Marine ConservationThailand

Our award winning Marine Conservation project in Thailand support conservation and research initiatives on the beautiful island of Koh Tao.

Working within a dynamic team you will contribute to the research, protection and restoration of reefs. Volunteers support a variety of initiatives such as artificial reef installations, coral predator monitoring and baby turtle rehabilitation and much more. The project has two main objectives; surveying the reefs and implementing local environmental initiatives to protect the oceans and coastline. Divers of all abilities are welcome as training can be provided on site.

Live on the idyllic island of Koh Tao and explore its world famous dive sites! Explore the island’s beaches, hills and jungles in your free time.

Join the research team and contribute to marine conservation initiatives.

Apply

Key Info

key info
  • Location: Koh Tao
  • Start dates: Every Saturday
  • Duration: 1 – 4 weeks
  • Age requirement: 18+ (12+ for families or groups)
  • Availability: Spaces available
  • Cost: From £795 / €930 / $1020 - see fees table below
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Project Information

Volunteer role: What will I be doing?

The Marine Conservation project in Thailand has two main objectives; surveying the reefs and implementing local environmental initiatives to protect the oceans and coastline.

Volunteers assist with several projects on Koh Tao. Each day is different but may include:

Research activities

  • Ecological monitoring surveys and data collection
  • Coral spawning and culturing
  • Invasive species and threats research
  • Drupella Snail
  • Crown of thorns
  • Coral bleaching and other coral diseases
  • Seahorse research and observation

Reef restoration and protection activities

  • Mooring line installation and maintenance
  • Artificial reef construction, installation and maintenance
  • Giant clam nurseries
  • Juvenile sea turtle nursery
  • Coral nursery
  • Clean-ups – land and underwater

Awareness and Campaigns

  • Leading educational talks
  • Promoting eco-friendly initiatives

Diving

In order to assist with the conservation work you will need to have at least your SSI Open Water and Advanced Adventurer qualification or equivalent. If you do not have these you will complete these course in the first few days of your placement. If you have them already, you can get stuck in with the conservation work straight away.

SSI (Scuba Schools International) is an internationally recognised dive standard equivalent to PADI.

During your placement you will also obtain Conservation Diver certifications. For volunteers staying 3 weeks or more, the project includes an Ecological Monitoring Project Certification.

Working days and hours

You will participate in the project from Monday - Friday with weekends off to relax and explore, there is lots to do in your free time. The day is usually 9am - 5pm however this can vary depending on the activity.

Long-term interns

The project accepts a small number of long-term research interns, this is ideal for volunteers looking to complete a university thesis / dissertation whilst working at a conservation initiative. Internships are generally 8-12 weeks + and have a slightly different structure. If this is of interest, we can provide more detailed information once we have received your application - please include this preference clearly in your application form.

Other volunteers

There are usually 5-15 volunteers with a maximum of 25. This varies considerably throughout the year. Volunteers work alongside full time staff and long term research interns.

Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) Award

This placement has been approved by the DofE as meeting the requirements for the Residential section of the Gold Award.

Volunteer Reviews

Read about volunteer experiences and challenges in our Thailand Marine Conservation reviews.

Why are volunteers needed?

Coral Reefs cover less than 2% of the ocean floor but support 25% of all marine life. They are the most biologically diverse ecosystems on earth, but also one of the most threatened. Research is the only way to get a true idea of what the problems are and what needs to be done to alleviate them.

Research and restoration activities are labour intensive and as such volunteers are a valuable addition to the team. Volunteers can contribute a great deal to the ongoing research by collecting data that would otherwise be too difficult to collect. In addition to this, volunteers with an interest or experience in conservation can bring a new perspective to research.

“Students are the lifeblood of our program. They help us complete the day to day tasks, achieve success in our projects and initiatives. Over the years our program has evolved incredibly, and a lot of the progress can be attributed to the enthusiastic and determined people that we have had the pleasure of hosting. Volunteers are truly what make our program a success”
Chad, Marine Biologist

Accommodation

You will have your own ensuite room with a fan and cold water showers just a few minutes’ walk from the dive school – some rooms are owned by the dive schools and others are in neighbouring hotels. The rooms are in a great location, just minutes from the beach! There is WIFI available at the dive school.

