Lang Tengah Turtle Watch Malaysia Conservation Volunteer Sea Turtles

Lang Tengah Turtle Watch

About

The Lang Tengah Turtle Watch is looking for research volunteers to help with their sea turtle conservation efforts off the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Volunteers join nightly patrols around the island's beaches in search of nesting mother turtles, inspect nests to ensure all eggs and hatchlings are healthy, and complete other chores around the rustic, secluded jungle camp. Afternoons are intentionally free of activities to give volunteers time to themselves. Some activities volunteers engage in during their free time include jungle trekking, snorkeling and cliff jumping. The organisation works and shares data with the World Wildlife Fund, the Malaysian Department of Fisheries, and local universities.

Founded
2013
Headquarters

Pulau Lang Tengah
20000 Kuala Terengganu
Terengganu
Malaysia

Reviews

Darshini
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

So I have been to 3 turtle sanctuaries prior to LTTW which were Perhentian Turtle Project (Perhentian Island), Juara Turtle Project (Tioman Island) and SEATRU (Redang Island). I have to say this was the most rustic turtle sanctuary I have been to. What you see on the website is what you get, (well there have been upgrades as well), and I loved every bit of it, truly back to nature!! However, do note that there are loads of mosquitoes. ;)

The conservation efforts were rather similar to one another, however at LTTW you get to learn not only about the protection of turtles and other sea creatures in general, but also about black tip reef sharks and the different types of fishes and reptiles around the island as well. It was very educational, the perfect edutainment! ;)

I loved the fact that you could snorkel at different parts of the island and do a fair bit of hiking. Even at turtle bay itself, you could see an abundance of fish, black tip reef sharks, blue spotted stingray and I got to witness octopuses mating as well. Amazing!

Not forgetting, the staff has been a delight from the start: Bill patiently answering every single inquiry I had prior to my arrival, and KL, the awesome camp manager who makes sure we have as much fun on camp in our attempt to conserve wildlife & nature. Kudos to the team! It is definitely one for the books. This will certainly not be my last trip! Keep up the good work LTTW team! Missing you guys already. <3

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Sharlene
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Where do I start on this amazing project? It was everything and much more for me. From the moment I arrived I knew I was where I needed to be. The location of Turtle Bay (the main nesting beach) and the bush camp only 5 metres from the beach in the Jungle blew my mind.
Yes the camp was rustic no power, running toilets and showers and food supplies that had to last 8-10 days but for me that was perfect I wanted to get back to the simple life, and I couldn’t have been happier.
The attitude of the camp from KL Camp Manager, Research Assistants, Interns and Volunteers were inspiring. We all pulled our weight, cooked amazing meals, did our daily chores without a single complaint and supported each other no matter what.
Each evening we patrolled 2 beaches Turtle Bay and Lang Sari – I loved being on the beach at night it was warm, relaxing, safe and when you got to see a turtle nesting that was your highlight and participating in that activity was mind-blowing.
Daily we learned about turtles and other marine life. We had so much fun snorkeling 2-3 times a day this was amazing, and I didn’t expect to see what I did from snorkeling. Lots of jungle adventures, cliff jumping, beach volleyball, sunrise and sunsets, relaxing at the local beach bar, and lots of fun with everyone in camp. It was an awesome atmosphere. I meet some amazing people who have become new friends.
If you want an adventure, want to participate in a volunteer project which is hands-on but still very respectful of not interfering with the sea turtles this is it. I think it is great value for money and personally, I will be back. I had 1 month, and I was very very sad to leave my friends, my turtles, and the island life.
Put this one on your bucket list and don’t let age stop you, everyone is welcome and welcomed.
A big thumbs up from me and I’m still smiling.

