Diving & Marine Conservation in Cambodia

Company : Projects Abroad
Location : Koh S'dach
Duration: 1 week to 1 Year+
Approx Costs: 1500 to 3000+ £ Pound (UK)

Volunteer on the fantastic Marine Conservation placement with Projects Abroad in Cambodia on the beautiful and peaceful island of Koh S'dach in the Koh Kong Province.

Cambodia's marine environment suffers from a lack of regulation and awareness - particularly surrounding the fishing industry.  This has led to overfishing and destructive fishing methods, causing damage to the marine environment.

Our project in the Koh S'dach archipelago aims to promote good fishing practices and environmental education. It is also hoped that the data can be used to encourage local authorities to declare the area as a protected area.

As part of your initial training, volunteers will also be trained as a PADI Open Water Diver - as a certified diver you will then be able to fully participate in the underwater surveys and conservation dives. If you are already a certified diver, we can provide you with your PADI Advance Open Water Diver training.

As well as participating in dives, volunteers also take part in community-based projects. This includes beach cleans, working with local fishermen, and providing educational outreach at the local school.

We also have Diving & Marine Conservation projects in Thailand and Belize!


How to apply?

  • Feel free to call or email us - we have a friendly team ready to answer your questions!
  • When you're ready to apply please complete an application form on the Projects Abroad website.
  • A deposit of £195 is required with your application. We will immediately acknowledge receipt of your application and deposit payment.

Start Dates


Costs / Benefits

Prices start from £1,370 for one week.

Projects Abroad cover:
- All your food and accommodation
- Transfers to and from the airport
- Transport to and from your placement (where required)
- Travel and medical insurance
- Support and 24 hour back-up from both our local and UK staff
- All gear required for diving


No previous experience is necessary - you will be given any required training on arrival.

Booking / Enquiry

Projects Abroad Diving & Marine Conservation in Cambodia Reviews

One of the best experiences of my life

One of the best experiences of my life

Arriving in Cambodia provided a huge shock and I sat in the back of a tuk tuk questioning if I was actually ready for this…I’d only just mastered UK bus timetables last week. The thought of Projects Abroad staff waiting for me on the island of Koh Rong Samloem provided some comfort in the fact that I wasn’t completely on my own in this unknown land full of rice and mopeds and scary flying bug things. I think that is a huge plus to volunteering abroad, you’re guaranteed to have some form of support and you can take as little or as much of it as you wish.

After a night in Phnom Penh and an eight hour journey, I arrived on Koh Rong Samloem to the sight of Khmer children playing in the sea and a boat of four divers already heading out to the reefs. Although excited and ready to embrace anything that came my way, the fragile tin sheds, apparent poverty and multiple geckos, rats and lizards did make me question what on earth I was doing. That's the thing about untouched islands though - they're untouched. At first this freaked me out...a toilet that didn't flush, a bucket and ladle as a shower, absolutely no phone signal, a house made of planks of wood with holes in and no air conditioning in 40 degree heat. Yet by day two I'd learned to love it. To have your untouched paradise and a non-western life, you have to take the 'bad' side of not being in the first world in order to experience the good. The funny thing is, the 'bad' turned out to be not that bad at all. I found the joy and weightlessness of not having any contact with the outside world so liberating and a chance to just be me. Who was there to conform to? Being stripped to the bare necessities allowed to me to realise what mattered t and just how simple and carefree my life could be.

I'll never forget the nights spent splashing about in the waves and watching the bioluminescent plankton light up, simply thinking "God, this world is so cool". Island life was so unlike anything I've ever known that all western social norms I'd acquired over the years were happily left at the door. I cared little for sand in my bed or mattes in my hair (at one point we had a group debate over turning them in to dreadlocks, only deciding to refrain on the basis my mother would disown me). I was so confident and content in this relaxed freedom that saying yes to anything and everything became second nature and it’s a lifestyle I miss daily.

Volunteer work began early the following morning as a PADI instructor began to train us up for our Open Water qualification that would later allow us to complete conservation surveys on the reefs. As a complete novice who struggled to operate a snorkel I was doubtful over my abilities but the training was second to none and I felt just as confident 18 metres underwater as I did on dry land. Swimming round the reefs and observing sea horses, sting rays, coral and even an octopus, it was easy to forget that I was here to do a job and collect data. Of course, volunteering is hard work and does require effort, but I came to the realisation that if you pick a project your heart is well and truly in, you get just as much out of it (if not more) than you put in.

When we weren’t diving, volunteers got involved at the local school in M’Pey Bey village. My time there consisted of regenerating the playground as well as playing the children. Their kindness and burning curiosity was beyond endearing and my time spent with them was extremely humbling and such an eye opener. They ended up teaching me a lot more than I taught them and were a reminder of just what was important in the world.

My main concern when signing up to a project was that I would be tied down in someone’s schedule and possibly miss out on seeing the sights I wanted to see or devoting time to myself. I can’t speak on behalf of every project or organisation, but the staff on Koh Rong Samloem were incredibly laid back and facilitated my needs and travelling wishes. With their help I managed to experience Cambodia as a country whilst at the same time, leaving it a little better having ‘done my bit’.

Exploring Kep National Park in the back of a tuk tuk and later on foot in broken flip flops delivered breath taking rainforest views and my first ever wild monkey sighting. The photo opportunities were seemingly endless but it was even nicer to just put away the camera and sit and admiring the view with my own eyes. Sometimes you can be so busy trying to capture the moment that you miss it completely. I guess the lack of wifi and phone signal sort of detached me from the habits of social media and constant phone in hand lifestyle. I no longer feel the need to scroll down every feed or know what everyone else in the world is up to, in fact it’s refreshing not to know what Tom, Dick or Harry had for tea. I'm quite content to live my own life and just project more energy into living that, rather than observing everybody else's.

Volunteering abroad proved to be an extremely rewarding experience, teaching me things I didn’t even know I did not know. I’d recommend it to any first time traveller or anyone looking to experience a country the way the locals do and not a guide book’s checklist.

By: Jess Readett
Nationality: British
Age: 17

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