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Malaysia Tiger and Turtle Experience

Taman Negara and Perhentian Islands, West Malaysia
from £455 (1 week)

Ref: AV108

A once in a lifetime 3 week Malaysia experience - the first week spent trekking and exploring the wildlife corridor between Taman Negara and the main moutain range in West Malaysia to help conserve the majetstic and endangered Tiger followed by a further 2 weeks on the stunning Perhentian Islands protecting the sea turtles whilst snorkling and enjoying the beautiful beaches.  Volunteers who join this project will not only experience the best parts of these amazing desintations but also learn about and help the animals and people that make these places so special. This is a must do volunteer opportunity for any nature lover visiting Malaysia.

Who can join: 16 years and over
Accommodation: shared dorm rooms
Transfer time: approx 4 hours
Pick up Point: Merapoh and Kuala Besut Jetty
Meals: included as detailed
Volunteer numbers: approx 6 - 10 volunteers

Duration & Fees

1 week£455

1 week Tiger Only

2 weeks£595

Turtle Only

3 weeks£755

Turtle Only

4 weeks£875

Turtle Only

3 weeks£895

1 week Tiger/2 weeks Turtle

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Please note: The currency conversion is an estimate based on today's exchange rates and is to be used as a guide only. All payments to Amanzi Travel have to be made in Pounds Sterling (GBP)

Start Dates

Tiger and Turtle Conservation Experience (3 or 4 weeks)

Volunteers can on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month from February - November. The departure day is a Saturday (if you are only joining the Tiger project) If you are also joining the Turtle project you departure day is a Sunday.

Turtle Conservation Experience (2, 3 or 4 weeks)

Volunteers can join on Mondays from the start of April to the end of October. The departure day is a Sunday

Payment

£180 deposit at time of booking – balance payment of project fee due 12 weeks before departure

What's Included

  • Orientation and support from the project staff
  • Accommodation and meals as detailed
  • Transfer between Taman Negara, Merapoh and Kuala Besut if joining the joint Tiger and Turtle project
  • Half day limestone caving trip if joining the joint project
  • Return ferry to the Perhentian Islands
  • Snorkel tour and snorkle gear

What's not included

  • Return flights to Kuala Lumpur International Airport and bus ride to and from Merapoh or flight to Kuala Besut Jetty
  • Travel insurance to include cover for repatriation
  • Visas if required
  • Use of internet and telephone
  • Soft drinks, alchol and snacks
  • Extra activities booked outside of the volunteer planned activities
  • Help conservation efforts to reduce poaching of wild tigers and prey species near the borders of Western Taman Negara
  • Collect turtle eggs for protection and educate tourists about turtles and the importance of their conservation on the Perhentian Islands
  • Join a groundbreaking scientific study which involves tourists and villagers to help collect data on the sea turtle population on the Island
  • Visit the two most popular natural tourist destinations in West Malaysia - Taman Negara and the Perhentian Islands
  • Make new friends and enjoy the beauty of the Malaysian rainforest and tropical Islands with them. 

Malaysia is blessed with a high biodiversity in both land and sea. The most famous and charismatic animals in Malaysia being the Tiger on the land and the Turtle in the sea. Unfortunately both of these animals are under severe threat – did you know that only 250-340 Malayan Tigers are left in the wild and that 2 out of 4 sea turtle species are effectively locally extinct in Malaysia (the Leatherback and the Olive Ridley Turtle). This is why you should join this project and volunteer with Tigers and Turtles, helping both of these amazing creatures whilst visiting the two most popular destinations in Malaysia – Taman Negara and Perhentian Islands.

NOTE: We would recommend that volunteers join the combined Tigers and Turtle Conservation Project (miniumum 3 weeks) to get the most out of their Malaysia volunteer experience however if volunteers would prefer and only have 2 weeks available to them, they can just join the Turtle conservation project on the Perhentian Islands. 

Week 1 – Volunteer with Tigers

On this project you are supporting the efforts of the MYCAT programme CAT Walks – Citizen Action for Tigers. You will join the team on the border of Taman Negara with the aim to reduce human impacts in the wildlife corridor between the Taman Negara National Park and the main mountain range in West Malaysia (this is where poaching is at its most dense). The corridor is the last rainforest connection between Taman Negara and the main mountain range and is currently used by wild animals like a highway. Without the wildlife corridor connection the populations of Tigers, Elephants, Sun Bear’s and Leopards would be doomed. By jungle trekking in this area of lush tropical rainforest your presence will act as a deterrent to poachers whilst collecting vital data on animal tracks and signs.

