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Thailand Turtle & Coastal Conservation Internship

Join coastal conservation efforts in Thailand as an intern at our base in the beautiful region of Phang Nga.

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Join coastal conservation efforts in Thailand as an intern at our base in the beautiful region of Phang Nga. You will gain practical skills and experience while working alongside our local partners and help with diverse topics such as biodiversity research, plastic pollution prevention, environmental education as well as work in a turtle headstart centre.

Time Commitment

Monday through to Friday

Active Periods

All Year


Work and Activities Description

You will be providing hands on assistance to the conservation efforts of Phang Nga’s coastal ecosystems as part of a team of GVI interns and researchers. The aim of this will be the development of your practical skills and environmental knowledge, which will strengthen your CV and university application, while providing a sustainable impact on the ground. You will be afforded with the amazing opportunity to contribute to a wide variety of conservation efforts that are aimed at protecting the unique species and diverse natural habitats of Thailand’s coastline such as coral reefs, mangrove wetlands as well as the beaches and forests of Phang Nga. You will also be working in a sea turtle conservation and research centre. Your work here could include cleaning the turtle tanks or taking part in the medical treatment of turtles. Furthermore, you will participate in beach cleanups – the data of which we submit to the in Washington (D.C.) based Ocean Conservancy.

If you join this project from November to April you might also be able to take part in tropical fish identification and coral reef surveys. Moreover, once a month we also monitor the biodiversity of two nearby islands that are barely inhabited and naturally pristine.

Lastly, key to any conservation imitative is the involvement of the local community. We therefore spend a lot of time conducting environmental workshops in local community, including at schools, hotels, and with tour and dive operators. You may also get the opportunity to take part in one-off or seasonal projects with our partners, like mangrove planting or summer camps at the local schools. Before participating in any of these conservation projects volunteers will first undergo training provided by our staff.

The exact details of volunteer conservation work on this project will vary with time, as the needs of our local partner organisations evolve over time.

Typical Day

The specifics of your work will vary greatly, depending on the needs of our partners, the community and the ecosystem. These needs can also change seasonally. You can expect to get involved in anything from environmental research and tourist education and management (Nov – March), terrestrial work such as mangrove research, planting and biodiversity surveying in nearby National Parks (May – Oct), or turtle research and conservation, beach cleans and community education classes which take place throughout the year.

During your internship you will be working on tasks that both develop you and meet the needs in the area. You will complete a leadership course endorsed by the Institute of Leadership and Management (internationally recognised) and have the opportunity to put this theoretical training into practice by leading presentations as well as workshops.

Conservation projects involve working at our partner turtle research and conservation centre; assisting with enclosure enrichment studies, morphological studies and enclosure cleaning and maintenance. You may also be involved in biodiversity and camera trapping surveys on nearby naturally pristine and barely inhabited islands.
You will be involved in regular beach cleans, bird surveys and teaching environmental education classes, along with other environmental awareness initiatives in the local community. You will learn different survey methods and have the opportunity to put some of them into practice.

Free Time Activities

You will be based in Phang Nga Province, working at centres and schools in and around the area (transportation will be provided to daily work placements). Traveling around the local area is quite easy with cheap and reliable buses between all major towns.

Any additional or recreational travel will be at the volunteer’s own expense, so this should be budgeted for accordingly.

In your down time you will be free to travel in the local area. In this time you could take part in GVI side trips, relax at the program base or visit the numerous beaches, islands, caves, and national forests for which the region is famous. Before and after your program you could visit the remnants of a 160-million-year old rainforest at Khao Sok National Park, also home to the world’s largest flower. Alternatively, you could kayak through estuaries cutting through 200 meter foliaged limestone cliffs, mangrove channels and tidal lagoons while keeping your eyes open for local wildlife. Or experience island life on one of the many Andaman islands in the region known for their dazzling marine life as well as their stunning terrestrial beauty – the possibilities are endless!

