Marine Bonus Week

Spend a week living on the Thai island of Koh Tao ("Turtle Island"). Your days will be filled with sunrise yoga, rescued baby sea turtles, snorkeling, and coral reef that you'll help re-grow!

Marine Bonus Week

When: July 3 - 10, 2017.*

Tuition: $1,350. Tuition is all-inclusive: all meals, housing, activities, lessons, supplies, boat transport, and roundtrip transportation from Chiang Mai to Koh Tao.

Who can apply: Any student on Loop Abroad’s programs June 17 - July 3. No previous experience required.

Your group will have between 8 and 16 participants, one Trip Leader, and your New Heaven program staff.

What’s it about: One week of island living on the tropical beach of the Thai island of Koh Tao (“Turtle Island”). Relax with some sunrise yoga (optional), learn about marine life from experts in the field, work with rescued baby sea turtles, help re-grow the coral reefs, join in marine research, and get in the ocean every day.

Location: New Heaven Reef Conservation Program, Koh Tao, Thailand. New Heaven is home to a small number of sea turtles who are cared for until they are old enough to be released into the ocean. The turtles are just steps from the beach.

Housing and Food: Housing will be at New Heaven. Students will be in double rooms with another student of the same gender. May have twin beds or a shared bed; rooms do not have air conditioning. Meals will be eaten as a group at a selection of local restaurants, mostly serving Western and Thai food. Special diets and food allergies can be accommodated.

New Heaven is nestled in a quiet bay on the beach but away from the main town. We are away from the night life and focused on exploring and conserving the coral reefs, caring for the turtles, learning from experts about a spectacular but threatened ecosystem, and having a wonderful time living on a beautiful island.

Animal Experience Hours (for vet school applications): 10
Research Hours (for vet school applications): 10
Service Hours: 20

How to Apply: Open the “Apply for Admission” page. Choose your two-week program (any) for June 3-19 or June 17 - July 3. Choose “Marine Bonus Week” for June 19-26 or July 3 - 10, following your program. Complete the application.


Sunday: Say goodbye to your program group in Chiang Mai and meet with your new Marine Bonus Week group. Travel to Koh Tao (combination of plane and boat). Introduction to the island, free time at the beach, and introduction to feeding and caring for sea turtles.

Participants must pass a basic swim test (swimming, treading water) or wear a life vest for all water activities.

Each day Monday – Friday: Each day follows roughly the same schedule:

  • 7am: Yoga class (optional)
  • 8am: Breakfast
  • 9am: Arrive to New Heaven and prepare equipment
  • 9:15am: Morning class
  • 11:30am: Lunch
  • 12pm: Snorkeling or volunteer project
  • 5pm: Sea turtle head starting program
  • 6pm: Clean up/shower
  • 7pm: Dinner
  • 8pm: Free time
  • Monday: Morning class on Coral Reef Ecology and Reef Invertebrates, 3-hour snorkeling trip to monitor the reef, a class on sea turtle rehab and nursery programs, and an hour assisting with feeding, monitoring, and maintaining the young turtles.

    Tuesday: Morning class on coral reef restoration, 5 hours of artificial reef construction with Save Koh Tao, and an hour assisting with feeding, monitoring, and maintaining the young turtles.

    Wednesday: Morning class on climate change and coral reefs, 3-hour snorkeling trip to deploy artificial reefs and do coral nursery work, and an hour assisting with feeding, monitoring, and maintaining the young turtles.

    Thursday: Morning class on shark population dynamics and monitoring programs, 5-hour snorkel trip to visit a developed artificial reef and do a shark monitoring survey, and an hour assisting with feeding, monitoring, and maintaining the young turtles.

    Friday: Morning class on Giant Clam nurseries and population, 3-hour snorkel trip for giant clam survey, and an hour assisting with feeding, monitoring, and maintaining the young turtles.

    Saturday: Free morning at the beach, then travel back to Chiang Mai (combination of boat and plane). Evening trip to the Saturday Street Market for shopping, food, and fun.

    Sunday: Departure day! Loop Abroad alumni meeting, relax and pack, buffet lunch, and airport departure.

    Monday: Arrive in US.

    * Program begins with departure from Chiang Mai, Thailand. Groups will return to the US on final program date, plus or minus one day depending on time of departure.
    *Please note that this is a sample itinerary and is subject to change based on weather, animals in need, and other factors.