Real Taster Encounter

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founded in 2011
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Coordinator | Josh
Coordinator | Josh
Book with Flex Option! Choose new departure dates or change to a different volunteer program at no extra costs.

High­lights

Volunteer in each country & support the UN’s sustainable development goals
Take in the top destinations of PMGY in one trip
Exciting weekend travel opportunities available across each country
Embrace new cultures, adventures and communities with new friends
Visit Yala national park, Taj Mahal and Gili Islands in your free time
Our top destinations mixed into one trip! Don’t miss your chance to sample and a make difference in sleepy Sri Lanka, inspiring India & beautiful Bali! This volunteer program is especially suitable for:
Age 18+
Singles
Couples
Groups

PMGY’s Real Taster Encounter package includes our top three gap year destinations of Sri Lanka, India and Bali. We have provided a program that combines our three most popular destinations. More specifically, they are the countries that regularly receive top feedback from our trip participants for the overall experience they provide. As a result, this itinerary is perfect if you are a first-time solo traveller looking to sample your first trip of a lifetime! Alternatively, if you simply want to experience three amazing cultures and well-structured programs then this Real Taster Encounter is for you too!

Your 6-12 week adventure travel Real Taster Encounter will begin in the idyllic island and natural beauty of Sri Lanka. You will then move on to experience the culture of India and iconic sites such as Taj Mahal and Jaipur. Finally, you will finish your Real Taster Encounter in the beauty of Bali and its temples, volcanoes and island hopping beaches. The volunteer programs in each of Sri Lanka, India and Bali are based off the beaten track in local communities where positive impact can be maximised. Participants on this once in a lifetime trip choose the trip duration, volunteer projects and travel experiences that are right for you.

The Real Taster Encounter has start dates all year round. Moreover, participants can choose the trip duration that is right for them when completing the program. There are 6,9 and 12 week encounter options to choose from on the online application. All programs commence on the first Saturday of each month, but alternate start dates can be considered on request.

Should you choose the 6-week option you will spend 2 weeks volunteering in each of Sri Lanka, India and Bali. In the same vein, should you choose a 9-week Real Taster Encounter, you will spend 3 weeks volunteering in each destination. Likewise, the 12 week program will see you join us for 4 weeks in each of the three countries.

Volunteers will need to plan their flight schedules to match their country-specific trip dates. Therefore, you will need to arrange your inbound flight to arrive in Sri Lanka for the beginning of the Real Taster Encounter. Your outbound flight will need to depart out of Bali once your time on the program is completed. 

In addition, you will need to budget and plan your intermediary flights for your Real Taster Encounter. More specifically, you will need to book flights from Sri Lanka to India and then India into Bali matching your specific trip dates. This may sound a little complicated, but rest assured, the PMGY team are on-hand for assistance.

Across your Real Taster Encounter, you will meet plenty of other travellers and volunteers along the way! The numbers and types of people you will encounter will change as you move from country to country. This will allow you to make many friendships and share experiences with a range of people on your Real Taster Encounter journey!

You can choose any of the standard volunteer programs in each country during the online application process. Please note, some volunteer projects may be subject to availability and you should only select one project to each destination. Additionally, there may be an additional cost associated with some projects. Any additional costs will be made clear next to the volunteer project option during the online application. You can explore your volunteer options in each destination below. It will be an unforgettable 6-12 weeks!

Typical day

Almost every day you will be doing something different on this adventure, but here are three examples of what you might be doing in each country.


Sri Lanka
Your orientation will begin on Sunday. Our local team will teach you about life in Sri Lanka, the “dos and don’ts”, local culture and religion. Your coordinator will introduce you to the transport system, safety advice and outline all the projects we support in the community. 

You will start your volunteer work in Sri Lanka on Monday morning. Your next week will follow a similar pattern, as you will be volunteering from Monday-Friday. Time will fly so make sure you make the most of it.

India

Your orientation as a volunteer in India will begin on Monday. After a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast, we will begin the orientation day. The day will kick-off with the theoretical aspects. During this, our team will cover everything from health and safety, language, money matters, cultural differences, rules and regulations. This part of the orientation usually lasts between 1 and 2 hours in the morning.

