Lang Tengah Turtle Watch

Why choose Lang Tengah Turtle Watch?

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.



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Yes, I recommend this program

Best turtle conservation volunteering out there!

Lang Tengah Turtle Watch is an incredible turtle conservation organisation, where you get to be involved in exciting and effective conservation projects that have helped the recovery of species across the east coast of Malaysia for the last 10 years. The work is fun, the people are lovely, the food is great and it allows you to experience true island life. It is also the cheapest turtle conservation volunteering opportunity I have seen that allows you to actually get involved in the work. As a marine conservationist and researcher for my full time job, I feel as though the voluntary work that is undertaken here really makes a difference and all the appropriate practices are undertaken. In your free time, you also get to explore the island by hiking and snorkelling. You are also only a boat ride away from some other beautiful islands if you want to include this volunteering as part of a wider trip. It has been the best week and I can't thank the Lang Tengah Turtle Watch team enough!!!

  • Hands on turtle conservation
  • Lovely people
  • Beautiful scenery
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Yes, I recommend this program

Once in a lifetime!!

We had the pleasure of staying on the beautiful island of Lang tenga for two weeks... where do I begin? WOW the island is breath taking some of the most beautiful untouched beaches in the world with hardly any tourists.

Camp life
LTTW camp life is very rustic but is all part of the charm and should never change !! The volunteers are given daily chores for example cooking or washing up raking the leaves out of camp or putting solar panels out to charge the lights for the evening. (Hardly chores but necessities for camp life). The sleeping arrangement is a little hut with camp beds and mozzie nets. I personally found the sleeping arrangements quite difficult as I have the biggest fear of spiders/bugs and once it’s dark I couldn’t see anything so we decided to sleep in D,coconuts just for peace of mind.

The turtle program
After an educational introduction into turtles on the first day we were told what was expected and how we will be helping to hopefully increase the population of turtles. Shocking to hear that only 1 in 1000 hatchlings only make it and due to humans and the ever growing environmental issues (pollution etc) this has now risen to 1 in 10,000!! This program has never been so important !!
Evening patrols were split between the group to search for mother turtles laying eggs. We were so lucky to witness lots of mothers coming up on multiple beaches to lay eggs. Our job was then to make sure the eggs were in a safe place so hatchlings have the best chance of survival and away from tourists etc.
The hatchlings.... we were so lucky to see two mass emerges of 122 and 72 hatchlings going in to the sea to start their journey in life!! It’s absolutely breath taking to see the little guys running into the sea!!

Free time
Around the island there are lots to do ... if you can dive the program has a brilliant relationship with summerbay who is a resort on the other side of the island and often go out diving every other day. You can also eat her and they sell the best pineapple rice and cheesecake!!
You can always go snorkelling!! There are so many fish to see and as soon as we arrived we got word of a baby whale shark close so we went straight out to find her !! There is also a coral program running with the turtle watch which I believe is equally as important after we heard a talk about coral and the eco systems that live with in a coral reef and it was so educational.
We were not really into snorkelling but we were very happy to chill in the sun and swim in the sea and never made to do anything we didn’t want too. There is also an epic cliff jump followed by a brill snorkelling point on the other side of the island!!

The staff
Camp leader Lou- what a brilliant leader... she was so welcoming and 100% team player making sure we made the most out of our two weeks. Always putting us first in regards to witnessing turtle experiences. Her knowledge on the ocean and animals in it is amazing!!

Jillian- you little charmer!! You had a brilliant way with the tourists that came to
Visit the camp and always provided laughs around the camp dinner table with your eye rolling and food groans when we cooked something tasty!!

Gil- my fellow pirate, thank you for calm free spirit always spotting the turtles coming out of the sea and your knowledge on the coral.

Alex- our NYC soul sister thank you for the endless giggles, drinks, 90s bands chats, also still can’t believe you slept with that big spider in your bed!! Your Knowledge on the reef was remarkable!! You and gill keep up the good work 🙌🏽.

Finally I would like to the thank LTTW for the once in a lifetime experiences which I will never forget !! I would 100% recommend this program to anyone there are so much more I could write about but the above is just an insight.

Thank you LTTW keep up the amazing work!!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Embrace the jungle life, don’t waste a single minute, pack lots of mozzie spray and enjoy .... it’s one of those times in your life you will never forget!!
Yes, I recommend this program

Once in a lifetime experience...

I spent 2 weeks volunteering with Lang Tengah Turtle Watch and they were some of the most amazing 2 weeks ever. We helped collect data on Green Sea Turtles, as well as other marine wildlife such as Black tip Reef Sharks and it was so special to get that close and personal with them. We also helped to clean up the reef around the island and educate tourists who visited Turtle Bay. Snorkeling/scuba diving in those waters was just insane and the jungle treks were intense but well worth it. I learnt so much about marine ecosystems and it was so lovely to be surrounded by like minded people who became like a little family to me. The island of Lang Tengah is somewhere I really hope to visit again - I honestly don't think I've ever been to anywhere more beautiful.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Get involved with as much as you can and bring PLENTY of insect repellent!
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Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteer Research Project with Sea Turtles in Malaysia

LTTW is a fantastic organistion on the east coast of Malaysia doing some incredible work to help conserve the green and hawksbill turtle populations found there. They have several projects on the go, and I was based on Lang Tengah Island for 1 month with a group of fantastic humans.

If you like learning things and doing things, this is definitley a project to join. The main focus is on night patrols along nesting beaches to find nesting sea turtle mothers and monitoring the nests while the eggs are incubating. But there is so much more to do. During my time on the island we conducted regular shark surveys, constructed and cleaned coral nurseries, educated visitors and tourists, went on diving fish surveys, snorkeled everyday, went on jungle treks, built a recycling centre, performed reef clean-up dives, removed illegal fish traps from the ocean...

The camp itself is relatively basic, with no running water or electricity, but a fantastic view and living on the beach are definitely better than either of those things. Come along with a sense of adventure and be ready to learn about everything ocean and turtle. You won't regret it.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Very Eco Conscious

Super fun, interactive and educational experience for all ages. I've learnt alot about conservation and all things related from the very knowledgeable crew here at Lang Tengah. The whole set up is very well set up to be eco friendly, with clear policies which put nature and the turtles first. The research projects are meaningful and extremely necessary. The island is beautiful, and the tasks are assigned well with good structure and team work. There is a variety of extra tasks available for those who want to do more for the cause, but the standard list of activities including beach cleans, nest research, patrolling at night under the beautiful stars with likeminded people. Everyone chips in to cook, and we made some surprisingly amazing meals.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Definitely get involved with this project. I stayed for a couple of weeks with my girlfriend and met some incredible people and learnt so much.


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Alumni Interviews

These 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.

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

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

Raphe van Zevenbergen

Job Title
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.

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.