As well as the jungle trekking you will visit the local limestone caves with the Save the Caves of Merapoh Team and a local indigenous tribal village, the Batek, where you will learn about their lifestyle and host a Conservation English session for their children. The inclusion of the local people is vital to the conservation of these wildlife corridors as the local people are the eyes and ears of the forest. The programme tries to not only benefit the local tribe via the English lessons but also financially. You will join the Batek on foraging walks with the ladies and also camping overnight in the their home, the rainforest - an experience not to be missed!

During Week 1 you will be doing the following:  

  • Jungle walks and learning how to spot wildlife tracks and signs as well as animal traps
  • Learn all about tigers, their habitat as well as other local wildlife and the importance of preserving the wildlife corridor
  • Visit the Batek tribe and learn about their lifestyle living harmoniously with the jungle
  • Host a Conservation English session for the children of the Batek tribe

Week 2 and 3 - Volunteer with Turtles


Your adventure now slows down a pace and heads to the beautiful paradise islands of the Perhentian Islands where you will volunteer with turtles.  A very popular tourist destination, the Perhentian Islands, which have some of Malaysia's most beautiful beaches, are also home to a significant population of Green Sea Turtles. During this time you will get involved in vital sea turtle photo identification research as well as guarding turtle nesting beaches at night. Believe it or not, there has been very little population studies on green sea Turtles in the islands. You will join the efforts to be the first to develop a population consensus of sea turtles in the islands – males, females and juveniles.

You will first learn about and then conduct photo Identification of green turtles around the islands each day. You will also help to train local snorkel guides and tourists as well. Volunteers days are spent swimming in turquoise waters, taking photos of sea turtles and experiencing all the other amazing marine life - what could be better!

At night, on a rota system, you will visit turtle nesting beaches in the islands and help inform the Fisheries staff when a turtle nests on the beach, preventing poachers from stealing the eggs.

By day you will help our researchers to collect scientific data by literally snorkelling and snapping photos of turtles. The photos and other information gathered will be used to identify individual turtle’s and their movements around the islands which will help decision makers to develop a sea turtle management plan for the islands.

Each turtle can be identified by the scutes (scales) on the flippers and the side of the green turtles face which are unique to each individual.  Using software developed by Cambridge University the project is then able to identify each photo of a turlte against a database of previously identified individuals.  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. 

By night you will help guard turtle nesting beaches where unfortunately poachers still occasionally collect eggs from the beaches. 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.

And of course, there will be time off to enjoy these beautiful, paradise islands. 

During Weeks 2 and 3 you will be doing the following:  

  • Turtle night beach patrol 
  • Turtle photo identification research
  • Snorkeling and exploring the marine life
  • Educate tourists and local village boatmen on the importance of turtle conservation

If you are looking to do a meaningful conservation project in a paradise beach location then this project is for you. 

Itinerary for 3 week combined tiger and turtle project (guide only)

Minimum duration is 3 weeks (can add extra weeks of Tiger or Turtle Conservation).  Volunteers can also choose to start at Kuala Besut and just join the Turtle Conservation Project on the Perhentian Islands for between 2 and 4 weeks. 

Monday Arrival Day, Briefing and Introduction to animals tracks
Tuesday Jungle Walk - 6 hours
Wednesday Jungle Walk - 6 hours
Thursday AM - preperation Conservation English Session  
PM - Caving Session
Friday Visit Batek Village - 3 hour Conservation English   
Session and experiencing the Batek way of life
Saturday Jungle Walk - 6 hours
Sunday Jungle Walk and check on camera traps
Monday Early morning departure from Kuala Besut, have lunch in Kuala Besut before taking a 30 minute speed boat to the Perhentian Islands. Programme Briefing and meet other volunteers
Tuesday - Saturday Rota to guard turtle nesting beach at night, each day collect photos of sea turtles to build the photo ID database, lots of time to relax and enjoy the beach or you can complete one of the mini projects eg developing jewellery using sea glass!
Sunday A sad farewell ...

 

Who can join: 

Individuals, couples and friends who are 16 years of age and over.  Anyone under 18 years of age will need to provide a consent form signed by their parent or guardian.  Families can also join this project with children over the age of 15 year old. 

