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“100% Village Experience” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Fuze Ecoteer Community House

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Fuze Ecoteer Community House
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
9 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“100% Village Experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 May 2013

This is the place to go if you want to experience life in a Malay village and volunteer for a good cause. I have to agree that the routine and village work are challenging but with a positive mindset makes all the difference! The facilities are very basic, shared accommodation with bathroom, duties of gardening and composting are shared out by the staff and volunteers through the week and there are lesson plans and presentations to work on. There are rapid changes within the week on what we need to plan or do due to the nature of volunteering work. For example, class for the children can be cancelled due to exams, we could help out to setup a Malay wedding in the village, beach cleaning, running games and skids for visiting groups, fetching water from the well due to a water shortage, just to name a few! It's hard work but it is also the most fun and fulfilling and enriching experience we had for travels. The villagers are really friendly and the kids love hanging out with the staff and volunteers. We also had a chance to witness a green turtle coming on beach to lay eggs and observing them in their natural habitat.
Seh Ling and staff are very attentive to our needs and i find them very passionate about their work on this island. You could ask them any questions or clarify doubts and they'll be happy to share their views and even adopt your ideas. It's hard saying goodbye at the end of my stay with Ecoteer.
A note to new travelers and volunteers, learn to be open and flexible with the itinerary. There are plenty to learn when working as a team, it takes time to adapt and no one is perfect! If you have the skills set, just asked to be the lead and discuss it with the staff.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank lydiasops
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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39 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (5)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Any
English first
Singapore, null, Singapore
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 7 May 2013

Our stay with Ecoteer was very positive and rather unique experience. Although I must admit that the organization of our daily routine was not perfect, the time spent with the local kids as well as villagers completely made up for it.

  • Stayed May 2013, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Tanya_Pasko
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ecoteer, Owner at Fuze Ecoteer Community House, responded to this review, 10 May 2013
Dear Tanya

We would like to express our thanks for your time taken to write this review.

Many thanks and hopefully see you and Brett again

Daniel
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Goole, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 May 2013

Me and my girlfriend volunteered here for a week. It was a great experience teaching the kids English and also the women at the bakery, this is what made the whole experience.

Im shocked noone else has said anything bad.

When it came to planning the lessons Sehling and Natalie would ask us for ideas, when we gave these Ideas they were always ' Not going to work ' and met with some hostilaty. When I forced one of my opinions after being told it wouldnt work, Natalie said to Sehling in German, that I think im somebody who knows better. I dont know why we were asked to give ideas when any perfectly good idea we gave was never good enough. It always felt like it was us against them in a way, which it shouldnt of been because we had paid to volunteer our time to help out. They would both speak in German when we were there when they can both speak fluent English, just created awkwardness. My girlfriend is a qualified teacher in Design and Art and I worked in construction but none of our abilities were used.

The time management needs serious work. The planning would always finish early ( Which sometimes they wouldnt tell us that it had finished and we would be left sat at the table until we would realise that we must have finished ), but it wouldnt leave enough time to go and do something so expect to be sat around not doing alot at times.

We recieved an email prior to arriving and within the email it said we could bring gifts like stationary, so we thought as a treat to the children we would. We bought books stationary, pencils, colouring pencils and sharpeners. When I told Natalie ( The Intern ) that we had bought them she said that we shouldnt of because if we gave them to the children then they would want more afterwards, So I came up with the idea of using them as prizes in lesson games, but that idea cant of been good enough either because they werent used, the staff were not bothered at all that we had bought these items for the children. We had to just run around with half an hour to go before our boat to leave and find some children to give them too.



All in all it was a great experience which we both enjoyed, just hugely let down by the staff running it.

Oh and if you sleep in the bunk bed room there is the biggest cockroach that I have ever seen that comes to visit from time to time. We had to block the massive gap at the bottom of the door to stop it coming in. Also if you flush the toilet the water just sprays all over the floor.

  • Stayed April 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Nathan D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Ecoteer, Owner at Fuze Ecoteer Community House, responded to this review, 10 May 2013
Dear Nathan
We are happy that you have had a great experience and with some tweaking we strive to improve so everyone has the best time possible. We always strive to do our best but it seems that this time things were let slip.
I would like to go through your areas for improvement one by one.

Session Planning
It seems that a few misunderstandings occurred. We do always love to get ideas from volunteers as this keeps the sessions fresh and vibrant. We are sorry that this doesn’t seem to be the case for yourself or your girlfriend. We will strive to get back to our normal practice with involving the volunteers ideas as much as possible in the designing of the lesson plans.

Time Management
In 2012 we scheduled a morning session to plan for 1 school club and we pretty much used up the whole time on the lesson planning and quite often we would need extra time to finish. However it seems that this year a few times we have seen that the planning sessions are finishing earlier than before. What we plan to trial in the future is to plan 2 school club sessions in one morning and that would free up another morning for either another activity or a free morning so volunteers can snorkel or relax.
However all volunteers are different so we need to be flexible with the standard itinerary as many volunteers have no teaching experience at all, so planning sessions will take longer to prepare than experienced volunteers as in 2012.
We also think that when the volunteers stayed in the Ecoteer House, this may not have been an issue (we certainly wasn’t told that it was a problem) because if they had a spare 30mins – 1hour the volunteers would sit on the veranda and read a book or play with the kids. But with the volunteers staying in the Murai Chalet this year things are different.
We will look into both issues and see how to come up with the best solution for the future.

