Western Africa
Gambia Ghana Sierra Leone Togo
Middle Africa
Northern Africa
Egypt Morocco
Southern Africa
Botswana Namibia Cape Town / South Africa Swaziland
Eastern Africa
Kenya Madagascar Malawi Mozambique Seychelles South Sudan Tanzania Uganda Zambia Zimbabwe
Middle East
Israel Lebanon
Southern Asia
India Maldives Nepal Sri Lanka
Eastern Asia
China Mongolia
South East Asia
Cambodia Bali / Indonesia Laos Borneo / Malaysia Myanmar Philippines Chiang Mai / Thailand Vietnam
North America
United States of America
Bahamas Cuba Dominican Republic Haiti Jamaica Saint Lucia Trinidad and Tobago
Central America
Belize Costa Rica El Salvador Guatemala Honduras Mexico Nicaragua Panama
Latin America
Argentina Bolivia Amazon Rainforest / Brazil Chile Colombia Galapagos / Ecuador Paraguay Peru Suriname Uruguay Venezuela
Croatia Finland Germany Greece Hungary Italy Portugal Romania Spain
Australia Fiji New Zealand
Childcare Medical & Health Orphanages Sports Teaching & Education
Environment & Conservation
Animals & Wildlife Diving & Marine Conservation Environmental Protection Farming & Agriculture Round Trips & Camps
Made for Meaningful Travel

Volunteer World's mission has always been to ensure fairness, transparency and high quality within the meaningful travel industry. Due to its great usability & unique design, media claims Volunteer World to be the "AirBnB" for volunteer abroad opportunities - and we do not disagree on that!

Your Extra Layer of Security

Volunteer World is the world's leading comparison platform for international volunteer opportunities. We guide you through a safe and easy application process. Planning your next meaningful trip with Volunteer World gives you free access to our:

The Great Projects

Family Wildlife Adventure

Travel to Borneo, aid orangutan conservation and meet indigenous tribes people on this exciting wildlife safari.

About the Project

A rare opportunity to experience the majesty of the Borneo rainforest and its wealth of fascinating species, this project allows volunteers to take part as a family, working towards the conservation of this section of the rainforest that has been destroyed due to mass deforestation. Working alongside the local tribe people, families will take part in tasks that benefit the natural environment and the species that can be found within it, including orangutan and elephant.  With the stunning scenery of the ‘corridor of life’ as a backdrop, this is truly a life-changing experience that can now be enjoyed as a family. 

The main part of the program is spent in the beautiful Sukau village, working on activities conducted in this area, or along the mystical Kinabatangan River. Volunteers have the chance to live among the wonderfully friendly Orang Sungai or “People of the River”, the indigenous community that call this village home. Every evening, volunteers and villagers eat together in a local home, which provides the perfect opportunity to learn first-hand about the indigenous culture .Families also spend one afternoon assisting in community projects at the local school.  

As volunteers on this project you will have a positive and constructive impact on the surrounding environment, by restoring destroyed habitats around the village, thus contributing towards the reforestation of the Corridor of Life. This is mainly achieved by planting trees to preserve the remaining wildlife and biodiversity in these sanctuaries, and clearing areas of forest destruction. The project facilitator is always at hand throughout the project to help you better understand the local threats regarding orangutans, pygmy elephants and other animals and to answer any questions you may have.

The final part of this project includes a trip to the world famous Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre for you and your family. Whilst on the project you hope to see wild pygmy elephants and orangutans, your visit to Sepilok will offer a great opportunity to see them up close and understand how different conservation efforts are working to ensure critically endangered orangutans have a future in Borneo.

Prior to Arrival

There is no visa required for most nationalities to enter Malaysia, which requires purchase prior to arrival. A tourist visa is provided upon arrival at the airport for a period of 90 days, however, please check the Malaysian Immigration website for detailed information.

No Contact Policy

We are often asked whether or not volunteers will have the chance to touch or play with the orangutans whilst on this project. Our answer to this question is, and will always be no, and this is for good reason. 

