Coastal Conservation Apprenticeship in Thailand

Get a head start on your career with this six -month coastal conservation internship in Krabi Province.

Durations: 24 weeks
Fieldwork hours50 hrs of fieldwork per week
Participant ratio1:6 staff to participant ratio
GVI experiencesIncludes GVI Experiences

Program information

Gain conservation research skills and valuable work experience in the coastal area of Ao Nang, Thailand. You’ll conduct dugong, sea turtle and seagrass surveys, while learning about island conservation alongside local organisations. Our three-month intensive fieldwork training is followed by a three-month work placement, offering opportunities to develop leadership skills and build expertise.

Adventure is calling. Chase that feeling!

Save up to 15% when you book and pay by 31 July
Book with confidence
Travel flexibility, because life happens! Modify your booking, even up to 48 hours before departure. T&Cs apply.
Dates & Prices
What's Included
Life On Base
Free time & cultural immersion
Speak to alumni
Parent Info
Arrivals &
Your Impact
Our Ethics
Program ethics
Qualifications & Training Options
Support & Safety

Program overview

Our six-month apprenticeship program in Thailand is an invaluable opportunity to kick-start your conservation career. Located in the vibrant Krabi Province, our research station in Ao Nang offers a diverse ecosystem, from lush forests to thriving coral reefs. Here, you’ll encounter various species like dugongs, whale sharks, turtles, hornbills, sunbirds and butterflies.

This apprenticeship guarantees a three-month work placement, following three months of practical training. It’s an excellent opportunity to expand your knowledge and skills, with a significant boost for your CV. As an apprentice, you’ll support ongoing conservation efforts, including beach profiling, seagrass surveys, coastline mapping with drones, biodiversity surveys and environmental education workshops. Additionally, you’ll assist in dugong surveys, coral reef restoration and monitoring sea turtle and shark populations. While snorkelling is the primary activity on this program, scuba-diving training is available at an additional fee. 

Conveniently located near temples, national parks, shopping areas and lively nightlife spots, our hub is the perfect base for exploration. During your free time, dive into Ao Nang’s nightlife or immerse yourself in Krabi’s natural beauty. Enjoy rock climbing, kayaking and hiking in national parks like Khao Phanom Bencha and Than Bok Khorani.

This program aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities, Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production, Goal 13: Climate Action, Goal 14: Life Below Water, and Goal 15: Life on Land.


Support ecosystem restoration
Contribute to forest, mangrove, and coral restoration as well as population monitoring of sharks and turtles.
Unique coastal habitats
Live in Krabi Province on the southwestern coast of Thailand, an area known for its natural beauty, limestone cliffs and stunning beaches.
Kick-start your career
Participate in three months of intensive fieldwork training to ensure you’re ready to launch directly into your conservation career.
Get a job placement
Work for a conservation partner for three months to get real practical experience and build a network of industry contacts.
Fast-track experience
Join a targeted career-readiness program that’s based on two decades of experience to grow your leadership and career skills.
Career guarantee
Our comprehensive apprenticeships guarantee a job offer within 18 months upon completion of all program components and meeting eligibility criteria.
Advance your career
Gain international experience, receive four recognised qualifications and get a LinkedIn reference to boost your CV.
Get the edge
We know what it takes to work in conservation – that’s why our apprenticeships qualify for preferential recruitment when applying for GVI vacancies.

Is this program for me?

This internship is specifically useful for someone who has or is actively studying the below subject areas at school, university or college, or has an interest in these subject areas.

  • Ecology
  • Population biology
  • Epidemiology
  • Biology
  • Environmental science
  • Wildlife management
  • Zoology
  • Animal husbandry
  • Botany
  • Ecology and evolution
  • Geology
  • Wildlife biology and conservation
  • Marine science
  • Marine biology
  • Environment management
  • Marine conservation


Some of the example typical activities you could participate in on this program.

