Ecoteer House : Community & Conservation Project | Perhentian Islands
Invest in the community, engage with the culture, protect marine life and spread environmental awareness.
Conservation through Education – Teaching and Community Project with a twist!
Volunteer at Ecoteer House in the tropical island paradise of the Perhentian Islands and you can get involved with the community and teach the children at the number one beach location in Malaysia, as named by CNN in 2013. Ranking 13th in the entire world, these beaches are well worth a visit and deserve to be maintained for future generations to enjoy. Through community tourism, environmental awareness and community interaction, the Ecoteer House aims to teach and support the islanders to care for their islands whilst offering volunteers first-hand experience of community life in a traditional Malaysian village surrounded by turquoise seas, white sands and vibrant marine life.
Your typical day at Ecoteer House might start with house or mural painting, eco snorkel briefings for tourists, lesson planning for our 3 weekly School Clubs or conducting a beach clean. In the afternoons are normally spent leading school clubs, doing various DIY jobs, composting or managing the Recycling Competition. The School Clubs include Roots and Shoots clubs and english lessons for ages 6 to 10 years old. Generally 10 to 20 children will turn out for our informal lessons. Our doors are open each afternoon for children to drop in and learn with our volunteers. There are plenty of ways to use your own skills and creativity to have fun whilst educating these kids and no teaching experience is required – just enthusiasm and a sense of humour!
Ecoteer House initiatives are not just for children; in 2012 we instigated the Perhentian Island Ladies Association (PILA) to engage local women in Community tourism whilst helping them to support themselves financially. The newly opened PILA restaurant offers full-time employment to 6 previous house wifes who now cook amazing food. Each week the ladies assemble to host a ‘Kuih’ making session (a traditional Malaysian cake), open to tourists and volunteers. This is a fun and informative cultural exchange and provides the members of PILA with a much needed income boost.
Food is an important part of Malaysian culture and you will be able to sample various delicacies at local restaurants and food stalls in addition to sharing some communal cooking and dining with fellow volunteers. For a true taste of Malaysian cooking you will enjoy one meals per week with a local family who will welcome you into their home.
If you love the sea but are looking for something to connect you with the people who call the Perhentian Islands their home then this project is for you. You can engage with the locals, contribute to teaching the children, work and play hard with the kids and soak up your idyllic surroundings; on your day off you might go diving, explore the islands or simply relax on one of the magnificent beaches. What are you waiting for?
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
“The Conservation & Community project on the Perhentian Islands is the flagship project for Fuze Ecoteer and one that our fabulous island teams have led from scratch. Seh Ling then Shauna and now Ainn have led the projects from 2012 until now. The project is slowly making an impact and the school teachers say the kids are a lot more aware of the environment now and also their English has improved a lot. Parents have said to me that they now hear their children speaking English to one another which they never did before. The project has also benefited the villagers financially with over RM110,000 being spent by us each year in the village for community services like accommodation, food and transportation.
Community empowerment and environmental awareness is slow, hard work and we still have a long way to go especially with the disposal of rubbish but we will oversee the resort recycling system started by Blue Temple Conservation and see how to expand to the village. I can promise we are in this for the long haul as the villagers and the islands ecosystems are a big part of mine and Fuze Ecoteer’s life.”
Every Monday from 20th February 2017 until Sunday 19th November
1 week MYR 1,350 GBP 250 USD 340
2 weeks MYR 2,200 GBP 400 USD 560
3 weeks MYR 3,000 GBP 560 USD 760
4 weeks MYR 3,600 GBP 700 USD 900
*MYR Malaysian Ringgit / GBP Great British Pounds
** Price includes 6% GST Government Tax
1 week MYR 800
2 weeks MYR 1,755
3 weeks MYR 2,210
4 weeks MYR 2,600
Return boat transfer from Kuala Besut
1 weekly snorkel tour
1 weekly kuih making session
1 weekly Malay Dinner
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.
