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Global Nomadic

Marine Conservation & Research

Koh Phangan, Thailand

Agency | Global Nomadic

Covering over 70% of the Earth’s surface, little is known and understood about our oceans. Support us in research and conservation of the fundamental element of life!

Water is the fundamental element of life, without it the planet Earth would just be a dry ball of dust, devoid of life. Covering over 70% of the Earth’s surface, little is known and understood about this vast resource and sadly, too little effort has been taken to safeguard its health and monitor the countless ecosystems and species it harbours. In the last century, staggering amounts of coral reefs have been bleached as a result of human activities. Considering they make up only about 0.1% of the ocean and yet are home to over 25% of all marine biodiversity, the effects of this bleaching are devastating.

Despite these dour messages, awareness of marine environmental issues is on the rise, with more than 1,27 million square kilometres declared Marine Protected Areas (MPA). The NGO you will be placed with for this internship is a part of this growing change, as they work towards understanding and protecting the incredible marine biodiversity found in the South East Asian seas. This young and very international NGO is comprised of scientists, naturalists and environmentalists with a common passion for water and the many wonders to be found in the ocean, focusing on coral reefs and marine ecosystems.

The Research

Started in 2011, the NGO works together with the Thai Department for Marine and Coastal Resources as well as several Thai and international universities and NGOs. Their research has concentrated on developing and applying methods for the increased effectiveness, abundance and size of the MPAs of Thailand. This is a large undertaking and your help is needed in making it happen. You are welcome to join the NGO as a marine research or marine conservation intern. Current research topics include:

  • Effect of tourism on coral reef proliferation
  • Impact of development on biodiversity
  • Effect of fisheries on reef fish communities
  • Top-down vs. bottom-up control of reefs
  • Efficiency of artificial reefs as fish aggregators
  • Efficiency of artificial reefs as coral substrate
  • Nutrient dynamics of island vs. mainland


  • Gain personal hands-on experience in marine conservation initiatives.
  • Work alongside experienced & passionate conservation professionals and scientists.
  • Experience a different side to one of Thailand’s most popular islands.
  • Ideal for those studying marine biology and environmental conservation, or those with a keen interest in marine ecology and ecological conservation. College credits available.
  • Opportunities for thesis and dissertation research projects.

Typical day

All volunteers joining the programme are required to complete on the job training, before joining the actual programmes (roughly 10 days). During the training, you will learn to adjust your buoyancy according the task, navigate, use different measurement techniques, fish, coral, and other invertebrate identification.

You will learn how to maintain, survey and monitor areas of interest in a safe and efficient manner. This is an essential tool for anyone wishing to start a career in tropical marine conservation.

Once you have completed the training phase, you will join the project as either a Conservation or Research Volunteer, depending on your preference. Both roles include assisting the team of international researchers as well as working on and maintaining various on-going conservation programmes such as artificial reef and coral nurseries, removing ghost nets, beach and reef clean-ups.

The project runs 6 days a week with general hours between 9am and 4pm. Each day will begin with a briefing, followed by 1 to 2 dives to collect data. Upon return to the project HQ, afternoons are usually spent debriefing and processing data as well as working on new projects.

Details on Arrival

Project is on a two-week rotation, subject to availability. Training starts each second Tuesday. Please note we are closed for the Monsoon period - 18th December to the 15th January 2018.

You will need to make your own way to the project location, however full assistance and detailed directions will be given. Thailand has a very good transport structure and many options are available depending on your personal budget and individual travel plans. Participants will be picked up from the main pier on Koh Phangan.

Free-time activities

You will find everything you need within walking distance in the village, however for further excursions it is recommended you are comfortable with and able to drive a motorised scooter, as distances are substantial. There are an abundance of things to do and see on the island, including jungle treks, snorkelling, sightseeing, beach-bumming and much, much more.


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)
Education Requirements
Environment, Biology at University level
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Open water certified diver (or higher),
genuine interest in marine conservation and sustainable development,
a good level of general fitness and stamina,
determination, self-motivation and ability to work in a team environment,
must be of solid physical health and able to work long hours.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 09:00 - 16:00

Suitable for


Any questions? Just ask. We at Global Nomadic are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator
Contact & Reservation

Included Services

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Change your reservation at no extra costs
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We refund your fees if Global Nomadic cancels your trip
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We cover your back no matter what happens
Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Global Nomadic.
Services by Global Nomadic
  • accommodation
  • 24-hour support
  • training course
  • diving equipment
  • project activities and integration into the project

The NGO HQ is based in a small fishing village to the north of the island and contains dry and wet laboratories, classroom, workshop, bathrooms, equipment area, courtyard, garden and 5 guestrooms. Each room accommodates up to 3 people and is simply but comfortably furnished with beds, mosquito nets and fans. The centre has WiFi and a shared kitchen where you can prepare meals, though eating out is very cheap and tasty!

Dorm Room
Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees. An airport pickup isn't included within the program fees either. Food, snacks or beverages are at extra costs.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Koh Samui Airport (USM) in Koh Samui. We assist you to find cheap flights to Thailand.
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 Thailand provides security and is a plus to have.
If you are intending to volunteer in Thailand you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Thailand.
Costs (Prices in USD)
2 weeks (min. stay)
4 weeks
6 weeks
8 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees

You can volunteer at the project site in Koh Phangan/Thailand between 2 weeks and 8 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Global Nomadic will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Thailand.
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 Global Nomadic during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

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