PADI Conservation Diving (Discounted: LOCAL volunteer, beginner)

Perhentian Islands Terengganu Malaysia

Biodiversity Business
  • Email address verified
3 reviews
Duration: 14 days
Group size: 1 - 12
PADI Conservation Diving (Discounted: LOCAL volunteer, beginner)
Perhentian Islands Terengganu Malaysia

Biodiversity Business
  • Email address verified
3 reviews

Duration: 14 days
Group size: 1 - 12

About this trip


QUALIFIED DIVERS: minimum stay 1 week

BEGINNERS: minimum stay 2 weeks (includes PADI Dive course first week)

Come and experience the beauty of the Perhentian Islands while learning about marine conservation with PADI. The Perhentian Marine Research Station works  in partnership with Reef Check Malaysia and the national Marine Parks Department. It offers a PADI conservation diving course for beginners. Once you complete the course, you can join the dive team and take part in various conservation activities, including coral reef restoration and seagrass surveys.  

Whether you're a beginner or a qualified diver, you can become a PADI conservation diving volunteer and participate in hands-on activities such as surveying and mapping local seagrass, which serves as a vital feeding ground for sea turtles. You can also help in developing artificial coral reefs and researching their effectiveness as fish habitats. The project team collaborates with University Malaysia Terengganu and Plymouth University to shape decisions about the protection of coral reefs and seagrass beds in the park.  

In addition to contributing to marine conservation efforts, you'll also get to immerse yourself in the local culture of the village you're based in. You can even take part in local community work, such as Eco Snorkel guide training, beach cleanups, buoy line maintenance, recycling, and other activities.

Program Highlights

Project Aim

The Perhentian Marine Research Station (PMRS) began operations in February 2017. Its aim is to evaluate the effect of divers on coral reefs and to promote the conservation of the reefs. PMRS also works on waste management in the islands. The station provides opportunities for international and local volunteers to participate in conservation projects by making a financial contribution towards project costs. Practically, volunteers contribute valuable data for coastal zone management without the project requiring any other external resources.

Program of activities*

The project focuses on two main activities, Seagrass Surveys and Mapping, and Assessment of the Artificial Reef. Seagrass beds serve as vital feeding grounds for sea turtles, and research has shown that migrating turtles use them, but nesting turtles do not. Therefore, the project aims to map these seagrass beds to study them further. As a volunteer, you will help conduct dive surveys to identify the seagrass beds, map them using GPS, and determine their percentage of cover and condition. You will also study the epiphytes that live on the seagrass.  

 In addition, the project aims to reduce pressure on natural reefs by creating new fishing grounds for local villagers through the use of artificial reef structures. Volunteers will assist in snorkel surveys to count fish and establish the Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) for these artificial reefs.  

 Finally, the project is also collecting information on sea temperature and water factors, such as quality, turbidity, and salinity, to better understand the impacts on the local marine environment. As a volunteer, you may have the opportunity to assist in collecting this data.

Our PADI dive courses are perfect for both novice and experienced divers. Our local dive school partners specialize in providing full support for your diving needs, including upgrading your skills. If you prefer to complete the PADI Open Water course before your travels, that option is available too. We offer Advanced and Rescue Diving courses as well. 

 For beginner divers, week 1 is dedicated to getting your diving certification. Meanwhile, experienced divers will receive training in research surveys. 

Volunteers have the opportunity to go on 1 or 2 dives per day, either in the morning or afternoon, with the latter reserved for data input or analysis, or more diving, if desired. Following that, the next weeks will focus on marine surveys. 

We also conduct reef and beach cleanups once a week in collaboration with local dive shops, other conservation projects, local authorities, and various conservation organizations. We properly sort the collected rubbish on the ground, with plastics being stored for upcycling using our on-site plastic recycling machine.  Moreover, staying in the local village will give you a better understanding of the local culture. You may also get involved in local community work, such as Eco Snorkel guide training, buoy line maintenance, recycling, and other activities.

What’s included

  • Project activities
    Marine conservation tasks: Seagrass monitoring and mapping, Coral reef surveys and restoration, Beach Clean Up, Dinner with local Malay family, Awareness Talks and Educational projects
  • All meals
    The volunteer is provided with all daily meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. The food in Perhentian consists of simple Malaysian dishes mixed with some Malaysian styled western foods.
  • Transfer to project
    The volunteer fee includes return boat transfer from and to Kuala Besut, but not the marine park fees.
  • Dormitory accommodation
    Male and Female dormitory with basic fan and shared bathroom. Private room available upon request.

What’s not included

  • Marine Park fee
    Government Entry fee to the Perhentian Marine Park
  • Transport
    Any transport to and from Kuala Besut should be arranged by the volunteer

Available Packages

Trip Price
Available until 7 days before departure

Perhentian Conservation Diving, 2 weeks incl. PADI beginner course, accommodation, food and volunteer activities


Available options

Your Organizer

Biodiversity Business
3 reviews
Biodiversity Business is a non-profit company that promotes conservation tourism through responsible wildlife holidays and volunteering. Our Mission is to help save endangered animals and their habitats. 'Malaysian Wildlife' is our program for volunteering and internships. You can view all our ethical wildlife experiences on


This is a life changing experience. The people who work at Batu Kapal are some of the nicest, kindest people I have ever met. Without getting too mystical, there is a purity here that is sadly missing in the Western world. Although diving in headlong to every activity can be tough it is so worth it - not just the opportunity to see orangutan, macaque, langurs, butterflies, birds, lizards etc but also the sense of community that is gained from working hard towards a common goal. I am 57 and managed! You will feel incredibly sweaty, hot, bitten and tired but you will also feel fulfilled, lucky, wondrous and joyful all at the same time. Book it now or at least donate to help buy the 5 missing hectares that will create a land corridor to the National Park and keep the orangutan here.
By Fern C for Sumatra Wildlife Volunteer on Mar 14, 2024
Dear Fern, Thanks so much for this glowing review. We are so happy that you found your volunteering visit to Batu Kapal so inspiring. You are right that this place is worth saving, not just because of the unique animals but also the amazing people in the local community. We will continue our efforts to help them protect the national park and the surrounding wildlife corridors!
By Biodiversity Business on Mar 14, 2024
This experience was overall more than I could’ve ever expected it to be. I volunteered with Batu Kapal as a research assistant, and was overjoyed to see orangutans daily and be welcomed by such a wonderful community of people. I will hopefully be back one day, living in the jungle was undoubtedly the best thing I have done throughout SE Asia.
By Riley P for Sumatra Orangutan Research Internship on Feb 09, 2024
My trip was amazing!! I learnt a lot about Wildlife. Cikananga center is located in a beautiful area. Everything is well organized. Barbara helped me prepare for it ( visa, vaccinations, transportation...) During my stay, the staff supported me with everything (activities, laundry, food...) The accommodation and facilities were comfortable. Highly recommended!!
By Elodie A for Java Wildlife Rescue - Volunteer on Jan 08, 2024