Malaysia

Join us in beautiful Malaysian Borneo! One of the last remaining places to see orangutans in the wild, and full of lush rainforests and stunning beaches. Take part on one of our rewarding volunteer projects and make an impact.

WHY we need you in Malaysia

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Why Involvement Volunteers International?

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Volunteer in Malaysia

Malaysia is in two land parts and consists of the Malaya Peninsular and the island of Borneo (East Malaysia). The South China Sea separates these areas by around 644 kilometres.

Borneo is the world’s third-largest island and the largest island in Asia. Borneo is actually owned between three countries: Indonesia (73%), Malaysia (26%), and Brunei (1%). Brunei is a separate country within the island of Borneo (a little confusing!). 

Peninsular Malaysia stretches from the northern border with Thailand, all the way down to Singapore at the bottom, which is connected by a bridge. This part of Malaysia is home to the country’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, which is a modern city of glistening skyscrapers and colonial architecture. 

Sabah and Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo are home to green tropical rainforests, beautiful sandy beaches, Mount Kinabalu (the country’s highest point), and incredible plant and wildlife. Sabah is one of the few remaining places where you can see orangutans in their natural habitat. 

Volunteer Projects in Malaysia

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ENGLISH TEACHING

Teach English in the picturesque rural village of Tamparuli in the northern part of Sabah. Here, you can assist in teaching children and lead small groups to practice conversational English. As you gain confidence, you may also offer your services in other subjects such as Maths, Sciences, Sports, Drama, Arts, Music, etc. if you are interested.

Location: Sabah, Borneo
Start Dates: Weekly All Year Round (Sat/Sun Arrivals)
Min Duration: 1 Week
Min Age: 16 Years
Special Requirements: N/A

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ORANGUTAN CARE & REHABILITATION

Volunteers will help contribute to various conservation efforts and initiatives aimed at protecting, caring for, and ultimately saving these remarkable and highly intelligent creatures known for their gentle nature.

Location: Sepilok, Borneo
Start Dates: Last Monday of each month (see project info)
Min Duration: 5 weeks
Min Age: 18 Years
Special Requirements: N/A

special needs teaching - Malaysia

SPECIAL NEEDS CARE & EDUCATION

Help care for and provide support to residents with various disabilities, aged between 10 to 53 years old. You’ll help in three main areas, the kitchen (cooking, etc), classroom (education and activities) and in general areas (gardening, cleaning).

Location: Sabah, Borneo
Start Dates: Weekly All Year Round (Sat/Sun Arrivals)
Min Duration: 1 Week
Min Age: 16 Years
Special Requirements: N/A

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2 week padi open water diving internship

Take some time to explore and join our two-week diving program, where you'll earn the widely recognized PADI Open Water and Advanced Open Water certifications and have the opportunity to dive in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park in Kota Kinabalu.

Location: Kota Kinabalu, Borneo
Start Dates: First Monday of each month
Min Duration: 2 Weeks
Min Age: 18 Years
Special Requirements: Medically fit to dive , can swim 200m & stay afloat for 10 min

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8 week padi open water diving internship

Looking to become a Divemaster? Take advantage of our exceptional program designed for individuals with little or no experience in scuba diving but aspire to become professional divers. A fantastic addition to a volunteer project and to gain an internationally recognised certificate.

Location: Kota Kinabalu, Borneo
Start Dates: Weekly All Year Round (Sat/Sun Arrivals)
Min Duration: 8 Weeks
Min Age: 18 Years
Special Requirements: Medically fit to dive , can swim 200m & stay afloat for 10 min

Malaysia

What's Included
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Airport Pickup
  • Local Transportation
  • 1 Day Orientation
  • 24/7 In-Country Support
  • Project Materials & Equipment
  • Pre-departure Expert Advice
  • Preperation Tools & Checklists
  • Certificate of Completion

Fees

All prices in USD
  • 1 Week - $525
  • 2 Weeks - $655
  • 3 Weeks - $955
  • 1 Month - $1275
  • 2 Months - $2495
  • 3 Months - $3675
Vol House

Specialty
Projects


- Orangutan Rehabilitation

All prices in USD
  • 1 Week - N/A
  • 2 Weeks - N/A
  • 3 Weeks - N/A
  • 4 Weeks - N/A
  • 5 Weeks - $3506
  • 2 Months - $5550
  • 3 Months - $8295
Vol House
All prices in USD
  • 2 Week PADI Diving


    $1895
  • 8 Week PADI Diving


    $6495
Vol House

33 Years Experience

IVI is an Australian charity & non profit organisation founded in 1989 and is one of the pioneers of overseas volunteering successfully placing over 20,000 volunteers globally.  We accept volunteers from all over the world and place them in meaningful overseas missions.  

Affordable Volunteer Travel

We’re not motivated by shareholder profits.   Our fees are fully transparent to ensure maximum benefit where it is most needed. 

Safe & Responsible Projects

All projects include a dedicated 24/7 in-country management team, operational & risk assessment & overseas support contact.   All projects are personally inspected to ensure very high quality.
 

Work Experience & University Credits

We place thousands of Uni students and can assist you with course credits and in-field experience points.   Many of our project coordinators are qualified practitioners in their respective fields allowing unique in-field supervision and Uni accreditation options

Malaysia, a country in Southeast Asia formerly known as British Malaya and later as the Federation of Malaya. It is comprised of two regions separated by the South China Sea.

