Volunteer Research Project with Sea Turtles in Malaysia

Video and Photos

Cliff jumping spot
Turtle Bay
Precious hatchling
Turtle Bay, Lang Tengah, Perhentian, Malaysia, Paradise
Turtle Bay, Lang Tengah, Perhentian, Malaysia, Paradise

About

Lang Tengah Turtle Watch is a small-scale conservation organisation, based on a small island off the east coast of peninsular Malaysia, neighboring the world-famous Perhentian Islands. Volunteers join our intimate team living in the rustic jungle camp, nestled behind the coconut-fringed sands of secluded Turtle Bay. We all cook, eat, sleep, work and play together. Participants can expect to engage in activities such as inspections of Sea Turtle nests to assess their health, patrolling and relocation of nests to Turtle Bay by night (divided into shifts between 9pm-6am).

On top of turtles, we have shark monitoring, coral restoration and recycling projects you will get involved with, as well as local community development initiatives.

To unwind, we like nothing better than to throw ourselves off the sea cliffs overlooking Redang island, go on jungle treks, snorkeling trips, kayak around the island, or, if you prefer, snooze to the sound of waves on the serene Turtle Bay.

Questions & Answers

Hello Aidatul, For this program you are required to volunteer and stay on the island for a minimum of 2 weeks. It may seem like a big time commitment but it is very much worth it because of the people you meet, things you see, and memories you take back. You can also find more information about volunteer information, rates, and dates on the Lang Tengah Turtle Watch website: http://www...
Dear Jenna, Thank you for your enquiry. You can find out the available start dates for volunteering on our website under ‘The Project’ section. Unfortunately, we are unable to book flights on your behalf, but when we receive an email enquiry we will send you a project handbook, which will outline the different possible ways to reach the island. We hope that you will be able to join our team soon...
Dear Masrinah, Thank you for your enquiry. You are still able to join our team if you are unable to swim. However, we do have many water-based activities (both for leisure and research), so it would mean that you would miss out on taken part in those. However, there is plenty to do whilst others are out doing these programmes, so if you are happy with this situation and understand that you won't...
Dear Pia, Thank you for your question. The turtle nesting season in Malaysia runs from March to September every year. The eggs take around 2 months (60 days) to incubate, after which they emerge from the nest en masse and head out to the ocean. This means that we have hatchlings emerging at our project site from May until the end of October every year. Of course, however, this is nature and so we...

Reviews

97%
based on 15 reviews
  • Impact 9.3
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 9.6
  • Value 9.3
  • Safety 9
Showing 1 - 15 of 15
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Mollie
10/10
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
Wow WOW WOW!!
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!!
Minnie
9/10
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!
Default avatar
Scott
10/10
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.

Default avatar
John
10/10
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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Hong Yu
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

More of an Experience Than You Are Ready For!

LTTW was my first ever experience as a volunteer in a conservation program and it did not disappoint. It was a great learning experience and I would 10/10 recommend it to anyone. That being said, I believe half of the experience depends on the people you meet throughout your time there. Fortunately for me I was blessed to have 2 camp managers, 2 interns, and 7 other volunteers who were a perfect blend of sporting, capable, responsible and fun. I hope that whoever decides to partake in this program has just as much luck when it comes to meeting people as I did.

Side note: While it is not a must, it makes for a better experience if you are a strong/capable swimmer and are reasonably fit. Seeing as to how you will have to do a little trekking every night and you are on a small island surrounded by crystal clear water.

Finally,
What I expected from the program:
1. Learn about turtles and the conservation efforts involving turtles

What I got out of it:
1. Learned about turtles and the conservation efforts involving turtles
2. Experienced being vegetarian for 2 weeks straight
3. Learned to cook
4. Make DIY stuff
5. Saw shooting stars
6. Swam with sharks
7. Night snorkeling
8. Learned about other turtle conservation efforts across the globe
9. Learned about sharks, crown of thorns, corals, etc
10. Dove to clean coral nurseries
Trust me, the list goes on.........

Everyones experience will be different. So go for it and have fun!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
1. Practice snorkeling & swimming
2. Bring mosquito repellent (LOTS OF IT)
3. Be of reasonable fitness
4. Learn to dive before hand (you can also learn to dive there)
5. Prepare yourself for a very simple lifestyle
Default avatar
Jordan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Turtle fun

I came to this project in 2018 looking for more experience as a young conservationist. In my first few days on the island I fell in love with this project.

Based on turtle bay, Lang Tengah Island we spent our time in the jungle camp. With all the basic things we need it gives a real sense of simplicity.

Everyday was different with the perfect mix education and fun. We learnt about so many aspects of marine conservation. Of course focused on turtles but also learning about corals, sharks, marine pollution and a large variety of other environmental concerns.

You spend the evenings patrolling the beaches for turtles and you will never forget the first time you see a nesting mother.

As well as all the conservation work there is plenty of time for lots of fun on this island paradise.

Darshini
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Rustic yet satisfying! ;)

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

WOW WOW

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

Must go experience in a beautiful place!

