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Lang Tengah Turtle Watch: Research Volunteer - Sea Turtles
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Lang Tengah Turtle Watch: Research Volunteer - Sea Turtles

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

  • Health & Safety

    8

  • Community Engagement

    9

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

WOW WOW

Where do I start on this amazing project? It was everything and much more for me. From the moment I arrived I knew I was where I needed to be. The location of Turtle Bay (the main nesting beach) and the bush camp only 5 metres from the beach in the Jungle blew my mind.

Yes the camp was rustic no power, running toilets and showers and food supplies that had to last 8-10 days but for me that was perfect I wanted to get back to the simple life, and I couldn’t have been happier.

The attitude of the camp from KL Camp Manager, Research Assistants, Interns and Volunteers were inspiring. We all pulled our weight, cooked amazing meals, did our daily chores without a single complaint and supported each other no matter what.

Each evening we patrolled 2 beaches Turtle Bay and Lang Sari – I loved being on the beach at night it was warm, relaxing, safe and when you got to see a turtle nesting that was your highlight and participating in that activity was mind-blowing.

Daily we learned about turtles and other marine life. We had so much fun snorkeling 2-3 times a day this was amazing, and I didn’t expect to see what I did from snorkeling. Lots of jungle adventures, cliff jumping, beach volleyball, sunrise and sunsets, relaxing at the local beach bar, and lots of fun with everyone in camp. It was an awesome atmosphere. I meet some amazing people who have become new friends.

If you want an adventure, want to participate in a volunteer project which is hands-on but still very respectful of not interfering with the sea turtles this is it. I think it is great value for money and personally, I will be back. I had 1 month, and I was very very sad to leave my friends, my turtles, and the island life.

Put this one on your bucket list and don’t let age stop you, everyone is welcome and welcomed.

A big thumbs up from me and I’m still smiling.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

Incredible experience in a beautiful place

This was my first time volunteering on a turtle conservation project and it was incredible. From the moment you arrive to a secluded beach and then walk into the simple yet welcoming and stunning camp this is an experience I will never forget. The camp is basic jungle living but I knew this already and what I was expecting, and it allows to you move away from modern life and get back to nature and really 'live' in your surroundings. There were pristine warm waters all around with beautiful corals and marine life, a lovely beach and lots of places to explore.
Throughout my four weeks here I learnt a lot about turtle conservation as well as many others aspects of marine conservation and wildlife. Turtles came to nest on the beach regularly throughout my stay and to see these amazing creatures in the wild was a humbling experience and gave a great sense of satisfaction that a project like this is working and really helping. We also had two nest hatchings in my time, watching as hundreds of baby turtles made their way to the sea and start their life.
Patrolling at night to ensure poachers are kept away and to look for turtles landing on the beaches was tiring but totally worth it for the reasons mentioned above. I had four weeks of learning new things, getting a better understanding of conservation work, seeing some incredible natural sites and living/working with a great bunch of staff and other volunteers in an environment and camp that takes you back to nature and reminds you of all the good things in this world. - I would recommend this to anyone!

Overall Rating

8/ 10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

  • Health & Safety

    6

  • Community Engagement

    6

  • Living Situation

    7

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

Rustic yet satisfying! ;)

So I have been to 3 turtle sanctuaries prior to LTTW which were Perhentian Turtle Project (Perhentian Island), Juara Turtle Project (Tioman Island) and SEATRU (Redang Island). I have to say this was the most rustic turtle sanctuary I have been to. What you see on the website is what you get, (well there have been upgrades as well), and I loved every bit of it, truly back to nature!! However, do note that there are loads of mosquitoes. ;)

The conservation efforts were rather similar to one another, however at LTTW you get to learn not only about the protection of turtles and other sea creatures in general, but also about black tip reef sharks and the different types of fishes and reptiles around the island as well. It was very educational, the perfect edutainment! ;)

I loved the fact that you could snorkel at different parts of the island and do a fair bit of jungle trekking. Even at turtle bay itself, you could see an abundance of fish, black tip reef sharks, blue spotted stingray and I got to witness octopuses mating as well. Amazing!

