Island Coral Reef Conservation and Diving Project in Borneo

Location: Malaysia: Borneo

Program Duration: 2-4 Weeks, 5-8 Weeks, 9-12 Weeks

Dates: Year Round

The Arches N Campus Incubator Sackville St Manchester, M60 1QD England

Call Us

Phone: 0161 870 6212


Volunteer on a reef conservation and diving project in Borneo, and assist with research and reef construction carried out to mitigate damage occurring from fishing and global warming. Fish and invertebrate populations are low due to the lack of coral or additional shelters for the fish to stay.

The ultimate goal of the project is to rebuild fish and coral habitats so reef sharks, along with other shark species, rays, turtles and other marine life, are encouraged to remain resident within this sanctuary. Volunteer and help contribute to the regeneration and future sustainability of marine habitats in Borneo whilst gaining a PADI diving qualification.

A dive qualification isn’t required for this project as we provide an Open Water Qualification at the start of your placement. If you’re already a qualified diver, you have the opportunity to acquire further skills with additional courses. Plus, you can help with deeper dives and have more dive hours underwater. Cooking skills or a willingness to try will be useful, as you’re required to assist with mealtime duties.


Mount Kinabalu

At 4095 metres high, Mount Kinabalu is South East Asia's highest peak. A UNESCO World Heritage site, Mount Kinabalu and its surrounding areas are one of the most popular biological sites in the world with over 4500 species of plant, 326 species of birds, and 100 mammalian species identified including orangutans and many varieties of monkeys. If you choose to climb Kinabalu you'll spend a night in sleeping in basic rooms on the mountain and then get up at 4am in order to reach the summit at sunrise - a truly spectacular experience!

Tabin Wildlife Reserve

The Tabin Wildlife Reserve is the largest wildlife reserve in Malaysia. It was created in 1984 primarily because of the large number of animals that inhabited it's forests many of which are highly endangered. Among the species that reside within the reserve are: the Borneo Pygmy Elephant, Sumatran Rhinoceros and Tembadau; nine species of primate including orangutans, as well as three species of cats all of which are on the protected wildlife list. The reserve is thought of as one of best areas for wildlife viewing. Another highlight of a visit to Tabin are its active and mineral-rich mud volcanoes, which attract frequent visits from wildlife for their mineral intake and present an ideal platform for wildlife observation and bird-watching.

Turtle Islands

This idyllic little cluster of islands straddles the Malaysian and Philippine boundaries lying within the Sulu Seas. Turtle Islands are generally regarded one of the best destinations in Malaysia for their unique marine wildlife and also, most importantly, as the primary breeding ground for Green turtles in all of South East Asia. On most evenings, masses of turtles make their journey to the beach to lay their eggs.

Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary

Orang utans have long fascinated mankind and with a 96.4% match to human DNA, it's not hard to see why. These beautiful creatures are becoming increasingly rare to see in the wild due to their gentle and shy nature. If you have a desire to see orang utans and would like to see them up close, there is no better place than Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre – one of only 3 in the world.

The sanctuary started in 1964 for the rehabilitation or orphaned orang utans from logging sites, plantations and illegal hunting, returning them to the wilds as soon as they are ready. With over 4,500 hectares of virgin jungle, the sanctuary becomes and home from home for these vulnerable orphans. As a visitor you can come and watch 2 daily feeding sessions where the orang utans come to a central feeding platform for bananas and fruits. Alongside them will be a number of cheeky monkeys – determined to steal their food and possibly a camera or too!

Lower Kinabatangan River

Boasting over 560km, the Kinabatangan River is a haven for wildlife and the longest river in Borneo. The Lower Kinabatangan is said to have the largest concentration of wildlife and all 8 species of hornbill can be found there along with wild orang utans, crocodiles, the Borneo pygmy elephant, monitor lizards, wild pigs, otters, many different type of monkey and a huge array of beautiful tropical birds. The river is also a haven for the rare proboscis monkey whose big bellies and huge noses allow them to be distinctively picked out of a tree full of primates! Take a dawn or dusk river cruise down the river to catch a glimpse of some of some of Borneo's nature in its finest form – you won’t be disappointed.

Danum Valley

The Danum Valley is one of the last remaining reserves of primary lowland rainforest and the forest is said to have the world's most complex eco-system. Home to over 275 species of bird, numerous reptiles, fish and insects, its uniqueness lies in the dipterocarp forests covering over 90% of the area. This allows for prospering indigenous plant species and over 110 mammals including the rare Sumatran rhino, clouded leopard, orang utan and proboscis monkeys.


Experience and passion for working in the community and interacting with the people are needed. Participants must also possess enthusiasm and a willingness to learn about the environment and the place's culture.

Cost in US$:

Contact Provider for Cost Details

Cost Includes:

Cost Include Description:

Accommodation: Tents under shelter
Food: 3 meals per day
Transport to the site from Semporna when you arrive and transport back at the end of your project
Training: Orientation and project induction provided
2 weeks for non-qualified divers includes PADI Open Water & scientific diver
4 weeks includes PADI open water, advanced & scientific diver
6 weeks includes PADI open water, advanced, scientific diver & EFR
8 weeks includes PADI open water, advanced, scientific diver EFR & Rescue
Support: 24-hour support
Excursion Planning: Staff help organise extra dive courses and additional excursions

Credit Available


Volunteer Types
  • Animal Welfare
  • Wildlife
  • Marine Conservation
  • Building & Construction Projects
  • Culture
  • Conservation
Typical Volunteer
A Kaya volunteer shows enthusiasm, spirit and life to stimulate and bring something new to the residents; love, patience and a listening ear for the people; and a good motivator with a positive and optimistic attitude.
This Program is open to

Worldwide Participant. This Program is also open to Families, Couples and Individuals.

Typical Living Arrangements
  • Other
  • Group living

Application Process Involves
  • Online Application
Post Services Include
  • Alumni Network
Year Founded