Fieldwork training
Learn how to identify species and conduct surveys so that you can contribute to data collection and conservation activities.
Lead conservation surveys
Take the lead in surveys and learn how to use standardised data collection protocols.
Fast-track training
Complete various courses, including Impact and Ethics, Intro to Project Management, Effective Communication and Leading Teams for Impact.
Leadership responsibilities
Take on additional responsibilities such as entering data, writing reports and summaries, updating species lists and fieldwork checklists.
Personal project
Work on an individual project that aligns to your personal interests. For example, analysing target species data or monitoring coastal pollution.
Meet weekly in a small group with other interns and an experienced mentor to receive project guidance and feedback on your leadership style.
Work placement
In the second 12 weeks of your program, you’ll engage in a work placement to gain more experience and keep making a difference.
Forest restoration
Help restore coastal ecosystems and address development impacts. Join community activities: nursery work, seed collection, monitoring.
Biodiversity surveys
Gather forest data on species and their behaviour, conduct bird surveys and help study stumptail macaques’ population dynamics and behaviour.
Mangrove restoration
Learn the fundamentals of CBEMR: Community-based mangrove restoration with engagement, education and ecosystem practices.
Mangrove management plans
Participate in our project, which supports communities in the adaptive management of their natural resources while also bolstering local livelihoods.
Mangrove ecosystem surveys
Collect information about mangrove trees, including what types there are, how many there are and where they are located.
Seagrass surveys
Participate in surveys (snorkelling or on foot) to document the health of seagrass meadows, which are crucial habitats for many marine species.
Habitat mapping
Help map coastal areas with drones, assess seasonal changes in habitats due to climate change and human impacts through georeferencing.
Dugong surveys
Conduct surveys on dugong feeding trails and dugong presence using aerial imagery.
Coral reef restoration
Engage in reef impact assessments, set up and monitor experimental reef nurseries, conduct biodiversity surveys and map reef biophysical parameters.
Turtle and shark monitoring
Assist in building a photo portfolio of sea turtles and sharks from snorkelling or scuba-dives for population monitoring through pattern recognition.
Contribute to MARsCI
The Marine science Citizens Initiative in Thailand uses citizen science to track discarded fishing gear impacts, informing policy decisions.
Sustainable waste management
Learn about permaculture and sustainability, help research plastic pollution, aid in waste management and support education.
Community outreach
Support coastal conservation through awareness campaigns, community outreach and promoting sustainable practices for holistic marine conservation.


  • Data collection
  • Data entry
  • Environmental education
  • Marine conservation
  • Population ecology
  • Public awareness


Some of the partners we work with on base.

The Royal Thai Navy Sea Turtle Conservation Centre
Department of Marine and Coastal Resources
Trash Hero
Phuket Marine Biological Centre

Program details

Dates and prices

Select a start date:

This is summer!

Chase that feeling! Save up to 15% on selected programs.

Book and pay by 31 July to claim offer.
Payment plans. Flexible payment plans allow you to pay in instalments.

What happens next?

Once you apply, a personal Enrollment Manager will be assigned to walk you through the rest of the process.


The following itinerary is an example of the activities and project work that participants might get involved in on this program. More specific details of the program are finalised several months before each start date.


Enjoy a delicious breakfast together to start the day.


Take part in hands-on projects such as sea turtle and dugong conservation and mangrove restoration. Enjoy additional wellness activities like rock climbing.


Take a break for lunch and catch up on the morning's activities with the rest of the team.


Project work continues, potentially involving forest mapping, seed collection, coral propagation or snorkelling. Participate in a wellness activity such as a Muay Thai class.


Once project work is finished for the day, you'll head back to your accommodation.


Prepare a delicious dinner at your accommodation, then take some time to unwind and reflect on the day's adventures.


The rest of the evening is free for you to enjoy social time with the other participants or relax.

What’s included?

