Volunteer with bears in Borneo

“Two weeks volunteering at a sun bear rehabilitation centre in Sabah state, Malaysian Borneo. Accommodation in self-catering jungle longhouse. Be prepared to get dirty. But be prepared for superb wildlife adventure. ”


Rehabilitation of sun bears | Sabah rainforest | Sabah wildlife | Habitat construction | Working with renowned sun bear conservation organisation | Accommodation in traditional Borneo longhouse | Jungle treks

Description of Volunteer with bears in Borneo

Volunteer at a sun bear rescue and rehabilitation centre in Borneo to help bring the world's smallest bear back to the wild - and to keep this species alive. Often considered to be the “cutest” bear in the world due to its size, the tiny sun bear is sadly threatened with extinction thanks to habitat loss and captivity.

Sun bears are often taken illegally from the wild at a young age to be imprisoned as pets. As they grow older and more wild, they create havoc in homes and are chained and beaten. Rescued from this cruel captivity, they now have the opportunity to start a new life living in freedom at this inspiring sanctuary. Become a part of this incredible journey of rescue and rehabilitation, giving these beautiful bears the life they deserve.

Currently providing a home to more than 35 sun bears, you will be volunteering at an inspiring haven for these mistreated bears. Work alongside staff to help with feeding, food preparation, enrichment, habitat construction and monitoring.

This is a fantastic project for all animal and nature lovers, allowing you to live in a beautiful location helping an endangered animal from extinction.

Accommodation and food
You will be living a short distance away from the centre in a traditional long house on the edge of the jungle. The setting is absolutely stunning. You will be sharing a room between two with a safe, storage and mosquito net provided. There is a well-equipped kitchen on site where you can do. A food budget is provided to help you to save money.

There are western toilets and refreshingly cool showers. There is a lake and country park just next to the guesthouse, which is beautiful in the early mornings and evenings.

Day-by-day experiences

Day 1: Arrive to Sandakan on the 5th of the month. You will be collected from the airport and taken up to your rainforest accommodation. You will enjoy a welcome meal and induction on your first evening.
Day 2:Meet the team at the sun bear rehabilitation centre and get stuck into the project.
Day 3+:You will be volunteering 5 days per week with 2 days off to enjoy the local area and all that it offers.
Last day:Trips are for either 2 or 4 weeks. On your last day you will be taken back to Sandakan airport in time for your flight.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

01273 823 700 Calling from outside the UK?

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Volunteer with bears in Borneo


Our placements are designed to immerse you in a different culture, living and working with local people. There’s plenty to gain personally from this challenge – a sense of achievement, broader horizons and some wonderful memories. But we make sure that both the local people and the environment benefit as well.

Wildlife- The sanctuary is passionate about the well being of the animals in its care. Human contact with the sun bears is limited, ensuring that they do not become dependent on humans. They are well fed, well cared for and encouraged to live out in the wild.

Environment - Our company takes an environmentally responsible attitude towards recycling and reusing of waste products. We also offset carbon emissions in our office (gas, electricity, business mileage) and encourage all participants to offset their flight emissions via a carbon offset scheme run in conjunction with Tree Aid. Our volunteers are given a pre-departure briefing where they are encouraged to minimise waste and to live in a way that will not have a detrimental effect on the country.

Water- participants are given initiatives to avoid wasting water. This includes sanitised hand gel, only boiling water that you need to use, keeping drinking water in the fridge instead of running the tap cold and not wasting shower water.


Meeting local needs - The whole project is geared towards helping the local community. Volunteers work alongside the professional staff and assist them with their daily tasks. At the weekends and in your free time you can explore the local area, which means that you are spending money and generating good business there.

Cultural sensitivity - Our pre-departure briefing includes a special session entitled ‘Responsible Tourism’ where we discuss cultural differences and sensitivities as well as advising volunteers on appropriate conduct. People are encouraged to learn some of the local language and briefed on what is considered polite in terms of eating, greeting and dressing.

Campaigning for change- the project works with the local community to educate about the importance of their work. Sun bears are a protected species, however many are dying out in deforestation work or due to being kept in captivity. It is essential to work with locals to ensure that fewer sun bears die each year.

Popular similar holidays

Malawi volunteering holiday

Malawi volunteering holiday

Volunteer at Africa's top wildlife sanctuary

From £1370 - £4350 14 days excluding flights

Volunteering with bears in Romania

Volunteering with bears in Romania

Volunteer at an inspiring bear sanctuary in Transylvania

From £925 7 days excluding flights

Carnivore conservation & research in Namibia

Carnivore conservation & research in Namibia

Rehabilitate and release cheetah in the wilds of Namibia

From £1135 17 days excluding flights

Family volunteering with bears in Romania

Family volunteering with bears in Romania

Romania Bear Sanctuary Volunteering Unique Family Holiday

From £925 7 days excluding flights

Convert currencies