Perhentian Marine Research Station - Conservation in Action

1 to 4 weeks
Min. 18 years
18 travelers saved this program

Video and Photos

About This Program

By joining this program, you will help us conduct tropical coral reef on the beautiful Perhentian islands. Volunteers will get to learn the Transect intercept method, whereby you follow a transect line and record the start and end of a type of substrate – ie corals such as boulder, staghorn etc.

If you have never dived before, you will conduct your PADI at one of the local shops before starting your volunteering experience. The main goal of the project is to map and assess the health of the seagrass beds, coral reefs and other habitats around the islands. Kindly specify if you wish to join the diving course or not.

With Course
2 weeks-$1370
3 weeks-$1763
4 weeks-$2156

Start dates:
8 & 22 April 2019
6 & 20 May 2019
3 & 1 June 2019
1, 15 & 29 July 2019
12 Aug 2019
16 Sept 2019

Without Course
1 week-$715
2 weeks-$1108
3 weeks-$1501
4 weeks-$1894

Start Dates:
15 & 29 April 2019
13& 27 May 2019
10 & 24 June 2019
8 & 22 July 2019
5 Aug 2019
23 Sept 2019


  • Work with researchers, to help collect data on seagrass beds, corals reefs and artificial reefs in the Perhentian Islands
  • Help preserve countless species on the number one island location in Malaysia
  • Discover and understand the local culture of Malaysia
  • Enjoy Fuze Ecoteer lead school expeditions throughout Malaysia

Your project is based at two locations – the village and the Turtle Beach. You will follow a 3 day rota where you swap location.


Morning: Volunteers arrive at Safe Park Holidays office, Kuala Besut jetty. Boat transfer to the Coral View (Pulau Perhentian Besar).
Afternoon: Briefing and orientation: project overview and code of conduct, a tour around the local area and shops and water confidence session (learn the dos and don’ts of snorkeling plus how to wear the life jacket & snorkel gear).
Evening: Dinner, marine presentation & rest.


Morning: Sea turtle photo ID snorkel survey – You would normally kayak over to the desired location for the survey and swim searching for turtles for at least 2 hours.
Afternoon : rest and data analysis, cultural activities such as Learning how to make local snacks.
Evening : Free


Morning: Sleep
Afternoon : Snorkel Photo ID Session at the turtle beach and talk to the tourists that visit the beach. You may also help with hatchery duties.
Evening : Turtle watch on rota


The scutes (scales) on the flippers and the side of a green turtles face are unique to each individual. In collaboration with the Department of Fisheries and Cambridge University, UK, we collect photos of the sea turtles on nesting beaches and at sea whilst snorkelling. With each photo we also collect extra data such as location, time, date, male/female etc. We then use the software developed by Cambridge University to identify each photo against a database of previously identified individuals. If new turtles are discovered then you get to name your new turtle. The information that this research gathers is vital for conservation measures as we will be able to identify population numbers of male and female turtles, identify hotspots where conservation efforts need to be focused and also movement patterns of the turtles. The data will then be used by decision makers to design the Marine Park Zonation Plan.


You will help to collect non-invasive photos of nesting sea turtles at beaches around the Perhentian Islands. The photos that you collect will help our researchers to establish nesting patterns of sea turtles in the Perhentian Islands. Additionally, unfortunately poachers still occasionally collect eggs from the beaches around the islands. The government staff travel around the islands but they are sometimes too late and poachers have already taken the eggs. Your role is to guard the beach and when a turtle comes to nest inform the government official who will then collect the eggs and safely protect them in their official hatchery. We established a similar programme at another turtle nesting beach in the islands and just the presence of people on the beaches often deterred poachers from landing on the beach. The initial project with Bubbles is still ongoing, so your presence will ensure more that 2 turtle nesting beaches are protected in the Perhentian islands.

What's Included
What's Included (Extra)

Marine park fee
Return Ferry from Kuala Besut to Perhentian Islands

What's Not Included
Domestic Airfare
SIM cards
Travel Insurance

You will be staying in a traditional Malay house in the middle of the one and only village on the smaller of the Perhentian Islands – Perhentian Kecil. Your stay in this adorable little village everyone will welcome you with open arms. Here you will have the unique opportunity to experience Malay culture, try the most delicious Malay food, hang out with the ladies and play with the kids (if you want).

When you go to the turtle beach, things get a bit more rustic. What more to wish for than sleeping under the stars with the sound of the ocean in the background. If you don’t want to sleep on the beach itself, you can dream away in a hammock or get comfortable in our beach hut. The beach hut is very simple but sand free and has air mattresses.

Daily meals are provided and allow participants the opportunity to experience Malay culture and cuisine.

Since the Perhentian Marine Research Station has been running we have…
Briefed 4,276 people on eco-snorkelling practices
Surveyed 5,000km of coral reef
Cleaned 57kg of rubbish during reef cleans
Cleared 371 bags of rubbish from our beaches (over 1500kg!)
Started our first coral nursery
Reported 10 illegal activities to make the sea a safer place for the marine life
Trained 80 village snorkel boatsmen in the Green Fins Eco Snorkel Course

Together with our other Perhentian projects, Ecoteer have…
Hosted over 1,200 volunteers
Generated RM 1,500,000 for villagers and local businesses
Raised RM 189k for local transportation

PMRS is constantly looking for ways to move forward; we and the Perhentian Turtle Project helped publish our first paper in 2017* and we’re looking to publish many more in the future. The paper is freely available to view at Herpetological Conservation and Biology Research Journal (we’re very proud so please check it out!)

Hosted by Fuze Ecoteer Outdoor Adventures

Fuze Ecoteer Outdoor Adventures is a travel company with a bite!