Not forgetting, the staff has been a delight from the start: Bill patiently answering every single inquiry I had prior to my arrival, and KL, the awesome camp manager who makes sure we have as much fun on camp in our attempt to conserve wildlife & nature. Kudos to the team! It is definitely one for the books. This will certainly not be my last trip! Keep up the good work LTTW team! Missing you guys already. <3

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Amazing way to help make a difference

Honestly I find it a little hard to put my experience with LTTW into words, I can keep going on saying I had an amazing time but it won’t do it justice, because I have learnt and gained so much from it.

The island is just spectacular and beautiful, and the volunteer experience with LTTW is just as so. Nothing like a morning snorkel to be among inquisitive or shy marine creatures to start of your day! Or actually being woken up first by a loud morning call from a Tokay Gecko. Also relaxing by the rocks enjoying the cool breeze and sound of the waves breaking on the shore while watching the occasional fruit bat, and clouds go by at night during patrol intervals.

What is being done on LTTW is very special, yes you do learn much about turtles from the other experienced staffs and volunteers as well as from the activities on hand, but the volunteer experience is much more than patrolling beaches and monitoring turtle nests. It is also about appreciating life’s simple pleasures, basically enjoying being close to nature and the company of the people you meet along the way: fellow volunteers as well as friends you may make from around the island. All of us may come from different walks of life but got along most easily by sharing the same enthusiasm for turtles and a love for nature. Everyone works tirelessly to pitch in on chores and patrols whenever needed, making the most out of a day.

I cannot stress on how we have to protect what we have. The beauty on Turtle Bay would definitely be non-existential if it weren’t for the dedicated volunteers who make conscious effort on being eco-friendly and resourceful. Even if you may not have much experience on camp/ knowledge on turtles and wildlife like me, go with an open-mind, a willing heart and I guarantee you an experience to cherish for a lifetime.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Lang Tengah Turtle Watch has it all!

I personally volunteered to take a 1 week trip to Lang Tengah. Im not going to lie I started out more nervous than rabbit in a foxes den, knowing full well that i was going to be the youngest guy around. But from the moment I jumped of a boat into the crystal clear water of Turtle Bay those butterflies in my stomach dissipated into the calming breeze . I know now that 1 week was not enough.

The best place to start is the camp ground itself, which is not very prominent or visible from the soft sandy bay. It takes you entirely by surprise as the volunteers lead you into what looks like un-cut jungle.This did not dampen the tranquil atmosphere that hit me in the face as I walked into its center ... or was that a tree branch? The entire camp is so close to nature that you feel as though you could be living in a tree. It consists of a small cooking area, outdoor shower, well, sleeping hut (no walls), toilets and last but not least a fire pit (my personal favourite). The accommodation is simple yet makes for a very communal feel when you sleep under the same roof. I was not expecting a five star hotel at all, though I would chose this style of outdoors camping over any half rate hotel room, and thats because its not trying to be something it is not.

As a certified diver I can safely say that the snorkelling off the coastline is some of the best I have ever seen, time seems to fly when you are floating around with the marine life. One of my favourite experiences was duck diving under the surface to a small anemone and slowly waving my hand about. I was greeted by a family of small clown fish who came to swim between the gaps of my fingers, it was in that moment that I felt that little bit more in touch with the nature around me.

After one night you get used to the gentle sound of waves and nightlife of animals in the fallen leaves. Though what the real treasure of the night is are the stars that litter the sky. They make the night patrols on the beach that little bit more amazing. I am not one for the dark as it can scare me at times, but on Lang Tengah I felt more at home in the night than ever. Though without a doubt the best night I had was also my last due to May the turtle making an appearance. Sadly she did not lay a clutch while I was there, and spent an hour digging around and saying hello to some rocks, but she made the trip worth it anyway.

You can tell that the programmes manager, Raphe, has worked incredibly hard to make it what it is today, and it is nice to be able to share in that work doing what you can. Without a doubt I will be back hoping to gain as much from it as i did the first time... in body and soul ! Would also love to see some baby turtles off into the ocean. I highly recommend this small slice of paradise and recommend its inhabitants even more. If you feel like meeting some life long friends, getting a wicked tan and most of all care for the turtles and their eggs then I suggest spending nothing less than a week on Lang Tengah.

