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From diving in the breathtaking coral reefs of Perhentian to trekking the rainforests of Merapoh, our Rainforests and Reefs combo trip gives you the best of both worlds

Experience the true diversity of Malaysia, from rainforest to reef. Take to the jungles surrounding the Merapoh Rainforest Station and search for signs of life. Dip your toes in the underwater world of the Perhentian Marine Research Station and take conservation action whilst diving. This combination is perfect for those looking for a longer term volunteering trip with 2 weeks spent on each project. Don’t worry if you’re not a qualified diver, there’s the opportunity to complete an additional week long course with us whilst you’re here.

Rainforest Volunteering: Merapoh Rainforest Station

Embark on anti-poaching rainforest treks with our team in Merapoh. Search for signs of life and track clues of human activities. Our presence reduces the likelihood of poaching in the area, critical for the survival of endangered species in Malaysia.  Plus, collect important GIS data be that pug or scratch marks from elephants, tigers, sun bears, tapirs, gibbons and more.

On other days venture into and explore the amazing limestone caves that Merapoh is famous for. Experience a whole different kind of habitat whilst getting your adrenaline pumping.

Finally, 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. Connect yourself with the forest as you cook in bamboo, and go to sleep listening to the sounds of the jungle.

Reef Volunteering: Perhentian Marine Research Station

The PMRS team are our underwater advocates specialising in conservation for the marine life of Malaysia. Completing eight dives a week, you’ll get the chance to test your buoyancy skills, photo ID sharks and turtles, help with the maintenance of our coral nursery, and ‘Dive against debris‘.

No diving experience? No problem. As we mentioned, you can spend an extra week in this beautiful island getting qualified before we teach you our research techniques and start our conservation programme.

2019 Pricing for International Volunteers 

For Qualified Divers – 4 weeks RM7416 (£1380) 

For Unqualified Divers – 4 weeks (incl. 1 week course) RM8016 (£1491) 

2019 Pricing for Malaysian Volunteers 

For Qualified Divers – 4 weeks RM5933

For Unqualified Divers – 4 weeks (incl. 1 week course) RM6413

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

When in Perhentian, for an extra RM150 per night, volunteers can opt for an ensuite private room with air-con. The room sleeps up to 3 people with 1 double and 1 single 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 calculated and converted from Malaysian Ringgit so are subject to change. 

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

Rainforest & Reef trips will start on the following dates:

April 14th & 28th

May 12th & 26th

June 9th & 23rd

July 7th & 21st

Week 1 & 2: Merapoh Rainforest Station

  • Explore the rainforest by trekking to deter poachers
  • Collect vital data on signs of wildlife
  • Adventure in to ancient limestone caves
  • Eat, breathe and camp with the Batek community; the original forest tribe of Merapoh
  • Create delicious local cuisine by cooking in bamboo
  • Discover fascinating bushcraft skills like building natural shelters and mastering the blowpipe technique

Week 3 & 4: Perhentian Marine Research Station

  • Complete two dives to refresh and check your underwater and buoyancy skills
  • ‘Dive against debris’ and undertake reef cleans whilst collecting valuable data for this citizen science project
  • Embark on turtle and shark photo ID dives
  • Assist with the maintenance of our coral nursery
  • 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

Unfortunately we cannot guarantee the weather. Whilst we do our best to make sure activities go ahead, a few are weather dependant.

For those who wish to undertake a diving qualification, this will be completed in week 3 with our partners over at Sea Voice Divers. 

Location

Week 1 & 2: 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 3 & 4: Perhentian Marine Research Station

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

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 Perhentian Marine Research Station have surveyed over 5000km of coral reefs and collected 57kg of rubbish along the way. Not to mention briefing over 4200 people on eco-snorkelling practices.

Check out the project page for the full list of project impacts. 

4 Easy Steps to Book Your Rainforest & Reef 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 rainforest and reef volunteering project is perfect for those interested in outdoor adventure and learning about conservation in action. 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 eight dives, reef and beach cleans, turtle and shark photo ID plus maintaining a coral nursery. Both projects will have a strong emphasis on conservation, so if you’re interested to find out more, this is definitely the project for you. 

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 in the island 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 Perhentian Marine Research Station, 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 with your travel arrangements.

5. Fitness Requirements
Whilst a medium fitness is advised for maximum enjoyment of this project, it is not a requirement. We do however expect a base level of fitness and a positive attitude. Our team will aim to cater the treks to individual fitness so you have a great time whatever your level. When in the island, expect to be completing two dives a day, with eight dives a week which can be quite tiring at times.

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. Plus, Sundays are typically days off.

For questions related to insurance, visas, vaccinations or payment check out the General FAQs page and for more specific payment questions have a look at the Terms & Conditions page

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