Batek Education Project : on the borders of Taman Negara - Ecoteer Responsible TravelEcoteer Responsible Travel

Batek Education Project : on the borders of Taman Negara

Help us provide basic education for a semi nomadic tribe in the rainforests of Malaysia.

Teach and learn from the semi nomadic tribe The Batek

We are providing basic education to a group of semi nomadic people (Batek) who live in the rainforests on the borders of Malaysia’s largest national park, Taman Negara. The Batek live in government provided concrete houses but when it gets too hot the batek people move back to their roots and live in their traditional rainforests shelters, sometimes for months on end. The Batek People are truly amazing people and some of the most rainforest-connected people left in Malaysia.

The children do not go to school for various reasons and almost all are 100% illiterate. The Batek Education Project simply tries to provide these children with basic education, reading and writing, maths and science. You would join our team of a full time teacher and long term interns. To maximise the benefit of your experience we have a minimum duration of 4 weeks for volunteers.

Additionally you will join camping and foraging with the Batek ladies every fortnight. These experiences are trully humbling as being with the ladies in the forest is a real privilege. You will join them to do whatever they want to do. Sometimes we go fishing, collecting leaves for weaving mats or perhaps just a wander in the forest to find more leaves for their cigarettes.

You will also join a fortnightly Caving trip to explore Merapoh’s famous caves.

This project is not just another volunteer project, but a serious teaching project that is providing the Batek children with the only sort of ‘traditional’ education. It is a sad thing to say but it is very likely their traditional way of life will gradually end as modern civilisation encroaches further and further upon them. We want to give them the tools to be able to not only accept civilisation but florish and be proud of their own culture and traditions.

If you don’t have the opportunity to volunteer but had always wanted to do something for a good cause, why not fundraise for these projects! Visit our Fundraising page for more info or write to us here

What Daniel Says

“We have been working in Merapoh since 2013 and each year our education for the Batek people has increased. Our relationship with the Batek adults and children has really flourished and in 2015 we funded a bamboo school hall in the village. In 2016 we have provided the villagers with 3 weekly classes. This is obviously not enough and the Batek have asked us to increase our lessons, the Batek Education Project is therefore a natural progression for our education programme for the people. I am personally amazed at the strong relationship built with the Batek people. This is a new project but I am very proud of our team over the years with the relationship slowly being built.

This is a serious education project and we owe it to the Batek People to help them in anyway we can we promise to work hard for the long term future of the Batek people. Our friends.”


  • Costs

    International volunteers
    4 weeks MYR 3,750 = approx GBP700 USD950
    8 weeks MYR 6,750 = approx GBP1270 USD 1700
    12 weeks MYR 10,000 = approx GBP1,900 USD 2,500

    Malaysian volunteers
    4 weeks MYR 2,750
    8 weeks MYR 5,000
    12 weeks MYR 7,000

    **MYR – Malaysian Ringgit


    Includes: All food, dorm accommodation with shared bathroom, cooking facilities, all volunteering activities, 6% GST and Rm200 donation towards the Batek Education Project. Fortnightly camping and caving.

    Excludes: Travel to and from Merapoh , Insurance, Flight fares


    Please allow a minimum of 4 weeks for us to process your application and payment.

    Please make an initial inquiry by telling us about yourself and what project you would like to join. Contact us here

    To make a booking, please contact us here.  We will then email you back with more information and the application form.  Please complete the form and send back to us so we can confirm your reservation and inform you how to make the deposit payment. If the deposit is not received within 2 weeks from the date your reservation is placed, your reservation will be cancelled automatically. 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. Once a deposit has been paid we will email you our Know Before You Go guide, which will give you useful information to help you prepare to volunteer.

    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

  • Bamboo School
    You will teach the children for 3 hours on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. The main subjects being taught will be basic reading and writing (English and Malaysian), science and maths. You will act as a teacher assistant alongside our full time teacher and long term interns. When the Batek move into the forest because it is too hot these sessions may move to the cooler climes of the rainforest.

    Informal Teaching
    You will join our informal lessons with the children in Merapoh, playing games etc but also helping with homework.

    Jungle School
    Each fortnight you will take the children into the jungle for their Jungle School. This is when one of the village elders takes the children into the jungle to teach them basic jungle survival skills such as fishing, tracking, fire making, blow piping, shelter building, water sourcing, cooking etc These sessions are so vital to help retain the Batek knowledge and to give the children an advantage when they are older.

    There are over 70 limestone caves in the Merapoh region. The actual caves that you visit will depend on weather, group size and group ability. The caves are fantastic – some even have rivers and waterfalls inside. The presence of limestone formations creates the most fantastic scenery. These caves are home to various animals including thousands of swiflets that group together at sunset and can be seen flying around a nearby town called Gua Musang. The Batek people have used these caves for centuries, as can be seen by the many cave drawings that can be found inside.