What's included
Safe and basic accommodation (usually shared)
Airport pick up (unless stated)
All project equipment
24-hour in-country support from local staff
24-hour emergency desk
GVI Experiences
Sustainable project work
Data collection and research
Leadership responsibilities
Personal project
12-week placement
Weekly group sessions
Internship supervisor guidance
Pre-program training
Pre-departure webinar
Pre-departure training (online)
University of Richmond endorsed specialisation course
University of Richmond endorsed leadership course
Welcome training
GVI welcome presentation
Health & safety
Local culture & environment
Impact & ethics
Child protection
Advanced leadership training
Personal development record
Project planning and management
Fast track training
Self-leadership and well-being
Project management
Ethical engagement
Measuring impact
Developing intercultural competence
Effective communication (storytelling and social media)
Team management
Participant journey
Off-site safety management
Safety management in practice (OSSM part 2)
Standards, policies and procedures
Emergency first response (select hubs)
Career services
University of Richmond careers course
Career coaching sessions (x2)
Career guarantee
LinkedIn reference – upon request
Job portal
Preferential recruitment on GVI positions
Program certificate
University certificate – specialisation (University of Richmond)
University certificate – leadership (University of Richmond)
University certificate – careers (University of Richmond)
Fast track training certificate
What's excluded
Not included
International and domestic airport taxes
Medical and travel insurance
Visa costs
Police or background check
Personal items and toiletries
Additional drinks and gratuities

Life On Base

Located in the town of Ban Chong Pli, within the picturesque Krabi Province, our research station offers easy access to the vibrant town of Ao Nang, just a short 15-minute drive away.  

Krabi Province, located on Thailand’s southwest coast, offers a wealth of natural beauty with its stunning beaches, limestone cliffs and lush forests. You can enjoy activities like rock climbing and kayaking, or go for a hike in nearby national parks such as Khao Phanom Bencha and Than Bok Khorani to spot wildlife and take in the scenery. Immerse yourself in the local culture with visits to temples, shopping and nightlife. 

As a volunteer in Thailand, you’ll have the chance to see incredible species like turtles, dugongs, whale sharks, gibbons, woodpeckers and hornbills. Don’t miss out on Krabi’s attractions, including the Emerald Pond and Tiger Temple Cave. And make sure to explore the Andaman islands for their marine life.


You’ll stay in cosy bungalows overlooking stunning caves and mountains. Each spot boasts a private bathroom and a balcony with direct views of the majestic scenery. Stay cool with ...

Accommodation upgrades

An accommodation upgrade is available at an extra charge, depending on availability.


When you arrive at Krabi International Airport (KBV), we’ll pick you up and take you to your accommodation. Throughout your stay, we’ll provide transportation to and fr...


Stay connected during your stay with Wi-Fi available at your accommodation. Need mobile data on the go? Upon arrival at the airport or in various city stores, you can purchase a lo...


Breakfast and lunch are provided at your accommodation from Monday to Friday. Breakfast typically features a combination of eggs, toast, fruits and coffee/tea, while lunch offers a...


Thailand has a tropical climate, perfect for enjoying its stunning beaches. There are two distinct seasons: dry and wet. Dry season (Nov-Apr): Lower humidity and minimal rain, with...

Culturally appropriate dress and behaviour

When on project and in the local town participants will be expected to wear modest clothing and behave in ways in keeping with Thai customs. When visiting temples or religious site...

GVI experiences included in your program, at no extra cost.

Offered once a month, expand your adventure with GVI Experiences. These are just some of the activities offered on your program!

We want you to make the most of the chance to live in – and contribute towards –  the most diverse and unique wildernesses and communities on earth. Introducing GVI Experiences – immersive adventure, cultural and wellness activities exclusive to GVI that have been specially designed in collaboration with our local partners to support and stimulate sustainable economic development. 

Enhance your impact. Expand your adventure. Explore your world.

Learn to make traditional Thai and Burmese food
A flavour infusion
Visit the Buddhist temples of Ban Nam Khem
Temple tour
Practice traditional Thai yoga massage
Master Muay Thai self-defence techniques
Kick, flex and stretch
Raft along the Sok River
Gondola style
Hike to hidden waterfalls
Pathway to tranquility
Visit an untouched mangrove island
Off the beaten track
Sleep in a floating river bungalow
River of dreams

Free time & cultural immersion

By joining a GVI program, you not only contribute to preserving unique ecosystems but also get the chance to explore the surrounding area or venture further to see what else the region has to offer on weekends.

Our field staff are a great source of advice on local travel options. Many participants choose to travel before or after their experience, solidifying friendships made on the program. 

Engaging with a new context teaches global awareness, adaptability and critical thinking – skills highly valued in today’s world. Cultural immersion is encouraged, and there are many activities to enjoy during your free time or before and after your program. Please note, these suggestions aren’t included in the program fee and are at your own expense.


