Volunteer in Bali with Friends for Asia
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Volunteering in Ubud, Bali

Volunteer Teaching in Bali!

Just about anyone who has done a fair amount of world travel has experienced this phenomenon before. You make tentative plans to visit an out-of-the-way location for a day or two before traveling on. But in those two short days, you’re so charmed by the locals, the culture, the scenery – by the charisma of that location – that you end up extending your stay, even at the expense of next week’s plans. Ubud is that kind of destination. Long before Bali was a tourist hot spot, Ubud was the beating heart of this island. Balinese art, culture and religion were all anchored here. Legend has that a Javanese Hindu priest stopped to meditate here at the confluence of two rivers. He founded Gunung Lebah Temple, and the town of Ubud was born.

Even today, amidst the growing resort lifestyle that most tourists in Bali experience, Ubud remains the cultural nexus of Bali. Whether volunteering in our Bali Teaching Project or our Bali Children with Disabilities Project, this is where you’ll find real Balinese people carrying on with their day-to-day lives. Hindu temples tucked into jungles around Ubud still draw devotees; and farmers in the outlying countryside carve out a meager living in terraced rice fields as they have for centuries. In Ubud, you won’t find half the glitz and glamour of Bali’s five-star resorts, you’ll find more. This is the side of Bali that locals would like you to experience and remember – the real Bali.

Bali Volunteer Accommodation

Why volunteer in Ubud?

There’s an unusual phenomenon unfolding in Bali. This is one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations, and it accounts for nearly a third of all of Indonesia’s tourism revenue. With tourism and development on the rise, a person could be forgiven for thinking that Balinese people are reaping the rewards, but this is not what the numbers say.

Away from the most popular beaches and resorts, steady year-over-year growth in international tourist arrivals hasn’t done much to eliminate poverty on Bali. Currently, well over 200,000 Balinese live below the poverty level. This works out to roughly 4.5 percent – admittedly much lower than in some of Indonesia’s worse-off provinces. However, this figure is still perplexingly high given Bali’s international celebrity status. This is a complex problem with many variables at play, but it’s safe to say that tourism in Bali does more for developers, investors and multinational hotel chains than it does for grassroots Balinese people.

Where our Bali Volunteers fit In

Volunteer in Bali

This is where you step in. By joining a volunteer project in Ubud, you’re travelling to the cultural heart of this fascinating island and effectively bypassing the well-oiled tourism machine to the south. Friends for Asia will plug you in to local projects that affect bona-fide Balinese people. Many who benefit from the programs we have set up represent that underprivileged 4.5 percent of the population.

Best of all, when you volunteer in Ubud, Bali you enter into a mutually beneficial relationship. People that the system has neglected receive tangible benefits from tourism. At the same time, you’ll get to experience this island in a way that the tourists to the south never will.

Bali Climate

Daytime temperatures are pleasant, varying between 20-33⁰ C (68-93⁰ F) year-round. From December to March, the west monsoon can bring heavy showers and high humidity, but days are still often sunny with the rains starting in the late afternoon or evening and passing quickly. From June to September, the humidity is low and it can be quite cool in the evenings. At this time of the year there is hardly any rain in the lowland coastal areas.

But be aware of flood along the beach from Tuban to Melasti (Kuta) because the drainage is not sufficient anymore in line with the development of occupying the land. The flood is not come in every year, but please don’t stay in the ground floor, because the one to two hours flood can reach your knee on the road in front of your hotel.

Even when it is raining across most of Bali, you can often enjoy sunny, dry days on the Bukit Peninsula which receives far less rain than any other part of the island. On the other hand, in central Bali and in the mountains, you should not be surprised by cloudy skies and showers at any time of the year.

At higher elevations such as Bedugul or Kintamani, it gets distinctly chilly and you will need either a sweater or jacket after the sun sets.

Ubud Climate

Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Daily highs (°C) 31 31 31 31 31 31 30 31 31 33 32 31
Nightly lows (°C) 21 21 21 21 20 20 19 19 20 22 23 22
Precipitation (mm) 191 136 102 66 22 15 13 1 10 31 53 131

Due to its elevation at 200 m above sea level, Ubud enjoys cooler temperatures than the coast, and it is sometimes necessary to bring a pullover for the evening. The midday sun can still be scorching though and the humidity often relentless, a murderous combination for temple tramping which, in hilly Ubud, usually requires climbing up and down staircases. (Head out early to beat the heat and the crowds.) If there is a time to avoid, it would be the depths of the wet season in January and February — when it rains in Ubud, it really rains.

Keep track of Bali Weather

The best website for weather forecasts as well as historical data (great for travel planning) is the Weather Underground site for Bali. They also have free iOS, Android and Kindle weather apps.