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Environmental Education and Community Engagement on Malaysia's Perhentian Islands
  • Open February – November
  • Teaching | Beach Cleans| Roots & Shoots
  • Flexible Length Programs
  • 2019 Prices Start from £299

If you want a previous volunteer’s perspective on this project – feel free to contact Meike, who will answer any questions you might have!


“Volunteering at the Eco-Education project is one I will never forget. From the breathtaking snorkel trips around the island, to truly experiencing Malay culture with a Malay dinner and Kuih making session. Even being Malaysian myself, this was a unique experience. I really enjoyed learning how to prepare classes for the village kids. Having to brainstorm ideas for teaching is no easy task but the outcome is rewarding. Seeing the village kids happy after my classes really made be satisfied and all the efforts I put in worth it. As an overall experience, the Eco-Education Project is one that I would recommend to anyone.

Teh De Juan, Malaysia


“The Ecoteer staff were really friendly, supportive and believed in what they were doing. They tried to give as much background information on the social situation of the locals as possible, and helped us to get in touch with them afterwards so that we could understand their values and culture better. This is something that a normal tourist would 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 opportunity with cultural elements and a picturesque setting.”



“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.”


“Having spent a week on the programme, 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 was made to ensure anything implemented is sustainable and hence create a better and more prosperous future for the village and its people.”


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 and supporting these local communities in the ways of sustainable living and conservation is vital to make steps in the right direction. This happens through community tourism, interaction, and environmental education, whilst volunteers gain a first-hand experience of community life in a traditional Malaysian village surrounded by turquoise seas, white sands and vibrant marine life.

Volunteers and Perhentian Islands Sea View

A 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 for 3 weekly school clubs. 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

Happy Family with Village Woman

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 now-established PILA restaurant offers full-time employment to 6 previous house wives. With the opening of the restaurant they can cook amazing food and share a major part of their culture with anyone willing to listen.

Volunteering for the 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!

2019 Pricing for International Volunteers 

1 week RM1,590 (£299/$390)
2 weeks RM2,650 (£499/$649)
3 weeks RM3,710 (£698/$909)
4 weeks RM4,770 (£897/$1169)

*All prices are based on Malaysian Ringgit (MYR). All international prices are subject to change dependent on the current exchange rate.

2019 Pricing for Malaysian Volunteers

1 week RM1,034
2 weeks RM1,723
3 weeks RM2,412
4 weeks RM3,101

Includes: food, dorm accommodation with shared bathroom, cooking facilities, all volunteer activities, return ferry from Kuala Besut to Perhentian, weekly Malay dinner and a weekly kuih making session.

Excludes: travel to and from Kuala Besut, insurance, visa costs, flight fares, food/activities not included in the project.

For an extra RM130 per night, volunteers can opt for an ensuite private room with air-con. The room sleeps up to 2 people with 1 double bed.This room is not always available so kindly confirm availability with Ecoteer in advance by contacting us directly.

Every two weeks from Monday from 18th February until Monday 11th November.

All Arrivals are on a Monday, departures are on a Sunday

You’ll be able to select the exact date at the time of booking on our booking form.

Start dates are as follows:

February 18th, March 4th and 18th, April 1st, 15th and 29th, May 13th and 27th, June 10th and 24th, July 8th and 22nd, August 5th and 19th, September 2nd 16th, 30th, October 14th and 28th, November 11th

School Clubs
We conduct English and Roots and shoots clubs each week for the children on the island.  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 are always excited to meet new volunteers!

School Clubs

Take 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!). 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. These delicious classes are open to tourists and volunteers. This is a fun and informative cultural exchange, and it provides the members of PILA with a much-needed income boost.

Each week you will go on a snorkel tour of 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!

Ready to snorkel at the Village Beach

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 plan thorough interactive eco-snorkel briefings before they go on the tours. We also conduct beach cleans and talk to tourists about how they can reduce their environmental impact.


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.

Trekking around the island

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. Want to see where you’ll be staying? Check out our accomodation playlist on YouTube.


Food is an important part of Malaysian culture, as you will soon find out!

Breakfast tends to be simple; for instance bread, banana cake, coffee, tea, peanut butter, jam. For those feeling like they want to experience a more traditional Malay breakfast, you are more than welcome to venture into the village at your own cost, and see what takes your fancy. Paratha bread with curry and coconut rice is highly recommended!

Lunch is usually had at the house. Feel free to use our weekly shopping supplies to create a tasty meal for yourself. Or if we are going trekking, a yummy packed lunch is prepared by a local restaurant. Generally rice or noodles served with chicken, beef, fish, squid, or a vegetarian option.

Cooking Time

Volunteers take turns to prepare dinner once a week and all pitch in to clear up afterwards. Our volunteers come from around the world, so this is a great opportunities to sample cuisine from different countries and eat all together. For a true taste of Malaysian cooking we also host a weekly Malay meal; open to volunteers, tourists, and locals alike.

Staying in the volunteer house means everyone has to join in with the cleaning and cooking schedule to keep the accommodation nice and tidy… and filled with yummy food!

Since the Perhentian Eco-Education Project has been running we have…

Led over 1,000 hours of school clubs

Cleared 371 bags of rubbish from our beaches (over 1,500kg!)

Painted many signs around the village to remind tourists to be respectful of the local culture

Organised educational trips to Kuala Lumpur for students and teachers of the local school

Held multiple science camps to encourage local children to be innovative, think creatively and make new discoveries

Initiated the Perhentian Island Ladies Association to help 6 previously unemployed women provide for themselves and benefit from the tourism industry

Started the Roots & Shoots kids program to teach sustainability and critical thinking

Painting the Volunteer House

Together with our other projects, Ecoteer have…

Generated RM 1,500,000 for villagers and local businesses

Raised RM 189k for local transportation

Looking to the Future

The Eco-Education Project is constantly looking for new ways to benefit the local community through interaction and environmental education. Currently, on top of enriching everyday activities at the local school, our team are working hard to get the school registered as a WWF Eco School.

Lesson Planning with Volunteers

4 Easy Steps to Book Your Community & Teaching 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 and send back.

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) 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.

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

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.

1. What are the requirements to join this program?
Volunteers can be 15 years or younger if with parents, 16/17 with a parental consent form and 18 or over without. You will need to have a positive attitude, participate in all volunteer activities and respect the local village culture and traditions. It is also required to help out with any house chores.

2. Do I need any teaching experience?
No teaching experience is necessary. Our friendly staff will train you up with everything you need to know about communicating with children, and will even teach you some Malay phrases to help. Practise makes perfect and the more you interact with the children and local community the easier it will be!

3. 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.

4. Is it possible to have our own room?
Volunteers can opt for a double room with air-con for an extra charge of RM150 per night. This room is not always available so kindly confirm availability with Ecoteer in advance by contacting us directly.

5. 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!

6. 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. The WiFi is usually quite weak, so it is recommended to purchase an affordable local sim if needed.

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.

8. I want to do more to help the Island! 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!

9. What if I want to volunteer at more than one project?
Good news, you now can! We offer two amazing combination volunteer trips, which involve spending 2 or 3 weeks in total, volunteering both in the amazing Teman Negara rainforest of Merapoh, and on the paradise Perhentian Islands. A perfect compromise if you want a broader taste of what Malaysia has to offer.

If the Perhentian Eco-Education Project takes your fancy in particular, check out our popular Jungle & Island combo trip.

For Qs related to insurance, visas, vaccinations or payment check out the General FAQs page and for more specific payment Qs have a look at the Terms & Conditions page
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