Alternatively, volunteers can request to have an upgraded room overlooking the bay. These include air-conditioning and hot water showers. Please note that there is a weekly supplement for this option.

TH Marine dive school

Meals

Meals are not included in this placement. Here are typical examples of the meals which you can buy at local restaurants, cafes or at the town markets: 

  • Breakfast – fruit, cereal, smoothies, toast, pancakes 
  • Lunch – noodles, sandwiches, salad, pasta 
  • Dinner – curry, stir fry, pizza, salads, pasta, burgers

There are vegetarians and vegans options available. 

Drinking water is provided at the dive school for you to use.

Location and free time

Koh Tao is a dramatic mix of dense jungle and hilly terrain in its interior, and granite outcrops and beaches along its coast. The island is one of a number on the south east coast of Thailand which are popular destinations for travellers, including Koh Phangan and Koh Samui. It has become best known for the abundance of excellent dive sites nearby. It is a simple, friendly and fun island with an atmosphere that means people usually stay a lot longer than intended!

Koh TaoThere are plenty of bars and restaurants on the island, giving you a good choice for eating and going out. There are also many activities you can get involved in such Muay Thai (kick-boxing), hiking, rock-climbing and Thai cooking. These activities are best booked locally.

The dive school has yoga classes available onsite for a small additional cost. Many volunteers choose to join the evening class after they have finished their conservation work.

Volunteers live on the south side of the island on a beautiful bay; the south is relaxed with friendly cafes, restaurants and shops in walking distance.

Travelling in Thailand before or after your placement

Thailand is often referred to as the ‘land of smiles’ and is a huge attraction for travellers from around the world due to its glorious beaches, tropical climate, great food and fascinating culture. Popular activities in Thailand that you might like to combine with your project are:

  • Exploring the beautiful waterfalls, wildlife and limestone cliffs of Khao Sok National Park
  • Trekking in the tranquil mountains in the North and meeting ethnic hill tribes
  • Visiting the many colourful and ancient temples 

For more information on Thailand and some of the things we loved when we visited there please see our Thailand country page. This also features all our other Thailand volunteering projects as you might like to consider combining this project with one of the others we offer to make a trip of a lifetime!

 

Thailand templeClimate

The island of Koh Tao has a tropical climate and throughout the year it is hot with temperatures generally between 25-33 degrees Celsius. There can be tropical rain showers at any time of year but the main rainy season is from October to December.  
 

Dates

Start dates are every Saturday. The project is closed between 12 Oct - 14 Dec 2019.

What's Included

Included

  • Dedicated Pod Volunteer Specialist to support you
  • Accommodation - your own room
  • Induction and conservation training
  • Induction
  • SSI Open Water + Advanced dive courses (unless you are already SSI/PADI Advanced or equivalent)
  • Scuba review (if you have a dive qualification but haven’t dived recently)
  • Conservation Diver certification (two specialities)
  • All dives
  • Use of all dive equipment
  • Support from the local team
  • Support from the Pod Volunteer UK office by phone and email
  • 24/7 emergency back up
  • Volunteering certificate and reference (on request)

Not included

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Visa (if required)
  • Vaccinations and medication
  • Transfers to / from the project
  • Living costs - food, snacks, drinks, laundry
  • Any tourist trips / activities you choose to do in your free time
Price table
1 week (available to Advanced level divers) £795 GB Pounds
2 weeks £1150 GB Pounds
Extra weeks £375 GB Pounds
+ Open Water Course - Additional cost, required for all beginner divers £200 GB Pounds
+ Advanced Course - Additional cost, required for all beginner divers and open water level divers £200 GB Pounds

There is an additional fee for the premium room option - please contact us for details.

