans and the environment is an important part of Balinese culture and the aim of this project is to instill environmental education in the children at a young age, imparting your message in a fun and dynamic manner. There is a need for volunteers with strong initiative on this program as volunteers are expected to arrive with their own idea of what they wish to focus on. The emphasis is on “hands on” techniques – getting the children out and about in nature and working together. Campaigns can include cleaning up the local school, village and rivers, or educating children about recycling however, volunteers are certainly not restricted to these and are encouraged to be creative. Volunteers spend 2 hours each morning planning their campaign and visiting a variety of schools around the Ubud area in the afternoon. Please note that many of the schools in which volunteers work are under resourced and while basic materials can be provided, volunteers will need to bring any specialized resources they may need. Volunteers who do not actively plan a campaign will spend the majority of their time teaching English.
Volunteers with an interest in education and simple hygiene techniques are welcome to join the Healthcare Education project. Volunteers work in local schools throughout the Ubud area, actively teaching the importance of basic hygiene and general health. Topics can include brushing teeth correctly, washing hands, general body cleanliness and nutrition however, volunteers are not restricted to these and are encouraged to come prepared with an idea of what they wish to teach. Many of our daily routines that we carry out without thinking are not common practice with the children you will meet, but starting simple education early can go a long way for immediate and future healthcare. Due to the limited English skills of the children these classes are challenging to teach and volunteers need to be prepared to adapt the topic they wish to teach to the language level of the children. Fully qualified doctors and nurses can run healthcare campaigns or check-up clinics in local villages around Ubud. Volunteers who wish to do this must possess strong initiative and arrive with an idea of what they wish to focus on during their program. Please note that qualified doctors and nurses who wish to arrange campaigns or clinics are required to provide proof of qualifications and bring any medical equipment they may require with them as resources are limited.
Volunteers on the Kindergarten project work in nearby villages where they teach basic English to local children aged 4 to 5 years old. With the help of volunteers the children are able to gain a head start on their English education before they begin formal schooling. Few foreigners travel to these villages and the children will be exceptionally welcoming and excited to see you. Volunteers need to genuinely love working with children and understand their behavior, as you will be surrounded by plenty of them every day and their friendliness can sometimes become overwhelming - they are children after all! Being a kindergarten, the work volunteers do will be more informal than the Teaching English project and the children will of course want to play rather than be taught. However, just getting them enthused about coming to kindergarten and giving them basic English phrases will prepare them well for their schooling and future exposure to the English language. Due to school holidays, the Kindergarten project will be closed in June, July, August and December.
With Bali’s rapidly expanding tourism industry, the demand for local English speakers has never been greater. Children may have the opportunity to learn English at school, however this is usually taught by a local Balinese teacher and thus the children never really get to practice their conversational skills or hear native English being spoken. Balinese children are extremely eager to learn and are an absolute joy to teach. Volunteers on this project spend two hours each morning preparing lessons and three hours in the afternoon teaching at a local elementary or high school. It is entirely up to you what you decide to teach, however there is a general syllabus for you to follow and examples of what previous volunteers have taught for you to continue with. The aim of this project is to show students that learning English is fun and volunteers are encouraged to be creative with their methods of teaching – through games, songs, art, sport and music. If you are new to teaching, you may wish to team up with another volunteer, as two teachers in the classroom often works well in regards to confidence building and gaining greater control of the class, whose enthusiasm often spills over into great excitement! Your role is to encourage and inspire, but most importantly for teachers and students alike to enjoy the experience. Volunteers on this project must be fluent in English. As volunteers work with the support of IVHQ’s local team and placement staff, they do not need to be qualified or experienced teachers to participate. However, we encourage volunteers to come prepared by completing some relevant training, like a teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) course. Visit our Online TEFL Course page to learn how to gain an internationally-recognized TEFL certification at a discounted rate.
The Turtle Conservation project is located on the smaller island of Nusa Penida, which is a 45 minute speed boat ride from Sanur, Bali. Here volunteers work alongside a local team to protect the endangered sea turtles of Indonesia via both proactive and reactive activities. Volunteer work is focussed on hands on care for the turtles housed at the conservation center, including the feeding and cleaning of turtles and the equipment at the centre. Additionally, volunteers assist with proactive conservation efforts which include the improvement of the surrounding environment via beach clean ups, waste management improvement and educating locals about the issues facing Indonesia’s sea turtles and what can be done to help. Volunteers must be prepared for a more basic standard of both meals and accommodation on the island. Nusa Penida is not a tourist island and volunteers can expect fewer shops and attractions available - bearing in mind the beach is practically at your doorstep! Please note that volunteers on the Turtle Conservation project must participate on the project for a minimum of two weeks.
The program orientation begins every Monday and volunteers need to arrive in Bali on the Sunday before orientation.
After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at the Ngurah Rai International Airport, also known as Denpasar International Airport (DPS). Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee.
When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation in Ubud. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.
If you are traveling in Bali prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up in Ubud or Denpasar on the day before your program orientation.
Orientation is hosted by our Bali team at their office in Ubud. Orientation begins on the morning of your chosen start date and runs for the first 5 days of your stay. Orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Bali! The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.
For volunteers on the one week duration, you will spend the first part of your week with the other volunteers on orientation, gaining a cultural insight into Bali. This will be followed by two days visiting a volunteer placement to get an idea of what it is like to volunteer.
