Projects Abroad | Marine Conservation

Thailand: Marine Conservation & Research

Koh Phangan, Thailand


Location: South Thailand

Duration: Minimum 2 weeks participation.

Start Dates: Project is on a two-week rotation, subject to availability. Training starts each second Tuesday. Please note we are closed for the Monsoon period – 18th December to the 15th January 2018

Cost: Starts at $915 USD – see ‘Costs’ tab for further details


  • Gain personal hands-on experience in marine conservation initiatives.
  • Work alongside experienced & passionate conservation professionals and scientists.
  • Experience a different side to one of Thailand’s most popular islands.
  • Ideal for those studying marine biology and environmental conservation, or those with a keen interest in marine ecology and ecological conservation. College credits available.
  • Opportunities for thesis and dissertation research projects.
  • Keywords: marine conservation, marine biology, field research, sustainable development, serious internship.

Costs Explained


Water is the fundamental element of life, without it planet Earth would just be a dry ball of dust, devoid of life. Covering over 70% of the Earth’s surface, little is known and understood about this vast resource and sadly, too little effort has been taken to safeguard it’s health and monitor the countless ecosystems and species it harbours. In the last century, staggering amounts of coral reefs have been bleached as a result of human activities. Considering they make up only about 0.1% of the ocean and yet are home to over 25% of all marine biodiversity, the effects of this bleaching are devastating.

Despite these dour messages, awareness of marine environmental issues is on the rise, with more than 1,27 million square kilometres declared Marine Protected Areas (MPA). The NGO you will be placed with for this internship is a part of this growing change, as they work towards understanding and protecting the incredible marine biodiversity found in the South East Asian seas. This young and very international NGO is comprised of scientists, naturalists and environmentalists with a common passion for water and the many wonders to be found in the ocean, focusing on coral reefs and marine ecosystems.

Started in 2011, the NGO works together with the Thai Department for Marine and Coastal Resources as well as several Thai and international universities and NGOs. Their research has concentrated on developing and applying methods for the increased effectiveness, abundance and size of the MPAs of Thailand. This is a large undertaking and your help is needed in making it happen. You are welcome to join the NGO as a marine research or marine conservation intern. Current research topics include:

  • Effect of tourism on Coral Reef proliferation
  • Impact of development on Biodiversity
  • Effect of fisheries on reef fish communities
  • Top-down vs. bottom-up control of Reefs
  • Efficiency of Artificial Reefs as fish aggregators
  • Efficiency of Artificial Reefs as Coral substrate
  • Nutrient dynamics of Island vs. Mainland

Daily Life

All interns joining the programme are required to complete on the job training, before joining the actual projects (roughly 10 days). During the training, you will learn to adjust your buoyancy according the task, navigate, use different measurement techniques, fish, coral, and other invertebrate identification.

You will learn how to maintain, survey and monitor areas of interest in a safe and efficient manner. This is an essential tool for anyone wishing to start a career in tropical marine conservation.

Once you have completed the training phase, you will join the project as either a Conservation or Research Intern, depending on your preference. Both roles include assisting the team of international researchers as well as working on and maintaining various on-going conservation projects such as artificial reef and coral nurseries, removing ghost nets, beach and reef clean-ups.

The project runs 6 days a week with general hours between 9am and 4pm. Each day will begin with a briefing, followed by 1 to 2 dives to collect data. Upon return to the project HQ, afternoons are usually spent debriefing and processing data as well as working on new projects.

Book with Confidence

Travel & Accom.

You will need to make your own way to the project location, however full assistance and detailed directions will be given. Thailand has a very good transport structure and many options are available depending on your personal budget and individual travel plans. Participants will be picked up from the main pier on Koh Phangan.

The NGO HQ is based in a small fishing village to the north of the island and contains dry and wet laboratories, classroom, workshop, bathrooms, equipment area, courtyard, garden and 5 guestrooms. Each room accommodates up to 3 people and is simply but comfortably furnished with beds, mosquito nets and fans. The centre has WiFi and a shared kitchen where you can prepare meals, though eating out is very cheap and tasty!

You will find everything you need within walking distance in the village, however for further excursions it is recommended you are comfortable with and able to drive a motorised scooter, as distances are substantial. There are an abundance of things to do and see on the island, including jungle treks, snorkelling, sightseeing, beach-bumming and much, much more.

Fundraising Help


  • Minimum age 18.
  • Minimum 2 weeks commitment.
  • Open Water Certified diver (or higher).
  • Genuine interest in marine conservation and sustainable development.
  • A good level of general fitness and stamina.
  • Relevant academic background.
  • Determination, self-motivation and ability to work in a team environment.
  • Must be of sound physical health and able to work long hours.
  • Travel & medical insurance.
  • Necessary vaccinations and visas.
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Project Fees;

2 Week Program: 32,000 Thai Baht (approx. $915 USD)* **
4 Week Program: 45,000 Thai Baht (approx. $1290 USD)
6 Week Program: 58,000 Thai Baht (approx. $1660 USD)
8 Week Program: 71,000 Thai Baht (approx. $2030 USD)

*Currency conversions are approximate
** All payments incur a 5% bank transfer fee.
*** Place is confirmed with a 10% deposit.

What’s Included:

Your project fee includes shared accommodation, 24-hour support, training course, diving equipment, project activities and integration into the project.

What’s not included:

Food, flights, visas, vaccinations, insurance, are not included. Full assistance will be provided in getting all these arranged if you choose our Premium Support.

You should budget around $250 USD per month for food, depending on taste. A typical local Thai meal can cost as little as $1 USD.

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We understand there’s a great deal to plan and organise for your trip. When booking a Placement, many of our participants choose to purchase our Premium Support Upgrade to benefit from the expertise, knowledge and experience of our Project Coordinators.

We can provide the personal advice you need to ensure your trip is organised with excellence and planned with efficiency; ensuring the very best experience possible. Read more about how we can help you.

Note: Map coordinates are approximate

Past Participants Say

Rebecca Lehman
Rebecca Lehman
Nomad Rating
Project Impact
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“CORE sea has been an incredibly inspiring and formative experience for me. From the moment I arrived, I was “welcomed into a family of people who care deeply about the work they do, and each other. The course has given me the most up to date methods and knowledge in the fields of marine conservation and research so I can go forward more confid...
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Juliana Renzi
Juliana Renzi
Nomad Rating
Project Impact
Extra Activities
  “My internship has been transformational. I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect when I got off the pier in Thong Sala, but after a day I recognized the unique opportunity provided here in the sleepy fishing village of Chaloklum. They offers interns the opportunity to experience marine biology by immediate application in the field, whil...
Read More