When you become a volunteer at Volunteer Programs Bali, you will be teaching 4 days a week, from Monday until Thursday. This means you will have a 3-day weekend, every week!
3 full days to explore and discover Bali and its surrounding islands. There are so many places to visit, so many things to do, and weekends are also to relax and take a rest after a full week of teaching, so every week it is hard to decide what to do!
Luckily you won’t be alone. All our volunteers live together at our volunteer accommodation, and from the moment of your arrival, you will be part of the group and part of the VP Bali Family. This means that no one goes alone on weekend trips, there is always someone around to travel with, to make memories with and to explore new places with. It is also very convenient for booking rooms (double rooms can be shared means costs can be shared as well) as well as sharing transportation costs.
We’ve made a list of our top 5 weekend destinations. These destinations are popular amongst our volunteers and are easily reached for the weekend.
If you have any additions to the list, please do let us know!
- Canggu – Beach, food, shopping, surf and a bit of partying
Canggu is probably the most popular destination in Bali these days. This little coastal town just North of Seminyak has become very popular over the past few years. It is the place to be when you love to surf, eat at the hippest venues, like to shop top fashion, have sunset sessions and go to cool parties. About an hour drive by motorbike from Ubud, is the perfect getaway for the weekend. Sort of your home away from home, considering Ubud feels like home. Canggu has 3 main areas; Berawa, Batu Bolong and Echo Beach. With your motorbike you can easily transfer yourself between those spots.
When you are in Canggu, there are a few things you most definitely should do or try. One of them is surfing. The several beaches in Canggu area all offer beginner classes and the area is very suitable to dip your toe into the surf world.
After your surf session there is only one thing you MUST do, and that is eat. Eating in Canggu is a real feast. Even though Ubud has lots to offer as well, Canggu probably tops it. The options are endless, for healthy vegan restaurants such as Motion Café or Kynd Community to popular brekkie spots such as Milk & Madu, The Common or Crate Café.
We can go on and on where to go eat, the list is just too long. We suggest you to wander around and check your Instagram to explore the best spots.
Evenings are not boring as well, starting with sunset sessions at Old Mans or The Lawn and going for drinks after at Pretty Poison, Deus or La Favela (a bit outside Canggu in Seminyak).
In between eating and drinking, you can hang out at the beach, go to one of the amazing spa’s in the area or go for a shopping stroll around Jalan Batu Bolong.
- Nusa Islands – Explore other islands
You probably have heard about them or have seen pictures passing by on Instagram. One of the most popular hotspots at the moment are the Nusa Islands. The islands are a huge hit with tourists thanks to beautiful beaches and iconic spots. The Nusa Islands are three small tropical islands just a 40 minutes fast boat ride away from Bali.
They consist of Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan and are all easily accessible from the mainland.
Whether you are doing a 2 week placement or a 3 month placements, a visit to these amazing islands should definitely be on your bucket list. All our volunteers go on this island trip during their placement and not one of them regrets!
How to get there? From Bali you can grab a fast boat from Sanur harbor directly to Nusa Lembongan or Nusa Penida. Make sure you get your tickets through our local volunteer accommodation, as they work with trustworthy companies to get you there, including transport from Ubud to the harbor.
There are so many spots worth a visit on the islands. You can rent a motorbike and drive around yourselves, however please do note that the roads aren’t in a very good condition as well as many curves and hills so it’s not advisable to drive yourself if you are not experienced.
You can also easily hire a driver for the day, especially if you make the trip with some other volunteers you can share the costs for transport and you can be comfortable in the car with a driver who really knows the hidden spots!
For all the hot spots to visit on the Nusa Islands, please read our special blog post about it!
- Gili Islands – Tropical getaway
One of our longtime favorites are these three little islands just North off the coast of Lombok. Even though these islands maybe aren’t as upcoming and hip as the above Nusa Islands, they are still on our top list to visit during your placement.
