Swe Eng

Sri Lanka FlagVolunteer Sri Lanka  |  Pinnawala

Volunteer Pinnawala

The Guesthouse we live in is within a farm is situated about 60 km from Colombo and 40 km from Kandy. It's in a rural area with small villages on the slopes of the mountains. We're in a guesthouse within a cocnut and banana farm and on the other side of the river is the biggest elephant nurcery. Elephants that are ill are kept on our side of the river and partly on the premises of the farm.

To get to the school we teach in we have to use bikes or a tuktuk.

Pinnawela orphanage is situated northwest of the town Kegalla, halfways between the present capitol Colombo and the ancient royal residence Kandy in the hills of central Sri Lanka. It was established 1975 by the Sri Lanka Wildlife department.

This 24 acres large elephant orphanage is a also breeding pace for elephants, twenty elephants were born since 1984, and it has the greatest herd of elephants in captivity in the world.


We teach English in a small village school situated about ten minute biking from the farm.

The school was closed by the government some ten years ago but restarted by villagers a few years later. The kids comes from several smaller villages in the surroundings.The local communities take part in keeping the school clean and fresh.

We work bout three hours in the morning or in the afternoon. Normally you can make your schedule together with the coordinator and the headmaster of the school.

We also teach in an orphanage that is situated some 3 km from the farm. If yopu want to teach there and don't want to bike the whole way you will have to take a tuktuk and pay for it yourself.

You can see more from the school and orphanage on the gallery below.


The farm is situated across the river from the Pinnawla Elephant nurcery which is the biggest on Sri Lanka and probably in the world.

Normally the elephants are in the nurcery and baths in the river. When an elephant gets sick or woulded they sometimes need to be alone and are moved to our side of the river and to the premises of the farm. We can then help caring for them.

Prices are available for any period between 2 weeks and 6 months.

Show prices in:
2 Weeks 4 Weeks 8 Weeks 12 Weeks 24 Weeks Extra Weeks
$883 $1123 $1552 $2057 $3407 $107

Read how your fees are spent or compare our prices with other volunteer organisations.

View our prices in other volunteer locations's or combine your stay in with stays in other locations as part of a combination stay.

What you receive
Apart from our fees, you must pay for:

Our application process typically takes two or three weeks, but can be speeded up if there is a need for that. When we receive the initial application from you, we will send you our full application form.

(1) Complete the Initial Application Form:
The first stage of the application process is to fill out the brief initial application form. Upon receiving this we will send you the full application form.

(2) Complete the Full Application Form:
Fill out the application form. After receiving this we will assess your suitability and place you on one of our programs.

(3) Placement info:
We will return detailed placement information and an invoice. If you accept the placement you should clikc the link to say so. The fee can be paid with credit card through PayPal or by bank transfer.

(4) Communication:
Once you have made your traveling arrangements you should mail your time of arrival and the means of transportation and we will confirm pickup.

Dates for the Year 2017:
April: Sat 8, Sat 22
May: Sat 6, Sat 20
June: Sat 3, Sat 17
July: Sat 1, Sat 15, Sat 29
August: Sat 12, Sat 26
September: Sat 9, Sat 23
October: Sat 7, Sat 21
November: Sat 4, Sat 18
December: Sat 2, Sat 16, Sat 30
Dates for the Year 2018:
January: Sat 13, Sat 27
February: Sat 10, Sat 24
March: Sat 10, Sat 24
April: Sat 7, Sat 21
May: Sat 5, Sat 19
June: Sat 2, Sat 16, Sat 30
July: Sat 14, Sat 28
August: Sat 11, Sat 25
September: Sat 8, Sat 22
October: Sat 6, Sat 20
November: Sat 3, Sat 17
December: Sat 1, Sat 15, Sat 29

We live two and two together in rooms in small one room bungalows in an “Agro Hotel”. The surrounding farm consists mostly of banana trees and coconut palms.

The farm is situated 2 km from a village center 2 km from a small school and 4 km from an Elephant rehabilitation center. The hotel buildings of the farm are modern and just newly built. They have western style bathrooms, no hot water but then that is not really necessary in this climate!

On the farm there is a center also just newly easily built with an open air restaurant where we eat most meals. There is WI FI at the center.

It’s situated in a densely forested area. We provide bicycles for getting to school and village center and there are Tuk tuk easily available for longer trips but you have to pay.

