What can be better than staying on a beautiful tropical island?
And 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 meet the villagers. Certainly, 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.
” 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.
In 2018, the project achieved the following:
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.
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.
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.
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.
I have some specific question about the project.
We are always happy to help you with any enquiries. Feel free to contact us.