Volunteer in Malaysia
At a glance…
- Available year-round
- 4 meaningful project options, including Orangutan Conservation
- Projects based in and around Taiping in Peninsular Malaysia
- Accommodation in a volunteer house or hostel
- Program fees include train station pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
- Program fees from US$395 for 2 weeks (approximately £285)
- Orientation Week
- Between 5 and 10 volunteers start in Taiping each month
- Most affordable fees - as the world leader in affordable volunteer travel, we’re able to keep our fees low by partnering with a local organisation in Malaysia to support meaningful community projects and local employment.
- Superior support - your experienced IVHQ Program Manager, teamed with our local team in Malaysia will ensure you feel supported every step of the way - from planning to volunteering.
- Responsible projects - we’re dedicated to ensuring that our projects are responsibly run and have sustainable positive impacts that are supporting local needs.
- Online training - as soon as you register on an IVHQ program, you will gain access to our interactive volunteer training to ensure you’re well prepared for your program.
- Safety-first - volunteer safety is a top priority for IVHQ and we have clear standards for risk management on each program. You can feel confident that you are placed with trustworthy institutions, organisations and families that have been screened by our local teams.
- New friendships - as an IVHQer, you’ll always be in the company of friendly locals and like-minded volunteer travellers who will quickly become your life-long friends.
- Epic weekend adventures - you’ll have your weekends free to explore Malaysia with your new-found friends.
The Malaysia volunteer program is located in Taiping in northwest Malaysia, which is where volunteer orientation and general administration is carried out by the local team. Volunteers are required to fly into Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL), which is a 13 hour flight from most major airports in Britain. Volunteer projects are located in Taiping and surrounding villages.
The program begins on the first and third Monday of every month. You can choose to volunteer for durations ranging from 2 weeks to 12 weeks.
As a volunteer on our Teaching English project in Malaysia, you will assist in the learning development of local village students who do not have much exposure to the English language. After school lessons are run in a community library in the village and are held from 2pm until 5pm. This project is well suited to volunteers who have a lot of creativity and enthusiasm, as education isn’t a priority in the villages and traditional classroom environments aren’t always motivating for the students. Your tasks will include lesson planning for students between the ages of 4 and 12 years-old, running English lessons alongside other volunteers, and consulting with the local team to gain access to resources required for your lessons.
You are not required to have teaching experience or hold a qualification to participate on this project, however you need to be fluent in English and also confident to take lead of the class with the help of the other Teaching English volunteers. We encourage volunteers to come prepared by completing some relevant training, like a teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) course. Visit our Online TEFL course page to learn how to gain an internationally-recognised TEFL certification at a discounted rate.
As a volunteer on our Orangutan Conservation project, you will play an important role in providing a clean and healthy habitat for the orangutans living at an orangutan sanctuary on a small island near Taiping. The sanctuary is dedicated to providing care and rehabilitation procedures for orangutans who have previously been kept illegally as pets, or have been rejected by zoos.
The sanctuary is also a research centre where tourists and local and international students can learn about primates, ecology, veterinary and captivity care, and the threat of extinction to orangutans due to poaching and deforestation.
The Orangutan Conservation project is well suited to volunteers who are committed to animal conservation and have a willingness to do hard work in an outdoor environment.
Your tasks may include preparing meals and feeding the orangutans, cleaning the enclosures where the orangutans spend the evenings, planting trees, repairing and maintaining facilities, learning about veterinary procedures and monitoring behaviour of the orangutans. Physical interaction with the orangutans is minimal, however you will have the chance to touch selected orangutans from outside their enclosures during feeding time.
You are not required to have previous experience in animal care to participate on this project, however you do need to have a reasonable level of fitness to perform the physical tasks required and a degree of flexibility for changes in schedule due to the weather conditions.
Please note that this project has a maximum duration of 4 weeks and this project has separate fees to the standard Program Fees, which covers supervision, materials and a donation to assist with the running of the sanctuary. This amount will be included in the Program Fee quoted to you by IVHQ when you apply. Please also note there is a mandatory orientation week that all volunteers must join and this is included in your total duration.
Special Needs Education
As a volunteer on our Special Needs Education project in Malaysia, you will play an important role in assisting with English lessons for students at a Special Needs School in Taiping where there is a lack of funding for teachers and facilities.
This project is well suited to volunteers who are passionate about engaging with and supporting students with a range of physical and mental disabilities.
With 100 students typically between the ages of 12 and 30 years-old and only 10 permanent teachers, this project can present a challenging environment, so a willingness to provide support wherever your help is most needed will ensure that you get the most out of your volunteer project.
Your tasks may include running activities in the classroom or sensory room, providing assistance with mobilising students and feeding students.
You are not required to have previous experience to assist with classroom activities, however it is required that you have qualifications and experience to provide specialised care and training. Experienced physiotherapists can assist students who have physical disabilities and qualified psychologists and special needs care physicians are able to assist in providing training for the permanent staff.
Construction and Renovation
As a volunteer on our Construction and Renovation project in Malaysia, you will play a hands-on role in the supporting the development and refurbishment of community infrastructure, including community halls, schools and village homes.
This project is well suited to volunteers with a willingness to work hard and be flexible in providing support where it is most needed.
