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Plan My Gap year - Sri Lanka

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Saved by Sarah Price
on April 26, 2014 at 4:05:58 pm


Partner institution: Plan My Gap year - Sri Lanka

Website: http://www.planmygapyear.co.uk/sri-lanka


Contributors (2014):

Connie Wooltorton

Bethany Farrow

Molly Steeds

Katie Clarke

Shauna Baxter

Laura Noonan

Hannah Orchard

Sarah Price

Hannah Leake




Contributors: for details on what is required in each section, please look at the Guidance Notes


Placement Information



Social life


Things to do, things not to do 

Useful Contacts

Before you go


Placement Information

There are many different placements on offer during your stay in Sri Lanka. These projects available range from building and community work, teaching, turtle conservation as well as a medical program and a working in an orphanage.

All of the projects are so rewarding! Whatever you decide to do whilst do whilst in Sri Lanka will be unbelievably worthwhile.

On the PGMY website you are able to choose which project you would like to do. Although if you aren't able to complete all your placement hours, you are able to pick more than one (just speak to the PGMY team). This also allows you to get a taste in more parts of the volunteering programs on offer.

Usually the day consists of working one project in the morning, returning home for lunch and going to another or the same program in the afternoon. The coordinators are very accommodating in making sure you're happy with what you're doing. If you want to change your plans for one afternoon, they will try their best to re-organise so you can do as you wish, such as going to the beach or going shopping. During the beginning of the 'volunteering season' you welcome to swap and change projects each week as projects aren't full, Make sure you have plenty of time in your stay to get the best out of each project and your spare time!


Katie, enjoying time with the Tsunami Teaching project, "The children were amazing and it really gives you an reality check to how grateful and happy the children were! It makes you think about your childhood and how you were brought up with material things, these children and their families make the best out of what they have and that's really inspiring to me!"






There are two houses that you may be placed in during your stay.  One is the main coordinator Ashika's family home; where his family and himself are very welcoming in making you feel at home. Ashika's mum and dad, Ranji & Thomali, work between both houses in making sure everyone is alright. You can have the option to move if you aren't enjoying it where you are or if you have friends in the other house and would rather be there for the rest of your stay; as long as there is room available. The other house called the 'Lion House' which is only round the corner from the family home, it is about a 5 minute tuktuk ride or a 20 minute walk. It's a little bigger than Ashika's house and has a roof on which you can sunbathe if you wish. Each house can cater for around 10 volunteers in each, there is plenty of room for everyone.

The price you pay for accommodation with PGMY includes breakfast, lunch and dinner although if you would rather eat out then just let one of the coordinators know. We had a few extra days once we had finished at our projects during which we were planning on going to a hotel to relax for our last few days, however, upon our stay we decided to stay with the family as we enjoyed it there that much; we just couldn't bring ourselves to leave! It just shows how welcoming and friendly everyone is!






We were picked up from the airport in a tiny minibus and taken to the house we were going to stay in, this takes around 3 hours depending on which airport you arrive at.

For long journeys Ashika can help you arrange a taxi although, they can become quite expensive depending on where you want to travel to. Other than long journeys you will probably travel in a TukTuk, we really enjoyed travelling in these! However, they can only fit around 2-3 people in them, so you may need a few if a lot of you are going somewhere!

When you go to placement to work you don't need to pay for tuktuks, if you are going to do something for yourself, the tuktuk drivers need to be paid. When you get to where your going just ask them how much you owe them and they will tell you, for a general trip from home to the shop it will cost about 150LKR, that's less than a pound so it's still really cheap!

Tuktuks are the main form of transport for families in Sri Lanka but there are also cars, motorbikes and bikes. you can also commute by bus or train depending on where you want to get to. The bus runs quite regularly but it can be very busy and you might end up standing on a packed bus for quite a long time depending on where you are going. The train is  less regular but is another cost effective way of travelling around Sri Lanka. Traffic can be rather heavy in Ambalagoda, when we first arrived we were shocked as to how they drive and the amount of cars on the roads. You also have to be careful when crossing and walking alongside the roads, just to make sure you're not in the way and when crossing. It is better not to hesitate and just go for it when crossing as there are no traffic lights for you to cross with. However, there are some crossings which make it safer for you to cross on, other than that the roads are fine to walk on.




Social life

The social life can be absolutely amazing! There are lots of places you can go out to in Ambalangoda. Shopping can be fun if you want to haggle but for the more faint-hearted there are shops with set prices. If you fancy having dinner out one night you can get a TukTuk there, Ashika can tell you the best places to go and what to have in order to get the best taste of Sri Lankan food. However, his mum Thomali cooks the best dinners! We only ate out once, it was nice but we preferred staying at home and eating with the other volunteers.

On a few days we enjoyed going to a place called Hikkaduwa, the beach here is amazing and the night life is also really good! We enjoyed going to a place called 'Funky De Bar' for a cocktail or two! We also had a few nights where we went to have dinner at a restaurant with the other volunteers, then onto the bar for a party on the beach. All of the locals are very welcoming and enjoy the parties too! The tuktuks take you there and wait for you until your ready to go home. It's better if there are a few of you going to Hikkaduwa, it is about 20 minutes away from Ambalagoda so then a few tuktuks will be going to take you all there.

There are lots of shops in Ambalangoda and Hikkaduwa so there's always something to do, from shopping to going to the beach, it's a really good experience!

There is also a hotel you can go to, a short tuktuk ride away, they will let you use their pool and sun loungers for 250LKR, for the whole day. You can also buy food and drink here too!





At your house in the morning you would have fried egg and toast with fruit. For lunch there was either rice/noodles with usually three other dishes you could have with it and the same for dinner with different dishes. It is all placed in bowls and you can help yourself to try what you wish. we would suggest you to have a go at everything, its always good to try something new, and some of the foods were actually really nice!





While out in Hikkaduwa there are lots of nice places to eat. There was a restaurant that had real homemade chips! These are really important if you are missing food from home!

They also made really good burgers and chicken strip sandwiches.




The food at the hotel wasn't bad either.



Things to do, things not to do

My advice is too look after your valuables, obviously don't leave anything valuable on show and to make sure you shut your doors and windows. We had a thunder and lightning storm one day and the other girls left their window open, luckily nothing too important was damaged however it could have been much worse! things not to do would be to be polite, locals may talk to you and want money so be careful when doing what your doing, be polite but just say no thank you and they should leave you alone. I'd also advise to buy a mobile phone out there, its so much cheaper and it make things easier when ringing Ashika or for a tuktuk, it doesnt cost very much and they will take you to get everything you need after you're induction, such as buying a phone and changing your money. Make sure you drink lots of water and eat some food, it's easy to lose your appetite out there because of the heat but id say to try at least eat abit each dinner time and take water out with you as its easy to get dehydrated and finally remember your insect spray and sun lotion!  



Useful Contacts

Ashika is always on the other end of the phone if you need him, if you have gone out for the day and need a tuktuk home, if you ring him he will send one out to pick you up.








MOBILE (94) 75 95 82005

                    75 21 37730 



Before you go

Before you go, check your flight details and let someone at PGMY know of any changes.

Pack enough suitable clothes for your placement, long over the knee trousers or shorts for when your working and sleeved tops to cover your chest and your shoulders if you are visiting any temples. When your not working you can wear what you like.

Take enough spending money, We took £500 for 3 weeks and that was more than enough. Although it is cheap out there, we liked to buy lots of souvenirs and trips, so it is easy for it all to go, especially when going out for dinner and partying on the beach!





Registration Fee

Programme Fee

Travel Insurance


Extra days at the placement house

Food out






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