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
Volunteer in Malaysia Activities
We conduct English and Roots and shoots clubs each week for the children on the islands and are based at our house or other open spaces, we believe in classroom without walls. Help to prepare fun, educational activities and deliver these exciting sessions alongside our Fuze Ecoteer staff. The village kids are full of energy and enthusiasm and always excited to meet new volunteers!
In 2012 Ecoteer initiated the Perhentian Islands Ladies Association (PILA) to engage local women in environmental issues whilst offering them a chance to increase their income. You can support these ladies by giving talks around the resorts and encouraging more tourists to attend the weekly ‘kuih’ making sessions to sample their delicious home-made snacks and cakes.
Each week you will go on a snorkel tour where you will see turtles, sharks numerous fish and beautiful coral reef. What better way to end a hard days work than by snorkeling in turquoise waters searching for Nemo and his friends!
Snorkel Breifings & Awareness
Damages to corals and harassment of marine life is highest for large groups of snorkellers. We have collaborated with the local snorkel guides and gather their snorkellers for a thorough interactive eco snorkel briefing before they go on the tours. The briefings are a great way to educate people about the damage they can cause and most people listen and learn to what we say. Sometimes we have 100 people we brief at once. We then conduct beach cleans and talk to tourists about how they can reduce their environmental impact.
Prepare your taste-buds for a treat!. The village ladies will welcome you into their homes to share a traditional Malay dinner with their families – the perfect way to truly experience their way of life.
During weeks with large groups of volunteers (20 or more) you may be involved in small construction projects such as mural painting, creating recycling bins, redecorating the school etc.
Volunteers will be staying at the Volunteer House. It has the following:
Western seat toilet
The Ecoteer House is located near by where volunteers can use the facilities at specific times:
Washing lines outside the house
Safe is available at the Ecoteer House (for passport or wallets, not big enough for laptops or big cameras).
Shops selling toiletries, drinks and snacks as well as restaurants are all within 5- 10 minutes walking distance from both accommodations.
All activities conducted in this programme (except the snorkeling tour) will be held in the village. All of the locations are within 5 – 10 minutes walking distance from each other.
NOTE: This is a rough outline of the activities that will be conducted in the village; some items may be swapped around within the week depending on the weather and the progress of the project.
Composting takes place every evening on a rota basis. Most evenings are free to socialize and relax after dinner.
Morning: Volunteers arrive at Safe Park Holidays office, Kuala Besut jetty. Boat transfer to the village (Kampung Pulau Perhentian).
Afternoon: Briefing and orientation: project overview and code of conduct, a tour around the village 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.
Morning: Prepare lesson plans for English Club
Afternoon : Teach English Club
Morning: Prepare for Roots & Shoots
Afternoon : Jungle Trekking
Morning: Light construction / community development work (mural painting, signboard painting, mini DIY projects, herb garden maintenance, beach cleans etc).
Afternoon: Snorkel Tour (assist in coral survey)
Morning: Teach Roots & Shoots Club
Afternoon: Prepare and teach Adult English Class
All day: Snorkel Briefings and Beach clean ups.
Evening: Baking classes with the Perhentian Island Ladies Association (PILA).
Sunday: Volunteers departure or day off.
2016: Every Monday starting from 16th Feb – 29th Nov
2017: Every Monday starting from 20th February – 19th November
Departures on Sundays
School clubs are not available during the school holidays.
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 be willing to carry out the tasks and facilitate the activities organized by Ecoteer House. 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, or 18 without a parental consent form.
6. Is it possible to have our own room?
Volunteers can opt for a double room for an extra charge. This room is not always available so kindly confirm availability with Ecoteer in advance.
7. Is this program suitable for families with young children?
Families with young children (6 and above) can participate. They do not need to take part in any construction or heavy work but can still experience the life and culture of living in a Malay village.
8. 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.
9. 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.
