Trip Details

The Koh Sen Marine Conservation project takes place just 13 kilometres from the Cambodian coastal town, Kep. Koh Sen itself is an untouched and uninhabited island that is about 300 metres wide and 900 metres long – this is where the marine research centre is located and where this conservation project is focussed. During your time on the project you will stay with staff and other volunteers at the marine research centre.

Despite boasting excellent coral reefs and marine life, Koh Sen remains virtually undiscovered. You will not find it on many guidebooks and, as it is away from the tourist trail, this conservation project allows volunteers to immerse themselves in the Cambodian style of life, as well as in the unspoilt environments that have been able to flourish on Koh Sen.

The Koh Sen Marine Conservation project is a unique opportunity for volunteers to learn about the ocean, to experience marine conservation work first hand, and to experience the culture of a developing country. During this project volunteers will work alongside staff members who come from the local community and, in doing so, will begin to develop a strong idea about the way that the Cambodian people live.

During the volunteering program the volunteers will have the opportunity to become fully-qualified divers, complete an emergency first aid response course, and gain first hand experience in coral reef surveyance. During this time, you will learn a great deal about marine conservation and ecology and you will also get involved in local educational projects. In all of these tasks, you can be sure that you are making a positive impact that will lead to a more sustainable future, both for the marine life that inhabits this area, and for the local communities.

We arrange transport from the airport as well as transport during your stay. Upon arrival there will be a meet and greet in which you will have time to get to know the other volunteers whilst settling into your accommodation. At this time, you will also complete a basic survival lessons, in which you will learn about the island’s customs, cultures and language.

The aim of this project is to aid in the longevity of Koh Sen’s ecosystem, as well as in the development and sustenance of the local area. Through educational and physical input from volunteers, the project hopes to alter the perspectives of local inhabitants about how to preserve Cambodia’s natural resources and wildlife.

Aims & Objectives

  • Alter the perspectives of local inhabitants regarding their treatment of natural resources and marine life in Koh Sen
  • Give you invaluable, practical experience in marine conservation
  • Assist the local staff by providing an extra hand

The Open Water + Open Water Advanced diving certificates are a mandatory requirement but can be booked for an extra fee if you don’t have both. The fees for these courses are $500 for the combi of the SSI Open water and SSI Open Water Advanced. For participants that already hold a Diving Open Water Certificate, they only need to follow the SSI Open Water Advanced Course onsite which costs $250. These fees need to be paid onsite directly to the local team.

Trip Itinerary

1st Week
Spend week one getting acquainted with the team and project; get to know the island and Khmer’s customs and language. You will also take part in the PADI Open Water course as well as a marine conservation and ecology introduction.

2nd & 3rd Weeks
During weeks 2 and 3 you will take part in species ID tests, as well as in in-water practice and exams. You will practice and try your hand at coral reef surveys and data gathering, and you will take part in community projects in the local area.

4th Week
During week 4 you will continue coral reef surveys and data gathering, and you will also try your hand at learning the Khmer language. Other activities will also be available dependant on weather, with exploration and cultural excursions on the menu.

Your weeks will look something like this:

  • Classroom species ID skills and test
  • In-water species ID practice and exams
  • Coral reef survey methodology and dry run
  • Coral reef surveying and underwater data gathering
  • Community projects with local people on the mainland
  • Khmer language lessons
  • Community projects
  • Data collation and entry
  • De-brief and presentations

Please note; This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.

Trip Accommodation

Koh Sen is a Cambodian island located just 13 kilometres out of the Cambodian coast town Kep. It is an untouched and uninhabited island of only 300 meters wide and 900 meters long.

About the Accommodation
Accommodation consists of bunk beds in a shared room at the project base on the Island of Koh Sen. Bathroom facilities are shared amongst participants.

Food Arrangements
Meals are provided in the accommodation and cooked Cambodian-style by our staff. This will include plenty of rice dishes, meat and at times, western food. Vegetarian options are available.

Three Meals on weekdays,Two meals on weekends.


Due to its size and uninhabited nature, there are very limited facilities on this island. This includes ATM facilities, so make sure you have cash on you before arrival!


Trip Country Info


Capital: Phnom Penh
Language: Khmer
Currency: Riel (KHR)
Time zone: UTC +7

Once known as the Khmer empire, Cambodia is perhaps best known for its monumental temples, especially that of Angkor Wat – finalist in the election of the new 7 wonders of the world in 2006. It is without doubt a country of incredible beauty, scattered with these temples, fertile rice fields and a rich and interesting history. For this reason it is unsurprising that Cambodia has taken a firm place on the tourist map. Having been a protectorate of France for almost 100 years, the country gained its independence in 1953. Following this however, Cambodia experienced years of civil war, turmoil and political corruption, as well as suffering from its involvement in the Vietnam war.

Despite holding this dark history, Cambodia really is an extraordinary country and has prevailed due to what has been described as the unbreakable spirit of the Cambodian people. The people here are known for their friendliness and their smiles.

Gap year travel to Cambodia is on the rise as more and more people discover its culture, traditions and historic treasures. A relatively unexplored country compared to its neighbours, Cambodia opened up for tourism very recently.Troubled by extreme poverty, Cambodia is one of the poorest countries in Asia according to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), with over 75% of the population living on less than 2 USD a day. Things such as infrastructure, healthcare, and education are lacking in quality and are often not available to their fullest extent.

With a wide range of volunteering opportunities, Tru Experience wants to help you find the volunteer experience that’s perfect for you whether you are looking to work & travel in Cambodia or go on a road trip across the country. By visiting Cambodia, you can find yourself in a world where you can help those less fortunate than yourself while exploring the many cultural treasures of the nation and getting to know the people in a way that can’t be compared. If you are looking for a gap year holiday in Cambodia, a road trip, conservation work, teaching, community work  or other work & travel in Cambodia have a look at our latest experiences below.

Participant Criteria & Requirements

Standard Requirements

No requirements have been provided.

Additional Requirements

No requirements have been provided.

What's included

  • 24/7 support in case of emergencies
  • Accommodation
  • Airport Pick up
  • English speaking coordinator
  • Meals
  • Orientation

What's not included

  • Airport drop off
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Vaccination
  • Visa