“My time during the combo volunteer project with Ecoteer in Malaysia has been amazing! I was able to gain life long memories and incredible experiences thanks to the wonderful staff that guided us through the wonders of Malaysia. Getting to explore nature, animals and a new culture with a hands-on approach has truly made my trip unforgettable”
Melissa van der Heijden, The Netherlands
“The Jungle and Island project package was a great experience for me. For me three weeks was the perfect length of time for the project. The jungle project had something new and exciting every day and on Perhentian I enjoyed the incredible sea life and making a real difference. This project is definitely a must do.”
Emiel Van Beusekom, The Netherlands
Why decide whether you’re a jungle or a beach person, make it both! Gain the rare opportunity to do jungle and turtle volunteering at both the Merapoh Rainforest Station for a week and the Perhentian Turtle Conservation project for two weeks. Wake up to the diverse sound of the jungle one week, and breathe in the clean ocean air for the following two. This is the perfect project for those interested in the conservation and protection of both animals and the environments they reside in.
Rainforest Volunteering: Merapoh Rainforest Station
Our jungle volunteering project focuses on anti-poaching patrols. Help our team track clues of human activities in the forest to reduce poaching, a very important cause for the Malaysian wildlife. Additionally, you will look for animal tracks. These could be pugmarks or scratch marks from elephants, tigers, sun bears, tapirs, gibbons and more. On some treks, you will venture into and explore amazing limestone caves that Merapoh is famous for.
Forage and camp with the incredible Batek people; a tribe still very connected to the forest, and learn authentic bush and survival skills from these jungle pros.
Finally, get stuck into planning and teaching English classes to the energetic and delightful local village children.
PLEASE BE AWARE
Large animals live in these forests, but it is rare to actually see any because they are mostly nocturnal. However, you will see many signs of their whereabouts, which is an exciting opportunity as it is!
Turtle Volunteering: Perhentian Turtle Conservation Project
Do sea turtle volunteering on Malaysia’s Perhentian Islands. Help us protect the gentle Green and Hawksbill turtles whilst soaking up the beautiful scenery and culture the Perhentians have to offer.
Your time will be split between the village and Turtle beach. You will take photos of turtles during snorkel surveys and contribute to the turtle image database. This helps ID the turtles on the island and work out their nesting pattern. As well as participating in night watches to help mother turtles lay their eggs. Finally living and working in the village will allow you to embrace Malaysian traditions and culture.
2019 Pricing for International Volunteers
3 weeks RM5,035 (£947/$1,234)
*All prices are based on Malaysian Ringgit (MYR). All international prices are subject to change dependent on the current exchange rate.
2019 Pricing for Malaysian Volunteers
3 weeks RM3,273
Includes: food, dorm accommodation with shared bathroom, cooking facilities, all volunteer activities, all transportation costs within projects including return ferry to Perhentian Islands from Kuala Besut.
Excludes: Insurance, visa costs, flight fares, food/activities not included in the project
For an extra RM130 per night, volunteers can opt for an ensuite private room with air-con. The room sleeps up to 2 people with 1 double bed. This room is not always available so kindly confirm availability with Ecoteer in advance by contacting us directly.
Your kind contribution to our eco cause helps pay for the continuation of these incredible programmes and thus the protection and conservation of the amazing Malaysian wildlife and environments. It also provides an array of benefits to the local communities.
International prices are displayed in Malaysian Ringgit as the exchange rate will fluctuate depending on date purchased.
You will arrive at Merapoh on the Monday of the first week and depart for the Perhentian Islands on the Sunday. You will leave the island two weeks later on a Sunday.
Start Dates for 2019
Trips run on the following dates:
April 14th & 28th
May 12th & 26th
June 9th & 23rd
July 7th & 21st
August 4th & 18th
Week 1: Merapoh Rainforest Station
- Explore the jungle by trekking to remove animal traps and deter poachers
- Collect vital data on animal tracks and signs
- Explore renown ancient limestone caves
- Eat, breathe and sleep with the Batek community; the original forest tribe of Merapoh
- Create delicious local cuisine by learning how to cook in bamboo
- Learn fascinating bushcraft skills such as designing and building natural shelters in the jungle, and mastering the blowpipe technique
- Teach English to enthusiastic local village children; a useful skill only you can provide
For a more detailed account of jungle volunteering activities, see here.
Weeks 2 & 3: Turtle Conservation Project
- Kayak and snorkel to collect non invasive photos of the incredible sea turtles
- Collect data to help researchers identify turtle nesting patterns
- Learn from our passionate and knowledgeable team about marine life and conservation issues
- Use software developed by Cambridge University to ID turtles; building up the database
- Protect turtle beaches, nests and turtles from poachers by patrolling beaches at night, with even a good possibility of witnessing and assisting a mother turtle lay her clutch!
- Help make the island a more beautiful place through regular beach cleans
For a more detailed account of turtle volunteering activities, see here.
