Perhentian Marine Research Station - Conservation in Action

1 to 4 weeks
18 - 100 years
27 travelers are looking at this program

About This Program

Taken over from Blue Temple Conservation, the Perhentian Marine Research Station has been going strong for years. In this project that is based in Kampung Pasir Hantu, volunteers get to do reef cleans ‘diving against debris’, photo identification of sharks, and maintaining a coral nursery. For this course, you can volunteer for a minimum of 1 week if you are PADI certified and 2 weeks if not.

If you have never dived before, you will conduct your PADI at one of the local shops before starting your volunteering experience. Kindly specify if you wish to join the diving course or not.

With Course
2 weeks-$1,651
3 weeks-$2,088
4 weeks-$2,421

Without Course
1 week-$922
2 weeks-$1,359
3 weeks-$1,797
4 weeks-$2,141


  • Help us to establish a new shark ID database for the marine parks.
  • Help preserve countless species on the number one island location in Malaysia.
  • Volunteers get to learn the Marine Park-tested method of protecting and rehabilitating the coral reefs.
  • Discover and understand the local culture of Malaysia.

Week 0 – Dive Course

Unqualified divers arrive Monday and complete dive course including 1 extra buoyancy dive and 1 fun dive.

Weeks 1 onwards – Research Training and Survey Weeks

Qualified divers arrive on Monday.
2 coral nursery dives
2 turtle photo ID dives
2 shark photo ID dives
2 other dives – depending on what needs doing at the time; could be reef clean ups, bouyline maintenance, clearing fish traps or deploying more coral nurseries.
2 beach clean ups with local dive centres

Free day, this is your day to just do nothing or you could do more diving! It's up to you.

Coral Rehabilitation Method

You will learn the Marine Park-tested method of protecting and rehabilitating the coral reefs. This technique includes attaching coral to a PVC frame; allowing the coral fragment to grow making a new reef. The growth of rehabilitated fragments is 400 times faster than established colonies, providing a new home for fish colonies, and making the ocean even more beautiful!

Photo ID

Contribute to our ever-growing turtle photo ID database, and establish a new shark and seahorse photo ID database for the marine parks.This data will be used to improve the management of the marine park and is a cheap and effective way to identify individual animals through their unique patterns. As well as a great excuse to look out for amazing marine creatures during your dives!


If you aren’t dive qualified you soon will be! We utilise the dive schools on the island to train up our divers. By using the established dive centres to run our courses we build stronger bonds with the wider island community and help share the wealth! Through one of these excellent dive schools, volunteers need a week to learn all they need to know to become an open-water and/or advanced open-water diver.

Research Skills

Those who can already dive will know that diving is all about buoyancy; all divers strive for perfect trim in the water, and even expert divers are constantly looking for ways to perfect their buoyancy. Conducting research dives is a great way to raise your buoyancy game! You will learn how to reel out and tuck transect tapes whilst minimising damage to the reef, film the transects, and analyse the data.

What's Included
More info on what's included:

Marine park fee
Return Ferry from Kuala Besut to Perhentian Islands

What's Not Included
Domestic Airfare
Airport Transfers
SIM cards
Travel Insurance

Breakfast tends to be simple; for instance bread with peanut butter or jam, banana cake, and coffee, or tea. For those feeling like they want to experience a more traditional Malay breakfast, you are more than welcome to venture into the village, 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 not home, 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. In addition to the self prepared dinners, once a week volunteers dine with local families in their home, experiencing true, authentic Malay dishes and customs.

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 and living in the village is a fantastic way for volunteers to experience local traditions, cuisine, and culture.

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!)



2 Weeks
$1651 USD
3 Weeks
$2088 USD
4 Weeks
$2421 USD


Perhentian Islands
Malaysian Ringgit
90 F / 61 F
90 F / 66 F
86 F / 66 F
86 F / 63 F
Sultan Mahmud Airport
( TGG )

The Perhentian Islands are a group of islands off of the coast of Malaysia that are surrounded by coral reefs. The 2 islands have different vibes with the Big island catering more towards families and cheaper travels. The island activities typically center around the water and coral reef conservation and research.

Hosted by Fuze Ecoteer Outdoor Adventures

Fuze Ecoteer Outdoor Adventures is a travel company with a bite. Let us connect you to nature! Our team members are all experienced & passionate people who love adventure and sharing their knowledge. Our business model utilizes revenue generated from voluntourism to establish self-sustaining conservation & community projects. The projects...

Liyana - Fuze
Volunteer Liaison Officer
Have a question?
Send Liyana a Message


based on 7 reviews
  • Impact 9.3
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Value 9.7
  • Safety 10
Showing 1 - 7 of 7
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
Getting more volunteers :)
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

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!).

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

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!!!

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

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!


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