February: Magha Puja is an important Buddhist holiday, celebrated on the new moon of the third lunar month, during which people make offerings at temples around the country. April ...

Spirituality and religion

Most Thai people subscribe to Theravada Buddhism. There are many local Buddhist sites in the region of Phang Nga that you can visit to learn more about Buddhist customs. Travel to ...


The fluid movements and opulent gilded costumes of Thai traditional dancing are recognisable worldwide. Learn about the six types of Thai classical dance, watch a performance, or m...


Thai food is famous the world over and is known for its fragrant, spicy flavours. Participants may be lucky enough to participate in cooking lessons, so during your stay in Ao Nang...


There are about 71 languages in Thailand with five main families: Austronesian, Hmong-Mien, Thai, Mon-Khmer and Sino-Tibetan. Thai is the national language of Thailand which is spo...

Phang Nga

Known for its amazing limestone rock formations, pristine beaches and rich culture, Phang Nga is a pocket of paradise in Southern Thailand. Its beaches and islands offer many oppor...

Weekend trips

Island hopping

The Similan and Surin Islands are both protected Marine National Parks. They are home to several world-renowned diving and snorkelling spots, but can only be visited between Octobe...

Khao Lak

This is a very popular tourist spot. It’s filled with seemingly endless beaches, so many dining options you will be spoilt for choice, and hundreds of spas offering massages and tr...

Khao Sok National Park

Said to be more diverse than the Amazon, this 740 square metre rainforest reserve is home to elephants, deer, monkeys, lizards, birds, and the Rafflesia, a giant flowering plant wi...

Further travels

Phuket Island and city

Phuket is a tourism hotspot – as popular for its spectacular beaches, diving and surfing sites, as it is for its cafes, boutiques and hotels. You can also visit The Big Buddha, a m...


Thailand boasts some of the top beach destinations in the world, with Railay beach being one of the most popular. A peninsula on the Andaman coast, it consists of three separate be...

Phang Nga Bay

Explore the warm turquoise waters and limestone cliffs of Phang Nga by speedboat or sea kayak, stopping off at James Bond Island – made famous by the 1974 film The Man With the Gol...

Mu Koh Chang National Park

This protected marine park covers a huge area, including over 50 islands. Visit the jungle island of Koh Chang, where you can snorkel or scuba-dive off the coast and experience the...

Koh Tao Island

Also known as “‘Turtle Island”’ this is another excellent destination for snorkelling and scuba-diving, or simply relaxing on the beach. The visibility is fantastic and there is an...

Nan Province

Explore the many natural sites of Nan, bordering Laos – like Doi Phu Kha National Park and Si Nan National Park. It is the perfect area to experience the dense natural forests that...

Khao Yai National Park

Explore the picturesque waterfalls of Khao Yai in central Thailand. Here you can spot unique Thai wildlife like gibbons.


Travel to the city complex ruins of Ayutthaya to learn more about Thailand’s heritage. This spectacular, but now abandoned city used to be the medieval capital of Siam.

Chiang Mai

Set in the verdant mountainsides of Northern Thailand, the golden city of Chiang Mai is a breathtaking sight to behold. Visit historic temples and hunt for treasures at local marke...


There is a reason why the capital of Thailand is one of the most visited sites in the country. Featuring gorgeous temples, the spectacular Grand Palace, and many excellent shopping...

Speak to alumni

If you’d like to find out what the experience of joining a GVI project is really like, simply contact us and we’ll put you in touch with one of our many Alumni.

We’ll try to match you to an Alum based on your location, nationality, age, stage of academic career, gender, and program interests. This allows you to gain insights into the experience that is most relevant to you.

Depending on your location you might be able to speak to an Alum over the phone or online, or meet up with them face-to-face at a coffee shop nearby. We also run a series of small events around the world where you can speak to GVI Alumni, Ambassadors and staff members.

Get a first-hand perspective

Meet us

Meet the team

Get acquainted with the GVI Asia, Thailand, Ao Nang family


Conservation Program Coordinator

Meet Eve our Conservation Program Coordinator in Ao Nang, Thailand. She was born in the United Kingdom but has since lived and worked in many countries across Europe. She is ext ...

