FAQs Malaysia Marine Conservation

Malaysia Marine Conservation FAQs

The Perhentian Islands have two distinct seasons. Dry season and rainy season. The dry season last from March to November. So as the project only takes volunteers from April to September you don't have to worry about rainy season. From April to September the minimum temperature on average is 23°C and the maximum average temperature is around 32°C. On average the temperatures tend to be more towards the high average. The warmest month is May. July is the most popular month on the islands. If you are wanting to travel in July, plan your trip in advance as it is the high season.
Volunteers at the project work Monday - Saturday with Sundays free to relax or enjoy some other activities on the island.
You need to be able to speak English, as this is the common language at the centre. Travelling in Malaysia is easy as English is widely spoken. Despite that, learning a few words of Bahasa Malaysia is appreciated and a great way to make friends with locals.
The majority of volunteers are from the UK, United States, Canada and Australia. We also place volunteers from Holland, Germany, Ireland, Japan and New Zealand although all nationalities are welcome. The majority of volunteers travel alone to the projects, although we also accommodate couples and groups.
The centre has no wifi available, but trips are regularly made to places where the 3g signal is good enough for internet use. You are welcome to bring a laptop or other internet enabled mobile device. Many smart phones can get very slow internet at camp. Phone signal coverage is patchy but skype and calls can be made using local sim cards can be bought at minimal cost.
Volunteers at the project spend their time at the volunteer house in a local village. Volunteers stay in shared dorms, with shared bathrooms. Mosquito nets are provided. The is also access to WiFi in the house.
3 meals daily are provided at the accommodation. The food are simple dishes. Vegetarians, vegans & allergies can be catered for. Please let us know if any dietary requirements in advance. There are also several food stalls in the village for those wishing to try some local dishes.
Alcoholic drinks are strictly prohibited in the village where the project is. However, there are some other beaches where alcoholic drinks are available that volunteers can visit. Volunteers are only permitted to drink if they are not on duty the next day. Smoking is permitted at the project but we ask that you dispose of cigarette butts responsibly, and not litter the beach or ocean further.
The currency in Malaysian is the Malaysian Ringgit. There are no ATMs available on the island, so volunteers must make sure they take enough cash with them to the island. 100RMB of spending money is recommended per week and 100RMB per leisure dive for divers. The majority of places on the island only accept cash.
Malaysia is a relatively safe and a peaceful place to visit. However, volunteers should be aware that unfortunate events do happen. Common sense and knowledge on safety is essential such as locking your rooms when you leave, not wearing expensive jewelleries which could draw the wrong attention, keep your important belongings in a safe box, be cautious while travelling alone at night or when talking to strangers, etc. For more information, visit our International Travel Advice Page
We recommend that you let your health professional know that you will be volunteering at a marine project and discuss the various vaccination options. Volunteers at this project require the follwoing injections; Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid, MMR & Tetanus/Diphteria. For more information, visit our International Travel Advice Page
Yes, volunteers at this project are required to have travel insurance. Finding the right insurance to cover your travels can be daunting, confusing and time-consuming, however – travel insurance is a must. You never know what could happen, and if you are unlucky enough to get ill or find yourself in a sticky situation, being uninsured can be really expensive and downright dangerous. This is why we strongly recommend that all our volunteers take out suitable travel insurance. We also recommend that your purchase your insurance and soon as you book your trip to cover you for all up-front costs in the event of cancellation due to any unforeseen circumstances. Globalteer has formed a partnership with a leading travel insurance provider to help you through this process.
Please visit our page about visas for information about entry visas.
The project is located in a Muslim village so volunteers must dress and behave appropriately. Shoulders & cleavage should be covers, and shorts/skirts should cover the knees. When swimming at the village beach, volunteers should also be covered up, and dress in dark attire (as light clothing becomes see-though when wet). The are other beaches on the island not near the village, where volunteers can dress more freely when they visit.
Malaysia is a multicultural nation, where Malays, Chinese and Indians have lived together for generations. In addition, the Sabah region has a myriad of ethnic groups, all with their own cultural heritage. One of the minority groups of Sabah are the ‘Bajau’, also known as ‘Sea Gypsies’, who are traditionally nomadic and responsible for the majority of the blast fishing that has devastated the reefs. The village the project is located in is Muslim, so volunteers must dress and behave accordingly. Shoudlers & clevage should be covered, ans short/skirts should cover the knees. Alcohol & prok are also strcitly prohibited in the village. Some customs worth remembering for greetings are that it is impolite for a Malay man to shake a woman’s hand, so instead he may bow while placing his hand on his heart. Women do shake hands with each other. The Chinese handshake is light and rather prolonged. Men and women may shake hands, although the woman must extend her hand first, and many older Chinese lower their eyes during the handshake as a sign of respect. Indians shake hands with members of the same sex, but when greeting someone of the opposite sex, nodding the head and smiling is usually adequate.
If you aren't a qualified diver, you can learn to dive at the project. There are dive schools on the islands so you can become an open-water and/or advanced open-water diver.

If you are not qualified, you need to select the dive course add on when booking. By doing this course you will get your PADI open water certification. The first week will be the dive course, then volunteer duties will commence from the 2nd week. Therefore if you are unqualified when starting the project, you will need to do a minimum of 2 weeks.

Yes, on arrival you will receive orientation from the project coordinator, giving local information and advise. Training will be given to ensure you achieve the project objectives. You will continually be learning from the professional staff.
You will be transported from Kuala Besut jetty to the Perhentian Island. Volunteers need to fly into Kota Bharu (KBR) Airport and make their way to the jetty. A taxi from the airport to the jetty can be arrange for an additional fee. Volunteers can also get an overnight bus from Kuala Lumpaur to Kuala Besut Bus Station (a 5 minute walk from the jetty). The bus journey takes around 8-10 hours.
Globalteer is fully committed to ensuring that your volunteer placement is responsible. More information can be found on our Responsible Volunteering Page.
As a UK registered Charity, Globalteer is financially transparent, our accounts are independently audited and posted online. You can read a full report on where your money goes here.
We understand what motivates volunteers and what makes a memorable volunteer experience. We have been placing volunteers at our projects since 2006 and have built up a wealth of knowledge in those years about what makes volunteering rewarding for volunteers as well as impactful for the fantastic projects we work with. You can read here why we think you should choose Globalteer.