“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.”
Anne Sehnal, 2014
“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.”
Raj, November 2014
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.
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
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!
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
Includes: food, dorm accommodation with shared bathroom, cooking facilities, all volunteer activities.
Excludes: travel to and from Perhentian, insurance, visa costs, flight fares, food/activities not included in the project
Price includes 6% GST Government Tax
International prices are calculated and converted from Malaysian Ringgit so are subject to change.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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, participate in all volunteer activities and respect the local village culture and traditions.
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. What vaccinations do I need before going to the island?
Hepatitis A; Hepatitis B; typhoid; measles, mumps, rubella (MMR); tetanus-diphtheria.
5. 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.
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. The WiFi is usually quite weak, so it is recommended to purchase an affordable local sim if needed.
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!