Malaysia – Coral Reef Conservation and Diving

This destination plans to open soon, schedule a call to find out more or check out our Programs Open Now page.

Special Grant:
This Grant ended on June 30th, however, there are still a few spots available on this program to apply. The first few applicants accepted in July can still qualify to receive their 3rd week on the program for free! For more information, schedule a call with us.

Make an impact with this unique project designed to protect, conserve and rehabilitate the beautiful coral reefs of the Perhentian Islands! Assist in the building and maintenance of artificial coral reefs and monitoring the local shark populations.

Program Highlights:

  • Experience the sparkling, tropical waters of the Perhentian Islands
  • Become PADI Open Water, PADI Advanced Open Water or PADI Rescue Diver certified (included in program fee!)
  • Average eight dives per week
  • Enjoy free time on Sundays to visit other islands or relax on the beach with fellow volunteers


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

Arrival Day, Monday: Arrive into Kota Bharu Airport and take a boat to Pulau Perhentian Kecil. Partake in a village beach snorkel and water confidence session as well as a jetty-jump initiation.

Days 1-5, Tuesday-Saturday: Volunteers will spend their first five days becoming PADI Open Water, Advanced Open Water or Rescue Diver certified.( For Rescue Course divers: If you do not have a current First Aid certification, you must take an Emergency First Response (EFR) training course for an additional fee.

Day 6, Sunday: Sundays are free days.

Days 7, Monday: Volunteers learn about recycling on the island.

Days 8-11, Tuesday-Friday: Volunteers will partake in two marine conservation dives in the mornings. After lunch, volunteers wll have presentations to learn about marine ecosystems, marine organisms, and scientific diving skills. Evening activities vary, and may include snorkeling, a traditional Malay dinner, marine awareness discussion, beach cleans and more.

Day 12, Saturday: On this day, volunteers will assist at an eco-education booth on a popular tourist beach, and take part in a beach clean.

Day 13, Sunday: Volunteers staying for only two weeks depart on this day. Boats leave for the mainland at 8:00 AM, 12:00 PM and 4:00 PM.

*Please note: Volunteers who are already certified may join for just one week, at a discounted rate, or can choose to take an advanced or rescue course for a minimum stay of two weeks. All essential dive equipment is included. All activities are weather-dependent, and the schedule is subject to change.

Since its creation, volunteers on this program have:

  • Briefed 4,276 people on eco-snorkeling practices
  • Surveyed 5,000 km of coral reef
  • Cleaned 57 kg of rubbish during reef cleans
  • Cleared 371 bags of rubbish from our beaches (over 1500 kg!) (3306 lbs)
  • Started the first coral nursery
  • Reported 10 illegal activities to make the sea a safer place for the marine life
  • Trained 80 village snorkel boatsmen in the Green Fins Eco Snorkel Course


Location icon Location of the Project: Kecil Island, Perhentian Islands, Malaysia

Project length Project length: Min 1 week (for certified divers) – Max 8 weeks

Arrival Airport Arrival Airport: Khota Baru Airport (KBR)

Volunteer Work Volunteer Work:  Photo identification dives, coral nursery dives, beach cleanups

Age Age:  Minimum age of 18

Number of Volunteers Number of Volunteers: Up to 8 international volunteers

Important Note Important Note: Volunteers who are PADI certified can join the program for just one week, at a discounted rate. For those taking the Rescue Course diver course – If you do not have a current First Aid certification, you must take an Emergency First Response (EFR) training course for RM 1250 (approx. GBP 241).


What’s Included

Accommodations Accommodations: Shared, volunteer house

Food Food: Three meals per day are provided

Airport Transfers Airport Transfers:  Airport pickup is not included. Boat transfer from jetty is included.

Support 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 the 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 marine conservation project takes place mostly on the Kecil island, where volunteers can usually find a beach party at Long Beach to attend in their free time. For the more relaxed volunteer, Coral Bay is a beautifully serene destination.

The goal of this project is to conduct research and participate in the conservation of coral reefs and other marine life populations, restoring life to the crystal waters of this popular destination.

Volunteers will take part in eight dives per week, the goals of which include Survey Skills and Scientific Dive Training, Artificial Reef Maintenance, Artificial Reef Building, Clean Up Dives, Shark Survey Dives and Fish and Marine Organism Identification.

Some of your tasks may include:

  • Building and maintaining artificial coral reefs/ nurseries
  • Monitoring shark populations
  • Monitoring coral reef health
  • Learning how to be, and educating tourists on how to be, more ecologically minded

Internet icon Internet: Free WiFi is available at the accommodations.

Laundry icon Laundry: There are laundry facilities at the accommodations.

Accommodations icon Accommodations: Volunteers will stay in a shared, traditional volunteer Malay home with cold-water showers and a squat toilet.

Food icon Food: 3 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 project’s minimum requirements:

  • Minimum age of 18
  • Completed PADI medical form
  • Good level of physical fitness
  • Positive attitude and willingness to participate in all activities
  • Respect for local culture and traditions

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!

Volunteer Experiences

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