Following this, you will have the opportunity to visit our main project base within the local slum community. Here, the team will outline the background behind the project and introduce you to the local staff. Our teaching and medical volunteer opportunities are based within this location. Then, following a hearty lunch back at the Volunteer House, the local team will help arrange SIM cards and money exchange for those who require assistance.

On Tuesday, you will start your volunteer placement. The first couple of days should be spent learning the ropes and getting to know the people at the project. As the week goes on you will find that your role develops as you begin to get more comfortable. You will also have regular interaction with our local coordinators. Whatever the problem, big or small, you’ll be fully supported throughout your time with PMGY.

On average, you will volunteer for around 3-5 hours per day. This will usually take place in the morning, however, this will ultimately be dependent on your project. You will also have the chance to discuss with your local coordinator about the possibility of getting involved in more than one project. 

To help make your evenings more entertaining, our local team are always happy to arrange cultural activities if volunteers wish to join. These include a Bollywood dance class (~200 INR), cooking class (~300 INR and a Yoga class (~200 INR).

Bali

Your next 3 weeks will follow a similar pattern, as you will be volunteering from Monday to Friday. Time will fly so make sure you make the most of it. Our local team are there to support you throughout your stay. Whether you’ve lost your passport, want some advice for weekend travel plans or just need someone to talk to, they are there for you.

Free-time activities

Sri Lanka:
PMGY volunteer in Sri Lanka participants are based in Ambalangoda, which is a traditionally a fishing community situated on the South West Coast. Our Volunteer House is located just outside of the town centre but still in close proximity to shops and the local beach.

India:

PMGY volunteer in India participants are based in Faridabad, a satellite city of Delhi located In the National Capital Region of New Delhi. Just 25km from Delhi, volunteers are far enough away to enjoy a quieter setting (by Indian standards!) but close enough to absorb all the magic, mystery and mayhem that Delhi has to offer.

Faridabad is a comfortable, well-connected location to live and work in. There are a few tourist spots worth a visit – Baba Farid’s tomb, Badhkal Lake and Raja Nahar Singh Palace. There are also some interesting temples as well as markets and shopping malls, including a cinema if you fancy going to see some Bollywood flicks 

Participants generally volunteer on a Monday-Friday basis and the weekends are free to relax or travel further afield.

Bali:

PMGY’s volunteer in Bali programs are based in the centre of Tabanan, a picturesque but lively traditional city.

The Tabanan region itself has a population of over 350,000 and 10,000 of this is concentrated in the city centre. From 4pm to midnight runs an exciting night market where local cuisines can be tasted and traditional clothing and jewellery bought. Tabanan is referred to as the ‘rice bowl of Bali’ for its infamous rice fields and agriculture industry that underpins much of Bali’s rice production. The Subak Museum is dedicated to the famed Subak system of unmechanised irrigation which has been in use in Bali since AD 600.

Participants generally volunteer on a Monday-Thursday basis and the weekends are free to relax or travel further afield.

Diving/
Snorkling
Hiking
Shopping/
Souvenirs
Sightseeing
Swimming
Water Sports
Yoga/
Meditation

Require­ments

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s) or if your are accompanied by your parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Criminal Background Check
required
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

What's Included

Services by Plan My Gap Year

Your fee includes both your registration fee and programme fees.

Your programme fee includes
  • accommodation, 
  • meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner),
  • airport pickup (24 hours), 
  • in-country orientations, 
  • transport to projects
  • 24 hour in-country support.
Your registration fee includes; 
  • 24 hour UK based support, 
  • comprehensive volunteer handbook, 
  • live pre-departure webinars, 
  • regular programme inspection.

Airport Pickup at Bandaranaike International Airport

You will be met on-arrival by a member of the PMGY Sri Lanka team who will be wearing a PMGY T-shirt and holding a PMGY sign. We advise all volunteers to wear their PMGY t-shirt (if they’ve purchased one) as this helps us identify you at the airport.

Accommodation

Volunteer House

During your time on the Sri Lanka volunteer program, you will live in our Volunteer House just outside of central Ambalangoda, in a peaceful part of town on the south coast of Sri Lanka. It is just a 10 minute tuk-tuk journey into the main town, where you can find ATMs, supermarkets and local restaurants. You’ll be living with other PMGY volunteers from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way!

