from $833.00

Tour style – Local Living, Trekking/Hiking, Wildlife & Nature

8 days

Based in a town on the borders of Malaysia’s largest national park, you will support tiger conservation efforts by dismantling snares, tracking large mammal footprints and collecting camera trap data. Four days and one night will be spent trekking through the jungle with a local guide. You will also spend a day caving and visit a forest tribal village where you’ll forage with women and teach English to the young adults.
  • Your Role

    The volunteering activities run from morning until evening with a lunch break in between. Precise timetabling depends on the weather as some activities may be delayed if it rains.

    Itinerary (depending on season and weather):

    Day 1
    Arrival day, briefing and introduction to animal tracks.
    Day 2
    Jungle walk – 6 hours
    Day 3
    Jungle walk – 6 hours
    Day 4
    In the morning you will enjoy a limestone caving excursion with your group and in the afternoon you will prepare the Conservation English Lesson plan ready for the session tomorrow.
    Day 5
    Visit the Batek village where you will learn about their lifestyle and also host a Conservation English lesson for the young adults. This is vital to the conservation of the wildlife in West Malaysia as they are the local people who are the eyes and ears of the forest.
    Day 6
    Jungle Walk and overnight camp with the Batek – 6 hours
    Day 7
    After spending the night listening to the sounds of the jungle, break camp and head back to the main road with a 4 hour hike. In the afternoon relax with your group and enjoy a BBQ in the evening with your team.
    Day 8
    Early morning departure any time

    Information about your activities:

    Jungle Walks
    A medium level of fitness is required for the Jungle walks. The walks are supposed to be slow to enable the guides to search for tracks and animal signs HOWEVER this is a tropical rainforest where humidity can reach 90-100%. It may not be hot but between the humidity and the inevitable encounters with leeches, this is not a trip for the faint-hearted!

    Walks are generally 5-7 hours long depending on the group and the route chosen. MyCat will designate the area of forest to survey and the experienced Ecoteer leader and local guide will then decide on a suitable route to take. These jungle walks are fascinating and will really allow you to feel like one of the animals in the forest whilst looking out for signs of humans and poachers. If any snares are found, the GPS locations will be recorded and then they will be destroyed. Even old discarded snares continue to catch animals so it is vital that they are removed to prevent any further harm.

    Large animals live in these forests, but it is very rare to actually see any because they are mostly nocturnal. Your role is to look for signs of their whereabouts and locate snares whilst acting as a deterrent to poachers.

    There are over 60 limestone caves in the Merapoh region. The actual caves that you visit will depend on weather, group size and group ability. The caves are fantastic – some even have rivers and waterfalls inside. The presence of limestone formations creates the most fantastic scenery. These caves are home to various animals including thousands of swiflets that group together at sunset and can be seen flying around a nearby town called Gua_Musang. The Batek people have used these caves for centuries, as can be seen by the many cave drawings that can be found inside.

    Local Tribal Village
    You will visit the local tribal village and learn about their culture and how they live in the jungle. They will take you to the nearby forest, regularly harvested by the tribeswomen who sell the excess fruit. You will also conduct a 3 hour ‘Conservation English’ session for the young adults and supported by the Ecoteer leader you will help to improve their English and teach them about the environment. These sessions are great fun but serve an important function, as the area has been earmarked for an increase in tourism and without being able to speak English, these tribal people will not be able to benefit from the new industry.

    In the future
    In the future the programme will include activities such as tree planting in deforested areas and camera trapping. Tree planting is currently dependent on approval by the local government departments and camera trapping is dependent on finding suitable locations and funding.


    The Local ‘Orang Asli’ (Malay for ‘original people’) living near to Merapoh are from the Batek tribe. They speak Batek and most of them still live part of their lives in the rainforest. The Batek people are one of the Negrito tribes and have similarities to people from the Andaman Islands, the Philippines, Indonesia and New Guinea whom all originated from Africa. They are true nomads and are classified by some anthropologist as pygmies due to their short stature. Some of the children go to the local government school but over 80% don’t.

    The Batek harvest the fruits of the forest and have small agricultural areas where they grow fruits such as Durian, cempedak, mangosteen, rambutan and petai, selling any excess. They also collect rattan and wild honey to use or to sell.

    It is not part of the Batek character to destroy an area totally and they will move on before all the resources are depleted. They rely on the forest as their ‘supermarket’ and respect it as the home of their ancestors.

    The men hunt while the women fish and collect forest fruits and vegetables. The Batek are renowned for their hunting prowess. The Batek believe animals living above the ground are clean so they hunt those living in trees such as birds, squirrels and monkeys. Originally the Batek used bows and arrows but early this century they converted to blowpipes. Today, they still use 1.5 metre bamboo blowpipes and poisonous darts to hunt on daily basis. Darts are dipped in the poisonous sap of the Ipoh Tree (Antaris toxicaria).

    Traps and nets are occasionally used to snare small game. Meals are supplemented with fish, tortoise, jungle fruits and yams from the forest and products like rice are bought from outside. Traditionally, most food was grilled or boiled in bamboo, although now metal pots are also used.

    The survival of the Batek in the rainforest is partly dependent upon the use of limestone caves for shelter. In 1985 charcoal drawings were discovered in Gua Batu Luas in Taman Negara and attributed to the ancestors of the Batek people. While they only date from 1920, anthropologists have speculated that the traditions of cave painting amongst these people are much older. The motifs found in the Gua Batu Luas cave include mountain scenery that is most likely Gunung Tahan.

    How you will make a difference

    Ecoteer Responsible Travel started in 2010 through the growing need for more support for the projects based in Asia associated with and the creation of the Turtle and community project on the Perhentian Islands. Some of the grass root projects on were unable either to financially support themselves or lacked the man power and sought Ecoteer’s help to continue or improve their work. Ecoteer Responsible Travel was then formed to help concentrate resources to develop meaningful volunteer and ecotourism experiences which could help solve the specific issues for each project.

    The aim of this project is to reduce poaching in the wildlife Corridor between Taman Negara and the Titiwangsa Range. The wildlife corridor is the last stretch of forest that connects these two forests, which are the largest in Malaysia. As the corridor is narrow it acts as a funnel so attracts a lot of animals and consequently has the highest density of poachers as well.

    Since 2012 we have removed over 200 snares from one valley and in the last 6 months we have only removed 1 salt lick snare that was set by small time local poachers. This means our presence has eliminated poaching from a part of the corridor, which is a good start. Our volunteers enable us to conduct more surveys thus we can increase our sphere of influence reducing poaching further.

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