Orangutan Encounters OE28 ~ Ape Malaysia

Starting at the hub of Kuala Lumpur, you will head 2 hours out of the city to work at Malacca Zoo before heading to Sabah, Borneo Malaysia. At the Zoo, you will be working with a variety of animals such as orangutans, sun bears, tigers and more, focusing on their husbandry and enrichment needs. You will work with Malaysian zookeepers to improve conditions of the animals living at the zoo via enrichment. In Sabah, you will contribute towards habitat restoration work by planting trees and maintain planting sites important for orangutans and pygmy elephants while living among the gentle Orang Sungai or 'People of the River'.

Programme Objectives

  • Improve conditions of various animals in captivity through creating environment and food enrichment;
  • Work alongside zookeepers to raise the quality of current enrichment and protocol standards in Malaysian zoos;
  • Carry out habitat restoration at the Lower Kinabatangan floodplains where flora and fauna are abundant but threatened by diminishing habitat;
  • Conduct wildlife population density data gathering under the auspices of the Sabah Government;
  • Observe and appreciate the orang-utans, pygmy elephants and other endangered species, understand their life cycles and the intricate biodiversity roles;
  • Work with the local community and students in conservation;
  • Raise awareness on responsible living and travelling among tourists, local community and students;
  • Understand the threats to habitat and wildlife and to make a personal impact, bringing positive change.


Note: Programmes are subject to change depending on community and/or school calendar.

Project Site

This project begins in the vibrant city of Kuala Lumpur, capital of Malaysia and gateway to the rest of Asia and Southeast Asia. You will then be transfered to Zoo Melaka & Night Safari which is located approcimately 130km from Kuala Lumpur. After your stint at the zoo, you will then move on to a little village within a beautiful wildlife sanctuary along the Kinabatangan River, Sabah, Malaysian Borneo

You will live within the community of the village, dine with the gentle Orang Sungai or "People of the River" and wake up to the sounds of the rainforest. You will help in the restoration of wildlife habitat and contribute towards the environmental education of the local school children while on this programme.

The entry point to the Lower Kinabatangan is the quaint town of Sandakan, approximately 30 minutes by flight and 6-8 hours overland from Kota Kinabalu, state capital of Sabah. You can also get direct flights into Sandakan from Kuala Lumpur.

Programme Details Expected Programme Activities
Number of days Programme Location(s) Internal Flight Requirement Wildlife Observation Working With Animals Tree Planting Community Interaction Education
28 Melaka Zoo + Sabah KUL/SDK
N/A = Not applicable. Y = definitely included unless impacted by weather / disasters / community calendar. M = may be included

Orangutan Encounters Volunteer


Please Note:

Prices are subject to change according to exchange rate fluctuations.

Prices are inclusive of Tourism Tax (TTx) which will not be reflected on the invoices and will be paid directly to each accommodation

Cancellation fees apply. Replacements are not allowed

Payments are due latest 30 days from date of invoice. Late payment fees will be levied on day 31 onwards for all unpaid amounts.

All invoicing and payment to be conducted in Malaysian Ringgit unless

otherwise agreed.All prices are inclusive of 6% Goods & Services Tax which will be reflected on the invoices.

All invoicing and payment to be conducted in Malaysian Ringgit

Placement reservation fee of RM600 per person per project applies.

Cancellation fees and late payment charges apply.

Single room option at MYR1,050 per person only for Borneo portion (last 12 days).

Other Information
Minimum Pax: 1
Minimum Age: 18
Experience: Not required
Toughness: Very Easy 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Very Tough
Level of Supervision: Fully supervised programme
Personal Insurance: Copy of policy required prior to start of programme
Vaccinations: Tuberculosis & Hepatitis. Copy of doctor's letter / vaccination record required prior to start of programme. Original to be sighted on 1st day of programme.
Note Please check with medical practitioner on other required medication / vaccinations.
International Flight Destination and Departure Details
City Code Arrival Time City Code Departure Time
KualaLumpur KUL Best if before 1500 hours on Day 1 Sandakan SDK Best if after 1100 hours on Day 28
INTERNAL FLIGHT required on Day 17 of programme DEPARTURE Airport ARRIVAL Airport
City Code Departure Time City Code Arrival Time
KualaLumpur KUL Best if before 1400 hours on Day 17 Sandakan SDK Best if before 1700 hours on Day 17


~ There are 3 airports in Kuala Lumpur which are the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2) and Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport Subang (SZB). Please ensure the right airport is indicated for transfer services.

~ Airport code for both KLIA & KLIA2 are "KUL" in airline booking systems. ACCURATE flight details (flight number, airline, departure city, time of departure and arrival) are crucial to ensure pick up at the correct time.

~ Customs and Immigration coupled with the long journey and/or traffic from any of the 3 airports into the city centre takes approximately 2 hours, sometimes more.

~ Volunteers should have the emergency numbers [+60-(0)3-7724 2272 or +60-(0)19-899 4398] handy in case they face delays in the airport such as flight postponed or missed, lost luggage, quarantine etc.

~ Kindly take note of flight changes on the actual day of the volunteer arriving in Malaysia. It is crucial that we are informed of the change in flight time as early as possible to ensure correct pick up arrangement is made. Failure to do so will result in extra charges for the additional transfer that will be arranged for the second pick up time. Extra charges for these transfers will be invoiced to the agent.