Discounts

  • £25 discount per week for friends / partners sharing a room
  • £75 discount for every additional project you book as part of the same trip
  • £100 discount for any family members who are under 18
  • £75 discount if you have previously volunteered with Pod Volunteer 

Where the money goes - financial transparency

Your fee covers the overseas costs of volunteering and the costs of running our organisation in the UK, on a non-profit basis.  For more details and a breakdown of our costs please click here.

Book with confidence - financial protection

All monies paid to us are financially protected through The Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT). 

Apply

Fees in currencies other than GBP are indicative only and volunteers are invoiced in GBP. For current exchange rates please see www.xe.com

Read volunteer reviews from the Marine Conservation project

Eve - 2019

"This is a fantastic project and a great opportunity to contribute to incredibly worthy marine conservation. I learnt a huge amount about marine conservation, through daily lectures and conservation dives. I was hugely impressed by the research, and it's amazing to be able to spend time alongside such a knowledgeable and passionate team. The project caters to all levels of conservation and diving experience, and I would wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone!
It's fun, interesting, valuable and rewarding, and you'll have some amazing memories. A lot of people on the island and project have gone short term, but ended up staying permanently and it's easy to see why once you're there!"

Mila - 2019

"This project in Thailand has created such a safe and beautiful space. thank you to all the other souls who embarked on this journey alongside me, you are all incredible and inspire me every single day. It was such an honor to witness, feel and see such magic lay bare before my eyes. Every day holding a new miracle to discover. I’m forever grateful for the experience you gave me."

Kelby - 2019

“I had a wonderful experience being a part of the conservation work. I was able to participate in a lot of different projects during my two weeks in Koh Tao, like reef surveying and coral restoration, and learned a lot through the daily lectures. The conservation team was extremely knowledgeable and passionate about teaching and conservation work and it was really inspiring! I loved my time there and highly recommend it for others!

You come away feeling like you might have helped the local reefs and organisms even if the work is on a smaller scale. With all the negative information about coral reefs being degraded, it's nice to know that people like the conservation team are fighting for the coral!! It's a really positive and inspiring environment to be a part of."

Jessica - 2018

"Everything about this project met or exceeded my expectations. From day 1 the team were welcoming and supportive, no matter how long you are joining them for they go out of their way to include you in their "extended family". The passion and dedication they have for the project is obvious to see and inspiring to be part of.

They always have time to talk through and issues or problems, no one is left struggling with a task they are unsure about and while we are challenged with tasks or general conditions on some days no one is forced into something they are truly uncomfortable with and this creates a very positive atmosphere within the group. The hardest part of this project is leaving, I extended for a week and am already planning and saving for a return as soon as I can!"

Read more reviews

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artificial reefs deployed

"It was an amazing experience that will stay with me forever! Pod Volunteer provided the ideal amount of support and guidance"Satvinder

Iona

Pod UK Specialist

Iona has visited the project, apply and you'll hear from her soon!

We look forward to receiving your application! There is no commitment by applying and we will send more information.

Apply

VOLUNTEER REVIEWS

  • Thailand Marine Conservation volunteer - Laura

    “This placement has changed the way I dive, I am so much more aware of what is happening to the reefs and have a much better knowledge now of underwater life that a hobby that I have always loved has become even better.”

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • Thailand Marine Conservation volunteer - Luke

    "The most rewarding thing for me was to see the marine animals using the artificial reefs we were creating and knowing that what you're doing will benefit the reef and the island. You'll grow as a person and a diver, and make some good friends along the way."

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • Thailand Marine Conservation volunteer - Maurizio

    “You volunteer with smart, dedicated people who are eager to learn about the island’s truly amazing marine ecosystems and to contribute to the ongoing projects aimed at research, maintenance and protection of the reefs.”

    Read more volunteer reviews

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AWARDS AND ACCREDITATIONS

  • Tourism Concern
  • Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust
  • Right Tourism
  • DOFE
  • theguardian
  • the independent
  • Sunday Times
  • Year Out Group
  • Best Volunteering Organisation
  • Wall Street Journal