[email protected] Choose your wildlife experience below!

What can be better than staying on a beautiful tropical island?

perhentian turtle volunteeringAnd at the same time helping to protect sea turtles through beach patrols and snorkeling sessions? It’s no wonder that this is our most popular volunteering activity. The Perhentian Turtle volunteering project has been well-established. Furthermore, it is fully integrated with a community project to help the local fishing village transition to sustainable tourism. So, you will be able to interact with a diverse group of people during this amazing volunteering stint.

Snorkel to collect underwater images for turtle ID

You will be in a team helping to collect underwater images of individual sea turtles for the project database. Apart from this day job, you will patrol the beaches where turtles are nesting at night. This helps to deter any poachers. Plus, the patrol team assist to collect the turtle eggs for the hatchery, in cooperation with the local Fisheries Department of Terengganu State. You may also be working with the community team on the island. They help with the teaching of the local school kids and other activities, such as awareness campaigns and beach cleans. As part of your Perhentian turtle volunteering, you will be able meet the local villagers, for a traditional Malay meal at their home or during other community events.

Don’t worry, there will be chill time in your packed schedule, with either mornings or afternoons off. In this way, you can explore the stunningly beautiful islands, Perhentian Kecil and Perhentian Besar. Besides, you can jungle trek and visit the one village on Kecil. Last but not least, you can relax on the beach or in a hammock to savour your paradise trip.


2023 VIDEO






Rm 1,100 for 1 week

Rm 2,000 for 2 weeks (local volunteers)

Rm 3,500 for 2 weeks (international volunteers)

MINIMUM AGE: 18 years and above
MINIMUM STAY: 14 days ( 1 week for locals)

It was all fantastic and is worth so much more than the cost. The amount you learn and get to help is very encouraging”
                                               Joe, from the U.K.


Monday-Day 1: Arrival at the jetty in Kuala Besu, Terengganu, West Malaysia**
Arrive at Save Park Holidays office, boat transfer to Pulau Perhentian Kecil, meet and greet, unpacking and getting settled, project briefing and village tour followed by water confidence session.

Tuesday- Day 2: Turtle ID session
Kayak to seagrass feeding grounds, where you will snorkel or free dive to spot and take pictures of feeding turtles. In the afternoon, get involved with data analysis and updating turtle database.

Wednesday- Day 3: Engagement
Meet up with the village kids at the primary school and get some hands-on time with the project’s Precious Plastic machine. Experience a traditional Malay dinner with a local family in the evening.

Thursday- Day 4: Snorkel
Go on a snorkel tour around famous spots around the islands, where you will spot beautiful corals, turtles, juvenile sharks and more! In the evening, depart for the project’s nesting beach in Tiga Ruang (“Three Spaces”). Spend your first of three nights on this slice of paradise patrolling for nesting turtles.

Friday to Saturday- Day 5 and 6: Night Patrols
Take a day off after a night of patrolling the beach collecting nesting turtle info, relocating turtle eggs and/or releasing hatchlings. Spend the day sunbathing or lazing in your hammock with a book. Also, keep an eye out, you might see the regular family of Dusky Leaf Langurs! For the evenings, you will alternate for the night patrols.

Sunday- Day 7: Departure
Boats leave for the mainland at 8am, 12 noon and 4pm. From Kuala Besut, you can travel overland or catch an internal flight from Kota Baru airport, which is in the next state of Kelantan.

Please note that this schedule shows a typical week but can be subject to change due to bad weather or other unforeseen circumstances.

Our itinerary starts from Kuala Besut, but we can assist with adding transfers from other Malaysian destinations such as Kuala Lumpur or Kota Kinabalu.


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All arrivals are on Monday, and departures on Sunday.
This project accepts volunteers from April until the last Monday in September.


SPECIAL DISCOUNTS for local travellers!

Discounted rates apply as follows:

  • For travel within Malaysia only, so open to Malaysians and residents of Malaysia.
  • Book with a 25% deposit payment ( or payment in full if within 2 weeks of the start date)
  • Travel until the last Monday in September ( turtle season ends in September)

1 week:
Rm 1,100 (local)

2 weeks:
Rm 2,000
Rm 3,500

includes: transfers by boat from Kuala Besut jetty, marine park fee, food and lodging (dorm style), and all activities including turtle ID snorkeling and turtle patrol for the egg hatchery (overnight)


To stay additional weeks, please ask us for a quote here


  • Transfers from and to Kuala Besut jetty
  • Marine Park fee
  • Shared dorm-style accommodation
  • Meals & Cooking Facilities
  • All project activities
  • RM500 for carbon offsetting (international volunteers only)


  • Flight fares
  • Travel insurance
  • Private transfers
  • Visa costs
  • Food/activities not included in the project


1 week stays not available for international volunteers


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Your accommodation will be at the project’s volunteer house in the local village on the island! This is a comfortable house with a chill area, communal kitchen and a shared room with bunk beds. When you are assigned for Turtle watch at Tiga Ruang, you will stay at the volunteer house on the beach. Both volunteer houses have basic facilities, but adequate.

In Malaysia, it is not so common to have hot water supplied (on tap),  as it is generally very hot anyway. So the lukewarm shower will help to cool you down. All bedrooms have fan to keep you cool at night.