First Friday of every two weeks is free. Long weekend allows volunteers to explore Thailand as it can take a while to travel to many places. Second Friday of every two weeks = group project, which gives everyone a chance to experience the different projects or see more of the area i.e. could be doing a beach clean up or visiting a local waterfall etc.



Accommodation Options


Accommodation Description

Accommodation is in dorm style rooms, with en-suite bathrooms, running cold water. The maximum number of volunteers per room is 6. Please note that sometimes, the rooms are mixed gender. Participants share all base duties, including cleaning the common area and the resource room and other daily chores. Drinking water will be provided.


Facilities Description



Whenever travelling you should be aware of the risk of opportunist crime and take common sense precautions to minimise the chance of becoming a victim. Project staff are on base & on project with you at all times to facilitate and ensure safety & security of all participants. Upon arrival to field you will cover a healthy & safety and risk assessment training to mitigate any potential risks.

Food & Drink

From Sunday to Thursday, dinner and lunch is prepared for the group by cooks from the village. On Friday and Saturday volunteers and staff prepare their meals together. Breakfast includes bread, toast, margarine, milk and oats. Lunch and dinners are usually local rice and noodle dishes with curries and stir-fries. Expect to eat a lot of rice! We offer 3 meals a day but extra snacks and drinks are at the volunteer’s expense.

Internet Access

Technical difficulties not withstanding, there is wifi available at the volunteer base. Mobile/cell phones are affordable and Thai SIM cards are extremely cheap. You can buy top-up cards for reasonably priced calls in and out of Thailand. Phone shops are plentiful in nearby tourist areas.

Phone Signal

Nearest Facilities

A change of environment, climate, food and lifestyle often results in minor, and occasionally more serious, illness. Please inform staff if you feel unwell at any time. The nearest emergency medical facilities are located in Phuket and Takuapa. At the base camp and work locations we adhere to a strict code of health and safety. All staff are first aid certified and anyone staying on base receives a health and safety briefing upon arrival.

Airport Pickup

Airport pick-ups can be arranged from 12 noon to 6pm the day prior to your start date, please request this from your dedicated support coordinator.


Language Requirements


Document Requirements

Passport, Criminal Background check, Medical form

Nationality Requirements

Qualification Requirements

Medical Requirements

Please note that we cannot provide specific medical advice. Please consult your primary care provider (doctor, GP, etc.) or visit a travel clinic for further information.

Other Requirements

Recommended Gear

A list of essential equipment will be provided upon booking confirmation

Included Services

Before Journey Services / Support

Once you have confirmed your spot on this program, you will be allocated to a dedicated program expert who will assist you as you prepare for your program.

On-Site Support

Project staff on base who facilitate the project, run training’s & assist with any additional health & safety needs if required. 24 Hour emergency phone. Please ask your program expert for more information.


Pricing Breakdown

You will be given the option to pay in instalments for an Instalment Fee of £125 per booking. If you select this Instalment Fee option, a non-refundable deposit payment of £350 is due within 48 hours of notice of acceptance onto the program, 50% of the balance will fall due 16 weeks before departure and the remaining 50% of the balance will fall due 12 weeks before departure. If you the Participant cancel this agreement, the Participant shall not be entitled to a refund of any monies paid.

If you do not select the Instalment Fee option, the full cost of your booking is due within 48 hours of notice of acceptance onto the program. If you the Participant cancel this agreement more than 16 weeks prior to departure, the Participant shall be entitled to a refund of the full amount paid minus £350.
If you the Participant cancel this agreement between 16 and 12 weeks prior to departure, the Participant shall be entitled to a refund of 60% of the full amount paid. If you the Participant cancel this agreement less than 12 weeks prior to departure, the Participant shall be entitled to a refund of £100.

Not Included in Price

  • Additional drinks and gratuities
  • Extra local excursions
  • Flights
  • International and domestic airport taxes
  • Medical and travel insurance
  • Personal items and toiletries
  • Police or background check
  • Visa costs (where necessary)

Reviews & Ratings

Best experience in my life!