Our team are all experienced and passionate, with two of our project staff currently studying for their PhD and a third planning to. Our business model utilizes revenue generated from...

Fuze Ecoteer: Connecting People With Nature
Volunteer Liaison Officer
Have a question?
Send Liyana a Message


2 Weeks
$1370 USD
3 Weeks
$1763 USD
4 Weeks
$2156 USD


based on 7 reviews
  • Impact 9.3
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Value 9.7
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 7 of 7
Default avatar

Amazing house and dive location!

i had an incredible time on the Perhentian Islands last year and the Blue temple house was the perfect base! Located in the local village, the house allows you to interact with the local children and experience the Malay culture! Neil and Sabi are Incredible, going out of their way to show you all the amazing dive sites and island experiences! The House and hosts leave you feeling relaxed and welcome for your entire stay! LOVED every minute of my stay, i'll definitely be back!

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar

A really wonderful diving and Malaysian life experience

I stayed one month volunteering for the Blue Temple Project, allying conservation of the coral reef trough surveys and awareness campaign. It was the best holiday I ever had. A lot better than a simple hotel, I had the opportunity to live in the middle of a Malaysian village, see how they live, learn a bit of their language to communicate with them but also play with very cute kids. I really felt that everything was made for the volunteers the enjoy their stay. Food was very good, the house and the bathroom were clean, the equipment, of a very good quality.
There, the mood was awesome! being with other volunteers from many countries in this amazing "marine conservation mood house" managed by Sabi and Neil, the owners, has been a real pleasure!
I first thought I was going to dive! I quickly realize that there, diving is a unique experience! Diving with Blue Temple is very different from "normal diving" you learn about what's around you, you learn how to recognize the different species of fish, invertebrates and corals which makes things a lot more interesting. Sabi and Neil, the owners, are instructors and you will learn so much diving with them. I felt my skills improving a lot there! Indeed I trained to control my buoyancy in a very precise way. Also, I really enjoyed diving with the same people during a month, you take habits, learn to communicate together, you joke under the water, well... that was really cool, and I miss it!
I couldn't leave the place without thinking I would be back, too hard! I'm still pretty sure I will! So... See you there maybe!

Thanks to Sabi and Neil for this amazing experience!

How can this program be improved?
Getting more volunteers :)
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar

A unique opportunity to engage with the ocean!

I had an incredible experience during my time volunteering at the Perhentian Islands Marine Research Station in Malaysia. A typical day could involve any combination of diving (or learning to dive), underwater surveys, participation in environmental awareness campaigns, beach clean-ups, engaging with the local community and eating delicious local food. The hosts, Neil and Sabina, are amazing teachers when it comes to progressing your diving skills and qualifications. Their passion for the marine environment is infectious and I learnt alot from them during my time on the Perhentian Islands.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar

Fantastic diving and educational experience

I wasn't quite sure what to expect on the Perhentians, but living in the village made it easy to integrate, as well as learn about the local culture. The diving was great. Neil and Sabi are great instructors and provide you with expert tuition on what you need to look for in the reef surveys. Equally as important is their recognition that people want to have fun and the balance for me was perfect.
You will get out of this experience what you put in - the more you get involved the better time you will have!
I'm already planning a return trip (hopefully in 2016!).

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar

Turtle conservation Perhentian Islands

We volunteered on the Perhentian Islands through Ecoteer at Bubbles Dive Centre for 2 weeks. We had a fantastic time and learnt so a lot about the turtles and threats they face. Our day would consist of working in the hatchery and we would work rotating night shift to patrol the beaches. We also assisted with some high school groups from the UK to teach them and involve them in activities.

We got to experience turtles laying eggs, watching for poachers and assisting with tourists who were also on the island who wished to see turtles lay eggs. Releasing the baby turtles was a real highlight.
The team on the island are very passionate about their work and what they are trying to achieve.

The accommodation was good and we were comfortable. There were opportunities to go snorkeling and diving as work permitted and we felt part of the team on the island.

Would recommend it to anyone interested in turtle conservation.

How can this program be improved?
I felt the project was great. Perhaps the only thing that could be changed/improved would the facilities for down time. Maybe a lounge type area/communal area, place to read etc. That would be my only suggestion.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar

Good dives, good people & good moments

I joined this project for one week and this was a great experience for me!!
This project is managed by Neil & Sabina, a couple of diving instructors, in their early ies, very friendly, whole-hearted and fond of diving.
Neil managed to get some funds to start a research project on the diving sites of the Perhentian Islands. These sites are among the best ones in Malaysia where it is usual to watch sharks, turtles, baraccudas, morey eels etc etc.
With the help of Ecoteer, they could get a house in the beautiful muslim village of the small island. That's where I slept with the other diving volunteer.
The day time is shared between diving, eating (lunch at the restaurant, diner at the house or out), resting and doing some activities organised by Ecoteer staff.
Ecoteer is involved in another volunteering project which mainly aimts at teaching some English to the women & children of the village. Part of the activities are shared together wiht the volunteers of both projects: English lesson given to the woman & children, jetty jumping (yeahh), cooking lesson given by the woman of the village, traditional diner at the house of a local village, Malaysian BBQ diner, Malaysian language class etc etc ...
The local people know Ecoteer folks and are very friendly with all the volunteers. The house of Ecoteer are always surrounded with the local kids... very wild and very fun
I had such a great time that I was closed from cancelling the rest of my trip to stay a bit longer!!!

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar

Great diving fun for important marine research

The Perhentian Islands research project is great for those people who love diving/marine conservation and want to to do in a fun, relaxed environment. Fantastic place to learn to dive also (The lead resarchers/instructers are amazing!) Village life is easy going, the locals are friendly and you also have easy access to the resorts to party on days off or relax on the beach.

Come check it out!

Yes, I recommend this program



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