    You will join the conservation troupes with an overnight camp with the batek ladies. Here you get the chance to learn all about the jungle and experience an ECO walk and learn how to ID animal tracks etc.


    The Local ‘Orang Asli’ (Malay for ‘original people’) are from the Batek tribe. They speak Batek and most of them still live part of their lives in the rainforest. The Batek people are one of the Negrito tribes and have similarities to people from the Andaman Islands, the Philippines, Indonesia and New Guinea. They are true nomads and are classified by some anthropologist as pygmies due to their short stature. The children don’t go to the local government school.

    The Batek harvest the fruits of the forest and have small agricultural areas where they grow fruits such as Durian, cempedak, mangosteen, rambutan and petai, selling any excess. They also collect rattan and wild honey to use or to sell.

    It is not part of the Batek character to destroy an area totally and they will move on before all the resources are depleted. They rely on the forest as their ‘supermarket’ and respect it as the home of their ancestors.

    The men hunt while the women fish and collect forest fruits and vegetables. The Orang Asli are renowned for their hunting prowess. Originally the Orang Asli used bows and arrows but early this century they converted to blowpipes. Today, they still use 1.5 metre bamboo blowpipes and poisonous darts to hunt on daily basis. Darts are dipped in the poisonous sap of the Ipoh Tree (Antaris toxicaria).

    Traps and nets are occasionally used to snare small game. Meals are supplemented with fish, tortoise, jungle fruits and yams from the forest and products like rice are bought from outside. Traditionally, most food was grilled or boiled in bamboo, although now metal pots are also used.

    The survival of the Orang Asli in the rainforest is partly dependent upon the use of limestone caves for shelter. In 1985 charcoal drawings were discovered in Gua Batu Luas in Taman Negara and attributed to the ancestors of the Batek people. While they only date from 1920, anthropologists have speculated that the traditions of cave painting amongst these people are much older. The motifs found in the Gua Batu Luas cave include mountain scenery that is most likely Gunung Tahan.

  • Duration: 1 week, 2 weeks or more.

    Arrivals on Sunday in 2016
    7th & 21st February
    6th & 20th March
    3rd, 17th April
    1st, 15th & 29th May
    12th, 26th June
    10th & 24th July
    7th, 21st& 28th August
    11th & 25th September
    9th & 23rd October
    6th & 20th November

    Feb – 19th
    March – 5th & 19th
    April – 2nd, 16th, 30th
    May – 14th, 28th
    June – 11th & 25th
    July – 9th & 23rd
    Aug – 6th & 20th
    Sep – 3rd & 17th
    Oct – 1st, 15th & 29th

    If these dates are not suitable, please visit one of our other rainforest programmes at

    Jungles & Islands – 4 weeker

  • You will be staying at our Fuze Ecoteer Flat in the small village of Merapoh.
    The flat has 3 bedrooms, kitchen and a great roof top for watching the stars!
    Phone reception is available at the accommodation area.
    3G internet is available and also a very slow wifi connection.

  • 1.What are the requirements needed to join this program?
    Volunteers will need to be able to speak English or Bahasa Malaysia to be able to communicate with the facilitator. Minimum age requirement is 16 years old without parents and any age with their parents. Volunteers should also have low-medium fitness, a positive attitude and willing to participate in all tasks and walks.

    2.How do I get to Merapoh from Kuala Lumpur?
    Bus: From TBS Bus Terminal Kuala Lumpur, take a bus to Merapoh. You will need to inform the bus driver that you wish to be dropped off at Merapoh as it is not a major bus stop location.

    3.What vaccinations do I need?
    Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, typhoid, measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), tetanus-diphtheria. Anti Malaria pills are encouraged to be brought even though cases of Malaria are seldom recorded.

    4.Any details on visa?
    Tourist 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, Kirgystan, Kuwait, Kyrgyz Republic, Lebanon, Lienchestien, 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 it the minimum age to join?
    Volunteers age 18 years old and above.

    6. Is this program suitable for families with young children?
    Families with children (above age 15) can participate. Take note that the jungle walks may be tough as the path could be muddy & slippery during rainy season as well as hot and humid all year round.

    7. Is it possible to have our own room?
    No. All volunteers will be staying in a shared accommodation.

    9. How many hours per day do volunteers volunteer per day?
    The volunteering activities run from morning until evening with a lunch break in between. Precise timetabling depends on the weather as some activities may be delayed if it rains.

  • To make an enquiry or to book, kindly email us using our Contact Us form.
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