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Marine Conservation Internships in Thailand

Marine Conservation Internships in Thailand

Develop underwater research skills, whilst enhancing your scuba diving proficiency. Contribute to impactful and meaningful underwater research, monitoring, restoration and conservation projects. Gain an in-depth knowledge and understanding of coral reef ecosystems, threats to these environments, and ways in which they can be protected.

Internship Highlights:
  • Obtain mentorship and research training from career marine biologists.
  • Gain enhanced understanding of the biology and ecology of reef-associated corals, fish and invertebrates, threats to these environments, and reef conservation.
  • Participate in active underwater research, monitoring and conservation projects.
  • Conduct scientific dives and surveys as a valued member of the data collection team.
  • Explore all the attractions of Koh Tao and the beauty of wider Thailand.
Type of host organizations:
  • Marine Conservation organization
Fully hosted experience from $2873
Includes accommodation
Internships begin bi-monthly
Minimum duration 4 weeks, up to 12 weeks maximum
Learn to scuba dive to upskill
Get job-ready with our Experiential Learning Curriculum
Internships align with UN Sustainable Development Goals
Eligibility requirements and Associated career paths
Eligibility requirement

Recommended for students enrolled in (or recently graduated from) Marine Science/Biology related degrees. Students on a gap year or moving towards a Marine Biology field will be considered, depending on the strength of their application. This program involves scuba diving and all participants are required to have the following diving qualifications, prior to commencing the program: (1) Open Water (2) Advanced Open Water (3) Rescue Diver (including First Aid certification). For those who already hold these qualifications, they may wish to have a one-day Refresher course. Interns with no prior dive experience or certifications are still welcome, as all prerequisite dive courses can be signed up for and completed on-site (at an additional cost), prior to the internship start date.

Language requirements

This internship is conducted in English.

Associated career paths

Conservationist, Dive Master/Instructor, Dive Agency Course Director, Oceanographer, Marine Biologist, Environmental Impact Assessment Specialist, Research Scientist, Ecologist, Education and Outreach Program Coordinator, Climatologist, Eco-Tourism Guide, Fisheries Biologist, Hydrologist, Biochemist, Science Teacher, Environmental Lawyer

Internship details

This is a scuba diving program, requiring interns to meet diving eligibility requirements in advance. Never dived before? That’s ok! Interns with no prior dive training are welcome and all prerequisite dive courses can be signed up for and and completed on-site, with highly qualified and experienced instructors, prior to the internship start date. The cost of prerequisite dive qualifications is not included in the internship program fee and approximate costs can be quoted when you apply.

This is an in-country internship, with accommodation provided. Click here to view remote Environmental & Marine Sciences Internships, which you can undertake from home.

International Internships for Marine Sciences, Intern Abroad HQ

As a Marine Conservation intern in Koh Tao, Thailand, you’ll gain a comprehensive introduction to topics including coral reefs, their rich and diverse ecosystems, threats to marine biology and ecology, and conservation measures which are undertaken for their protection. Come prepared to learn through direct observations during dives, to understand first-hand how conservation work comes to life, outside the classroom.

Short term interns (those joining for less than 8 weeks) should expect an introductory experience. This typically involves gaining an understanding of marine ecology, learning how to ID diverse marine organisms and their environmental threats, and the development of survey methods for underwater research, monitoring, and conservation. Interns have the opportunity to develop foundational skills and understanding of what balanced and healthy ecosystems require to thrive.

For those enrolled in durations of 8 weeks or more, you’ll become a crucial member of the data collection team, and assume a lead role amongst research dive groups. The program has established a number of research, monitoring and conservation projects in partnership with the Thai Department of Marine & Coastal Resources, as well as universities and international researchers. Our internship program offers interns the opportunity to significantly contribute to key marine research and ongoing conservation efforts. These may be related to:

  • Coral Reef Monitoring: Dives to monitor the health of coral reefs, including monitoring of different reef fish species and functional groups.
  • Corallivory Studies: Focused studies on specific marine species such as the coral predating Crown of Thorns Starfish, contributing to population density assessments and population control.
  • Coral Restoration: Engaging in studies used to assess the performance of artificial reefs, and their effectiveness at meeting project-specific aims.
  • Marine Biodiversity Surveys: Surveys to further develop our understanding of trends in abundance and diversity of data-deficient Higher Trophic Level Predators (HTLPs).
  • Reef Restoration Projects: Coral transplantation and other restoration activities, aimed at rehabilitating damaged reef areas.

