Marine conservation holiday in Thailand

“Stay on the Thai island of Ko Tao for a week or more as part of a marine conservation team. Learn how to dive, develop conservation skills and protect Thailand's fragile coral reef ecology.”


Work towards diving certificates | Help full time staff and long term interns | Tasks might include reef predator management, reef surveys, sea turtle release, water testing and beach cleans | Private en-suite room in shared volunteer accommodation | Weekends off to dive and explore Ko Tao | Volunteers will be fully vetted and supported before, during and after the process |

Description of Marine conservation holiday in Thailand

Join an amazing conservation team in Thailand and be presented with a completely unique glimpse into an underwater world that needs your help to survive.

As a volunteer you’ll be tasked with a variety of daily activities to help conserve Thailand’s fragile marine ecology. From surveying and monitoring the health of coral reefs to constructing and maintaining artificial reefs, each day you’ll learn the basics and develop existing skills to ensure you get as much out of the experience as you’re prepared to put in.
The programme is structured over 4 weeks, which you can join for 1 week or more as well as any additional time for dive courses you may need. The longer you are able to stay, the more diverse the range of conservation topics and initiatives you can get involved in.
Each week combines lectures with dives and activities with a specific conservation focus. Here is an outline of what’s typically involved, which can vary through the year depending on the research and activities undertaken by the project:

- Reef health surveys
- Biorock coral rehabilitation and coral nursery
- Artificial reef construction / maintenance
- Mooring buoy installation
- Giant clam nursery
- Sea turtle ‘head starter programme’ and releases
- Surveys and monitoring of specific species including seahorses, invertebrates and coral predators such as crown of thorns starfish
- Water testing
- Coral spawning capture and culture programme
- Erosion control

As part of a small team of conservation volunteers (from 5 – 10 people) you’ll be working alongside permanent skilled staff and long-term interns. It is typically a 9-5pm role from Monday to Friday however, hours and days can change depending on activities and when assistance is needed most.

If you’re new to diving you’ll spend the first week gaining your SSI Open Water and your Advanced Adventurer certificates. Extra marine conservation certificates can also be completed as part of your placement depending on the duration of your holiday. All induction and conservation training, diving qualifications, diving equipment, crisis management insurance and 24/7 back up and support, in Thailand and the UK, will be included.

Volunteer accommodation throughout your time away will be on the island of Ko Tao. You’ll be staying in a village on the south side of the island and you’ll have access to your own en-suite private bedroom that’s just a short stroll from the dive school. Facilities are basic – cold showers and western-style toilets – but the friendly community ambience is always warm and welcoming. If you would like to have access to hot showers and air-conditioning during your placement, you can also opt for upgraded accommodation for an additional fee.

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?

Check dates

Placement start dates depend on dive level and run throughout the year (except between mid-October to mid-December when the project is closed).”
Holiday type

Volunteer travel - what's it all about

Are you looking for an adventurous trip with a purpose, or on a gap year or career break? If you want to make a difference in some of the world’s most important conservation areas - and in community projects - then volunteer trips are for you! Volunteers tend to have a sense of adventure, and come from a range of different backgrounds and from all over the world.
Edward Abbey said 'sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul'.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

By taking part in this project you will be making a major contribution to marine conservation on Koh Tao. Through your reef surveys you will providing the data from which the reefs can be monitored and conservation strategies and activities planned. In addition you will be directly taking part in projects such as reef clean ups having an immediate impact on the environment.

As the island has become more popular the environment has come under increasing pressure, so there is a real need for action in order to protect the environment and maintain a balance between nature and the demands on it from diving and tourism, the fishing industry and the Thai community. This project is trying to facilitate this by bringing the different parties together, generating awareness about the need for action and implementing a series of in-water and on-land projects.

This is a small project that is having a quick and direct impact on the island's environment. It has already made great progress including the development of a bio-rock artificial reef and island-wide clean ups.

While our volunteers and customers are overseas, we identify and encourage simple steps to minimise their impact on the local environment. And at our office in the UK we try to recycle as much of our office waste as possible, use recycled products where available, avoid printing (no brochures) and minimise energy usage.

The Impacts of this Trip

Before volunteers depart we provide them with a detailed volunteering guide on the area they will be visiting. We try to educate and encourage our volunteers to understand and respect the local cultures and customs.

This is a locally run organisation, providing employment for local Thai staff. While volunteers are in-country, they stay in locally owned accommodation and we encourage them to buy locally and support local businesses.


2 Reviews of Marine conservation holiday in Thailand

4.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 17 Jul 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

One particularly memorable dive was removing Crown of Thorns starfish which were destroying the reef by eating the coral. It was a beautiful dive, made all
the more enjoyable knowing that the conservation we were undertaking would help keep the reef healthy.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Don't worry about your level of conservation or diving experience - the project caters to everyone. Take some Reefsafe suncream and a reusable water bottle,
container and straw, so you can help keep the oceans plastic free and the corals healthy. It's an amazing project and you'll have a fantastic time!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

I would say all three - you eat out for all three meals which is a great way to try Thai foods and support local restaurants and cafes. The project has a hugely
dedicated and knowledgeable team who carry out amazing conservation and research, and it is great to be a part of that. The team is very passionate about
reducing environmental impacts, both when diving and on land.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Fantastic! One of the best conservation holidays I have been on - a very fun, interesting and rewarding experience. A lot of people who go to the project short
term end up staying permanently, and it's easy to see why!

Reviewed on 29 Jan 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Arrival at Koh Tao and finding the lovely coral sand beach behind the dive school at Chalok Ban Bay.
Then, exploring the fascinating underwater environment.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Go prepared to learn, there's loads of really interesting marine ecology information to learn as part of the Environment Management Programme. There are interesting and knowledgeable people there, who are enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge.
Enjoy the diving, safe in the knowledge that you are diving responsibly, not at the expense of the environment.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, the holiday involved voluntary work creating artificial reefs, surveying indicator species that showed the health and biodiversity of the reefs; and monitoring the giant clam conservation programme. The dive school itself supports local businesses and is involved in education of local children.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

It was an excellent experience, a chance to visit a beautiful location, meet interesting people, improve my diving and enjoy myself.

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