Snorkel, surf and savor Indonesian cuisine while making a difference on the environment and animal welfare during this gap year program in Bali!

There are more than 17,000 islands in Indonesia, but Bali shines the brightest for travelers all around the world. The golden beaches, friendly locals, and colorful temples might have something to do with that. You will step into this exciting new world of beauty, serenity, and culture while experiencing the island life on this gap year program. During these six weeks, you will explore the ocean in as many ways as possible with a dolphin spotting expedition, 5-day surf camp, snorkeling excursion, and a boat ride to the untouched island of Nusa Penida, famous for its idyllic white beaches and traditional village.

You'll experience so much more than just beaches and ocean fun though, since you will fully immerse yourself in the culture, and give a helping hand to various animal welfare and environmental organizations on the island. You'll help care for abandoned animals at animal rescue and rehabilitation centers, become a river clean-up warrior, and learn about sustainability and organic farming on a permaculture project. In between the conservation projects, your days will be spent taking in the cafe culture of Bali, white water rafting, hiking up a volcano, practicing yoga and having some free time to explore!

Who is this gap year program for?

This 6-week Mini Semester Program abroad is suitable for high school graduates, gap year students, university students and graduates, ideally 17 – 22 years.


For your peace of mind

  • Check out our full COVID-19 policy.
  • We have been running successful international gap year programs in Spring, Summer and Fall 2021. The students shared their experiences in testimonials and wrote their stories down in blog posts - feel free to have a look. 
  • Service-learning and volunteer projects:
    • Volunteer projects working with animal rescue and rehabilitation centers
    • Get hands-on during a waterway restoration and cleaning project
    • Learn about sustainability and organic farming on a permaculture project
  • Surf camp on the shores of Bali, famous for its sandy beaches and big surf breaks
  • Snorkel the coral reefs and spot tropical marine life
  • Experience serenity during a yoga and meditation retreat in Ubud
  • Take in Balinese culture, including the colorful shrines, temples and ceremonies
  • Watch dolphins swimming and jumping in the ocean from a traditional Balinese boat
  • Climb to the top of Bali’s active volcano for sunrise
  • Explore the untouched island Nusa Penida, with its idyllic white beaches and traditional village
  • Experience the sights, sounds and smells from the local markets in Ubud
  • Thrilling white water rafting adventure through the Ubud rainforest
  • Try out an exciting array of Balinese dishes

**This is a guide to what you can expect to do on Program. The order in which the activities occur might vary**

Week 1. Bali Arrival, Orientation and a Volcano Sunrise Hike

Bali is an Indonesian island known for its forested volcanic mountains, iconic rice paddies, beaches and coral reefs. Flying into the island you will be met with clear water, jungle covered land and more islands than you can count.

Our first few days will be spent getting to know your travel companions by playing games, introducing our core values and also making yourself familiar with island life in Bali. We will also manage to fit in a sunrise hike up to Batur Volcano and a day snorkeling near to Ubud.

Week 2. Animal Conservation and a Dolphin Trip

Our partner for the animal conservation project we carry out is a non-profit organization. Here they work to save, protect and improve the lives of all animals in Bali and beyond.

The organisation directly relieves the suffering of animals by providing emergency response and rescue, food and medication, rehabilitation and adoption. It practices humane population control, disease control and runs intensive education and advocacy programs for sustainable improvement to animal welfare now and into the future.

This organisation is funded entirely by donations and relies heavily on a staff of dedicated volunteers. This is where we will come in and really make a difference with the 4 days we are here.

We finish off the week with a dolphin watching tour in the waters just off the Bali coast. Here we will see dolphins duck and dive in and out of the water and playing with the boats.

Week 3. Surf Camp and Rafting

We will be heading to Uluwatu for our Surf Camp. Perhaps the most legendary of Bali’s best surf spots, Uluwatu is located on the southwestern tip of the Bukit Peninsula, under a spectacular 11th century Hindu temple.

This won’t be just a throw away surf lesson, but a 5 day surf camp. Whether it is your first time on the water or you have a few days under your belt we will cater for everyone. By the end of the week you will be feeling confident enough to stand up, turn and even look the part when walking along the beach with your surfboard.

After a week surfing and you haven’t had quite enough of the watersports we have one final watery treat for you. Rafting in Ubud will be a thrillseekers dream as we bump and splash our way down the river.

Week 4. Permaculture Project Week

Permaculture is a system designed for environmental management within the community. It aims to fulfill needs and to remain sustainable by utilizing local resources through environmentally sound methods that are energy efficient and balance local wisdom with nature and the environment.

The Permaculture approach is an important alternative that moves forward in producing healthy organic plantations, home garden designs, more efficient village layouts, healthier environments, alternative energy production methods, and sustainable economic development. This design method works with nature’s systems, reduces pollution and waste, and is able to produce food and productive yields with low energy.