Days are carefully planned to combine educational sessions with practical, hands-on experiences in research, monitoring, and conservation projects. During the preliminary stages of the program, interns can expect to develop comprehensive knowledge and skills. Depending on your chosen duration, such skills can later be applied when working on projects that the team of local scientists have established.

The program fee for this internship covers up to 10 dives per week (subject to weather conditions) in addition to the rental of some dive equipment, including: BCD, regulators, wetsuit, fins, dive computer. Interns are required to additionally supply their own mask, surface marker buoy + reel, whistle, dive knife, and compass. These accessories can be purchased in-country through the host organization. Individuals must take core responsibility while using any borrowed items, so will be required to replace anything that’s lost or damaged (outside of reasonable wear-and-tear).

Given the highly structured nature of this program, internship start dates are only offered bi-monthly, commencing at the beginning of January, March, May, July, and September. The program is unavailable from November through till January, due to suboptimal weather conditions during this period. Advance reservation for placement positions is strongly recommended, to avoid missing out!

Typical Schedule

  • Activities are intended to provide five days of diving per week with two days off per week. Favorable weather conditions are required for diving activities so a flexible and adaptable approach to the program schedule is required. This means that it’s possible for diving activities to take place during weekends, to take advantage of optimal conditions. In such cases, days off - for rest and free time - may be made available during the week.

Career Benefits

Marine Conservation interns learn from a qualified and experienced supervisor, and can be involved in:
  • Obtaining mentorship and research training from career marine biologists.

  • Gaining enhanced understanding of the biology and ecology of reef-associated corals, fish and invertebrates, threats to these environments, and reef conservation.

  • Participating in active underwater research, monitoring and conservation projects.

  • Exploring all the attractions of Koh Tao and the beauty of wider Thailand.

Professional development opportunities:
  • Develop ID skills for marine organisms and the diverse threats evident on coral reefs.

  • Learn survey methods for underwater research, monitoring, and conservation purposes.

  • Gain experience related to data collection for marine conservation and scientific collaborations.

  • Develop skills and experience working on coral restoration and artificial reef projects.

  • Gain practical skills and boost your employability, with guidance from Intern Abroad HQ’s Experiential Learning Curriculum to support your learning and cultural intelligence.

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Our commitment to providing safe internship experiences

Academic credit available for all internships

Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing an internship abroad or remote internship program with Intern Abroad HQ.

Learn about course credit

Program fees

It’s free to apply for this internship. Once we have reviewed your suitability and accepted you onto this program, you’ll need to pay a deposit of US$499 to confirm your place. The remaining balance of your Program Fee (less your initial US$499 deposit payment) will be due no less than 60 days before your internship start date.

Duration
Program Fee (USD)
4 weeks $2,873 Equivalent to $102 /day
5 weeks $3,385 Equivalent to $96 /day
6 weeks $3,897 Equivalent to $92 /day
8 weeks $4,768 Equivalent to $85 /day
10 weeks $5,740 Equivalent to $82 /day
12 weeks $6,663 Equivalent to $79 /day
  • Pick-up
  • Accommodation
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • Program orientation
  • Dedicated support before, during, and after your internship
  • In-country guidance for social and tourist activities
  • Sourcing and securing your internship placement
  • Personalization of your internship plan
  • Coaching from your supervisor
  • Documented portfolio of your experiential learnings
  • Academic credit facilitation
  • International reference letter
  • Certificate of Internship Completion
  • Meals
  • Diving certifications
  • All in-country transportation
  • Visa (if required), flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check
  • Transfer back to the airport at the end of your internship program
  • Personal spending money for snacks, drinks, public transport, laundry, and leisure activities during your free time.
  • A deposit of $499 (approximately 499) is required to secure your internship
  • Marine Conservation internships in Thailand include diving activities. If you do not meet the PADI certification requirements for this internship, you are welcome to take all prerequisite dive courses on-site (at an additional cost), prior to the internship start date.
  • Balance of your Program Fee is due 60 days before your internship start date.
  • All payments attract a 5% transaction fee to cover international banking fees and currency charges.
  • Terms and Conditions apply.