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james
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This was my first time volunteering on a turtle conservation project and it was incredible. From the moment you arrive to a secluded beach and then walk into the simple yet welcoming and stunning camp this is an experience I will never forget. The camp is basic jungle living but I knew this already and what I was expecting, and it allows to you move away from modern life and get back to nature and really 'live' in your surroundings. There were pristine warm waters all around with beautiful corals and marine life, a lovely beach and lots of places to explore.
Throughout my four weeks here I learnt a lot about turtle conservation as well as many others aspects of marine conservation and wildlife. Turtles came to nest on the beach regularly throughout my stay and to see these amazing creatures in the wild was a humbling experience and gave a great sense of satisfaction that a project like this is working and really helping. We also had two nest hatchings in my time, watching as hundreds of baby turtles made their way to the sea and start their life.
Patrolling at night to ensure poachers are kept away and to look for turtles landing on the beaches was tiring but totally worth it for the reasons mentioned above. I had four weeks of learning new things, getting a better understanding of conservation work, seeing some incredible natural sites and living/working with a great bunch of staff and other volunteers in an environment and camp that takes you back to nature and reminds you of all the good things in this world. - I would recommend this to anyone!

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Lotus
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

This program is fantastic. I looked around for a long time trying to find a program where I felt that what was being asked and what was being offered was actually worth it. This program puts you right in the middle of nature and you are truly valuable and needed for the turtles. Everything you do is for the betterment of the turtles and the environment. I found that lots of programs offer things that aren't completely genuine. Lang Tengah had me at the description. The whole spot is outdoors, you live according nature, the camp has little to no environmental impact, you can hear the ocean, smell the sea and really get in touch with the turtles and the place. Everyone plays a vital part in the patrols, nest checks and general maintenance of the camp. Everyone there is kind, helpful and there for the right reasons, to help the turtles. It makes for a bunch of really lovely people. Your role is clear and what is expected of you is explained from the beginning. They help you build up to doing things with and for the turtles as your volunteer time goes on and this made me feel really helpful and competent. I went from knowing nothing to explaining things to the new volunteers. The island is beautiful, the sunsets are stunning and the nature is breathtaking. I loved mt time at Lang Tengah, so much so that I extended my stay.

Lisa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I arrived off the boat to be greeted by a handful of smiling faces and what looked like an untouched beach paradise. However a crawl through the greenery ahead lead to a modest little opening for the camp. The setting could not have been more peaceful. Our days consisted of a check up on the turtle nests and nights spent monitoring the beaches for turtles while gazing at the stars and having a memorable conversation with a new friend. During the nest checks we we able to dig up the turtle eggs (or babies!) and inspect their condition. Occasionally during the night watch, a green turtle would come on shore to lay her eggs. I even got to witness a baby turtle nest emerge into the sea from start to finish! During time not working with the turtles was spent snorkeling, swimming, cooking, reading, laying on the beach, badminton, volleyball, and watching the sunrise/sunsets. We washed our clothes the ol fashion way, fetched water from the well, slept in an open air shelter on cots, and got our energy from the sun - all this blended into a memorable week of simple living with the earth and connecting with people. This really stuck with me and left me wanting more... so I just had to stay longer!

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

Alumni interviews are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Lisa Nosek

Lisa has just finished completing a degree in Kinesiology in British Columbia, Canada - where she fell in love with the outdoors and began to feel that she had to go explore more! She left home in June of 2016 to spend 6 months traveling Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Laos.
Holding a sea turtle

Why did you choose this program?

I loved how this program incorporated working with nature. It looked like an intimate setting in which I could experience things I never have before - like working with turtles!

I wanted to put my time to good use while traveling around, rather than just taking everything in, I wanted to put something out there.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

The process was super easy. I came across Lang Tengah turtle watch after a simple Google search. I looked through their website, e-mailed them, set up a time to come, and I was off!

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

A little piece of advice I got when I arrived was to not wear clothes you like! You will get them dirty rolling around in the sand and sweating in the sun. Do be prepared to be tired when you wake up at night for a shift. However its pretty easy to gain the sleep back with all the free time.

Have no expectations! If you see something interesting in the distance, go explore it, go off the path.

