Why decide whether you’re a jungle or an island person, make it both! Gain the rare opportunity to do volunteering at both the Merapoh Rainforest Station and the Perhentian Island Eco-Education project. Wake up to the diverse sound of the jungle one week, and breathe in the clean ocean air the next. This is the perfect project for those interested in teaching, Malaysian culture, making a difference in the local communities, as well as conservation and sustainability.
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!
Island Education Volunteering: Perhentian Eco-Education Project
Often the people hurt most by environmental issues are the local communities of places you are fighting to save. So, educating and supporting these local communities in the ways of sustainable living and conservation is vital to make steps in the right direction.
At our island volunteering project you’ll be integral in helping make this happen through environmental education, interacting with villagers and inspiring local-run tourism. You will also get to experience community life in a traditional Malaysian village surrounded by turquoise seas, white sands and vibrant marine life.
2019 Pricing for International Volunteers
2 weeks RM3,901 (£734/$956)
*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
2 weeks RM2,536
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.
You will arrive at Merapoh on the Monday of the first week and depart for the Perhentian Islands on the Sunday. When on Perhentian, you will leave the island the following Sunday.
Start Dates for 2019
March 3rd, 17th & 31st
April 14th & 28th
May 12th & 26th
June 9th & 23rd
July 7th & 21st
August 4th & 18th
September 1st, 15th & 29th
October 13th & 27th
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.
Week 2: Perhentian Eco-Education Project
- Teach English to bright local children in a weekly English club
- Teach the importance of conservation and critical thinking to children in Roots and Shoots clubs
- Experience the delights of traditional ‘Kuih’ (Malaysian dessert) making with the Perhentian Island’s Ladies Association (PILA)
- Embark on a snorkel tour of Perhentian’s beautiful coral reef
- Brief tourists on the ecological benefits of eco-snorkeling
- Help make the island a more beautiful place through regular beach cleans
- Experience the taste of Malaysia with a traditional Malay dinner, prepared and served in the home of a local villager
For a more detailed account of island 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!
Week 2: Perhentian Eco-Education project
The Perhentian islands are 17km off the coast of East Malaysia and are made up of Perhentian Kecil and Perhentian Besar. Volunteers will live in a mixed sex volunteer house in the local village Kampung Pasir Hantu (southeastern side of Perhentian Kecil), immersing themselves in local traditions, cuisine and culture.
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 Eco-Education team have contributed an incredible 425 hours of teaching the local children. As well as continuing to support the local community such as through kuih making sessions with the PILA women.
Check out the project page for the full list of project impacts.
4 Easy Steps to Book Your Rainforest & Island Education 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 island volunteering project is perfect for those interested in teaching, different aspects of Malaysian culture, making a difference in the community, as well as conservation and sustainability. Both projects will have a strong emphasis on interaction with local children so enthusiasm and a passion for green education 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 week on the island will involve teaching children, beach cleans and interacting with the local community. To learn more about each project click here: Merapoh Research Station and Perhentian Eco-Education.
2. How old do I have to be to join this programme?
Volunteers must be over 18 or over 16 with a parental consent form. 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, 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 Eco-Education 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 a week 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. If you decide to stay in each location more than a week Sundays are typically days off.