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Cambodia Island Beach Conservation

  • In Brief
  • The Project
  • What to Expect
  • Reviews
  • Gallery
  • Extras
  • Dates & Costs
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Get trained up to Advanced Open Water on many of our marine conservation projects.


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Frontier Group Project

Working in collaboration with institutions and NGOs with the country, projects are research-based, creating sustainable and biodiverse programmes.

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Frontier Research Publications

The Society for Environmental Exploration has published one or more research reports related to this project.

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Cambodia’s coastal paradise is home to some of the most spectacular diving and gorgeous beaches in the world. The crystal clear waters host a wealth of marine habitats and wildlife, making this a perfect location to snorkel while exploring a magical underwater world. Cambodia’s coral reefs support a dazzling array of tropical reef fish and seahorses and provide rich feeding grounds for turtles, manta rays and a wealth of other marine creatures. The deep blue offshore waters support reef sharks and majestic whale sharks, as well as vast shoals of cruising pelagics.

You will be living on a paradise island, fringed with palm trees and white sandy beaches. Join us there for fragrant sun-drenched days and balmy exotic nights, mingled with fabulous snorkeling and fascinating research that helps to support local coastal and marine conservation. Let the spirit of Cambodia bewitch you with its vibrant Asian culture, heavenly beaches and dazzling sea life – the perfect paradise location for your Frontier adventure!

As you explore the exotic seascape around the island you will be getting involved in a real, ongoing conservation project. You will be helping to discover and chart the health of extensive areas of coral, record populations of fish, and survey the huge diversity of inter-tidal animals - from tiny hermit crabs to pastel-hued anemones. On shore you'll learn about the activities of the traditional island fishermen, as well as discovering and reporting which marine organisms are being sustainably harvested and which are being dangerously depleted. You’ll also be helping to investigate the long term effects of global warming on Cambodia’s corals.

The work you’ll carry out will be rewarding, challenging, and hugely beneficial to conservation efforts, as well as being fantastic fun. You will gain immense satisfaction from knowing that your input will help to protect this precious marine wilderness for future generations.

  

  



PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS

  • Help to monitor & conserve marine wildlife in Cambodia
  • Snorkel crystal clear waters
  • Make lifelong friends
Camping Beach Community Emergency Physical Ground Transport Meals Research PADI Qualification Wildlife Marine Coastal Snorkelling Encounter Free Time Breakfast
FAST FACTS
Location Cambodia, on the island of Kaoh Sen in Kep Province
Activities Learn to map coral reefs
Help with environmental education in local communities
Explore & record living organisms - in the ocean and on shore
Underwater visual census of reef & commercial fish
Assessment of algae and coral cover to determine the extent of coral damage
Line intercept transects for benthic life & indicator invertebrate species
Record observations of the feeding habits & behaviour patterns of a range of marine life
Report the effects of global warming on marine communities
Observe the impact of fishing and other harvesting on the life of the reef
Transport Airport pick-up (extra cost applies if you require this service and should be booked in advance)
Bus from Phnom Penh to Kep which takes approximately 2 hours and then a ferry ride to the island of Kaoh Sen, Kep Province
Accommodation Beach camp

 


WHAT'S INCLUDED
Before you go Pre-departure support
Travel & medical advice & documentation
Equipment advice
Discounted medical kit
Free Frontier t-shirt
In-country

Accommodation & three meals a day
Local orientation & comprehensive project training
Project equipment
Research materials
24 hour in-country support
International HQ emergency support & back-up
Airport pick-up for those arriving into Phnom Penh can be arranged at extra cost (US$180GBP / $150USD)
Airport pick-up and drop off for those travelling to and from Phnom Penh can be arranged at extra cost (US$243GBP / $200USD)
Boat transfer from meeting point in Kep to the island of Kaoh Sen every Monday morning
Use of Frontier project equipment
Discounted PADI dive courses with local dive school (please discuss this with a Travel Advisor and will need to be booked in advance of your project)

WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?

The aim of the Frontier-Cambodia island beach conservation project is to better understand the country’s marine resources, and to provide teaching and training to local island communities to enable them to make informed decisions regarding the management of their coastal ecosystems.

To achieve this mission, you will conduct scientific baseline data surveys of reef areas, including mapping the health of the reefs. We also identify patterns of resource use, and we work with local communities to support environmentally responsible development.

Some of Cambodia’s corals were recently damaged by a bleaching event caused by high sea temperatures. Global warming is believed to be to blame, as well as the new development upon the mainland. Your project aims to chart the extent of this damage and to monitor how the reefs are recovering. We hope that this information will help to support management of damaged coral reefs around the world.