You don't have to plan and do something everyday, hanging around the hostel lounge is a good way to meet people!

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

A big chunk of most days, during the time I was there was spent snorkeling. This was my first time, which set the bar high.

Each morning we would do a nest check to monitor the turtles - and get a chance to hold one! Each day we were assigned a different simple chore to keep the camp running. Extra time was spent cooking our own food or chatting with new friends.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it and/or how did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was really being stuck and not knowing what to do. Whatever that situation may be. Language barriers, getting lost, losing something. However thinking back, either this rarely turned out to be a problem, or you had to jump over this obstacle and use your best judgement for a situation. You live and you learn!

Staff Interviews

Staff interviews are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Raphe van Zevenbergen

Job Title
Co-Founder
Raphe has had a life-long affinity for the natural world, which lead to him attaining a degree in Wildlife Conservation from the University of Kent in 2013. After a series of chance encounters later that year, Raphe spent 6 weeks on Hayati's (The Founder) land looking after the turtles. The following year they officially set up Lang Tengah Turtle Watch, which has since taken a clear form and is gaining momentum year-on-year.
guy with a gecko on his nose smiling on the beach

What is your favorite travel memory?

I have so many fond memories from my travels, but without a doubt my fondest is coming into contact with Hayati, the Lang Tengah Turtle Watch Founder. We have been working together ever since, building the organization to where it stands today.

This chance encounter in an antiques shops whilst I was travelling through Penang - which has lead to the growth of our organization - is awesome proof that anything can happen if you put yourself out there, and that there's no better way to meet people and create opportunities than travelling.

This is still a very prominent element of the project, which we are hyper aware of and try very hard to foster - if you have a skill, or knowledge base, be it photography, cooking, taxonomy, waste management etc. - we want you on board and offer you a real chance to leave your mark on the project.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

My goodness, it's changed me a lot! Coming from a background in natural sciences and conservation, taking data from the turtles was something I was already accustomed to.

It was starting the organization that took me out of my comfort zone - suddenly you end up becoming a writer, accountant, secretary (and much more!) having to go for meetings with government officials and secure sponsorship funding - which all rests on your head! On the other hand was integrating the project with the local community - getting to understand life from their point of view, and trying find win-win solutions for them, the turtles and the environment at large.

All of this has made me highly driven. It has given me such a well-rounded view of all different facets of conservation work - which I was somewhat oblivious to when my only focus was nature itself - for this I am eternally grateful!

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

We're a bit of a 'kooky' bunch, but somehow it works! I'm generally proud of the team all the time, there seems to be unwavering dedication to the project - through thick and thin.

Every member of staff, intern and volunteer bring their own charisma to camp, which makes it an extraordinary, ever-evolving blend of cultures, personalities and humor - no two months on the project are the same, which we love!

I must say, this year our team managed to remove and recycle 4.3 tons of waste from the island - for that, I take my hat off!

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

We only have one project, at our jungle camp on Lang Tengah. This is a truly special place, which offers a raw experience - where the wave of camaraderie rides high.

Daily life there never ceases to amaze - the stunning beauty of the island and all it has to offer, not to mention getting up close with the majestic turtle mothers and comical hatchlings as well as a myriad of other natural wonders.

There's something rather romantic about drawing water from the well, or huddling in the kitchen making a hot chocolate waiting for a storm to pass, which later reveals a whitewash of stars in the sky, mirrored by blue-glowing phosphorescent plankton in the bay - you might find yourself asking "is this real?!"

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

I think the most charming stories (it happens a fair bit!) I hear are when people who have met on the project then go on to meet in other parts of the world and become great friends.

I've also had a couple of people tell me that because of their time spent with us, they are now choosing to pursue post-graduate degrees, or careers, relating to wildlife conservation.

These are such extraordinarily nice things to hear - to know that the impact of the project doesn't end on Lang Tengah, but affects people's decisions and goals long after they've left us - what more could we ask for?!

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Your team -- hands down.