Please be aware that programme and days are subject to change – this itinerary is meant as a guide only.


Day Programme Meals Details
1 ARRIVAL & WELCOME D Arrival at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) / Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA2). Welcome dinner & briefing.
2 ORIENTATION B, MA Transfer to Project Site; Malacca Zoo & Night Safari. Short orientation followed by health and safety talk
3 - 16 PROJECT DAYS MA Working hours at Zoo: 0830 hours - 1730 hours. 4 days off.
17 DEPART KUALA LUMPUR, ARRIVE SANDAKAN. D Transfer from Zoo to airport for flight out to Sandakan, Sabah. Arrive Sandakan Airport. Welcome dinner and briefing
18 - 26 PROJECT DAYS B, L, D Transfer to Project Site: Sukau. Short orientation followed by health and safety talk.
27 DEPART SUKAU B, L Visit the Rainforest Discovery Centre & Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. Transfer to Nak Hotel
28 DEPARTURE B Check out and transfer to Sandakan Airport.
Please Note: Itinerary is subject to change without prior notice.

B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner

Activity Description

Melaka Zoo & Night Safari Husbandry: This involves cleaning cages and feeding. You will rotate working with different animals depending on the needs of the zoo, the keepers or the animals themselves. Cleaning is vital to the zoo as better hygiene helps to prevent disease.
Enrichment: The idea of enrichment is to stimulate the animals and improve their living conditions as much as possible to mimic their natural habitat. Volunteers will be involved in designing & preparing enrichment. The effectiveness of the enrichment items on animal's behaviour will then be observed.
Construction: You may be asked to design and work on small construction projects to improve the night dens / enclosures of selected animals. This may include assisting in building new exhibits and extensions to improve the zoo facilities, or improving existing exhibits by adding furniture / painting.
Education: Volunteers may be asked to talk to school children and visitors at the centre about the animals. You may also be asked to prepare displays and information on them. Volunteers will be in charge of data entry of the Enrichment& Observation Record.
Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary Wildlife Observation: This entails observing wildlife and their habitat while we cruise along the main river and its tributaries within the wildlife sanctuary.
Habitat Restoration: You will take part in tree-planting, nursery care & seedling generation, sapling maintenance, mulching & composting, clearing invasive species and also tree growth data recording, all crucial for wildlife survival. Planting of trees will be in sections identified as high priority for the creation of wildlife corridors.
Education Programme: Half a day will be spent with school children on the community to work on conservation issues that the children deal with on a daily basis. You will be provided with a framework and the facilitator will guide you in the planning of this sesson.
Community Development: This involves the development of a continuous project with the community of a local village. You will learn some skills requires for their daily livelihood and maybe assist them as well.
Rumble in the Jungle: As an introduction to the flora and fauna of the rainforest, you will go for a trek to understand what the rainforest traditionally offers the inhabitants in terms of medication, food & survival.
Cultural & Community Interaction: Contributing back to the community is a big part of this programme. Most lunch and dinners will be in the private homes of individual villagers. You may get to hear about their daily lives, chat with the children, learn theirfamily structure and see how the Orang Sungai have been living off the rivers and jungles for centuries.

Not all activities will be included on your itinerary. Changes to the activities will occur subject to weather conditions, school calender, community and project requirements. Activities not listed above may also be addedd if deemed suitable / necessary by the programme coordinator.


Corona Inn Shared room 2 - 3 persons to a room. Ensuite showers and toilets.
Volunteer House Shared room 2 - 4 persons to a room. Ensuite cold water showers and toilets. Communal kitchen and basic cookingfacilities. Living room and dining area in house.
Paganakan Dii Dormitory. Shared warm water showers and toilets.
Sukau GreenviewB&B Village style B&B. Shared room 2 - 3 persons to a room. Ensuite showers and toilets.
Nak Hotel Shared room 2 - 3 persons to a room. Ensuite showers and toilets.


Accommodation is subject to change without prior notice


Inclusions :

~ English-speaking programme facilitator;

~ 27 nights at designated accommodation;

~ All activities, materials, tools & equipment included in “Project Days”;

~ Meet & greet at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA)/(KLIA2)/Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport Subang (SZB), Malaysia;

~ Arrival transfer from airport to city centre accommodation;

~ Induction & orientation at zoo;

~ Meet & greet at SDK airport and then transfer to Sandakan accommodation;

~ Programme introduction in Sabah and orientation in the village;

~ Visit and entrance fee to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and Rainforest Discovery Centre;

~ Meal allowance & selected meals for all Project Days as indicated on itinerary / self- catering with basic cooking facilities provided;

~ Placement reservation fee of RM600 per person per programme applies.

~ Welcome dinners at Kuala Lumpur and Sepilok.

Not included :

~ Cancellation fees and late payment charges apply.

~ International and internal airfare, camera fees, visa application/fees, drinks, private transfers, meals and accommodation when travelling independently or on Off Days, insurance, dinner on second last day of programme, personal incidentals and any item not stated in the list above.

One more thing:

~ Cancellation fees and late payment charges apply.

~ All prices are inclusive of 6% Government Sales Tax (GST)