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

Everyone is jealous

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

Unique experience living simply on a beautiful island

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!

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PS
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Conservation holiday in paradise island!!

I was a volunteer with LTTW from June - July 2016, and I had the best time of my life there, meeting amazing people and contributing to the course of conservation. It is evident that the director and staffs at LTTW had worked remarkably hard to make this project a huge success today.

LTTW camp is set-up amidst a lush coastal vegetation, surrounded by myriad of local wildlife. Bucket showers, open-air sleeping hut, camp fires.... we recycle all rubbish and compost our food scraps to reduce environmental stress. As volunteers, we worked together to run the rustic jungle camp, rotating our duties and ensuring that everything was in place. We fell asleep under the starry sky to the melodies of nature, and awaken to the gentle sound of waves.

The main duty of volunteers is to assist in conservation work. In the morning, we conduct scheduled nest checks and post-hatch inspection. At night, we patrol the beaches in shifts from 9pm - 6am in the morning, looking for nesting turtles and relocating the nests to safety. It was a truly miraculous experience to be able to witness the whole nesting process; and the sight of baby turtles scurrying back to sea was almost spiritual that it brought tears to my eye.

During the day, we spent our time cliff jumping, jungle trekking, and snorkelling among the magnificent tropical reefs in the pristine, turquoise water of South China Sea. It is totally fine if you are not a good swimmer, as there is always an option of chilling by the beach, enjoying the sea breeze while taking in the marvelous view of the island.

One thing that I treasure the most was the simple, yet sincere friendship forged with fellow volunteers and island locals. We were always looking out for each other, being there for our friends in times of need.

All the unique encounters and unforgettable experience weaved into a fabric of wonderful memories that I will carry throughout my life. It was so difficult to leave!!

If you are a nature enthusiast, fancy of meeting new people and interested to contribute to the course of conservation, this project is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for you!!

Matthew
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My experience at LTTW from a first time volunteer's point of view

I heard about LTTW from a friend and at that point of time I was looking for an experience traveling abroad alone for a first time with a budget of about Rm 2500. I've heard about great experiences from my friend and decided to check LTTW out. I was pleased to find out that cost for this experience would be very much lower than my initial budget although it isn't an experience abroad.

So off I went for LTTW on a journey to find myself somewhere in September 2016. Boy did I get a handful of first-time experiences. First time seeing a turtle's egg live, first time cliff jumping, first time traveling on my own, first time seeing a whale shark! As well as my first time getting lost in a jungle alone. This experience has definitely opened my eyes to the severity of turtle egg poaching as well as the pollution that surrounds the declining numbers of sea turtles.

A huge plus point for this experience is that you do not need any prior conservational experience or even experience with turtles to join this program. Everything is taught from scratch and the whole program is open to almost everyone and anyone above the age of 18. This trip definitely taught me a whole lot.

I was given so much exposure with the LTTW experience. Coming out of the program, you would realize how fortunate you are to be a part of a project so much larger than yourself. You meet amazing people and you learn so much. I definitely would recommend first time volunteers to give this experience a try.

Abdul
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best experience of my life

I spent three weeks at the camp, and everyday was packed with activities. I learned a lot about sea turtles and how important it is to conserve them. This will be a great place to learn more about sea turtles because we get to see and learn the conservation process of turtle eggs, hatchlings and adult turtles. The camp is beautiful and well preserved. I met a lot of great people on the island and from all over the world ! It was a truly amazing experience, because not only I learned a lot about sea turtles, but also I acquired some life skills that will definitely help me in the future

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Zaim
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A Great Sense Of Achievement...

As i finished my schooling years in Kuala Lumpur, I wanted to take full advantage of the time i had left before i continued my studies overseas...

At 17 years of age i came across an ad for the Lang Tengah Turtle Watch project and became their youngest volunteer. On first glance, Lang Tengah is a small but beautiful island with cotton white beaches and clear waters as well as accommodating locals.

The camp was small but cozy as well as focused on being environmentally friendly as possible with limited use of electricity and running water. This felt awkward at first but instantly became a cool experience as i achieved the a distinctive feeling of leaving my comfort zone and being one with nature as well as cracking out of my sheltered city life "shell"

The LTTW team achieves their goals through thorough night patrols on the beaches, analysis of tracks and protection of turtle eggs. These task and responsibilities are assigned to volunteers and are sometimes strenuous but at the end becomes very rewarding when you get to experience first hand, a female turtle laying her eggs. The opportunity to witness the miracle of nature...

The Social environment plays a huge part in the project as you get to work and interact with other volunteers of different backgrounds and makes the experience much more enjoyable, making you feel like you're part of a family.

LTTW sticks to a vegetarian cuisine, most of these dishes are delicious and very authentic. Definitely succeeds in living up to the standards of the well known Malaysian taste.

You'll be able to tell that the LTTW project is run by passionate, intelligent, hard working people. Experienced environmentalist who genuinely want to make the world a better place and you'll no doubt feel a sense of accomplishment by being apart of it...

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About 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...