The island itself is little studied and the local people are keen to be involved in protecting their biodiversity, making this a perfect location for both research and practical conservation activities. You could have the opportunity to work on all sorts of tangible conservation and research, both land-based and marine. As well as marine work, you could be doing bird counts or vegetation surveys, or you might have the chance to join the local community rangers as they patrol the island and protect its resources. You will also have the chance to teach the local children of the island due to the poor economy of the island , some do not get the chance to learn English , after this not only will you feel very rewarded but will help the locals in later life.

WHAT WILL I BE DOING?

The project’s work aims to provide local stakeholders, research organisations and government bodies with the information they need to design and implement management plans for the future protection of key marine and terrestrial ecosystems.

To gather the data needed you will be snorkelling to locate and map the extensive coral reefs and study their various wildlife communities. You will also explore and record the organisms that inhabit the inter-tidal zones and the island's inland areas. To do this you will deploy a wide range of newly learned research skills and scientific techniques including: underwater visual census of reef and commercial fish such as triggerfish and parrotfish, assessment of algal and coral cover to determine the extent of coral bleaching and damage, and line intercept transects for benthic life and indicator invertebrates such as nudibranchs. You will record observations of the feeding habits and behaviour patterns of a range of marine and terrestrial life. You may even get to study the impact of artisanal fishing on the coral reefs or report the effects of global warming on marine communities.

Whilst snorkelling, you'll see an extraordinary array of animals from stunning angel fish to the shy porcupine fish, sea cucumbers to feathery starfish, spiny urchins to octopus and seahorses. By the end of your project you will be expert at identifying hundreds of colourful and patterned reef fish as well as being an experienced and competent snorkeler. Although the work is intense and challenging you'll get immense satisfaction from having survived and from having made a valuable contribution to the conservation of this precious marine wilderness. You will return home with the new friends you've made and a wealth of fascinating stories and memories.

As well as taking part in snorkelling and marine conservation work you’ll help with scientific data entry and daily camp maintenance, taking turns to cook, tidy and clean the camp, rinse snorkel kit, collect firewood, collect and treat water, and help with a wide variety of other essential camp duties.

You'll find your team to be a fun, dynamic mix of ages and experiences, with members who all share a passion for travelling in developing countries and saving endangered wildlife. Your staff will be young, friendly individuals who are highly experienced in their field and may have volunteered on a Frontier project earlier in their career.

Sample Itinerary*

8:00 a.m. – Breakfast at the volunteer house, prepared individually by the volunteers. 

9:00 a.m.  - The workday starts.  During training, this is usually a lecture followed by independent study and a fun snorkel.  After training, work generally consists of surveying fish, coral and invertebrates at one of the transects along House Reef or Sunset Rock Reef. 

12:00 p.m. – The lunch team prepares lunch for the group, while others enter data from the morning surveys.

2:00 p.m.  -  Volunteer work continues at either House Reef or Sunset.  Volunteers travel by foot, either a 10 minute or 20 minute walk. 

4:00 p.m. – The working day comes to an end. Volunteers are free to catch up on anything, plan for the next day’s work and socialise.

6:00 p.m. – Dinner at the Volunteer house prepared by volunteers!

7:00 p.m. - Evening activities decided by the group.  Movie nights, card games, pub quizzes, and night swims in the bioluminescence have all been popular in the past.  Of course, everyone likes party night best.  There are a few bars to choose from in town, or we go down to the beach and have a bonfire!

*This itinerary should only be considered as an example of the kind of activities and timescales to expect.  Actual itineraries may vary depending on the season and the requirements of the project.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I ARRIVE?

If you are arriving with other volunteers on Monday morning you will be welcomed at the meeting point in Kep by Frontier field staff or Frontier representatives. From here, you’ll travel to the island of Kaoh Sen by boat before being welcomed to the Frontier beach camp on the island. If you want to be collected from Phnom Penh airport and transferred down to the meeting point at Kep this service is available at extra cost  (US$180GBP / $150USD).If you want to be collected from Phnom Penh airport and transferred down to the meeting point at Sihanoukville and also accompanied back to Phnom Penh at the end of your project then this service is available at extra cost  (US$243GBP / $250USD).

If you are an independent traveller arriving on another day of the week you are welcome to join the project, but please be aware that you will have to make your own travel arrangements  to Kep (though we can of course provide advice and easy to follow travel instructions before you go).

WHERE WILL I BE STAYING?