Last year I went to Thailand Phang Nga with GVI to make an impact in the world. I met so many wonderful people, i felt save all the time and the best of it: I felt like living in a huge family. I had so much fun at work, I learned so many new things - in conservation and for my future life, and i learned to love turtles! I felt very save at the accomondation, it was typical Thai, but I think, that makes it brilliant. We had two amazing cookers, so I was never worried about, what to eat. Sometimes, the work was really hard, especially at hot days, but if you see the difference, befor and after your work, everything can be done! I'm so thankful for that time and really hope to be there again in future! Thank you GVI!

Review by:

Chiara Carnevale

Kevin's Kickass Internship







I’ll forever remember the day I sat in front of my computer screen having just received the confirmation from GVI that I had booked a six-week short term internship in Thailand. A place so foreign and with a language I could not speak, but with a program I was highly passionate about and a sense of absolute wonder that drew me in. Then, I was not a complete stranger to Thailand. Just last year I came as a tourist mid-March, and I loved it so much that it was the first location to come to mind when I took that step to volunteer for the first time. Coastal Conservation meant we’d be by the sea in Ban Nam Khem, and with the devastation of the 2004 tsunami it was the perfect time and place to help out. Not only did our duties focus on labor-intensive activities, but GVI also involves the local community as well in many ways which are great to see. The first two weeks were jam-packed with activities and first-time training sessions. We started with one of the most important roles we had as conservationists, and that meant a twice-a-week trip to the Royal Thai Navy Sea Turtle Conservation Center. Scrubbing dirty tanks, treating turtles, and morphology examinations were all part of our normal routine. If any of the turtles had serious infections, we would apply an antiseptic that we’d quickly adopted the nickname “purple” for its vibrant color and its ability to stain our clothes and hands. Getting hands-on with the turtles really made it feel like we ourselves were making a difference in these turtles’ lives. I came to really root for them, having scrubbed their tanks myself and cared for each of them by hand! It left me with a satisfying feeling of a job well done when we finish and we were able to see the difference in the conditions of the tanks and the health of the turtles. Another part of our week always consisted of a village/beach clean in the nearby area. We would head out with gloves and empty rice bags, and pick up as much of what we could in the time we had. We would record what we picked up and by the time it was over, it was quite stunning at the sheer amount we collectively picked up. Sometimes the locals would pass by and give a thumbs up or a bow, and on occasions would even help out a little! Those little signs of appreciation were not only confirmation that we were doing well, but that we were being integrated just a little bit more in the locals’ society and culture. Bird watches were a bit hard to get into at first, especially since they were always at six-thirty in the morning (ouch). With some time and a little effort, however, I actually found it fun and interesting, especially when you get lucky enough to spot an elusive racket-tail or kingfisher. The staff’s genuine interest and passion for it definitely swayed me to try it out and really made it enjoyable. Friday projects were fun as well, being able to get everyone at the base to work on the same activity, whether it be a massive lake clean or a community project. Weekends were where we could explore and unwind after a week of hard work. Being able to go just about anywhere was absolutely amazing and is what truly made coming out here to Thailand so exciting. In 5 weekends we were to pack 9 different places we’ve been to and explored, and in each we have made amazing and crazy memories to last with some awesome and beautiful people. Koh Phi Phi, Ao Nang, and Patong were definitely up there on my list! It turned the connections we had from just normal fellow volunteers to friendships that would last a lifetime, and it made it all the better back at base when we would look back at our pictures and laugh at the crazy amounts of fun we had. It was an eye-opening experience coming out here with GVI in Phang Nga. It taught me more than just facts, statistics, routines, and labor. It showed me how to look at things through different lenses, to experience things from a different perspective, and how to take initiative in being the cause. But above all else: it showed me how to enjoy it all while making a real difference. GVI, you were one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. Because after all, what more can you ask for from an excellent volunteer program than some great friends and some memories for life?

Review by:

Kevin Blandon

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