Breakfast tends to be simple; for instance bread, fried eggs, tea or coffee and peanut butter or jam. Lunch is usually eaten at one of the local restaurants, while dinner is served at the project house. Feel free to use the project’s weekly shopping supplies to create a tasty meal for yourself.

Staying with other volunteers means everyone take turns to prepare dinner once a week and all pitch in to clean afterwards. Our volunteers come from around the world, so this is also a great opportunity to cook and sample cuisine from different countries. For a true taste of Malaysian cooking, the project also hosts a weekly Malay meal with a local family; a truly unique experience to try authentic dishes and learn about the Malaysian culture.


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Successes to date…

The Perhentian Islands’ green turtle population (feeding and nesting) population are subject to increasing pressure from human impacts, especially due to the rapid expansion of the local tourism industry and illegal egg poaching. Hence, The Perhentian Turtle Project (PTP) was officially established in 2015 as a sea turtle research and conservation initiative under the mothership Fuze Ecoteer to better understand and protect the sea turtle populations at the Perhentian Islands.

PTP hosts international and local volunteers with the opportunity to get involved in their project activities in return for a financial contribution towards their running costs. Through this scheme, volunteers contribute useful data for research and conservation of green turtles with little or no demand for other external resources.

green turtle

In 2022, the project achieved the following:



12 new turtles sighted

200+ turtles identified and recorded



442 turtle nests saved

36,414 turtle hatchlings released

bears 14


450 night patrol hours carried out

58 kayak survey hours carried out


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What are the requirements to join this program?

Volunteers must be over 18. You will need to have a positive attitude, participate in all volunteer activities and respect the local village culture and traditions. It is also required to help out with any house chores. Volunteers who are 17 years old who have outdoors experience and parental consent are welcomed to join too.

Do I need any turtle or conservation experience/knowledge?

No experience is necessary, just an enthusiasm for turtles is enough. The project staff will teach you all the necessary techniques and tell you everything you need to know about turtle conservation!

Is this program suitable for families with children?

Families with children of 18 years old and above are welcomed to join.

Project Information

What is the mission and vision of the project?

The mission and vision of the project are as follows:
1. To identify and monitor two populations of green sea turtles – Nesting and foraging turtles;
2. To raise awareness on sea turtles conservation to the local community;
3. Estimate the total population size and determine population dynamics, focusing on the proportions of life stages, sex and life history patterns.
4. Study deceased or stranded individuals in order to determine threats to the island population.
5. Collaborate with local communities, companies and stakeholders to engage in marine conservation efforts.
6. Establish a new photographic identification network and catalogue of sighted individuals for the South China Sea.

What is a typical day at the project like?

Volunteers will spend their time helping the project staff to build the turtle image database. This will be done by taking images of turtles during snorkel and kayaking surveys. At the nesting beach, volunteers will also participate in night patrols, helping mother sea turtles lay their eggs and safely relocate them to a hatchery to protect them from poaching.

Insurance, Visa and Vaccinations

Do I need insurance?

We highly recommend travel insurance to safeguard against sickness, loss of money, flight delay/cancellation or lost baggage.

Feel free to message us for further advice.

Do I need a visa?

Visitors from the following countries will receive a 90 day free tourist visa upon arrival in Malaysia:

Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyz Republic, Lebanon, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Morocco, Netherland, Norway, Oman, Peru, Poland, Qatar, Romania, St Marino, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Yemen.

Do I need vaccinations?

You may need some vaccinations depending on your previous vaccination history. Please refer to your GP or a travel clinic for further vaccination advice.

Project services

Is there internet access?

There is limited internet access on the island but volunteers are able to use the communal internet dongle at the Ecoteer House. The WiFi is usually quite weak, so it is recommended to purchase an affordable local sim if needed.

Are there ATMs nearby?

There are no ATMs in the village. We advise you to use ATM machines in Kuala Besut before you arrive at the Perhentian Islands.

What should volunteers bring?

Volunteers can refer to the project’s volunteer guide which includes a list of inventory that they should bring. This will be given upon booking with us.

Will I get support and guidance during my stay?

Of course! We are very proud of our friendly and talented team, who are happy to help throughout your stay. All of the project staff have amazing local knowledge and skill-sets, making them the perfect leaders and teachers.

Any further queries you have before booking can be resolved by contacting us directly.

Travel arrangement

How do I get to Perhentians from Kuala Lumpur?

You can take a plane to Kota Bharu airport (KBR), and then take a taxi to Kuala Besut Jetty. The taxi ride is approximately an hour. Taxis are available from the airport but please let us know if you need us to arrange one for you by emailing us your flight number and arrival time.

OR if you want to take a bus, you can purchase bus tickets from Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS), Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Besut Bus Station. Alternatively, you can book online using Easybook. Buses normally travel overnight and it takes about 8 to 10 hours depending on the road conditions. Walk 5 to 10 minute from the Kuala Besut bus station to Save Park Holidays.

Please provide us with your arrival time prior as one of the Save Park Holidays staff will be waiting for your arrival at the office. From the jetty, you will take a 30-minute boat ride to the island. Boats leave from the Jetty at 8 am, 12 am, and 4 pm.

Important: Please do not take the boat with other boat operators as they may overcharge boat fees borne at the volunteer’s own expense.

Other Information

I have some specific question about the project.

We are always happy to help you with any enquiries. Feel free to contact us.

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