Getting There

Volunteers joining the 3 or 4 week Tigers and Turtle Experience
Volunteers need to arrange to travel to Merapoh on their start date where they will picked up by a member of staff and taken to the project base. Volunteers need to fly into Kuala Lumpur International Airport and full details of how to get to Merapoh from this Airport will be provided in your pre-departure pack which is sent to volunteers upon booking.  In summary volunteers need to travel to Hentian Putra Bus Station in Kuala Lumpur and take a 4 hour bus journey to Merapoh. 

Transfers between Merapoh and Perhentian Islands are included

Volunteers will be taken back to Kuala Besut Jetty and again full details of the options to return to Kuala Lumpur Airport will be provided in your pre-departure pack. 

Volunteers only joing the Turtle Conservation Project 
Volunteers need to arrange to travel to Kuala Besut Jetty (the jetty that provides the boat service to the Perhentian Island) on their start date by 10am where they will met by a project representative and take the boat across to the Island.  When they arrive on the Island it is a 10 minute walk to the volunteer house.   Volunteers need to fly into Kuala Lumpur International Airport and full details of how to get to Kuala Besut Jetty from this Airport will be provided in your pre-departure pack which is sent to volunteers upon booking.  There are two options - short flight and taxi or a bus service. 

Support and Orientation

Support and advice is available from Amanzi Travel office staff and project/trip leaders. Upon booking, you will receive a comprehensive pre-departure pack that provides all the details you will need to prepare for your trip to Africa.  This document includes information on accommodation, staff, visas, optional activities, packing checklist and medical advice and if you have any questions that are not answered in the pack we are always on hand to help and advise. We will do all we can to ensure that you are well prepared and looking forward to your trip to Africa. You will also receive an in country orientation on arrival.

A 24 hours a day, 7 days a week emergency contact number is provided for everyone who travels with us.

Amanzi Travel holds an ATOL licence (9401) and is able to arrange your flights on request giving you financial protection for your flight and trip costs. We also offer advice on personal travel insurance for your trip.

Taman Negara and Perhentian Islands, West Malaysia, Malaysia Tiger and Turtle ExperienceTaman Negara and Perhentian Islands, West Malaysia, Malaysia Tiger and Turtle ExperienceTaman Negara and Perhentian Islands, West Malaysia, Malaysia Tiger and Turtle ExperienceTaman Negara and Perhentian Islands, West Malaysia, Malaysia Tiger and Turtle ExperienceTaman Negara and Perhentian Islands, West Malaysia, Malaysia Tiger and Turtle Experience

Accommodation

Tigers
Volunteers stay in a basic but comfortable shared dormitory style accommodation with 10 beds downstairs for men and 6 beds upstairs for women.  Their are also shared bathrooms facilitites with western style toilets and a kitchen area to prepare food.  There is limited/slow wi-fi whilst on this part of the project. 

Turtles
Volunteers stay in a traditional Malaysian wooden building on the Perhentian Islands. The house has a mixed dormitory which is where you will be sleeping. You will be sharing a western style toilet and showering facilities. The house and annex are beautiful and located in a semi private spot just a 2 minute walk around from Coral View Resort and many dive centres and restaurants.

When volunteer 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.

There is no internet access and limited telephone reception at the Merapoh.  There is limited internet access and telephone reception at Perhentian Island

Meals

Meals are included in your project fee.

Tigers
Breakfast is either at the volunteer accommodation or at a local restaaurant. 
Lunch is taken out with you from the volunteer house and is normally things like rice, chicken and vegetables
For dinner voulunteers are given a budget to eat out at the local restaruants or eat together in the volunteer house.

Turtles
Breakfast is at the volunteer accommodation 
Lunch is provided by project staff
Dinner is provided and the team all cook together  

Click here to view the full interactive mapMalaysia

Malaysia

Malaysia is a bubbling, bustling melting-pot of races and religions where Malays, Indians, Chinese and many other ethnic groups live together in peace and harmony. The multiculturalism has made Malaysia a gastronomical paradise and home to hundreds of colourful festivals. As a people, Malaysians are very relaxed, warm and friendly.

Geographically, Malaysia is almost as diverse as its culture. 11 states and 2 federal territories (Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya) form Peninsular Malaysia which is separated by the South China Sea from East Malaysia which includes the 2 states (Sabah and Sarawak on the island of Borneo) and a third federal territory, the island of Labuan.