Orangutans are highly susceptible to human diseases and something as minor as the common cold can prove fatal to these Great Apes. An orangutan is also around 7 times stronger than an adult male human so a no contact policy is just as crucial for your wellbeing as orangutan welfare.

That is not to say that as a volunteer you will have no interaction with the orangutans, it simply means that you will have no direct contact with them. You will still hope to observe them whilst in the corridor of life and see them at Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. 

Please note

The minimum age for the children to take part in this project is 8 years old. 

Suitable for


Typical day

Day 1: You will arrive into Sandakan International Airport where you will be met by the project facilitator and take a private transfer to your first nights accommodation. This will be in a longhouse style accommodation in Sepilok with unobstructed views of the surrounding forest. You will spend the night learning about the Corridor of Life and the project's aims. This is also where you will enjoy a welcome dinner with your project facilitator.

Day 2-5: Today you will transfer to the project site at Sukau where upon arrival you will have a health & safety briefing, followed by an orientation and tour around the village. Accommodation here will be in a beautiful Bornean B&B. In the afternoon you will begin your volunteer activities which include the following:

Wildlife Observation:

This entails cruising in a boat along the river and its tributaries along the 'corridor of life', to observe the endangered wildlife roaming the forest along the river banks. On these trips you will always be on constant look out for pygmy elephants and orangutans.

Wildlife Observation:

This entails cruising in a boat along the river and its tributaries along the 'corridor of life', to observe the endangered wildlife roaming the forest along the river banks. On these trips you will always be on constant look out for pygmy elephants and orangutans.

Guided Jungle Trek:

The magical tropical rainforest of Borneo is the perfect setting for a family trek. The trek you will join involves an introduction to the flora and fauna of the rainforest and to what the rainforest traditionally offers the inhabitants in terms of medicine, food and survival. This is a great chance to ask questions and learn from an extremely experienced local guide.

School Interaction:

As a family you will spend half a day with local school children working on conservation issues that the children deal with on a daily basis. You will be provided with a framework and the project facilitator will guide you in the planning of this session. The idea is to share information about conservation activities, both in Borneo and in your home country and also to give the local school children and yours a chance to interact and understand different cultures.

Cultural and Community Interaction:

Living and contributing to the Sukau community is a big part of this project. As most lunches and dinners will be served in the homes of individual villagers and local families you may get to hear about their daily lives, chat with the children, learn their family structure and see how the Orang Sungai have been living off the rivers and jungles for centuries.

Community Development:

This involves the development of a continuous project, working with the community of the local village. This offers another fun way to interact with the community on various levels whilst working on a conservation project.

Day 6: After saying goodbye to the local people of the Orang Sungai whom by now you will all know well you will travel from the project site at Sukau to the Rainforest Discovery Center for a chance to put your recently acquired knowledge to the test before travelling to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center. This will be an incredible chance to see orangutans up close and a truly once in a lifetime opportunity. Your final evening can be spent resting and relaxing in a comfortable city hotel in the heart of Sandakan.

Day 7: This will be your last day on the project and so you will take a private transfer from your hotel in the city to Sandakan Airport for your return flight, or to commence your independent travel plans.

Details on Arrival

Start Dates

2017 - 4th August 
2018 - 6th April

Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s). Of course, there is an exception for children that are accompanied by their parents.
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
There are also no specific skills required in order to join – all that we ask is that you come with a willingness to get your hands dirty!
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Any questions? Just ask. We at The Great Projects are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator

Free-time activities

In your free time you will often join local families to cook and eat with them. The tour itself involves a lot of trekking and physical activity as it is. Also you will be able to do Yoga with locals if you please.

