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Rimbun Dahan Turtle Project
Be a Turtle Volunteer and Work at one of Malaysia's Vital Sea Turtle Hatcheries
  • Open March – September
  • Sea Turtles | Hatchery | Awareness
  • Flexible Length Programs



Help the Turtle Hatchery on the Beach

The beaches near to Cherating and Kemaman, are popular tourist destinations in Malaysia. Also, they are home to some of the largest nesting sea turtle colonies in Peninsular Malaysia. Over 1000 nests per year are being laid at Pantai Mat Nik alone. You can help the turtle hatchery on the beach at Rimbun Dahan.

Meet Sea Turtle Hero Pak Su

This programme supports the work of turtle ‘godfather’ Pak Su and his hatchery at Rimbun Dahan. You will help manage the hatchery. And, you will educate tourists about ethical sea turtle watching. This programme is great for all budding young marine conservation enthusiasts.

A Note from Dan

“We have known the amazing work of Pak Su since 2009. He is a living legend for sea turtles in Malaysia and normally the first name off your tongue when you speak about sea turtle conservation in Malaysia. Pak Su is a tour guide plus sea turtle conservationist. He humbly does what he can to help save our penyu (penyu means sea turtle in Malaysian language).”

Pricing for International Volunteers 2018

1 week £250
2 weeks £450
3 weeks £620

Pricing for Malaysian Volunteers 2018

1 week MYR 900
2 weeks MYR 1,755
3 weeks MYR 2,210
4 weeks MYR 2,600

Price includes 6% GST Government Tax

International prices are calculated and converted from Malaysian Ringgit so are subject to change.

Dates for 2018

Start every Monday 5th March  to Sunday 2nd December.

Arrivals are Monday, Departures are on Sundays.

Cost includes:

Mixed sex Dormitory accommodation with western toilet.
Pick up from Chukai Bus station, Kemaman.
Minimum 5 overnight turtle watches per week.

Excludes: Travel to/from Chukia Bus Station; Insurance

5 Easy Steps to Book Your Turtle Adventure:

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.
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) Please allow a minimum of 3 weeks for us to process your application and payment.
5) 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.

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.

Cancellation Policy

a. Cancellation of reservation must be made in writing to avoid any misunderstanding. If the company receives notice to cancel 30 days or more before the date of departure, a minimum administrative fee of RM100.00 or 10% of the tour deposit (whichever is lower) per person will be levied.

b. If notice of the cancellation is received 29 days or less before the date of departure the following charges will apply:

c. 15 – 29 working days before the date of departure = 50% of deposit
8 – 14 working days before the date of departure = 20% of FULL COST
3 – 7 working days before the date of departure = 40% of FULL COST
2 working days or less before the date of departure = 100% of FULL COST


Example Schedule

Morning: Volunteers arrive at The Chukai Bus Staion, Kemaman. Bus transfer to the accommodation.
Afternoon: Briefing and orientation: project overview and code of conduct, a tour around the resort and hatchery and water confidence session (learn the dos and don’ts of snorkeling plus how to wear the life jacket & snorkel gear).
Evening: Dinner, Turtle watch.

Daily routine
AM – collection and burying of eggs into the Hatchery BUT mainly rest and sleep.
1pm – Lunch
2pm – Hatchery duties, awareness board making, educational talks to guests, Jungle treks etc
5pm – free time
6.30pm – Dinner
7pm – Turtle Watch patrols
4am – Finish patrols

Departure day, check out time is 12 PM, however you can take a bus back to KL or northwards towards Perhentian Islands / Terengganu.

Activities in Detail

Turtle watch
You will help Pak Su to manage tourists viewing nesting sea turtles at Mat Nik Beach which is 5km away from the Rimbun Dahan Hatchery. You will give an introduction brief to them about turtles and the do’s and don’ts of turtle watch. When its time to view the nesting mother you will help to manage the tourists to ensure minimal disturbance to the sea turtles. You will also help to collect non-invasive photos of nesting sea turtles. The photos that you collect will help our researchers to establish nesting patterns of sea turtles in Malaysia.

The scutes (scales) on the flippers and the side of a green turtles face are unique to each individual. In collaboration with the Department of Fisheries, we collect photos of the sea turtles on nesting beaches and at sea whilst snorkelling in Perhentian and Mat Nik Beach. With each photo we also collect extra data such as location, time, date, male/female etc. We then use software to identify each photo against a database of previously identified individuals. If new turtles are discovered then you get to name your new turtle. The information that this research gathers is vital for conservation measures as we will be able to identify population numbers of male and female turtles, identify hotspots where conservation efforts need to be focused and also movement patterns of the turtles.

Rimbun Dahan Hatchery
In addition to your work on Mat Nik Beach you will manage the Rimbun Dahan turtle hatchery. The hatchery is on a beach where the turtle eggs laid there are not protected. The villagers have a system where by they collect turtles eggs with some being sold for consumption and others are sold to Pak Su at Rimbun Dahan Hatchery (RDH). The RDH hatchery is really important as without it all the eggs would be sold at the local markets for human consumption. You will help to collect and count the eggs and then bury them inside the hatchery. You will also help to care for a disabled sea turtle that was not released due to it not being able to survive in the wild and is now the mascot of Rimbun Dahan Hatchery.

If you would prefer less free time in your program, we are happy to share many of our mini projects with you. So if you want to be involved in these activities which are not included in your program, feel free to speak to us and we can allocate you a mini project for you to complete in your free time whilst at the project. Examples will be making and developing our handicraft products using waste found on the beach such as sea glass, help to improve our awareness campaign or conduct tourist questionnaire and talks at resorts.


You will be staying in 5 star resort called the Kasturi, opened in 2017. Your quad sharing rooms are based in the staff quarters which are still a high quality.


Food is available at the staff canteen which serves a buffet of local food.


1. What are the requirements to join this program?
Volunteers must be over 18 or over 16 with a parental consent form. You will need to have a positive attitude and willing to participate in all volunteer activities. It is also important to respect the local culture and traditions.

2. How do I get to Chukai Bus Station from Kuala Lumpur?
The best way is to take a bus from KL to Kemaman.
9.30am Transnational Bus from TBS to Kemaman.
Get off the bus at the Chukai Bus station, Kemaman and then you will be greeted at the bus station and then driven to your accommodation.

3. What vaccinations do I need before going to the island?
Hepatitis A; Hepatitis B; typhoid; measles, mumps, rubella (MMR); tetanus-diphtheria

4. Any details on visas?
Tourists from the following countries will receive a 90 day free tourist visa upon arrival:
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.

5. What is the minimum age to join?
16 years old with parental consent form submitted together with your application form, or 18 without a parental consent form.

6. Is this program suitable for families with young children?
Families with young children (6 and above) can participate.

7. How long is the typical volunteer working day?
The volunteering activities run from after lunch until early morning (3-4am). For volunteers staying longer than one week, Sundays are usually free days.

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