Volunteer in Cambodia

Join endangered dolphin and dugong conservation on Koh Ach Seh Island, Cambodia.

Journey to the Kep Archipelago of Cambodia, specifically to the remote island of Koh Ach Seh. An unspoiled sanctuary free from tourism, where marine ecosystems are rebounding thanks to proactive conservation efforts after years of overfishing. Use your scuba-diving abilities as you learn conservation practices and witness the return of endangered Irrawaddy dolphins, dugongs and more. Experience authentic island life with a community of like-minded volunteers.


Located along Cambodia’s sea border with Vietnam, Koh Ach Seh (pronounced “co AHK say”) is a secluded, 10-hectare island accessible by a one-hour boat ride from mainland Kep Town. This tropical paradise, free from tourists, is home to only 25–30 people, including our marine conservation program and a small police station. The island is fringed by mangroves and recovering underwater habitats, offering an exclusive and immersive experience. As a volunteer you’ll dive right in from the shore or after a short boat ride to a research location. Living conditions are rustic, fostering a strong sense of community among volunteers.

Our programs

Marine Conservation Expedition in Cambodia

The marine ecosystem in Cambodia has historically suffered from habitat degradation due to illegal fishing, which led to a decline in enigmatic species like dugongs, dolphins, turtles and seahorses. Since our partner began their work in 2008, they’ve spearheaded efforts to restore this ecosystem through research, conservation practices and collaboration with local communities and authorities. By enforcing fisheries laws, conducting surveys and using innovative methods like artificial reefs, the team has facilitated the return of many marine species like Irrawaddy dolphins and dugongs. Their work has led to significant improvements, including the creation of Cambodia’s first Marine Fisheries Management Area (MFMA) and recognition from National Geographic for meaningful conservation efforts.


Our marine conservation program in Cambodia is a strong example of the critical role marine ecosystems play in maintaining global biodiversity and combating climate change. Through the restoration of Cambodia’s marine habitats, we are witnessing the resurgence of key species like dugongs, dolphins and seahorses, essential for a balanced ecosystem. We know that healthy oceans capture carbon, reduce the effects of climate change, and can provide sustainable livelihoods for local communities. By addressing illegal fishing and fostering sustainable practices, this initiative not only enhances biodiversity but also fortifies the ecosystem’s resilience. This volunteering in Cambodia program showcases the profound impact local conservation efforts can have worldwide on environmental stability and health.

Top 5

When you journey to Cambodia’s remote Koh Ach Seh Island, you’ll have the opportunity to see landscapes and seascapes that few tourists ever encounter. This is the true meaning of travelling and volunteering in a place where you can make a difference while gaining meaningful life experiences.

Here are our top five highlights of this program:

  • Experience true adventure by living on a small, remote island off the coast of Cambodia and Vietnam – accessible only by the project boat, with limited Wi-Fi and facilities.
  • Volunteer with Cambodia’s longest-running volunteer marine conservation organisation, a pioneer and leader in ocean conservation.
  • Experience the pristine island landscape, fringed with mangroves and teeming with the sounds of wild birds. Help protect seahorses and endangered dolphins and dugongs.
  • Scuba dive in the extraordinary open waters of the Kep Archipelago – and get the opportunity to gain additional diving certifications.
  • Enjoy an immersive cultural experience with the local Khmer community – learn from their traditional practices and ancient knowledge.


Programs offered

We currently have one volunteer in Cambodia program at Koh Ach Seh: our marine conservation volunteering program. As a volunteer, you’ll contribute to hands-on efforts to conserve endangered and threatened marine species, collect information for legislation and conservation management, and use your scuba diving skills to witness and record underwater data.

Activities on this program include:

  • Marine mammal research: Help protect species such as the endangered Irrawaddy dolphins and dugongs in the Kep Archipelago. 
  • Seagrass surveys: Aid in mapping the extent, species composition and abundance of seagrass meadows. 
  • Seahorse research: Perform habitat assessments, monitor seahorse populations and gather data to understand their behaviour and threats. 
  • Marine litter reduction: Collaborate with local Khmer communities to organise coastal cleanups and promote sustainable practices.
  • Community outreach: Visit local schools and universities to participate in educational programs focused on marine conservation and research.



What language is commonly spoken in Cambodia?

English is spoken at the project site and in many places in Cambodia. A number of local languages are also spoken, but you will be able to get around with English.

What is the weather like in Cambodia?

As a tropical destination, Koh Ach Seh enjoys warm temperatures year-round, with varying humidity levels depending on the season. The dry season, from November to April, ranges from 25°C to 35°C (77°F to 95°F) and is typically sunny, ideal for outdoor activities. In contrast, the wet season spans from May to October, with temperatures ranging from 24°C to 32°C (75°F to 90°F), higher humidity and occasional rain showers.

How can I stay in touch with family and friends back home?

The beauty of this project is its remote location, where Wi-Fi is not available on base. To keep in touch with family and friends, we recommend purchasing a local SIM card with “Smart” or Vietnamese provider “Viettel”. 

What can I do in my free time?

Since the island is only accessible by boat, most of your downtime will be spent relaxing on the island, snorkelling or diving. Volunteers enjoy movie nights, sunsets, beach volleyball and karaoke. If you’d like to venture further, you can hitch a ride on the resupply boats to explore the mainland or local towns. Plan to bring extra spending money for these excursions.

Do I need any qualifications to volunteer in Cambodia?

No specific experience or qualifications are required to join GVI on a volunteer program in Cambodia. Diving experience is advantageous, but we offer training for necessary certifications. Ensure you allocate enough time for these – our enrolment team can assist you. Additional project training will be provided during your program.