The orientation schedule is as follows:
Day One: Introduction to the IVHQ Bali Program and the local staff, Indonesian customs, rules and expectations, safety and an Ubud walking tour (2 - 3 hours). This will be followed by a welcome dinner and Balinese dance show!
Day Two: Language lessons and a local village walk through the countryside and nearby rice paddies (3 hours).
Day Three: Language lessons and a Batik painting class.
Day Four: Indonesian cooking class and a flower making class (flower offerings are a daily ritual in Bali). This will be followed by a discussion session for your upcoming project.
Day Five: Temple visit and an introduction to your project. This will help you prepare for your placement on Monday.
Please note, this schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on the needs of the program, local weather conditions and unforeseen circumstances.
Once orientation week is complete, Turtle Conservation volunteers will travel to Nusa Penida to start their project. Volunteers in Ubud will prepare for the start of their projects the following week.
First Day: On your first day of volunteering, you will be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator and introduced to the placement staff you will be working with.
Weekdays: A typical volunteer day is as follows:
8.00 AM Breakfast at the volunteer house.
9.00 AM Volunteers spend 1 to 2 hours planning for their projects and head to their placements at 1pm. Work and hours is dependent on the project and placements that the volunteer is working at.
12.00 PM Lunch
5.00 PM Work at the project usually ends. Volunteers are free to travel back to their homestays, go sight seeing, or do some shopping.
7.00PM - 8.00 PM Dinner at the volunteer house.
Please note, this schedule can vary depending on the project that the volunteer is participating on.
Volunteers are accommodated in volunteer houses, located on the outskirts of Ubud, village life is quintessentially local and you will get a good chance to see typical Balinese life – roosters crowing and all! The Balinese place great importance on family and houses are located amongst local Balinese family compounds. Living conditions are very comfortable and all volunteer houses have fans in the bedrooms. Volunteers can expect to share a dormitory style room with three to seven other volunteers. The bathroom is shared with a hot water shower and western toilets. There is a pool in a local guesthouse which you can use for USD$3. WiFi is available at the volunteer accommodation and if you would like to access a higher speed connection, there is a great internet cafe within walking distance of the accommodation.
For couples or those wanting more privacy, private rooms with an ensuite are available for an additional US$130 per week. For volunteers wanting more comfort, an accommodation upgrade option is available in a private villa for an additional US$180 per week.
Volunteers on the Turtle Conservation project are transported to Nusa Penida after the orientation week. Living conditions on the island are basic yet comfortable and volunteers can expect to share a room with one to seven other volunteers of the same gender. There is WiFi available at the volunteer accommodation, however the connection is unreliable so we recommend purchasing a local SIM card with data for an unlocked mobile phone during your program orientation in Ubud. Please note there are no accommodation upgrade options available on the Turtle Conservation project in Nusa Penida.
Volunteers are served mainly Balinese style dishes and should expect light vegetarian meals. Rice is a staple in the Indonesian cuisine, and eaten daily, typically teamed with fresh vegetables and occasionally tempeh/tofu. Volunteers can expect typical dishes such as nasi goreng (fried rice and vegetables - often considered as the national dish), mie goreng (fried noodles and vegetables) or gado gado (mixed vegetables with a satay sauce). Western meals will also be served twice a week. Breakfast can include a choice of pancakes, fresh fruit, toast and eggs. Tea, coffee and toast will be available throughout the day. Purified drinking water is also available in the volunteer house; we do not recommend that you drink the tap water. Three meals per day are provided on weekdays, and breakfast and dinner only during the weekends. If volunteers wish to eat out in Ubud, there are a large numbers of restaurants and local warungs (restaurants) to suit all tastes and budgets. There is also a western café in the village of Penestanan Kaja for fresh fruit juices, fresh coconuts and sweet treats and a great local Kopi (coffee) shop. If you have special dietary requirements, please let us when you apply so that we can make arrangements for you. However, we need to stress the point that you should not expect to eat as you normally do at home. We will do our best to see that you are well taken care of, and as a volunteer, there is a need to be flexible.
“My experience with IVHQ in Bali was so rewarding and such an amazing eye-opener! It was tough to begin with, but by the end the children I was working with were like family, I didn’t want to leave! The staff were so friendly and the people I met, and the girls I stayed with were fantastic!” - Ruth Albertson-Kill (Kindergarten Volunteer in Bali)
During the weekends, volunteers have spare time to relax or take the opportunity to explore Ubud, or other parts of Bali. Popular destinations and activities include the beaches of Sanur, Seminyak or Kuta, cycling or trekking tours on Mount Batur, and visits to rice terraces and temples.
See our Bali Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in Bali!
|Currency||Indonesia Rupiah (IDR)|
Weather and climate: Bali has a tropical climate with year round warm weather and an average temperature of 30°C. High humidity can be expected during the wet season, October - April. The dry season is between the months of May - September and has the lowest humidity.
Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate, unless volunteering with a parent or guardian. All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ’s local team on arrival in Bali. Additional requirements apply for Teaching and Healthcare volunteers, please read the project descriptions above.
Speaking Bahasa Indonesia is not a prerequisite for the IVHQ Bali - Ubud volunteer program, however on certain projects, the volunteer work will be restricted with limited language ability. Past volunteers feel that taking lessons can help you immensely with your day to day volunteer work and communicating with local people. Volunteers interested in taking classes can arrange these directly with the local staff once in Bali.
Free Interactive Volunteer Training - All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered IVHQ volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an IVHQ program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.