Arrival and Orientation

Internships in Koh Tao, Thailand, have limited start dates. Given the highly structured nature of this program, start dates are only offered bi-monthly, commencing at the beginning of January, March, May, July, and September. The program is unavailable from November through till January, due to suboptimal weather conditions during this period. Advance reservation is strongly recommended. Interns may choose to spend a minimum of 4 weeks, up to a maximum of 12 weeks. Note that advance arrival is required for anyone with no prior dive experience, who is planning to take all prerequisite dive courses on-site (at an additional cost), prior to the internship start date.

Accommodation and transport to and from Koh Tao port (ferry terminal) are included in the Program Fee:

  • The accommodation is covered from the Sunday night before the Monday start date - interns are required to arrive no later than the Sunday before their Monday start date, as all orientations are held on Mondays.
  • Orientation covers important details for your internship, including introductions, information about culture, customs, rules, expectations, safety, and more.
  • Bangkok is the typical international gateway (BKK), from which a domestic connection to Koh Samui is required.
  • After arriving at Koh Samui International Airport (USM), interns will be required to (independently) take a short taxi ride to the ferry pier, located 10 minutes’ drive from Koh Samui International Airport. The cost of this taxi journey is approximately US$20. The high-speed catamaran ferry service to Koh Tao takes approximately 1.5 and 2 hours. The ferry service leaves twice per day and operates 7 days a week. The cost for the ferry service is approximately US$20 each way. It’s possible to book this journey online, in advance. Shared mini-buses from the airport to the pier are also available, for approximately US$7.
  • Upon arrival on Koh Tao, interns will be met by program staff and an arranged driver and directly transported to the dive resort accommodation.
  • The last night of the accommodation is the Saturday night of the final week, leaving interns free to depart on Sunday.
  • Transportation is provided to take interns back to the Koh Samui ferry port. Interns will then be required to (independently) take a small taxi ride to Koh Samui International Airport.
  • Extra nights of accommodation can be arranged in advance, if requested. Extra nights of accommodation and requests for internship program extensions are always subject to availability and will incur an additional cost.

All internship participants are advised not to book flights or make any other travel arrangements until they have first registered to confirm and ensure their spot on the program.

Visa Requirements

For passport holders of certain approved countries, it is possible to enter the Kingdom of Thailand under a Visa Exemption Rule. Therefore, for most interns participating up to 8 weeks, a visa on arrival can be obtained in Thailand. This visa will initially be valid for a duration of 30 days, however a further 30 day extension can be applied for from the immigration office located on Koh Tao island.

For any nationalities not included under the Visa Exemption Rule, you will be required to obtain a Thai Tourist Visa in advance.

For all individuals participating longer than 60 days (8 to 12 week internship durations), you will be required to apply in advance for a 60-day tourist visa. Please ensure you complete this visa application process from within your home country, prior to travel. This 60-day tourist visa can also be extended by a further 30 days from Koh Tao’s immigration office, providing a total of 90 days visitor allowance within Thailand.

Each visa may only be extended once from within Thailand. After a visa has already been extended, travelers are required to depart Thailand before its expiry date. If you are a passport holder of an approved country, under the Visa Exemption Rule, it is possible to re-enter Thailand to obtain a new 30-day visa on arrival (of which this can again be extended by a further 30 days, totalling another 60 days in Thailand). Travel companies in Koh Tao may assist interns with these arrangements, if required.

Accommodation and WiFi

All interns in Thailand are accommodated onsite at a partnered dive resort, located on the beachfront. This is conveniently located for all program activities (walking distance). There are also some restaurants, smaller shops and cafes nearby. There is a medical clinic opposite the resort accommodation, which can be accessed (also within walking distance).

Taxis are available for traveling around the island - most journeys within Koh Tao are no more than 15 minutes. For safety and budget considerations, interns are not required or recommended to buy or rent scooters or bikes. They’re not required as transportation for the program itself, given the close proximity of the accommodation to all program activities.

The accommodations include an outdoor swimming pool, shared outdoor lounge area, free WiFi, terrace, bar and cafe. Selected rooms can also offer a balcony and/or sea views.

