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Category: Volunteering, gap year and career break in China

Get hands-on experience working with one of the most ancient and amazing creatures alive today – sea turtles.

On Hainan Island much work is being done in rescuing illegally captured sea turtles, rehabilitating injured turtles, raising hatchlings poached from distant islands, and releasing turtles back into their natural habitat.

You can help to give these endangered creatures a fighting chance at survival. The belief is that armed with the 5 R’s – Rescue, Rehabilitate, Research, Raise, and Release – we can help break the cycle of sea turtle poaching and consumption around Hainan Island.


PRICES Please see the Prices Page - prices for all projects and all lengths are listed and you can also choose which currency you'd like to see them in.
Start Dates All year round - you choose your start and finish dates! Projects begin every Monday.
Duration 1 week to 12 weeks or longer, subject to visa requirements
Requirements Minimum age 17, no qualifications necessary (just a good dose of enthusiasm).
What's included
  • Arranging your Programme
  • Full pre-departure support and assistance
  • Payment Protection Insurance
  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • Local in-country team support and backup
  • 24-hr emergency support.
What's not included
  • Flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Cost of Visas (if a visa is required)
Who can do this Project? All projects are open to all nationalities.



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Get hands-on experience working with one of the most ancient and amazing creatures alive today – sea turtles. The immediate goal is to revive populations on and near Hainan, raising sea turtles in preparation for release.

You'll conduct all aspects of sea turtle husbandry - such as feeding sea turtles, cleaning nets, and assisting in medical treatments.

You'll also get the opportunity to work with local children and adults in community outreach and education programs to build awareness about the importance of sea turtle conservation.

This is not only a great chance to learn about sea turtles and play a vital role in their conservation, but also an opportunity to experience Chinese culture and interact with Chinese people at a grass-roots level. On a daily basis, we are out talking to local people, discussing the sea turtle's plight and also trying to understand the locals' point of view. You will have the opportunity to develop important understanding and friendships with people who have literally thousands years of experience with sea turtles.

The Project sea turtle hospital is located in a floating fishing village near the city of Sanya on Hainan Island, a famous international tropical seaside resort area, which is often referred to as the "Hawaii of China". The programs are located in and around the southern part of Hainan. If you like beaches and warm weather, Sanya is the place for you!

A typical day greatly depends on the projects you work on. If you are stationed at the floating hospital, each morning we get up and, after breakfast, catch a boat taxi out to the floating hospital.

Morning responsibilities involve greeting and checking in on all the turtles, giving vitamins, feeding, monitoring activity and appetite, and examining the rehab patients for any changes.

Mornings are also great for side projects, research, and general hospital care-taking.

Afternoons tend to be spent on land, as the whole village tends to go into 'siesta' mode during the hottest part of the day. People are often found sitting in the shade with a tea or napping. We use this time to relax indoors, get work done on our computers and prepare for any upcoming events.

Late afternoon we go back to the floating hospital for the majority of rehab treatments and to feed the turtles their evening snack.

Rehab treatments can include tube feeding, fluid therapy, antibiotic administration, etc.

Afterwards it's dinner time and evenings are usually pretty free; we'll get some needed computer work done, individual projects, or public education and campaigns, or socialize and network with fishermen families or some of our organization's partners, explore the village, or have some personal time. We all tend to stay pretty busy as we have a big job to do here in China and need all the help we can get!

We recommend you plan on any personal exploration to be done either before or after your participation in our Volunteer Program; but don't worry, you'll get a huge China experience going out into our floating fishing village, interacting with the locals, and changing the world, one sea turtle at a time.

Schedule: during the evening times:
Generally, the volunteers are free to do their own thing. No program activities are scheduled (unless stated otherwise)

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




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Volunteer accommodations are located on-land near our floating sea turtle hospital. They are modern with a common living area, internet accessible computers, a shared bathroom, kitchen, an open rooftop terrace, and several bedrooms that you may share with one or two others, depending on how many volunteers and interns we have at any given time.

If it is necessary for you to travel to other cities for whatever sea turtle related reason, living space will be arranged for you. We will undertake costs associated with utilities and general housing maintenance.

Three Chinese-style meals will be provided per day either at a local restaurant or prepared for you by our Chinese chef who cooks traditional Chinese food. There's nothing like real Chinese food in China!

What clothes should I bring?
The climate on Hainan is often hot and humid. As well, the people here on Hainan are very laid back and informal, so no formal clothing is required or recommended. When you arrive you'll be provided with a lime green Sea Turtles volunteer T-shirt, and this is what you'll wear on 'business' occasions.

Working out at the hospital, it would be safe to say it's sometimes messy and you will frequently get wet. Lightweight, quick drying shorts, t-shirts and tank tops are all very recommended. Lightweight pants and a long sleeve T-shirt would be a good idea for late nights at the hospital to reduce mosquito bites. Definitely bring a rain jacket and a pair of slip-on sandals.

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Like other tropical islands, Hainan Island offers visitors clear blue waters, white sand beaches, lush green highlands and an abundance of palm trees that sway in the warm breeze. But Hainan Island's unique history as part of China, its many and colorful indigenous peoples and its boundless ambition to establish itself as an international tourism centre all blend together to give Hainan Island a flavor of its own.

Hainan Island is China's most southerly province and the country's second largest island after Taiwan, located in the South China Sea about 60 minutes south of Hong Kong by air.

With a landmass of about 34,000 sq km, Hainan Island is made up of Hainan, Xisha, Zhongsha and Nansha islands. The province has a total coastline of about 1,529 km and covers a sea area of about 2.1 million sq km.

To read more abo9ut Hainan Island, please visit:


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