One of Malaysia's key attractions is its extreme contrasts which further add to this theme of ‘diversity’. Towering skyscrapers look down upon wooden houses built on stilts while five-star hotels sit just metres away from ancient reefs.

Rugged mountains reach dramatically for the sky while their rainforest-clad slopes sweep down to floodplains teeming with forest life. Cool highland hideaways roll down to warm, sandy beaches and rich, humid mangroves.

Malaysia is one of the region's key tourist destinations, offering excellent beaches and brilliant scenery.

People & Language

Malays comprise 57% of the population, while the Chinese, Indian and Bumiputeras and other races make up the rest of the country's population.

While Malay is the national language the many ethnic groups also converse in their various languages and dialects, but English is also widely spoken.

Islam is the official religion of the country, but other religions such as Buddhism and Christianity are widely and freely practised. 

Weather

The country experiences tropical weather year-round. Temperatures range from 21ºC (70ºF) to 32ºC (90ºF).

Higher elevations are much colder with temperatures between 15°C (59°F) to 25°C (77°F).

Annual rainfall varies from 2,000mm to 2,500mm. However, the wettest parts of Malaysia could well be the hill slopes of Sarawak’s inland areas, which receive a mean annual rainfall exceeding 5,000mm.

Facts

Area 329,758 square km
Population 29.95 million
Capital city Kuala Lumpur
Time Eight hours ahead of GMT and 16 hours ahead of U.S Standard Time.
Currency The monetary unit of the country is Ringgit Malaysia and is written as RM or MYR.
Telephone - +60 to dial

Borneo, Malaysia

Borneo is the third largest island in the world and the largest in Asia, and is characterised by ancient dense tropical jungles, endangered wildlife, world class diving and spectacular mountains. Bordered by the South China Sea to the northwest, the Sulu Sea to the northeast, the Celebes Sea to the east and the Java Sea to the south, the island was once attached to mainland Asia by Jakarta and Sumatra and is now split into the two Malaysian states - of Sabah and Sarawak in the north. The hub of rain forests, wildlife and diverse culture makes it an adventure paradise. Borneo is home to one of the oldest rainforests in the world, parts of which are 140 million years old, and also to 18,000 species of plants and trees and hundreds of species of mammals, birds and fish. The rainforest as one of the few remaining natural habitats of the endangered orang-utang and is also home to one of the world’s four rehabilitation centres in the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve in Sepilok. The rainforest is also a refuge for endemic forest species including the Borneo clouded leopard, the Hose’s civet, the dayak fruit bat, the Asian elephant and the Sumatran rhinoceros. Kota Kinabalu Mountain is the highest peak in Borneo, standing at 4,096 metres and is a ubiquitous symbol of Borneo, with its presence on the flag as well as being its first UNESCO World Heritage Site. The major river systems in Borneo are the Kapuas at 1,143 km, the Mahakam, the Barito and the Rajang and some of the world’s longest underground rivers in impressive cave systems can also be found in Borneo, offering a wealth of exploration.

Borneo Malyais Climate and Weather

SeasonsMaxMin
Summer (March - October) 38 °C 23 °C
Winter (November - February) 28 °C 22 °C

Rainfall: From 301 mm in November to 74 mm in March Rainforest areas have a typically tropical climate and are hot and humid most of the year. Borneo benefits from sunshine all year round with temperatures that range from 25-33 degrees Celsius during the day, and rarely drop below 20 degrees Celsius at night. The exception is in the mountains where the temperature can drop to around 15 degrees Celsius. Most rain falls between November and January during the north-east monsoon, and takes the form usually of short bursts.

Malaysia Tiger and Turtle Experience

We volunteered on the Perhentian Islands 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 the turtles. 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.

Marie, Australia (Malaysia Tiger and Turtle Experience)

Malaysia Tiger and Turtle Experience

Tiger Experience Week - a week I will never forget. 

To start off with, I'd never done anything like this before and didn't really know what I'd got myself in to. I'm 19 so was one of the youngest in the group. My friend and I spent our first few nights in KL, and then met the rest of the group at a bus station to head off on our journey to Merapoh. This took about 5/6 hours, the buses were comfy so it wasn't so bad.