Dormitory-style (shared) bedrooms are provided for internship participants. Expect to share a bedroom with up to two other people. Efforts are always made to accommodate genders separately. However, same-sex dormitories cannot be guaranteed, as this depends on the gender ratio of program participants who are on camp at any given time.

Private room upgrades are available, at an additional cost, upon request. However, requests for private rooms are subject to availability and must be confirmed in advance. Note that air conditioning is not provided in the dormitory-style (shared) bedrooms, which are provided as standard accommodation for all interns. However, air conditioning is available in the private rooms. If you want access to a private room with A/C, then please ensure that you organize an accommodation upgrade in advance.

All rooms include a private bathroom with a shower and a western-style toilet. Note that western-style toilets in Thailand are often equipped with a bidet shower, which - for personal hygiene - is used instead of, or together with, toilet paper. Program participants may be required to purchase toilet paper, from time to time, during their stay in Thailand.

All rooms feature a fan, and bed linen, but interns must bring their own towel(s) and toiletries. Lockers are available for use. Onside services include a reception desk for guest support and housekeeping staff.

Laundry facilities are located near to the accommodation, which program participants can easily access. Laundry service is not included and must be budgeted for - the cost is approximately US$1 per kilo (for next day delivery. A slightly higher cost is charged if express service is required).

Please note that the bedrooms pictured in the photo gallery of this webpage are provided as an example. Since there is more than one bedroom within the dive resort accommodation, the exact room you’re assigned may differ from the photos. However, you can expect a similar standard and similar amenities, to what is shown here. Example photographs of the private rooms available, as an upgrade, are provided toward the end of the gallery.

Meals

Internships on this program do not include meals, as affordable dining options are easily accessible (including a wide range of both Thai and Western options). There are a number of restaurants located close to the dive resort where interns will live during their time on Koh Tao island.

Approximately US$150 per week can be anticipated as a generous budget for meals and drinks. However, all participants are encouraged to consider their own dietary and spending habits. Local eateries are often more affordably priced than products and eateries targeted toward tourists, so a balanced approach may be taken to take care against excessive spending.

As local tap water is not drinkable, interns can choose to refill bottles with fresh drinking water via a dispenser/filling station provided at the dive resort. Bottled water is also available for purchase at the resort bar/cafe during the day, as well as nearby shops for roughly 50c a bottle.

Interns are advised that rules pertaining to drug and alcohol consumption will be strictly upheld on the program and coordinators reserve the right to prohibit anyone from a scuba diving activity if there are health and safety concerns related to either drug and/or alcohol consumption.

Activities and tourism

A popular Island for divers, snorkelers and beach goers, there is an endless amount to do on Koh Tao during your spare time. With a number of taxis ready to take you where you need to go, the island’s small scale means you can get around with ease, often simply by walking. The beaches of Koh Tao are exceptionally beautiful, with white sand and clear turquoise waters. You could spend hours on the beach of June Juea or Mango Bay, enjoying a book under the shade of a palm tree or paddleboarding around the shore. Known as one of the best spots in the world for snorkeling, you can’t miss exploring the beautiful marine life of Tanote Bay, Hin Wong Bay or the turtles and reef sharks of Shark Bay. Whether you want to swim, snorkel, enjoy yoga, hike, kayak or more, there is an abundance of natural beauty, adventure, and excellent cuisine to soak up!

Essential country information

Capital Bangkok
Population 71.75 million
Languages Central Thai (Siamese)
Currency Thai Baht (THB)
Time zone TC+07:00
Weather and climate:

Thailand experiences a tropical climate year-round and is characterized by high temperatures and humidity. The average annual temperature for most of the country lies between 18°C (64°F) and 38°C (104°F).

As a general rule, the weather on Koh Tao is enjoyable for most of the year. We advise all interns not to be too influenced by online weather reports, which tend to show inaccurate descriptions of rain most days.

The hot and dry season runs from mid January to mid May. The hot and windy season runs from mid May to October. Given the highly structured nature of this program, start dates are only offered bi-monthly, commencing at the beginning of January, March, May, July, and September.

The wet season runs from November to January and this program is closed during these months. As a tropical island, the wet season is a vital part of Thailand’s climate and is responsible for the lush jungle environment and plant life that is so plentiful there. Monsoon patterns bring heavy rain during the wet season!