Contact & Reservation
1 - 1
1 - 1
Airport Pickup

Included Services

Extra security layer by Volunteer World
Volunteer World is the world's leading comparison platform for international volunteer opportunities. We guide you through a safe and easy application process - including all necessary payments. Planning your next meaningful trip with Volunteer World gives you free access to our:
Quality Assurance
High ethical standards & transparent social impact
Flex Option
Change your reservation at no extra costs
Refund Guarantee
We refund your fees if The Great Projects cancels your trip
Resolution Support
We cover your back no matter what happens
Services by The Great Projects
A monetary contribution to the project itself - Transfers to and from the airport - Full orientation and support from the project facilitator - Accommodation and meals as indicated - Entrance fees to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and the Rainforest Discovery Centre
Airport Pickup at Sandakan

You will need to arrive into Sandakan International Airport before 4pm on the start date of your project. You will be met by a project representative in the arrivals hall and transferred by road to your first night's accommodation. The next day you will travel to the project site at Sukau.

On your final day please book your departing flight for after 11am.


Sepilok (first night): For your first night in the rainforest you will stay in a traditional longhouse with shared facilities. At approximately 18:00 you will enjoy a welcome dinner and project introduction from your facilitator.

Sukau (project days): During the project, you and your family will stay in a comfortable and authentically Bornean, village-run B&B within walking distance of the centre of the village and the village jetty. Bedrooms have attached toilet blocks and cold-water showers. Everyday breakfast is served in a common area overlooking the river.

At Sandakan (final night): For your final night, you will stay in a comfortable hotel room in the equivalent of a 3 star hotel in Sandakan town. The hotel is within walking distance of the Promenade and many quaint little shops and eateries. The town has internet cafes, a supermarket, restaurants and food stalls serving local and western foods. There is also a beautiful rooftop restaurant and bar nearby.

Guesthouse Hotel Bedroom (Double)
Food & Beverages

All meals are included and during your time in Sukau on the project they will be prepared and eaten in the homes of village locals. There are always vegetarian options available and any extra drinks and snacks you would like can be purchased in the nearby towns.

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.

No worries, Volunteer World supports you in raising funds, checking your visa regulations and travel insurance. We also assist you in finding the cheapest flights for your journey.
Costs (Prices in USD)
1 week (min. stay)
1 week (max. stay)
Average fees

You can volunteer at the project site in Sabah/Malaysia between 1 week and 1 week. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. The Great Projects will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with The Great Projects during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Get ready to volunteer in Malaysia

Check out first

Visa Regulations
Depending on your nationality, you have to arrange your visa for Malaysia. Please check the visa regulations for Malaysia.
Travel Seasons
Find out the best time to volunteer in Malaysia and receive information on weather and climatic conditions.
Living Costs
Living costs vary with each destination. We give an overview of what you should plan as an estimated budget to volunteer in Malaysia.
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Malaysia.

What's next?

The nearest airport is Sandakan (SDK) in Sandakan. We assist you to find cheap flights to Malaysia.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Malaysia provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccine Checker
If you are intending to volunteer in Malaysia you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Malaysia.
What can you do in leisure-time in Malaysia while you are not working at your volunteer opportunity?
Sabah, Sabah, Malaysia zoom="6"

You might be also interested in

Marine Conservation & Diving Assistant
Raja Ampat , Indonesia The Great Projects Agency | The Great Projects
Dive unexplored reefs and partake in marine conservation amongst the islands of the intrepid Raja Ampat archipelago.
The Wildlife Sanctuary
La Paz , Bolivia The Great Projects Agency | The Great Projects
Help to take care of wildlife rescued animals from illegal traffickers in Bolivia as a conservation volunteer! Our animals are happy for every helping hand.
Giant Panda Conservation
Chengdu, China The Great Projects Agency | The Great Projects
You can volunteer with giant pandas at a reserve in Chengdu and help provide care for these beautiful bears.
Great White Shark Conservation
Kleinbaai, South Africa The Great Projects Agency | The Great Projects
Come face to face with one of the world’s most infamous predators whilst aiding great white shark conservation.
Wildlife Conservation & Education
Limpopo, South Africa The Great Projects Agency | The Great Projects
Play a vital role in the education on environmental protection of underprivileged children in South Africa.
Carnivore Conservation & Research
Windhoek , Namibia The Great Projects Agency | The Great Projects
Assist the team with data collection of Big Cats to help with research on cheetah and leopard conservation in the stunning Namibian desert.
© Volunteer World