Peninsular Malaysia, also known as West Malaysia, is located on the Malay Peninsula and shares borders with Thailand in the north and Singapore in the south. Malaysian Borneo, also known as East Malaysia, is situated on the northern part of the island of Borneo, which is the third largest island in the world and part of the Malay Archipelago (Greater Sunda Islands). East Malaysia shares borders with Indonesia and surrounds the Sultanate of Brunei. Malaysia also has maritime borders with the Philippines and Vietnam.

The country’s total area covers 329,847 km², making it slightly larger than Norway or somewhat larger than the U.S. state of New Mexico. The highest peak is Mount Kinabalu (4,095 m) located in Sabah state on the island of Borneo. This mountain and the surrounding Kinabalu Park are designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

As of 2021, Malaysia’s population is approximately 33 million people. Kuala Lumpur is the largest city and the national capital. The official languages spoken are Malay, English, Tamil, and Chinese (Cantonese). The official religion in Malaysia is Islam, with approximately 60% of the population practicing the Muslim faith and 20% practicing Buddhism.

Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia are situated in the same tropical latitudes, thus experiencing a similar climate. Expect high temperatures, high humidity, and frequent heavy rainfall throughout the year, with a climatic pattern that revolves around the northeast and southwest monsoons. There are typically four seasons, the northeast monsoon (which occurs from November or December until March), the first inter-monsoon (from March to April or May), the southwest monsoon (which takes place from May or June to September or early October), and the second inter-monsoon (from October to November). The start and end of these two monsoons are not clearly defined. The best time to visit Malaysia is commonly between December to April.

Across the whole of Sabah, the ethnic groups and indigenous tribes (such as Dusun, Murut

Rungus, Bajau, Kadazan) account for over half of the population. There are also immigrant communities such as the Chinese, Indian, Filipinos and Indonesians – Sabah is a real multicultural society. The official language is Bahasa Malaysia, but due to the fusion of religious and ethnic groups, English is widely spoken.

In Malaysia, extended families commonly reside together, and elderly members are held in high esteem. Parents prefer to be involved in their children’s decision-making process. In Malaysian households, cooperation and loyalty are highly valued. Young married couples typically reside near their parents, while unmarried adults remain with their parents until marriage.

Our programs are located on the island of Borneo, and most within the Sabah region, a state in East Malaysia which borders with Sarawak to the southwest and Kalimantan, which is the Indonesian part of Borneo, to the south. Sabah is a beautiful place, known for its lush rainforests, beaches and mountainous regions.

Our accommodation in Malaysia will vary on which project you choose, so please see individual project pages for specific information. Accommodation will most likely be in a dedicated volunteer house but may also be in a hostel close to the project.

The diverse population of Malaysia results in a fascinating blend of cuisine, featuring spicy Malay dishes, a vast range of Chinese food, exotic dishes from both North and South India, as well as local Nyonya and Portuguese cuisine. Western cuisine is also readily available, along with various international fast-food chains. The majority of dishes are prepared with a generous amount of spices, chilies, and coconut cream. Fish is a popular dish that is served in many different styles for various occasions. Sharing food on the table is a common practice among families. It is typical to eat using the right hand, while the left hand is kept under the table.

Most of our programs will include a 1 day orientation on the first day, which will include things like a walk around the local area, explanations of where everything is, ATMs, how to get local sim cards, etc, and lessons on cultural norms and what to expect.

An arrival airport pickup is included in the cost of your placement on the Sunday before your project starts (please see individual programs for specific pickup times). Accommodation on the Sunday is included in the program fees.

If arriving outside the pickup times we can arrange a private transfer and extra nights’ accommodation, depending on availability, or you can make your own way to the project.

Things to do in West Malaysia…

Visit the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur: These iconic towers are the tallest twin towers in the world, and offer stunning views of the city.

Explore the Batu Caves: These caves are a popular Hindu shrine, featuring a massive golden statue and many colourful temples.

Visit the historic city of Malacca: This UNESCO World Heritage Site is home to many historic buildings and museums, showcasing the city’s rich cultural heritage.

Go island-hopping: West Malaysia is home to many beautiful islands, such as Langkawi, Penang, and Tioman, which are perfect for snorkelling, swimming, and sunbathing.

Try the local food: Malaysia is famous for its delicious cuisine, and trying local dishes such as nasi lemak, char kway teow, and laksa is a must-do activity.

Things to do in East Malaysia (Borneo):

Climb Mount Kinabalu: This majestic mountain is the highest peak in Southeast Asia and attracts thousands of climbers every year.

Explore the Borneo Rainforest: East Malaysia is home to some of the oldest rainforests in the world, teeming with diverse wildlife and fascinating plant life.

See the Orangutan: East Malaysia is one of the few places in the world where you can see these fascinating primates up close in their natural habitat.

Relax on the beaches of Sabah: Sabah is home to many beautiful beaches, such as Sipadan and Layang-Layang, which are perfect for swimming, snorkelling, and sunbathing.

Experience the cultural diversity: East Malaysia is home to many indigenous tribes, such as the Iban, Kadazan-Dusun, and Murut, each with their own unique customs and traditions. Exploring their cultures can be a truly enriching experience.

Check out this amazing blog with step by step info on how to raise funds for your overseas volunteer experience to help maximize your impact abroad. Guide to Fundraising

Weekends & Extra Tours

Ready to Volunteer in Malaysia?