We arrived in Merapoh with all our bags and got picked up by the owners of the chalet. They took us back and we were given a quick tour. It was extremely basic, which at first I thought I was going to absolutely hate. As soon as I got over this, it turned out to be absolutely fine and just what we needed. I was made to feel at home, everyone was so nice and the accommodation did exactly what it needed too.

This is all that was needed, we were living out our backpacks and by the end of all that trekking it was like heaven getting in to bed!

There was a lounge and kitchen area as well where we all could sit in after the treks and chill out for a few hours. We all felt very safe staying there and by the end of the week we didn't want to leave!

We had some lunch and a run through of the week, it was all quite overwhelming at the start because it sounded like a lot to cram in.

We had about 7 volunteers altogether, at the start it was a bit awkward and everyone was quiet but by the end of the week we were such good friends and we were all just having a laugh together. Helping each other out and working together on the treks created a bond almost straight away and I met some of the most amazing people.

Let's move on to the actual trekking itself - we started in the mornings at about 8, and drove to different corridors of the Taman Negara. The treks would include going down poacher trails and looking for any animal evidence (prints etc.). This lasted about 7 hours for 4 of the days of the week, and is definitely not for anyone with a poor fitness level. We had regular breaks and stopped off for lunch. If anyone was finding it difficult the team were there to support them and the MyCat guides were excellent in making sure everyone was alright. I didn't know what to expect and the first trek really brought home to me what the week was going to be like. The terrain was tough and it included things such as walking over logs that had fallen between two banks over a river.

Just a word of warning: Proper walking shoes and at least 2 pairs of trousers are required! I only bought one pair of trousers which were wrecked in the first day, I then had to go out and buy another pair!  

Don't let the long days or tough terrain put you off though, the experience wasn't one to be missed and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was completely different to anything I'd done before and didn't really know what to expect, but it was so much fun.

We spent one night sleeping in the jungle, which was an experience I will never forget. Some of the members of the Batek tribe came and cooked us chicken and rice in bamboo, which was absolutely incredible. We arrived at camp and they had already made themselves a shelter out of leaves and sticks. I felt like I was cheating putting up our tents and hammocks! The nights sleep wasn't one of the best but staying right near a river surrounded by wildlife was an incredible experience and will never be forgotten.

Another day was spent caving. This really helped to break up the week of trekking as it wasn't so physically demanding. We arrived at the site of the cave and were immediately thrown in to the deep end as we had to rock climb up a verge with only a rope behind us. This was completely safe and the leaders of the caving helped us to get up. We then started walking through the cave, which was amazing. We saw all sorts of wildlife, including snakes and scorpions. 

We spent another day going to visit the local Batek tribe. This included another trek, where we went with the women to collect leaves in order to weave baskets. It was amazing watching them work, they were about 70+ and much fitter than us! We then went back to their village and taught them an English lesson in their school. They knew very basic English, but responded to the lesson very well and it was such a rewarding experience.

The food throughout the week could not be faulted. It was mainly Malay style curries. We were given a packed lunch every day, which was rice with a sauce and meat/fish. It was quite mild but so tasty. In the evenings we would go to a local restaurant and eat something of our choice off the menu. Every night I ate well and their portions were definitely generous! Couldn't say a bad word about it.

Some evenings we spent down at a lake, which was really refreshing and fun. We also went out for a Chinese and some beers one night to celebrate, which was amazing.

The trek guides were also brilliant and we had good fun with them. Everyone looked out for each other and we formed a sort of family.

Overall, although daunting at the start the whole experience was incredible. I overcame things I didn't think I would be able to do and a massive thank you to everyone that made it happen. I never expected to meet such great people, we got on so well and by the end of the week we all clicked. It was almost a shame it was over in such a short space of time!

Harriet, UK (Malaysia Tiger and Turtle Experience)

Malaysia Tiger and Turtle Experience

It has been a wonderful experience for me because in Singaport we don't have beautiful beaches that are home to such exotic and interesting marine wildlife.  Also being in the Perhentian has taught me so much about the turtles, has let me actually experience something out of my comfort zone, doing turtle watches, watching the hatching process, learing about corals and marine ecosytem at Perhentian.  These are things that we do not learn in school so it was very refreshing for me.  I made many new friends and it has given me an experience that I will not forget. 

Alison, Singapore (Malaysia Tiger and Turtle Experience)

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