(P.S. Bring food to share, living on an island does deprive you of certain luxuries!)

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    8

  • Community Engagement

    6

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    10

A memorable impact on the heart

For my birthday, I told my best friend that I wanted to do some volunteer work and she found this little gem. I was rather nervous to say the least. Never before have I done anything like this and did not know what to expect. Before I had the chance rethink my decision, the boat hit sand and out came this little group of people to greet us. After a quick tour of the camp, I was even more intimated. Here I was, a 19 year old city girl stuck in a camp with no running water, limited electricity and miserable internet connection. But through the calm and confident camp leaders around me, settling in was no issue. Everyone pitched in to keep the camp clean and everybody was included in daily activites. In my short week on the sland, I managed to swim with numerous sharks, snorkel in the most crystal blue waters and see some of the most amazing sights in Malaysia. I did all this with the amazing people I had met on the island and with the guidance of Raphe and Bill, the camp facilitators.
Not to mention, I got up close and personal with May, the most special turtle ever, who visited us twice during my stay.
Every day was different and exciting thanks to the camp leaders. They are the most lovely and genuine group of people with a great sense of humour that managed to make this bug-hating-city-dweller feel very at ease in the jungle. I cannot thank Raphe and Bill enough for being... genuinely awesome. Their calm and confident nature gave me the drive to do things I would have never considered otherwise, like swimming with a 2 meter shark for instance.
All in all, I have enjoyed my time there immensely and am already planning my next round at Lang Tengah! I took home many memories, new experiences and lots of sand. Thank you for letting me experience a part of this lovely gem.

For anyone out there who might be a little apprehensive, I urge you to come out of your comfort zone and give it a go. It will be absolutely worth it.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Out of this world

I was quite apprehensive before arriving on Lang Tengah in Summer 2014. The camp is set back from the beach in the jungle and very basic with a well from which to draw water and a gas cylinder used to cook on but wow did everything exceed expectations. There was always more than enough delicious food to go around and everyone took turns cooking up their own jungle speciality. At nights we rotated shifts looking for laying mothers patrolling hourly and star gazing/swimming in the warm phosphorescent waters otherwise. In the days there was always something new to find by jungle trekking or snorkelling or just simply relaxing in the shallows on Turtle Bay in between checking on the turtle nests to see how they were progressing. During the three weeks I was there I saw three mothers lay their nests. This was an utterly incredible experience, being able to witness such prehistoric creatures returning to the beach where they had been born 30 years later. Lang Tengah Turtle Watch is a unique project on which you gain not only first hand experience of an increasingly endangered species but also a chance to play a part in changing the future for this incredible animal. The people, turtles and island were all amazing and I can't recommend this project highly enough.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    9

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Time of my life...

I spent 7 weeks on Lang Tengah over the Summer of 2014. I didn’t know what to expect, but whatever I was expecting was blown out of the water. My first night included a patrol that was filled with shooting stars, watching a storm over the mainland, bats, bioluminescence, sleeping on the beach and waking up to trek to and jump from Batu Kuching! A snapshot of days include jungle treks to amazing snorkelling spots followed by a pit stop at the resorts for refreshments, diving at the coral reef restoration project and making crafty things on camp; but whatever happens- everyday that comes along is different and is better than before. It’s a once in a life time opportunity when a turtle comes up and the feeling of saving the eggs from being taken to market is incredible-a feeling which is intensified when the babies hatch and you watch them scrabble to sea in a matter of minutes. I loved camp life which included bucket showers, jungle cooking, and fireflies at dinner! I instantly felt at home on the project and part of the team- a comment in which I heard numerous times from volunteers. Everybody that comes to the project brings something new and making life long friends (over hilarious evenings on camp) is inevitable. I recommend the project if you want to meet amazing people, see amazing things, do amazing things, make a real difference to the survival of sea turtle babies and have the most epic time of your life! The only down side is when you return you will miss falling asleep to the sound of crickets, the waves and being in paradise with incredible people. I cannot wait to go back home to Turtle Bay!