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Snorkel through the crystal waters of the Perhentian Islands and conserve the endangered green turtle population!

Program Highlights:
  • Gain hands-on experience in sea turtle conservation
  • Enjoy snorkel tours and experience both of the Perhentian Islands
  • Ethical wildlife interactions and volunteer tasks
  • Protect green sea turtle nesting sites at night
  • Help build up a turtle image database by taking photos of turtles during snorkel surveys
  • Protect sea turtle hatchlings from poachers

Your Schedule at a Glance (Minimum two-week commitment):

Arrival Day, Monday: Arrive into Kota Bharu Airport and take a one-hour taxi to Kuala Besut Jetty. Volunteers will take a boat from the jetty to the island of Pulau Perhentian Kecil, where they will receive an orientation and project overview as well as a tour of the local village, followed by dinner and a presentation on marine life.  

Day 1, Tuesday: Volunteers will kayak to the seagrass beds and spend their morning snorkelling and taking photos of turtles and other reptiles. In the afternoon, volunteers will conduct data analysis and learn how to use photo identification techniques to differentiate between turtles. 

Day 2, Wednesday: Volunteers will take part in a snorkel tour around the islands! Enjoy swimming alongside coral, turtles, juvenile sharks and other marine species. The evening brings a traditional Malay dinner with a local family.

Day 3, Thursday: Leave the local village and head to the turtle nesting beach, on the larger Besar Island, where volunteers will spend three days enjoying the beach in the afternoon and searching for nesting turtles to protect at night. Volunteers will learn how to work with the Department of Fisheries to deter poachers from the nesting sites.  

Day 4, Friday: Following a weekly beach clean, volunteers can relax in a hammock and enjoy the beach before participating in the nightly nesting turtles patrol. 

Day 5, Saturday: Volunteers will tidy up in the morning and then enjoy a snorkel trip before the last night of turtle nest patrolling.

Day 6, Sunday: Return to the village home base on Kecil Island. Departure day for volunteers staying only one week. Free day for volunteers who are extending their stay. (See “Travel Highlights” below for a list of suggested activities!)

Remaining Weeks: The remaining weeks follow the schedule of volunteering Monday-Saturday and having Sundays free. 
Location of the Project:  Perhentian Islands, Malaysia
Project length:  Min 2 week - Max 4 months
Arrival Airport:  Kota Bharu Airport (KBR)
Volunteer Work:  Wildlife conservation
Age:  Min age of 18
Number of Volunteers:  Up to 8 international volunteers

What's Included

Accommodations:  Shared rooms in a volunteer house and beach hut
Food:  Three meals per day are provided
Orientation:  Volunteers will receive an orientation, project overview and tour of the local village on arrival day.
Support:  Comprehensive and professional pre-departure travel guidance, 24/7 GoEco emergency hotline, experienced local field team.

What's not Included

Flights, visas (if required), travel health insurance, airport transfers (taxi and boat transfers), personal expenses.
The word “Perhentian” in Malay means “stopping point” and it is easy to understand why one would need to stop by once you have seen these Malaysian islands for yourself. The islands are surrounded by bright, teal waters and white sandy beaches that are complemented by an electric green, tropical jungle. The Perhentian Islands of Malaysia are made up of the smaller island of Kecil and the larger Besar.

While Kecil is most popular with younger tourists, Besar has a more relaxed vibe. This sea turtle conservation project takes place on both the islands of Kecil and Besar. Volunteers can usually find a beach party at Long Beach on Kecil Island to attend in their free time. For the more relaxed volunteer, Coral Bay is a beautifully serene destination. 
Volunteers will contribute to the conservation of green sea turtles in several ways. Volunteers will conduct kayak and snorkel surveys, where they take photographs of the local sea turtles and add them to a database. This database is used to understand the current population status of sea turtles in the Perhentian Islands. Volunteers will also conduct three night patrols each week, helping female green turtles lay their eggs safely. Volunteers will relocate nesting turtles to a local hatchery to protect them from poachers. Volunteers also go around to the local resorts and give awareness talks, to increase tourists' knowledge of the importance of marine conservation.

Volunteer tasks include:
  • Participating in snorkel surveys
  • Taking photographs of sea turtles
  • Conducting data analysis
  • Differentiating between turtles
  • Patrolling the nesting beach at night to search for nesting turtles
  • Relocating nesting turtles to a local hatchery
  • Giving awareness talks to locla tourists
  • Participating in beach cleans
Internet:  Free WiFi is available at the village accommodations.
Laundry:  There are laundry facilities at the village accommodations.
Accommodations:  While in the local village on Kecil Island, volunteers will stay in a shared, traditional, Malay home with cold-water showers and a squat toilet. At the nesting beach on Besar Island, volunteers will stay in a shared hut, but have the option to sleep on the beach with sleeping bags, stretcher beds or on a hammock.
Food:  Three meals per day are provided. Breakfast normally includes breads, cereals, coffee and tea. Lunches and dinners are cooked by volunteers: volunteers are expected to take turns preparing meals.
Please take note of this program's minimum requirements:
  • Minimum age of 18 
  • Strong swimmer
  • Good level of physical fitness
Around Kecil Island, canoes and kayaks are readily available for rent. Another option during free time on Sundays is to explore the tropical jungle of the island!
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