“Having spent a week on the Ecoteer programme in the Perhentians, my only regret is not staying longer. You’re fully immersed into the local village life and the local community could not be more welcoming. It was a pleasure to be part of and see the learning and conservation work being carried out by the Ecoteer team. Not only was it a fun experience for all involved, every effort is made to ensure anything implemented is sustainable and hence create a better and more prosperous future for the village and its people. My week there has certainly opened up my eyes to the concept of voluntourism and it’s definitely something I think more people should become aware of and get onboard”
Raj, November 2014
“We stayed with the Ecoteer project for a week in September 2014, as part of a six-week holiday in Malaysia, and really enjoyed our time there. We went as a family with our 7-year-old daughter, and for her it was one of the highlights of our trip to Malaysia, as she was able to move around the volunteer house and surroundings fairly freely, met local kids, and all the staff and volunteers made a real effort to include her in activities and spend time with her. We stayed at the volunteer house, were we had a little private section to ourselves; the accommodation is pretty basic, but clean and functional; it’s also probably as close as we got to the way a lot of Malaysians in rural areas live. The activities were fun, particularly meeting the local children and doing research snorkeling, and it was wonderful to be accepted so easily into the local community. The Malaysian dinners, where you go to private homes for a traditional meal, were particularly memorable.”
Susanna, September 2014
“We had a great time at the perhentian islands! And where very sad to leave after two weeks. The people from the island are amazing, so friendly and the children are so engaged in learning from the volunteers. The programme is so diverse from mural painting to snorkel trips, teaching Eco tourism and gardening. As well as educating the village people and sharing your skills to improve lives, and also educate yourself in various fun lessons such as making donuts (an eating them) with the PiLA ladies and becoming involved in there lives. The island is beautiful; so after teaching children who almost become friends, everybody can go together to the jetty to make the famous ‘jetty jump’. Volunteering at the perhentian islands really was a special experience. To bond with the local people, having dinner in family homes and to share education about cultures and the environment. You become enriched. As well as the island people we made very good friends with the staff and other volunteers and enjoyed havin BBQs at the beach on an evening. The perhentian village really was a wonderful experience and we hope to return !”
Bridgette & Brad, May 2014
“I was very happy during my time on perhentian. The ecoteer staff was really friendly, supportive and believed in what they were doing. They try to give as much background information on the social situation of the locals, and helped us to get in touch with them so that afterwards we could understand their values and culture better. This is something that a normal tourist could not get. Other than that we were accommodated in an authentic malay wooden house, which I really enjoyed!
I can recommend this program to everybody who is looking for a volunteering activity with cultural elements and a picturesque setting.”
Anne Sehnal, March 2014
“I love that we get to interact with the village people(the children were AMAZING!!!). The food was so good I manage to gain weight despite there was so much physical activity. We have the opportunity to talk with the school children about the importance of conserving the health of the sea(some of the children even thought us a lesson or two), we paint a mural for the school library and we learned how to prepare traditional food from the ladies of PILA. And the Jetty Jump was EPIC…I have never been so scared but yet so EXCITED to do something. It was wonderful and I hope to go there again soon.”
Afie, September 2013
“I volunteered for a week and I had a great time in Pulau Perhentian. We taught 9 years old kids how to create e-mail account, how to send mails to forward and attaching pictures in mail. Then we did beach cleanups. We also learned how to make kuih and it was great! Then we went for traditional Malay dinner and the food was amazing. Besides that, we painted school library. We also taught English to village ladies. They were so enthusiastic. We also had awareness program about protecting and conserving marine life. Finally, we went for snorkeling tour, the Ecoteer members helped me throughout the tour because i am not a good swimmer. I managed to swim and look around beautiful corals, turtles and various fishes with the help of Ecoteer members. To put it in a nutshell, it was a great experience!”
