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From snorkelling with turtles and patrolling nesting beaches at night, to scuba diving above breathtaking coral reefs, our Turtles and Dive combo trip gives you the best of the marine world

Dive in to the Malaysia action with our turtles and dive combination trip. Enter an underwater world of magical marine life and witness conservation in action alongside the Perhentian Turtle Project and Perhentian Marine Research Station. 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.

Turtle Volunteering: Perhentian Turtle Project

Dreaming of helping turtle conservation in a Paradise Island? That’s exactly what you’ll be doing with the Perhentian Turtle Project.

Spend half your time living and working in the fisherman’s village in Perhentian Kecil helping collect data on snorkel surveys. This involves taking photo’s of feeding turtles in order to identify them using their facial patterns. Embrace traditions and culture at our weekly Malay dinners where you’ll eat at a local house in the village. 

Spend the other half patrolling turtle nesting beaches at night, and safely relocating eggs from their nests to the hatchery to protect them from poaching.  

Dive 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 

Qualified divers – 4 weeks RM7,419 (£1,395/$1,817)

Unqualified divers – 4 weeks (incl. 1 week course) RM8,055 (£1,514/$1,973)

*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 

Qualified divers – 4 weeks RM5,936

Unqualified divers – 4 weeks (incl. 1 week course) RM6,444

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 in Perhentian on the Monday of the first week and depart four weeks later on the Sunday. 

Start Dates for 2019

Trips run on the following dates:

April 8th & 22nd

May 6th & 20th

June 3rd & 17th

July 1st & 15th

Week 1 & 2: Perhentian Turtle Project

    • Kayak and snorkel to perform non-invasive identification of sea turtles using photography
    • Collect data helping the team identify turtle nesting patterns
    • Patrol beaches at night to protect beaches, nests and turtles from poachers. If you’re lucky, witness and assist a mother laying her clutch
    • Learn about conservation issues and in-depth knowledge of marine life from our passionate and knowledgeable team
    • Help make the island a more beautiful place through regular beach cleans
  • Enjoy 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 turtle volunteering activities, see here.

Week 3 & 4: Perhentian Marine Research Station

    • 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 another traditional Malay dinner

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. 


Both projects are based in the stunning Perhentian islands. These 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 Perhentian Turtle Project has spent 882 hours surveying turtles and identified and protected 142 nests. Not to mention saving 40,000 turtle eggs in 2017 alone. 

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. Plus they’ve briefed an impressive 4276 people on eco-snorkelling practices.

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

4 Easy Steps to Book Your Turtle & Diving 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 turtle and dive volunteering project is perfect for those interested in marine conservation, and experiencing different aspects of Malaysian culture. If you’ve been concerned by headlining news about plastics ending up in our oceans and coral reef bleaching, this will give you an idea about the work and research being done to offer solutions to these problems. If you’re willing to get stuck in and are motivated to help our teams with their work, you’ll have the experience of a lifetime!

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. 

4. How do I travel to each location?

To get to the Perhentian Islands, 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. Alternatively you can fly to the nearby Kota Baru airport and take a transfer to the jetty, the choice is yours. Feel free to speak to our booking team who will be more than happy to advice you on travel plans.

5. Fitness Requirements
A medium fitness is advised for maximum enjoyment of this project, but it is not a requirement. A positive attitude is a must though! Here’s an idea of what activities you’ll be undertaking that require basic levels of fitness; kayaking out to our snorkel survey site which takes approximately 30minutes, you’ll then be in and out of the water swimming for an hour. With the dive team you’ll be completing eight dives a week, with two dives per day. 

6. Can I stay for longer at one or both projects?
It is typical to spend 2 weeks with the turtle team and another two with the dive team, 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 so you’ll have time to enjoy island life.

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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