Work and Travel in Malaysia
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN MALAYSIA FOR TRAVELLERS
Malaysia is a nation filled with colour and comes with a rich history. From the mainland of Asia and into the ocean, this country stretches across a great swathe of the continent. It’s also a country of contrasts, from its technological hub of Kuala Lumpur to the tiny villages that dot its greener than green landscape.
This is a land where you can challenge yourself. And there’s no better way to do that than by looking into volunteering opportunities in Malaysia. As you work and travel in Malaysia you’ll push yourself to your limits and experience things you’d only dreamed of.
Here are the projects you won’t find in the travel guides for Malaysia.
1. Solve Homelessness in Kuala Lumpur
There are no records of how many homeless people there are in Kuala Lumpur. But visit the city and you’ll know that there’s a lot of them. NGOs have stepped in to help alleviate the crisis.
Volunteers who travel in Malaysia can join teams and hand out food to the homeless at night. They’ll also play a part in connecting with people and directing them towards the little help there is available in the country.
2. Conserve Endangered Wild Life in the Forests and Beach Areas
Malaysia is home to hundreds of endangered species. You can play your part in conservation projects that are helping to protect them.
For example, you may travel in Malaysia to the central areas. In these forests you can help protect the Malayan Tiger and offer the species a brighter future. You may even go to Borneo to participate in elephant and orang-utan conservation projects.
If you have a favourite animal, the chances are you’ll be able to find a conservation project for it as you travel in Malaysia.
3. Developing Communities in Rural Malaysia
Did you know that just 6% of Malaysia is urbanised? It’s easy to forget that when you’re surrounded by the modern, techy comforts of home. The rural communities of Malaysia often don’t have electricity, running water, or sewerage systems. That’s why NGOs have stepped in to help provide these communities with the most basic of needs.
Join up with these NGOs and you could be building houses or helping to provide a basic education to these people. It’s an incredibly rewarding pursuit in the most remote of areas.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR MALAYSIA
Malaysia provides visa-free access for 63 different countries. Anyone from the United Kingdom or the EU can enter Malaysia without a visa for up to 90 days. The same policy applies to people from the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, and South Africa.
Russian citizens can also the country without a visa, but they’re only able to do so for 30 days at a time. The same applies to countries like Mexico.
Other nationalities will usually have to apply for a visa using the online visa application system. Only certain countries, such as many African countries, need to visit an embassy in person.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN MALAYSIA
The spring season brings a humid climate across the whole country. Understand that temperatures change little in Malaysia because of its equatorial climate. Spring time in Malaysia is a good time to be in the rural areas, particularly if you intend on starting with an educational or community support project.
Many of these programs decide to hire at this time of year as you’re just out of the winter time in Malaysia, which can bring slightly more chaotic conditions depending on which part of the country you’re in.
Work in Malaysia in summer and you should still look to the rural areas as the cities tend to be heavily polluted and sticky at this time of year. With the oncoming tourist rush, you should consider working in hostels as a volunteer or looking at one of the many surf camps.
Pahang, for example, has a flourishing surf community. Not a lot of people know about Malaysia as a place for water sports, but it’s definitely a hidden gem that always welcomes westerners with some surf knowledge. Surf camps will often employ volunteers on a seasonal basis.
The autumn brings heavy rain on the west coast of the peninsula and in Sabah. You should avoid these areas as rain can be prolonged and most boat routes are shut off due to the heavy swells.
Conservation projects in the east and in Borneo are your best option for work in Malaysia during this season. Working with the orang-utans and the elephants are a favourite amongst autumn travellers.
The winter time is when the heaviest rains hit the country. Travel outside the cities can be near impossible and often leave people stranded for days. This is the time to go to the cities and to help the homeless and various other vulnerable groups. The rainy season makes life extra difficult for them and NGOs can’t get enough volunteers to help them.
It’s also an ideal time to teach English in Malaysia. In Kuala Lumpur, middle and upper class families want native English speakers who can teach their children how to speak English. The winter time is a time of high-demand for English teaching, so you should look into it throughout those three-hour storms.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN MALAYSIA
Malaysia is not as remote as you might initially think it is. Due to European colonialism, and the pivotal part it played in World War Two, foreigners have had a big influence upon the culture and direction of the country. Kuala Lumpur has a significant foreign community and the locals have been exposed to many aspects of Western culture.
The rural areas you’re likely to visit are in a similar condition and there’s little chance you’ll be bothered as you participate in your volunteering project.
This is an incredible country with welcoming people who’re grateful for the help that Westerners provide.
Are you ready to take on Malaysia?
- Edited on Jan 16 2018 by Yara