Turtle Conservation Project | Perhentian IslandEcoteer Responsible Travel

Turtle Conservation Project | Perhentian Island

Be involved in turtle conservation by assisting turtle identification using snorkle photo identification and night beach turtle patrol

Volunteer on Malaysia’s Most Beautiful Beaches

Help us conserve Sea Turtles on the tropical island paradise, the Perhentian Islands. You too can play your part to help preserve the number one beach location in Malaysia, as named by CNN in 2013. These beaches are well worth a visit and deserve to be maintained for future generations to enjoy. Through our Turtle and Island project you will join hands with researchers and the local government to help conserve sea turtles in the Perhentian Islands. Your time will be split into two, the village and the turtle beach. When you are in the village you will help our researchers to collect scientific data by literally snorkelling and snapping photos of turtles. The photos will be used to identify individual turtle’s and their movements around the islands which will help decision makers to develop a sea turtle management plan for the islands. You will also get a chance to experience the Malaysian hospitality and enjoy village life. When you are based at the Turtle Beach you will enjoy the rustic beach life, chilling in hammocks in the morning, afternoon snorkel surveys and night patrols under the stars and moon helping mother sea turtles lay their eggs and sending off hatchlings on their lifetime voyage. And of course, you will have time off to enjoy these beautiful, paradise islands.

If you are looking to do a meaningful conservation project in a paradise beach location then this project is for you.

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

 “In 2011 we started the Ecoteer House Teaching and Community project and in 2014 in conjunction with Blue Temple we started the marine research project. Since 2015 this is the final piece to the jigsaw – an island wide Sea Turtle conservation project. We first started by helping to protect the second highest turtle nesting beach in the Perhentian’s at Bubbles and have since facilitated the resort to manage that themselves. This new turtle project is all about helping all the turtles that use the Perhentian Islands as either a nesting ground, foraging site or breeding zone. You will not only protect them whilst on the nesting beaches but help gain more knowledge about them whilst they are in the waters around the islands. This project forms one aspect of what we want to achieve in the islands, a complete community and conservation (turtles and corals) project. I am proud of what our team have achieved so far, however the establishment of this project is actually just the start of things. Now we have set our foundations, it is time to make a long lasting difference in the Perhentian Islands.”

  • Volunteer Package Cost

    International Volunteers

    Min Duration of 2 weeks
    2 weeks MYR 2,700 Approx GBP500 USD680
    3 weeks MYR 2,656 Approx GBP640 USD860
    4 weeks MYR 3,473 Approx GBP750 USD1,000

    Min Duration of 2 weeks
    2 weeks MYR 3,105 Approx GBP621
    3 weeks MYR 3,910 Approx GBP782
    4 weeks MYR 4,313 Approx GBP863

    * MYR – Ringgit Malaysia
    ** Price includes 6% GST Government Tax

    Malaysian Volunteers

    2017 & 2018
    1 week MYR 800
    2 weeks MYR 1,755
    3 weeks MYR 2,210
    4 weeks MYR 2,600


    Cost includes:
    Marine park fee
    Return Ferry from Kuala Besut to Perhentian Islands
    Minimum 3 overnight turtle watches per week.
    Daily Photo ID sessions with our researchers
    Mixed sex Dormitory accommodation with western toilet.

    Excludes: Travel to/from Kuala Besut; Insurance

    5 Easy Steps to Book Your Island 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

  • NOTE: This is a rough outline of the activities that will be conducted whilst on the project; some activities will be swapped as shifts change on a rota basis.

    Morning: Volunteers arrive at Safe Park Holidays office, Kuala Besut jetty. Boat transfer to the Coral View (Pulau Perhentian Besar).
    Afternoon: Briefing and orientation: project overview and code of conduct, a tour around the local area and shops and water confidence session (learn the dos and don’ts of snorkeling plus how to wear the life jacket & snorkel gear).
    Evening: Dinner, marine presentation & rest.

    Your project is based at two locations – the village and the Turtle Beach. You will follow a 3 day rota where you swap location.

    Morning: Sea turtle photo ID snorkel survey – You would normally kayak over to the desired location for the survey and swim searching for turtles for at least 2 hours.
    Afternoon : rest and data analysis, cultural activities such as Learning how to make local snacks.
    Evening : Free

    Turtle Beach
    Morning: Sleep
    Afternoon : Snorkel Photo ID Session at the turtle beach and talk to the tourists that visit the beach. You may also help with hatchery duties.
    Evening : Turtle watch on rota

    Departure day, check out time is 12 PM, however you can take a boat back to the mainland at 8 AM, 12 PM or 4 PM.

    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 around the islands.

  • Snorkel Photo ID Session
    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 and Cambridge University, UK, we collect photos of the sea turtles on nesting beaches and at sea whilst snorkelling. With each photo we also collect extra data such as location, time, date, male/female etc. We then use the software developed by Cambridge University 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. The data will then be used by decision makers to design the Marine Park Zonation Plan.

    Turtle watch
    You will help to collect non-invasive photos of nesting sea turtles at beaches around the Perhentian Islands. The photos that you collect will help our researchers to establish nesting patterns of sea turtles in the Perhentian Islands. Additionally, unfortunately poachers still occasionally collect eggs from the beaches around the islands. The government staff travel around the islands but they are sometimes too late and poachers have already taken the eggs. Your role is to guard the beach and when a turtle comes to nest inform the government official who will then collect the eggs and safely protect them in their official hatchery. We established a similar programme at another turtle nesting beach in the islands and just the presence of people on the beaches often deterred poachers from landing on the beach. The initial project with Bubbles is still ongoing, so your presence will ensure more that 2 turtle nesting beaches are protected in the Perhentian islands.

  • 10801829_754474414607438_2908577921562584848_n

    You will be staying in a traditional Malay house in the middle of the one and only village on the smaller of the Perhentian Islands – Perhentian Kecil. Your stay in this adorable little village everyone will welcome you with open arms. Here you will have the unique opportunity to experience Malay culture, try the most delicious Malay food, hang out with the ladies and play with the kids (if you want).

    When you go to the turtle beach, things get a bit more rustic. What more to wish for than sleeping under the stars with the sound of the ocean in the background. If you don’t want to sleep on the beach itself, you can dream away in a hammock or get comfortable in our beach hut. The beach hut is very simple but sand free and has air mattresses.


    Start every monday – Monday 27th March to Sunday 15th October
    Arrivals are Monday, Departures are on Sundays.



    Start every Monday – Monday 2nd April 2018 to Sunday 14th 2018

  • 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 whilst living in the Malay village.

    2. How do I get to Perhentian Island from Kuala Lumpur?
    Take a plane to Kota Bharu airport, then a 1 hour taxi ride to Kuala Besut Jetty. From the jetty, take a 30 minute boat ride to the island.
    OR take a bus from Hentian Putra, Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Besut Bus station.

    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 morning until evening with a lunch break in between. For volunteers staying longer than one week, Sundays are usually free days.

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


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