During the project you'll live in a locally built volunteer house on a beach, on a gorgeous paradise island. We aim to provide you with a unique and memorable living experience and to make minimal impact on the environment. This means that the camp is simple and mostly consists of impermanent structures. All building materials used on camp are sourced from local tradesmen who use environmentally friendly practices. Camp life is very simple, unsophisticated and fun. Your "shower" may be a jug or a bucket of water – perhaps even a shower of rain – and some nights you’ll cook over an open campfire: so prepare for the basic, unencumbered, virtually footprint-less lifestyle! On occasion you may have to travel further from your beach camp to reach a distant dive site, and then you might stay in a “satellite camp”, usually a mosquito net pitched on a beach.

The dry season from December to May is predominantly sunny, with temperatures ranging from a fairly pleasant 28°C to 40°C+ in April and May. The main rainy season from June to November and is usually cloudy most days with heavy rains(thunder storms) throughout the day with occasionally breaks every hour or so. Daily temperatures remain high during the early part of the rainy season but tend to drop off to the low 30°Cs towards the end of the year

As well as taking part in snorkelling and marine conservation work you’ll help with scientific data entry and daily camp maintenance, taking turns to cook, tidy and clean the camp, clean and oil the compressor, rinse dive kit, collect firewood, prime hurricane lamps, collect and treat water, and help with a wide variety of other essential camp duties.

WHAT WILL I BE EATING?

Camp food is basic but nutritious and consists largely of rice, vegetables, beans and noodles, all of which are purchased locally in order to help support the local economy. Luxuries such as chocolate, peanut butter and drinking chocolate are only available from Phnom Penh or Kep, so make sure you stock up before heading to the island.

Part of your role on camp will be to help with the cooking, so get your cookbooks out now and start practicing! Also, with luck you'll be invited to local celebrations, holidays and festivals - a great way to meet locals and experience local culture.

GO FOR IT!  | 11 Oct 2013
I really wish I had come to Cambodia for longer than a week! The arrival in Cambodia was very smo...

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ABSOLUTE PARADISE!  | 27 Sep 2013
My time here in Cambodia has been absolutely amazing. Nothing like I’ve ever done before an...

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INCREDIBLE TIME ON CAMP  | 12 Jul 2013
The first thing that hit me upon arrival in Phnom Penh was crazy heat and humidity as well as the...

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MY ISLAND ADVENTURE BEGINS  | 10 Jul 2013
We arrived in Phenom Penh bus from Siem Reap. It was a pretty long and hot journey, especially as...

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THE SOUND OF WAVES & A GECKO TO BE HEARD  | 8 Jul 2013
My time here has been amazing, nothing like I’ve ever done before and nothing like ill ever...

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ARRIVAL AT TROPICAL PARADISE!  | 14 Mar 2013
My first impressions on arriving in Cambodia was how warm it was, taken back by the heat. That al...

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First Impressions of Cambodia, the adventure begins!  | 13 Mar 2013
Arriving in Phnom Penh was a big culture shock for me especially as I have never been to another ...

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THE EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE ON NEW CAMBODIA PROJECT  | 6 Feb 2013
After arriving in Phenom Penh I was met by the country coordinator Nick and my adventure begin as...

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ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

On the Frontier-Cambodia Marine Camp there will be plenty of things to get involved with and to keep you occupied. In your spare time you'll have opportunities to swim and snorkel in the sparkling blue waters around the island, or to play football or volleyball on the beach. Or you might help organise a traditional Friday night themed camp party, play poker, chess or backgammon or join in a camp quiz night. After a long hard day snorkelling and surveying you may prefer to relax with a soda and sway in the camp hammock, or sit and chat to your new friends beside a roaring campfire, under a sky lit up by millions of stars. Later you will drift off to sleep lulled by the gentle lapping of the ocean.

If you’d like to see more of Cambodia before or after your Frontier project, there is an incredible array of activities and adventures to choose from*. You could explore the mystical world of the temples of the Khmer Empire, with its beautiful unspoiled monuments, magical atmosphere, and charming monkeys tumbling amongst the ruins. Or take a road trip through the rice paddy fields, and catch a glimpse of the age old farming techniques that are still in use, with one of the extensive bird sanctuaries or fishing villages as your final destination.

* Please be aware that the costs of any such additional activities are not covered by your project contribution.

