Volunteer to restore damaged coral reefs in Borneo, Malaysia

Kaya Responsible Travel

Borneo Reef Restoration and Surveying


Who: Kaya Responsible Travel

Where: Celebes Sea, Borneo, Malaysia

Focus: Restore local reefs damaged by blast fishing, and monitor the status of the local environment through scuba and market surveys.

When: All year round

Duration: 2-8 weeks

Suitability: 18+, or children with guardians. All training is included so no previous dive experience necessary.

Cost: From GBP 1605 for two weeks, 8 weeks for GBP 3045. Reduced cost for longer stays, longer stays include more qualifications in the cost.

As a volunteer, you will:

  • Learn how to repair the damage to coral reefs caused by blast fishing in the area to encourage reef sharks, rays, turtles and other forms of marine life to remain in the area.
  • Create and place sinkable crate structures to catch rubble that may harm corals as well as providing a homes for marine life.
  • Conduct regular scuba surveys to monitor the progress of the project.
  • Learn basic aquaculture skills in order to raise and grow hard and soft corals in land-based tanks before transfering them to local reefs.
  • Conduct shark surveys at local fish markets to establish catch data.
  • Take part in reef clean-ups to ensure the ongoing natural beauty of the area.

Scuba Diving:

  • All volunteers receive PADI dive training during their stay. The longer the stay, the more dive qualifications gained:
    • 2 weeks: PADI Open Water and Scientific Diver
    • 4 weeks: PADI Advanced Open Water
    • 6 weeks: EFR training
    • 8 weeks: PADI Rescue Diver
  • Volunteers must provide their own mask, snorkel, fins and wetsuit/rash vest/stinger suit

The Base:

Accommodation: An island in the Celebes Sea in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo about 1 hour from the mainland. The base itself is on an isolated beach with access to a kitchen and bathroom facilities.

Sleeping: Tents under shelter or shared dorms. Twin rooms available for £70pp/week.

Food: 3 meals a day, cooked by volunteers

Support: UK and US based support available pre-departure; 24hr on-site coordinator

Transport: Transport to and from the site from Semporna. Volunteers must pay for transport to and from Tawau Airport (~£5 per journey).


The next step: Visit Kaya Responsible Travel for more info and to book.
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Feature photo by Eddie Yip

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