We will be spending the week here to learn more about this drive to create a more sustainable future. Other topics combined with this project are organic farming, seed saving and waste management. We will learn about these initiatives while here in Bali.

Week 5. A Yoga Retreat and Nusa Penida

The first 4 weeks have been packed and full on. It is now time to make a bit of time for yourselves. This Yoga Retreat will open up your eyes to relaxation, meditation and the need to slow our lives down. As well as enabling self reflection yoga increases strength, balance and flexibility.

Our Yoga retreat unfortunately has to come to an end even though you could probably stay for another few weeks just taking it all in. Next on the Program is a day trip to the Instagram famous Nusa Penida. The beaches and the views on this tiny island just off the Bali coast are incredible and make sure to have your camera handy!

Week 6. River Clean Up Project, Villa Kitty and Program Wrap

A community river cleanup organization was launched in 2019 with the mission to protect Bali’s waterways via mass river cleanups and the development of affordable and replicable trash barrier solutions to prevent plastics from entering the ocean. Thanks to strong community involvement, the organization hosts weekly cleanups that receive up to 200 volunteers, always adhering to relevant safety protocols. The project's main objective is to install TrashBarriers on the island of Bali to protect and maintain Balinese subaks (traditional Balinese irrigation channels), small streams and rivers up to 20m wide. We will become clean-up warriors for a time here in Bali.

Villa Kitty officially began life as a refuge for Bali’s destitute cats and kittens in 2011. Today, it is a busy, colourful and ordered village where the disadvantaged feline, and yes, canine residents are honoured, treated, loved and ultimately adopted. We will spend the day here helping the staff to care for these abandoned cats.

Unfortunately the time has come to leave this amazing place and we will spend the last day reminiscing on our incredible time here. We hope you will have enjoyed taking a break from life, learned about yourselves and also developed an appreciation to take time to gain fulfilling experiences.

*Each week there will be some designated free time so that you can catch up on email, laundry, rest, and explore independently with others in the group.
**Pacific Discovery reserves the right to alter and/or change the order of the itinerary, the focus of the projects or the activities themselves due to dates, availability, and safety precautions.

For full program details, please request the information booklet


This gap year program is perfect for high school graduates, college students and graduates, and non-students, ideally 17-22 years old. Anyone with an average fitness level and an enthusiasm for the outdoors and new experiences will have a great time on this gap semester! 

The program is a shared group experience. Join this program with an open mind and a willingness to work together with your group mates to make the program an amazing experience for the whole group. Additionally, the program will be as much about the inner journey of personal growth and learning about yourself as it is about what you will experience in the outer physical journey. We expect you to be open to learning and challenging your ideas and assumptions.


Our accommodation will be a mix of camping (tents supplied) and comfortable, clean hostels and lodges. Laundry and Wi-Fi facilities will be available some days, except during the weeks in the field on the volunteer projects and on expeditions. Accommodation is diverse, comfortable and carefully chosen to fit our needs.


Food is undoubtedly a highlight when traveling in Asia and throughout there will be the opportunity to eat authentic Asian food. Special dietary requirements and vegetarians are catered for. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in the program cost. Any snacks are at an additional cost, which we recommend budgeting around $10 per day for. 

Most meals are eaten out at restaurants due to the local culture and accommodation. An average day on program would consist of the following: 

  • Breakfast: fruit, toast, eggs
  • Lunch: noodles, curries, rice dishes like Nasi Goreng 
  • Dinner: noodles, curries, rice dishes like Nasi Goreng 

Camping meals will be adjusted to the cooking equipment at hand

Included in the tuition

  • All in-program travel and transport
  • All accommodation
  • 3 meals a day (not including snacks)
  • All expeditions, activities, excursions, entry fees and adventure travel as described in the itinerary
  • Experienced Program Instructors and local guides
  • Environmental education and volunteering projects
  • Experiential core curriculum that pushes students to reflect and ask questions of themselves - working towards a deeper understanding of their values, identity, passions and purpose
  • Individual mentorship from program instructors, supporting you in your personal goals for the program
  • Informal lectures from resident experts on conservation and eco-tourism
  • 1- to 3-week optional extensions if you wish to continue traveling independently after the program
  • Pre-departure booklet with all information you need in one place to prepare for the program
  • 24/7 emergency contact number for students and parents
  • Global medical rescue and political evacuation insurance
  • Instructors have 24/7 access to a physician and a psychologist for advice and support
  • Pacific Discovery T-shirt

Spring Dates 6 Mar - 16 Apr, 2025
Duration 42 days
Program Tuition $9,750 NZD Estimated Flight Cost $1,600 NZD
Availability Closed
Group Size 14 Students & 2 Instructors Ages 17 - 22 Ideal Covid-19 Vaccination Requirement Vaccination Strongly Recommended
Optional College Credit Yes Start/Finish Denpasar, Bali