The Gili Islands consist of 3 little islands; Gili Trawangan, Gili Air and Gili Meno. You can get there by boat, leaving from the harbor of Padang Bai in East Bali. If you book your tickets in Ubud, transport is usually included and after the 1-hour drive to the harbor, it is a short 1,5 ride by speed boat to get to this little piece of heaven. All islands are car free and the common transport is by bicycle or by horse (but please don’t use this way of transport as the horses aren’t being treated well).
Gili Trawangan is considered as the main island, as this one is the biggest and most popular amongst young travelers. It has quite a few bars and clubs, which gave this island the nick name the ‘Party Gili’. But it is not all party and drunk Australians on Gili T. Going around the island you will find many hidden spots, empty beaches, small local warungs at the beach and cute homestays where you can wake up to an amazing sunrise in your hammock.
Gili Air is very upcoming. It just to be very quiet on this island, but the past few years it has gotten more popular. It is considered more relaxed than Gili T, more suitable for families or couples and culinary lovers, as the island has a few very good restaurants and coffee shops. Fun thing to do here is to rent a bicycle and cycle all around the island. It will take you a small hour and you will find secluded beaches and amazing views.
Last but not least is Gili Meno, also known as the honeymoon island. Meno is very secluded, very quiet and very peaceful. Therefore, it is perfect for a romantic getaway with your loved one(s) and if you are in need for a few days of total silence, sea breeze and sunsets.
You can also go on an Island Hopping tour, visiting all 3 islands on the same day. Something else you should try when you are here is a snorkeling trip, the islands are very famous for its underwater life and this definitely adds up to your memories!
- Amed and the East Coast – Discover rural Bali
Going on a trip to the East Coast is definitely something you should consider doing during your volunteer placement. Bali has so much more to offer than only the center and South of Bali. If you feel secure enough, we suggest you to make this trip by motorbike. However, please only do so when you are an experienced driver and feel ready to do so.
The best way to drive is having Amed as your end destination. If you would drive from Ubud to Amed straight, it will take you about 2,5 hours. However, we strongly suggest you to stop along the way. There are so many things to see and visit while you are driving. For example, the justice court in Klungkung, the harbor of Padang Bai and the traditional Bali Aga village near Candidasa.
You are about half way there now so that means you can have a well-deserved rest and lunch at the wonderful White sand beach also known as Virgin Beach or Pantai Perasi (for Indonesians).
A bit off the road right after the hills of Candidasa, this beach is truly paradise. Going for a dip in the sea and if the currents allow it you can go for a snorkel here as well. And of course drinking a fresh coconut while you wait for your fresh seafood lunch.
Continuing the drive up North/East you can visit Tirta Gangga waterpalace or the water palace of Ujung. Reaching your destination in the late afternoon in Amed. Amed is famous for its fisherman’s life, snorkeling and black sand beaches. There isn’t much night life, so don’t expect to be partying all night, but wake up early to catch one of the most amazing sunrises in Bali, join the local fisherman for a ride into deep waters, get a massage at the beach, snorkel a bit and chat with the locals. We guarantee you will have the best experience!
- Uluwatu and the Bukit – Beach, beach, surf and more beach
Heading all the way down South to the Bukit is something a lot of our volunteers love to do during their placement. Bukit is the Indonesian word for hill, and that is what it is. Passing the airport and Jimbaran village, you will drive up the hill and enter the Bukit. Here you have many options to go down from the Bukit and visit the most secluded beaches, seeing the most amazing cliff views and watching one of the best surf spots in the world (only for advanced surfers though).
Balangan beach is very popular for surfers and has many bamboo food stalls on the beach making it a very comfortable beach to watch the surfers and enjoy the beach. If you are more into a small adventure, try to go down the cliffs at Bingin Beach, Dreamland Beach, Thomas beach and many more ‘secret’ beaches. Best is to drive around by motorbike (please do note roads are challenging due to hills and steep curves) and just go off the roads and head down to a deserted beach.
Uluwatu is the place to be to meet other people, to find nice restaurants and experience the amazing sunsets. Single Fin is the place to do this, with parties every few days and the best spot to watch the pro surfers in the water.
While you are there, don’t forget to visit the Uluwatu temple and go down through the cave at Padang Padang Beach.