Your tasks may include laying bricks, pouring cement, painting, landscaping, cleaning buildings and collecting rubbish. You are not required to have previous experience with construction, however a reasonable level of fitness and dedication to the work at hand will go a long way in ensuring you get the most out of your volunteer project.
Please note that this project incurs a surcharge (excluding the first week) for supervision, materials and the logistics involved in this project. This amount will be included in the Program Fee quoted to you by IVHQ when you apply.
The program orientation begins on the first Monday morning of your volunteer program and runs for your first week.
After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive into Kuala Lumpur Airport (KLIA). British travellers do not require a visa to enter Malaysia for a duration of 90 days. Your pick-up from the Kuala Lumpur Central Train Station is included in your Program Fee and there are regular trains from the airport direct to the Central Train Station.
When you arrive, you will be greeted at the train station by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation in Taiping by train which takes around 3.5 hours. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.
If you are travelling in Malaysia prior to your volunteer program, you will need to make your own way to Taiping on the day before your program orientation and the local team can meet you for your pick up in Taiping.
Orientation is mandatory for all volunteers and is taken by our Malaysian team at the volunteer centre in Taiping. Orientation begins on the morning of your chosen start date and runs for the first week of your stay. Orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Malaysia – Introduction to Malaysia, Malaysian Customs, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities in Malaysia, Introduction to your Project and Placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socialising.
Monday Initial Malaysia Program Orientation (Introduction to Malaysia, Program Information, Schedules of Activities, Malaysian Customs, Language Lesson, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities in Malaysia, Introduction to your Project and Placement), Taiping city walk
Tuesday Visit Ipoh City - Tin Museum, Herb Tea Museum, clock tower and markets
Wednesday Visit the royal town Kuala Kangsar - palace, mosque, shops, town walk
Thursday Drive to the top of Maxwell Hill in Taiping, transfer to Lumut for beach trip
Friday Visit Pangkor Island, volunteers can stay on for the weekend at their own cost
Weekends Free Days
Weekdays: After the initial orientation week, you will work for approximately 4 to 5 hours per day and a typical schedule is as follows:
A typical volunteer day in Malaysia:
7.00 AM Breakfast with fellow volunteers
8.00 AM - 9.00 AM Volunteers begin work at their placement
12.00 PM - 2.00 PM Volunteers break for lunch
2.00 PM - 5.00 PM Work at the placement resumes or time for lesson planning is provided
6.00 PM Dinner is served in the communal area at the volunteer accommodation
Volunteers are accommodated in a central hostel or in a volunteer house apartment which is 15 minutes walk from the centre of Taiping. You will be living with other volunteers and you can expect to share a room with up to three others of the same gender. Beds are comprised of single and bunk beds and bedding is provided, including a bottom sheet, cover and pillow. The accommodation provides western-style toilets and showers with warm water. Fans are provided in each room.
For those who would like more comfort or privacy, it is possible to request a private room which has a double bed and air-conditioning. Private rooms are subject to availability and incurs an additional fee of US$90 (approximately £65) per week, paid to the local team on arrival.
You will have access to a fridge in the kitchen if needed for medicines or snacks. In the hostel, you will be able to purchase drinks and snacks from the bottom floor cafe.
Wifi is provided in all accommodations but is only available in the common area. We recommend purchasing a local SIM card with a data package so that you can use the internet on your hand held device in other areas of the accommodation and while away from the accommodation.
Volunteers are provided three meals per day during the weekdays and one breakfast meal during the weekend. Breakfast includes toast and jam, coffee and tea. Lunch and dinner is cooked at a nearby Chinese restaurant and delivered to the volunteer accommodation - lunches are packed in containers and delivered in the morning. These meals typically consists of rice, noodles, legumes, vegetables and meat. If you are vegetarian, a protein option is provided. Allergies and dietary requirements can be catered for but it is important to note that meals are authentic, local cuisine and may not be what you are used to at home so as a volunteer, a degree of flexibility is required. During the weekends, if you aren’t travelling, there is an array of street stalls and open air restaurants to choose from which will suit a variety of different tastes. You will find plenty of halal options due to the large Muslim population. There has been a recent growth in hip, western style cafes in Taiping, which you will find within walking distance of your accommodation.
During the weekends, volunteers have free time to relax and explore the local area or other parts of Malaysia. There are plenty of things to do and see near Taiping, including palaces and museums, trekking through national parks and caves, and relaxing in the city garden of Taiping. For those volunteers interested in travelling further afield, there are many great destinations to choose from, including Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Sabah and beach destinations, such as Pangkor Island and Langkawi Island.
|Currency||Malaysian Ringgit (MYR)|
Weather and climate: Malaysia sits near the equator and is characterised by a hot and humid climate throughout the year. The average temperature is around 27 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit). There are two monsoon seasons in Malaysia and the most rainfall is experienced between October and March from the North East. The climate is influenced by the mountainous ranges and is typically drier and sunnier on the coast, hot and humid in the lowlands and wetter and cooler in the highlands. Taiping receives rainfall year-round and this contributes to the beautiful lakes and rain forests of the area.
Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate, unless volunteering with a parent or guardian. All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check.
Free Interactive Volunteer Training - All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered IVHQ volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an IVHQ program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.