The accommodation is basic but comfortable and clean, fitting up to 10 people per room in single-sex bedrooms with bunk beds. Volunteers are provided with air conditioning in the room and bed linen. You will have cupboard space to store clothes and accessories as well as a personal locker to store your valuables. However, volunteers are still encouraged to only bring essential items during their volunteer work in Sri Lanka.

The bathrooms are shared, each with a shower and western style toilet. 

Volunteer House

On the India volunteer program, you will live in our Volunteer House. Our accommodation is based within the centre of Faridabad – a satellite city, located around 15 miles south of India’s capital Delhi. Our main India volunteer programs are also located in this region. There are a number of restaurants, convenience stores and ATMs only a walk or short tuk-tuk journey away from the Volunteer House.

As a volunteer in India, you will be living with other international volunteers. Consequently, you will find that the Volunteer House is large, basic but comfortable. Bedrooms conform to a single-sex dorm-style setup, with up to 8 people per room. Each bedroom is provided with fans and individuals will be provided with their own bed linen. During the winter months, participants are also recommended to bring additional bedding, such as a sleeping bag. Bathrooms at the Volunteer House are communal, with a western-style toilet and shower. 

Volunteer House

During your time on the Bali volunteer program you will live in our Volunteer House, which is just a 5 minute walk from the centre of Tabanan. Here you will find local restaurants, convenience stores and ATMs. Tabanan is a more traditional town, so you won’t find many other tourists around. You’ll be living with other PMGY volunteers from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way.

The accommodation is basic but comfortable with free Wi-Fi. Each room has bunk beds with up to 8 people per room in same-sex rooms. Volunteers are provided with air conditioning in the room and their own mosquito net and bed linen. Bathrooms are shared, with a shower and western style toilet. The water is often cold, but this shouldn’t be a problem if you volunteer in Bali, as the climate is hot and humid all year round!

Dorm Room
Food & Beverages

Sri Lanka


You will be served three meals per day at the Volunteer House. Most meals are traditional Sri Lankan dishes that can be typically quite spicy. Sri Lankan cuisine consists of a lot of rice and the meat is mainly fish or chicken – vegetarian options are always available.

 

All meals are freshly prepared each day. If you fancy some western comforts, you will find plenty of restaurants serving western meals in the nearby town of Hikkaduwa.


India


During your volunteer trip to India, you will be served three freshly prepared meals per day. Most meals are traditional Indian dishes. Typically, these are made up of vegetarian ingredients. Our team do their best to ensure that dishes are not too spicy, however, remain flavoursome. On occasion, the local team will prepare western dishes, such as pasta and vegetarian burgers. Filtered water is also available at the accommodation free of charge.


Bali 


During your volunteer trip to Bali, you will be provided with three freshly prepared meals per day. Most meals are traditional Indonesian dishes that can be typically quite spicy. Balinese cuisine consists of a lot of rice and the meat is mainly fish or chicken – vegetarian options are always available.

 

There is a large choice of restaurants and local warungs (authentic, local food stalls) in Tabanan. The food on offer is traditional Balinese cuisine – typically amazing and mainly vegetarian! There may also be a western option served once or twice every week and there are restaurants serving western food available around a 20 minute walk from the Volunteer House.

Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Bandaranaike International Airport (CMB) in Colombo. We assist you to find cheap flights to Sri Lanka.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Sri Lanka provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in Sri Lanka you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Sri Lanka.

Dates & Fees

NO CREDIT CARD FEES

Details on arrival

For your trip on the Taster Encounter, you should book your flights to Colombo Bandaranaike Airport in Sri Lanka on the selected Saturday start date. The airport code is CMB. You will be met at the airport by a member of the local team or an appointed driver, who will be holding a named sign. They will take you to your accommodation where you will spend the rest of your day at leisure.

Availability
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Duration
6 - 12 weeks

Program fees

Costs: Prices in USD
6 weeks (min. stay)
$1,824
9 weeks
$2,304
12 weeks (max. stay)
$2,784
Average fees
$268 /week

Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated. Plan My Gap Year will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Plan My Gap Year during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Why book with Volunteer World

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
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Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if Plan My Gap Year cancels your trip
Support & Mediation
We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Plan My Gap Year.

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Real Taster Encounter

Our top destinations mixed into one trip! Don’t miss your chance to sample and a make difference in sleepy Sri Lanka, inspiring India & beautiful Bali!

$268/week

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