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Environmental Education and Community Engagement on Malaysia's Paradise Islands
  • Open March – October
  • Teaching | Beach Cleans| Roots & Shoots
  • Flexible Length Programs


“Volunteering on this project has been a really enjoyable and unforgettable experience. I’ve learnt so much about marine life, in particular coral, and the real emphasis on conservation and preserving the marine ecosystem has made me even more determined to spread awareness of the importance of our oceans. The project also gave me the opportunity to prepare and deliver classes to the local children about sharks, their importance and the need to protect them and our oceans, which was so much fun!”

Tom Busher – University of Leeds.


“The amount of independence that is given to the volunteers created a tremendous learning environment and gave a valuable sense of responsibility and worth. Being here I’ve been able to learn practical skills, such as data collection and entry in correspondence to coral mapping, as well as have been able to expand my knowledge of the importance of conservation as a whole.”

Jessica Cheadle – Ohio Wesleyan University

Teaching Green Education in Paradise

Often the people hurt most by environmental issues are the local communities of places you are fighting to save. So, educating these local communities in the ways of sustainable living and conservation is one of the best ways to make steps in the right direction. Since Perhentian is such a beautiful place, we call it teaching green education in paradise.

Educate the Local Community

The aim of teaching green education in paradise is to educate and support the community in caring for their island. This happens through community tourism, interaction, and environmental education.Volunteers gain a first-hand experience of community life in a traditional Malaysian village surrounded by turquoise seas, white sands and vibrant marine life.

green school in paradiseA Wide Range of Activities

A typical day of teaching green education in paradise might start with house or mural painting, eco snorkel briefings for tourists or conducting a beach clean. Also, it could involve lesson planning. We organise 3 weekly School Clubs which are normally in the afternoon. We are proud to say our school clubs are part of the Roots and Shoots program by the famous  Jane Goodall.

Help for all Ages

Teaching green education in paradise is not just for children. In 2012 we started the Perhentian Island Ladies Association (PILA) to engage local women in Community tourism. So that we could help them to support themselves financially. The newly opened PILA restaurant offers full-time employment to 6 previous house wives who now cook amazing food.

Volunteering for Young and Old

If you are a family wanting to do something meaningful on your holiday, this project is perfect for you. The local school children love it when there are new children to play with!  Also for those who are only briefly on the island, we can arrange volunteering stays for a week or even shorter!

Join our teaching green education in paradise and you can become part of the community. You can teach the children and adults, whilst being in the tropical island paradise of the Perhentians. This beautiful location deserves to be maintained for future generations to enjoy. And, you can help them if you volunteer today!

Pricing for International Volunteers 2018

1 week £300
2 weeks £506
3 weeks £690
4 weeks £828

Pricing for Malaysian Volunteers 2018

1 week MYR 900
2 weeks MYR 1,955
3 weeks MYR 2,510
4 weeks MYR 3,000

Price includes 6% GST Government Tax

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

School Clubs
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!

initiative to equip young people with the skills and knowledge to act as conservation leaders in their daily lives (watch the video to see our school children meeting Jane Goodall herself in 2016!), and we encourage our volunteers to use their knowledge gained to set up their own Roots and Shoots clubs when they return home. 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 us. 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!

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 the ladies assemble to host a ‘Kuih’ making session (a traditional Malaysian cake). Thee delicious classes are open to tourists and volunteers. This is a fun and informative cultural exchange. It and provides the members of PILA with a much-needed income boost.

Each week you will go on a snorkel tour on Perhentian’s beautiful coral reef.  The reef is home to turtles, sharks, numerous other fish species, and, of course, colourful coral. What better way to end a hard days work than by snorkeling in turquoise waters searching for Nemo and his friends!

Snorkel Briefings & Awareness
Although tourism is a fantastic way to increase income for the island it also comes with its own problems; large groups of snorkelers can cause serious damage to coral and marine life. With this in mind, 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. With some of our groups reaching 100 people, these briefings are a great way to educate large groups of people about the damage they can cause. We also conduct beach cleans and talk to tourists about how they can reduce their environmental impact.

Malay Dinner
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.

Group Activities
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, doing various DIY jobs, composting or managing the Recycling Competition.


17km off the east coast of Malaysia lie the Perhentian Islands; made up of Perhentian Kecil and Perhentian Besar both boast beautiful white beaches and crystal clear waters. Once used as a stopping point for traders travelling between Malaysia and Bangkok (Perhentian means ‘stopping point’ in Malay) it now hosts tourists who come to relax, snorkel, and dive off the coral reefs surrounding the islands.

Volunteers live in our very own volunteer house in local village Kampung Pasir Hantu on the southeast side of Perhentian Kecil.  We work with local people and businesses as much as we can throughout the project and living in the village is a fantastic way for volunteers to experience local traditions, cuisine, and culture.


Food is an important part of Malaysian culture (as you will soon find out!) and you will be able to sample various delicacies at local restaurants and food stalls in addition to sharing communal cooking and dining with fellow volunteers. For a true taste of Malaysian cooking we host a weekly Malay meal; open to volunteers, tourists, and locals alike, it’s a great way to meet new people and for the community to feel a part of the work we are doing

Breakfast tends to be simple; bread, banana cake, coffee, tea, peanut butter, jam and whatever else you need. For those feeling like they want to experience a more traditional Malay breakfast, you are more than welcome to venture into the village, peruse the various stalls, and see what takes your fancy!  Paratha bread with curry, coconut rice with some spicy and non-spicy side dishes are just a few examples of what you can find.

Lunch is had at one of the local restaurants. Generally rice or noodles served with chicken, beef, fish, squid, or vegetarian options.

In addition to volunteers taking turns to prepare dinner, once or twice a week volunteers dine with local families in their home, experiencing true, authentic Malay dishes.


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 OR take a bus from Hentian Putra, Kuala Lumpur to Kuala Besut Bus station. From the jetty, take a 30 minute boat ride to the island.

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

4. How long can I stay in the country for?
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. I’m not yet 18, what is the minimum age to join?
Good news! If you’re 16 years old you can join this project! However you will need to submit a parental consent form when you apply (18 and over don’t need consent).

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?
Absolutely! Children 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. We find that the local children really gain from meeting children from other cultures and backgrounds!

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.

10. I want to do more to help the islands! What else can I get involved in?
There is plenty you can do! We have mini projects that we can allocate you to complete in your free time.  Whether it’s making and developing our handicraft products using waste found on the beach, helping improve our awareness campaigns, or conducting tourist questionnaires and talks at resorts around the islands, there is plenty for you to get stuck into!

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