One can just live on this farm and enjoy the tranquility! But one can also get busy exploring the surroundings. You can play a game at our badminton court. You can watch TV have a beer and listen to music at the center. The surroundings are not a grand tourist places, everything is imbedded in the daily life of the Lankesian people. The great attraction is the big Elephant Camp and nursery, the biggest in Sri Lanka.

There is a Tea Museum and factory where you can see the whole process of making tea from the plants to the finished.

Getting to Kandy, the traditional main city of Sri Lanka and a Buddhist center. A Tuk tuk will cost you 20 Euro and a big taxi would be 30 Euro.

Getting to the beach you can go by train. Take a tuktuk to the train station, 3 Euros and buy a ticket either to the south (5 hours), around 4 Euro, or to Colombo (2.5 hours) around 2 Euro.

The Staff at the hotel can help you arrange travels and lodgings during week ends.


We eat three meals per day at the restaurant. The food is traditional Lankesian cuisine, a blend of Asian dishes with roots in Indian food. Typically rice or noodles different kinds of curry. Many Sri Lankans are vegetarian and all have lots of vegetables in their food.

You can chose between western breakfast with toast and egg or Lankesian brekast, string hoppers (like noodles) fruit and milk, rice.

There are some western restaurants and the kitchen at the center can also serve some westrern food on request.

The center at the hotel has a kitchen where you can store some food and borrow kettles and heaters.

Sri Lanka is tropical, with distinct dry and wet seasons. The seasons are slightly complicated by having two monsoons. From May to August the Yala monsoon brings rain to the island’s southwestern half, while the dry season here lasts from December to March. The southwest has the highest rainfall – up to 4000mm a year. The Maha monsoon blows from October to January, bringing rain to the North and East, while the dry season is from May to September. The North and East are comparatively dry, with around 1000mm of rain annually. There is also an inter-monsoonal period in October and November when rain can occur in many parts of the island.

The program includes airport pickup in Colombo. There will be a staff member with a car and you will have a 2.5-3 hour trip to get to the farm. Easiest for everyone is if you get there in the morning or early afternoon.


With effect from 1st January 2012, all Holiday or Business travelers to Sri Lanka must have Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) for entering in to Sri Lanka. Please visit http://www.eta.gov.lk for more information.

The facility for applying Business Purpose Visa is at present available only at the Head Office of the Department of Immigration & Emigration, the Sri Lankan Overseas Missions and on-arrival at Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA) and Mattala Rajapaksa International Airport (MRIA).

When applying ETA by third parties payments are to be made through the arrangement made in our website www.eta.gov.lk and obtain acknowledgement of ETA application. Any payments made to other websites or agencies are not valid to process a valid ETA. Therefore, always ensure that the payments made by accessing to Sri Lanka ETA website and avoid making repayment at the port of entry to Sri Lanka.

What is a Sri Lankan Visa?

A Sri Lankan visa is an endorsement on a passport or a similar document to facilitate the legal entry of non Sri Lankans into the country and to regulate the period of their stay and the conditions governing such stay.

A Visit Visa is an entry permit signifying the consent of the Sri Lankan Government for the admission of a foreign national to the country. The Visa contains details of the period of time and the condition/s of the stay.

A Tourist Visa is issued to bona-fide tourists who want to enter Sri Lanka for sightseeing, excursions, relaxation, visit relatives or yoga training for a short period of time.

If you are planning to work in Cambodia then you will need to obtain a police records background check before starting your placement. For details on the application procedure in your home country please take a look at: www.travel-to-teach.org/CRB-information.php

At all other locations you will be required to abide by the Travel to Teach Child Protection Policy.

Please seek advice from your doctor on what vaccinations you need. You can also visit the WHO's (World Health Organization) travelers health information site health information regarding the risk of Malaria or other illnesses in Sri Lanka.

One of the conditions of entry onto our programs is that volunteers have travel insurance. Most importantly the insurance needs to include medical treatment and repatriation in case of unforeseen accidents or illnesses. Volunteers should purchase insurance independently and bring a copy of their insurance certificate with them for their local co-ordinator to check before starting their program. Read our terms and conditions.

You will get a Travel to Teach certificate stating the time and place you have been teaching.

All volunteers are required to read and agree to our terms and conditions before being accepted onto one our programs.
Read our Terms & Conditions
Download our Teach Terms and Conditions as a PDF File

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