Parent Info

‘If only every student could do this. It changes your life in all the right ways,’ says Chris Heritage, parent of Luke Heritage, one of our teen volunteers who has participated on two GVI programs, one in Costa Rica and another in South Africa.

We are a parent-run organisation that is incredibly serious about health and safety, and increasing the impact, as well as the long-term career benefits of our programs. Our programs help young people develop the skills to select a career path that is personally fulfilling, and live a life aligned to the well-being of our planet and the global community.

GVI is a proud member of the Gap Year Association.

Ken and Linda Jeffrey, whose son Sam volunteered with GVI in Thailand, talk about how the experience affected Sam. He also went on to volunteer with GVI again in South Africa. ‘I know it sounds like a cliche but in a sense, he did go away as a boy and he came back as a young man. Both of us could recommend GVI without any hesitation to any other parent thinking about exploring an opportunity for their children to explore the world and to see different parts of it.’

Parent Info Pack

Download the Parent Pack and learn more about:

Our staff: All our projects are run by staff, selected, vetted, trained, and managed by our central office.
Health and safety: Our safety practices include a child and vulnerable adult protection policy and high participant ratios.
Staying in touch: See what’s happening on base, by following a hub’s dedicated Facebook page.
Free parent consultations: We would love to talk to you about exciting opportunities available for your child.


We meet you at the airport.

When it comes to support, we ensure that each participant is provided with unparalleled, 360 degree support, from your initial contact with the GVI Family, all the way through your program, and even after, as you become part of the GVI Alumni Team.

As part of this promise, we will ensure, whenever possible, that one of our dedicated staff will be available to meet you at the airport. In most locations, we also set up a Whatsapp group to help with managing airport arrivals.

We will arrange with you prior to your departure that, should you arrive in the agreed upon pick up window, a member of our staff will be there to welcome you, easily identifiable in a GVI t-shirt or holding a GVI sign and wearing a friendly smile.

This means there will be someone there to greet you as you land, and from there you will be transported to your GVI base to start your adventure and meet the rest of your team.


Find your flights with our partner, Student Universe.
Flights are not included in your program fee
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Your Impact

All of our programs have short-, mid- and long-term objectives that align with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualise their contribution to the UN SDGs.

Prior to your arrival on base, you will be educated about the UN SDGs. Then once you arrive on base, you’ll learn about the specific goals we have in this particular location, our various objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these.

Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to be an active global citizen after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.

Project objectives


GVI Ao Nang Long-term Objectives:

1. Promote sea turtle and dugong conservation.

2. Provide long-term and consistent data to conservation partners.

3. Increase public awareness of environmental issues and importance of environmental protection.

4. Assist with local marine and coastal waste management efforts.

5. Educate and train participants on biodiversity, survey techniques and marine conservation.

Our Ethics

Below is a list of core ethics and best practices we believe are essential to the operation of high quality, ethical volunteer and sustainable development programs. We believe that all responsible volunteer and sustainable development operations should focus upon these principles. If you are considering volunteering, these are some of the key considerations you should question, to ensure that your time and money contributes towards positive change.


We want to constantly develop our own understanding of ethical best practice. In so doing, we aim to provide an exemplary industry standard for other education institutions, international development organisations, and social enterprises. Our Badge of Ethics stands for the drive to always do good, better. Find out more, click on the Badge below.

Our 10 ethical commitments


Locally Driven, Collaborative Projects

We aim to design all our projects in collaboration with local organizations and communities and ensure that they are locally driven.


Clear Objectives & Sustainable Outcomes

We aim to clearly define short-, mid-, and long-term objectives with sustainable outcomes for all our projects.


Impact Reporting

We aim to track, record, and publish the impact of each of our projects.


Working Against Dependency

We aim to build in-country capacity by assisting local organizations in becoming self-sustaining.


Responsible Exit Strategies

For each local organization we work with, we aim to have a plan in place for withdrawing support responsibly.


Clear Roles & Specialized Training

We aim to ensure that every participant is assigned a clear role and that they are fully trained and supported to carry out their work by specialized staff.


Respect for all

In all our actions we aim to respect the skills and efforts of all and seek to protect the rights, culture and dignity of everyone who engages with GVI.