Dive courses will be conducted off site at a local dive centre (prices are subject to change). Please contact a Travel Advisor if you wish to take part in a dive course as these must be arranged prior to your deployment.

diving rates

  • Single Day Dive US$54
  • Double Dive US$90
  • 4-dive package US$180
  • 10-dive package US$360

courses*

  • Discover Scuba Diving US$117
  • Open Water Dive Course US$450
  • Advanced Open Water US$414
  • Medic First Aid US$180
  • Rescue Diver US$540
  • Dive Master US$900

*Medical certificate is mandatory for participation in dive courses

rental equipment (prices per day)

  • Jacket/BCD US$9
  • Regs US$9
  • Wetsuit US$9
  • Mask/Snorkel US$5
  • Fins US$5
  • Computer US$13
  • Torch US$13

COSTS

2 weeks US$ 1,195

4 weeks US$ 1,645

5 weeks US$ 1,895

6 weeks US$ 2,295

8 weeks US$ 2,995

10 weeks US$ 3,695

DEPARTURE DATES

Weeky on a Monday

DURATION

2 weeks+

WHAT’S INCLUDED 

Before you go 

  • Pre-departure support 
  • Travel & medical advice & documentation
  • Equipment advice
  • Discounted medical kit
  • Free Frontier t-shirt 

In-country 

  • Accommodation & three meals a day
  • Local orientation & comprehensive project training
  • Project equipment
  • Research materials
  • 24 hour in-country support
  • International HQ emergency support & back-up
  • Airport pick-up for those arriving into Phnom Penh can be arranged at extra cost (US$180GBP / $150USD)
  • Airport pick-up and drop off for those travelling to and from Phnom Penh can be arranged at extra cost (US$243GBP / $200USD)
  • Boat transfer from meeting point in Kep to the island of Kaoh Sen every Monday morning
  • Use of Frontier project equipment 
  • Discounted PADI dive courses with local dive school (please discuss this with a Travel Advisor and will need to be booked in advance of your project)

AIRPORT INFORMATION

Nearest airport(s): Phnom Penh (PNH)

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

Flights

Flights are not included in our project costs. However, Frontier have partnered with an experienced and professional team of travel experts to help our volunteers find the best flight deals for their trips with Frontier. This travel specialist operates in the tailor-made, long haul multi-stop travel market, arranging complex airfares and transfers for independent travellers. They provide expertise, security and a vast product range along with a Travel Butler service which is a single point of contact and support whilst you are overseas.

We recommend that you obtain a quote using the following contact details rather than book online, as our partner will offer you the most competitive fares. To receive your quote or to seek any advice for your flights, please contact Frontier’s dedicated team of travel experts on 0800 082 9994 (or +44 800 082 9994 outside the UK) or email frontier@flightcentre.co.uk .

Visas

For fast, efficient and up-to-date visa advice please contact our recommended visa consultancy partner:

Depending on your destination country and your country of origin, you might require a visa. Please see the appropriate country consular website for details or contact our affiliate visa consultancy service. Please note that your visa will usually start on the date that you enter the destination country regardless of when it was issued. Please check with the relevant embassy or high commission. If you are purchasing your visa or paying entry/exit fees in-country you will probably need to pay in US Dollars. If you have any questions please consult the relevant embassy or high commission. Please check the visa information regularly, as changes often happen without warning.

Insurance

You'll need to buy appropriate travel insurance covering your participation on the project. You won't be able to go without the right travel insurance so double check to avoid disappointment. Please make sure that you're covered for the whole duration of your trip – from the day you leave the UK to the day you return. It's also best to get your travel insurance at the same time as paying the deposit for your project. Depending on your policy, this will cover you for any unexpected cancellations.

Your insurance should include the following:

  • Medical cover, including medical emergencies and medical evacuations (up to USD$3,000,000 / GBP£2,000,000);
  • Personal liability (up to USD$1,500,000 / GBP£1,000,000);
  • Cancellation and curtailment of your trip (up to the value of your project contribution).

If you are going to be scuba diving you should get coverage for scuba diving up to 30m, including hyperbaric therapy treatment (unlimited). You should consider obtaining insurance to cover you for any additional activities which you plan to do during, before, or after your Frontier project. We recommend that you obtain cover for your baggage and personal effects.


LEGAL STATEMENT
Frontier Partner Projects and Frontier group projects are run in partnership with in-country NGOs, small community based organisations, local research institutes, academic organisations and conservation agencies. Project descriptions and information are supplied directly by our partners or field staff and are accurate at time of publishing.

We aim to keep information up to date and accurate, however, the nature of our projects and in particular the fact that they are constantly evolving and developing in response to changing needs means that project activities, travel schedules, tour itineraries and daily timetables can change overnight and without notice.