Unfortunately we cannot guarantee the weather. Whilst we do our best to make sure activities go ahead, a few are weather dependant.
Week 1: Merapoh Rainforest Station
You will be based in Merapoh village, which is on the border of Taman Negara National Park; the world’s oldest rainforest dating 130 million years! Volunteers stay in mixed sex accommodation at our shared Fuze Ecoteer flat that has 3 bedrooms, a kitchen and a great roof top view for watching the stars!
Weeks 2 & 3: Perhentian Turtle project
The Perhentian islands are 17km off the coast of East Malaysia and are made up of Perhentian Kecil and Perhendian Besar. Volunteers will live in mixed sex accommodation in turtle house in the local village Kampung Pasir Hantu (southeastern side of Perhentian Kecil) and in mixed accommodation on turtle beach in shifts.
Food is an essential part of Malay culture.
Breakfast tends to be simple; for instance bread, banana cake, coffee, tea, peanut butter, jam. For those feeling like they want to experience a more traditional Malay breakfast, you are more than welcome to venture into the village at your own cost, and see what takes your fancy. Paratha bread with curry and coconut rice is highly recommended!
Lunch is usually had at the house. Use our weekly shopping supplies to create a tasty meal for yourself. Or if we are going trekking, a yummy packed lunch is prepared by a local restaurant. Generally rice or noodles served with chicken, beef, fish, squid, or a vegetarian option.
Volunteers take turns to prepare dinner once a week and all pitch in to clear up afterwards. Our volunteers come from around the world, so this is a great opportunity to sample cuisine from different countries and eat all together. In both locations you will experience a traditional cooked Malay dinner in the home of a local.
The Merapoh Rainforest Station team has trekked a whooping 1000km and due to the team’s efforts considerably fewer snares have been discovered since 2014!
Check out the project page for the full list of project impacts.
The Turtle Conservation team have contributed 882 hours to turtle ID snorkel surveys, and have helped save 142 nests!
Check out the project page for the full list of project impacts.
4 Easy Steps to Book Your Rainforest & Turtle Volunteering Trip:
1) Contact us here with your initial inquiry – tell us about yourself and the project you would like to join.
2) You will receive an e-mail with more information and the application form to complete and send back.
3) On receipt of your application we will confirm your reservation and inform you how to make your deposit payment. Your reservation will be held for 2 weeks, after which it will be cancelled automatically if no deposit is received.
4) Full payment is required no later than 1 month before departure. You may pay online by credit card or a direct transfer to our account.
Please allow a minimum of 3 weeks for us to process your application and payment.
It’s that Simple!! Once your deposit has been paid you will receive our ‘know before you go’ guide, which is packed full of useful information about your project and general tips to prepare you for volunteering.
1. Is this project for me?
The jungle and turtle volunteering project is perfect for those interested in the conservation of both animals and the environments they reside in. Both projects have a strong emphasis on patrolling against poachers so a passion for protecting animals is a must! Your week in the jungle is focused on anti-poaching patrols as well as looking for evidence of wild animals, and learning bushcraft skills from the fascinating Batek tribe. Whilst the 2 weeks on the island will involve snorkelling, photographing turtles, night patrols and beach cleans. To learn more about each project click here: Merapoh Research Station and Perhentian Turtle Conservation.
2. How old do I have to be to join this programme?
Volunteers must be over 18. If you are 16 or 17 and have parental permission we would recommend the just as exciting Jungle and Island Volunteering project. There is no age limit however volunteers must be physically able to go trekking.
3. Will there be Internet access?
Volunteers are able to use the WiFi at Ecoteer house on the island, however it is usually quite weak. It is recommended to purchase an affordable local sim card on arrival at the airport. Drop us an email for further recommendations. In Merapoh there is no WiFi but there is a local Internet centre that is used when required.
4. How do I travel to each location?
Take a bus to Kuala Besut from TBS Kuala Lumpur bus terminal. You will need to inform the bus driver that you wish to be dropped off at Gua Musang R&R as it is not a major bus stop location. Our team will pick you up from the R&R stop.
To get to the Turtle Conservation Project, take a bus to Kuala Besut. Then take a short taxi ride to the jetty, followed by a 30-minute boat ride to the island. Our lovely team in Merapoh will be more than happy to help you out if you need more travel advice.
5. Fitness Requirements
Whilst a medium fitness is advised for maximum enjoyment of this project, it is not a requirement whatsoever. Our team will cater the treks to individual fitness so you have a great time whatever your level. A passion for adventure is a must though!
6. Can I stay for longer at one or both projects?
It is typical to spend a week in Merapoh and two weeks on Perhentian, however volunteers can stay for a longer period for a fee.
7. Will I have free time?
You will have free time in the evenings after tasks are complete and on the dates of departure. Sundays on the island are free days.
8. I have some specific questions about the project.
We are happy to answer any questions you may have by email.
Alternatively you can contact our past volunteer Emiel who will happily tell you more about his 3 weeks combo trip experience.