Maya, July 2013
“We have just finished our two week voluntourism placement with the guys at the Ecoteer community house. It is our second volunteering placement of our trip (the first one was in Thailand) and has certainly raised the bar. We were greeted at the Jetty promptly by one of the interns, who showed us to our dorm and then took us on an informative village tour. During our two weeks we have been involved with all elements of the project, from prepping and running English and Eco club lessons for the kids to carrying out Coral watch surveys. Whilst there were some areas where better coordination with the school could be improved, the overall organisation of the project has been fantastic. Everyone we have met has been friendly and helpful and the interaction with the village brilliant. Our stay coincided with an annual visit of one of Ecoteer’s sponsors, so we were involved with some pretty fun team building activities, and Ecoteer utilised our experience as scuba dive instructors on the snorkel tour to help guide and look after some of the other guests. Only downside is the accommodation, which has a very peculiarly designed bathroom and very creaky beds. But we have been advised this is something that Dan and Seh Ling are working towards getting improved (we stayed in a guest house in the village).
If you are someone (or some people) who are looking for something that will give you a “real”: experience of a Malaysian island, this is the project for you. You interact heavily with the locals, eat real food and even get to visit and eat with local families. A big thank you to the guys at Ecoteer! Hopeful to work with them again in the future!”
Sabina & Neil, June 2013
“This is the place to go if you want to experience life in a Malay village and volunteer for a good cause. I have to agree that the routine and village work are challenging but with a positive mindset makes all the difference! The facilities are very basic, shared accommodation with bathroom, duties of gardening and composting are shared out by the staff and volunteers through the week and there are lesson plans and presentations to work on. There are rapid changes within the week on what we need to plan or do due to the nature of volunteering work. For example, class for the children can be cancelled due to exams, we could help out to setup a Malay wedding in the village, beach cleaning, running games and skids for visiting groups, fetching water from the well due to a water shortage, just to name a few! It’s hard work but it is also the most fun and fulfilling and enriching experience we had for travels. The villagers are really friendly and the kids love hanging out with the staff and volunteers. We also had a chance to witness a green turtle coming on beach to lay eggs and observing them in their natural habitat.
Seh Ling and staff are very attentive to our needs and i find them very passionate about their work on this island. You could ask them any questions or clarify doubts and they’ll be happy to share their views and even adopt your ideas. It’s hard saying goodbye at the end of my stay with Ecoteer.
A note to new travelers and volunteers, learn to be open and flexible with the itinerary. There are plenty to learn when working as a team, it takes time to adapt and no one is perfect! If you have the skills set, just asked to be the lead and discuss it with the staff.”
Lydia, May 2013
“I stayed with Ecoteer for two weeks in May and had an amazing time. The combination of being somewhere far from home and different with meeting new people and getting the chance to interact with the villagers was awesome.
All of the activities were good fun and I really enjoyed having the opportunity to take part in doing things I’d never have the chance to do so. Ecoteer managed to get the balance between work and fun right, I had a great time while being able to help others. It was by far the best trip I’ve ever been on and I would recommend it to anyone who doesn’t mind having a joke while they work, who can get stuck into any type of activity and is welcome to embrace new ideas and a different culture.”
Sophia, May 2013
“I stayed with Ecoteer for 3 weeks back in April and it was the perfect start to my trip. Upon arriving on the island I was greeted by the very friendly interns who were helping run the project and taken through what I would be participating in over my 3 week stay. All the information was very clear and well presented. Over the 3 weeks I found that preparation for classes and excursions was very specific and easy to understand for all volunteers and never found any problems during these times. All staff were incredibly helpful and constantly making sure there was nothing more that I needed. Though this was a volunteer position, it didn’t feel like work in the slightest – we all had such a great time, were always smiling and laughing and the end result was always extremely satisfying. Thank you Ecoteer so much for the amazing experience, and I will 100% be back again in the future.”
Anita, April 2013
“I hope to come back to see what is accomplish in a year. This is a great project since the effects are tangible and directly help those we live amongst.”
Ian, July 2012
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