Gifts
I think this was a mis-sight from our team. We would normally use gifts from volunteers as prizes for the school clubs or all the children get a similar small gift. We introduced this policy as we have seen over the past few years how some of the children started to ‘expect’ presents and each time they wanted more and more, which is a very unhealthy situation to be in. Therefore we added in the policy that either all the children get something that is of similar value or they earned the present as a prize, resolving this issue.

Accommodation
Thank you for highlighting the issue with the toilet. We have informed the owner and she will fix it.

We always welcome personal views and I would like to thank you for your time in writing this review. It is only through reviews like yours which gave positive and negative points that we can improve.
We are happy that you have had a great experience, we only wished it could have been better.

Yours sincerely
Daniel
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Hong Kong
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 6 October 2012

We just came back from our 1 week tour of Ecoteer Community @ Perhentian Island. It's a very special and wonderful experience for me and my girl friend! We had a lot of fun with local kids, and we did a lot of interesting stuff including gardening, garbage recycling, house painting as well as snorkeling!! We saw turtles, sharks and a lot of fishes and corals near beautiful Perhentian islands!


One of the greatest part is companion of nice stuff from Ecoteer! Special thanks to Sehlin and Cam~ They took good care of us and brought us to different restaurants in the island~ We also visited local families and had very traditional Malaysian food at their homes, which is wonderful!

As we arrived a bit late, so we stayed in a guest house 3 minutes away from main house. The room was quiet with air condition and very dark at night so we had good rest. But since it's a remote island, don't expect a too fancy room. We brought our own mosquito net and mosquito coil, which turned out to be quite useful.

Overall it's an excellent and special experience!! If you want to do some eco-friendly volunteering as well as some snorkeling, diving and swimming, then this place is strongly recommended!


Kevin

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank z_kvn
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Malmo, Sweden
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 October 2012

I volunteered on the Perhentian Islands with Ecoteer a few months ago and had the time of my life! I was there with a friend for 3-4 weeks and what I enjoyed the most was the sheer variety of experiences offered to us. Every day was something new, from teaching a class, to sweating it in the jungle chopping down trees with machetes to make a community garden, to having authentic dinners with lovely Malaysian families, to hanging out with the cheeky kids, to going snorkelling with sharks. Honestly I've never had such a varied and enjoyable experience like this. Another great thing about it is the price. Nowadays it's all too common for a big corporation to charge you thousands of dollars just to volunteer and, more often than not, the volunteering projects are not very helpful. Here because it works with sustainable development on a more micro level you will have far more impact. We were very well looked after, taught some Malay words, tried wonderful food, and the passion and dedication of the people who work for Ecoteer is inspiring. I have recommended this to so many of my friends and would love to go back someday!

  • Stayed May 2012, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank 21Julia21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Selangor
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 September 2012

I went on this trip thinking I'd get a chance to be exposed to environmental conservation cause and lend a hand in village community projects but what awaits me during the 4-day trip was awesome! While we did our part in volunteering activities such as house painting, village clean-up, gardening/farming, there was ample opportunity to interact with the local kids and villagers, especially the ladies. Their smiles and laughter are certainly infectious. I fondly remembered the fun cookie (kuih) making session where the kampung ladies burst into their traditional songs and had us, volunteers, join them in some hip-swaying dance moves ;-D and of course, we tasted the delicious kuih which we also had a hand in making them. Helping out with the kids' clubs (English, Snorkeling and Environmental Clubs) was great if you love kids. Despite their limited proficiency in the English language, we got on super well and if you know some Malay words, you will enjoy their company even better.

If you have never had the chance to learn about corals and marine life especially turtles, you will definitely walk away with the conviction that Everyone of us should and must do our bit to save our marine life before it is too late. And if you are someone who appreciates art and beauty, the colours/shades of the sea will take your breath away... As for the sea activities, I saw a turtle and baby sharks while snorkeling :-) and the jetty jump was nerve-wrecking initially but certainly a must-try. I was also fortunate to be able to observe the baby turtles hatch and watching them staggering towards the sea was an awesome treat for me.

The Ecoteer staff were wonderful, making you feel at home and always cheering you on. Hats off to Seh Ling and Charmaine as well as their interns - Gitta, Jason and Cameron, for their dedication to conservation work!

The Yellow House where we stayed provided basic accommodation. While it met our basic needs, it could do with some maintenance improvement.

Despite all the full activities, I did manage to get some quite time and just sit and admire the beauty and serenity of Pulau Perhentian ... Would I go again? Yes, definitely! :-))) ... I would recommend a longer stay if you can spare the time.

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank maygan8629
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oahu, Hawaii
Level Contributor
15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 19 September 2012

The cultural exchange is one of the best highlights ever; as is working with children--- and all to make a difference for our world!

There is so much to do and experience, snorkelling, house-painting, not to mention the great Malay food AND that jetty jump which will test your nerves. :D

The people are friendly, the kids LOVE you.... it's a really warm welcome. There's nothing better than experiencing the warmth and peace of a little kampung village, away from the city life. I'd definitely try my best to come back one day, if I had the chance.

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank KehWen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Fuze Ecoteer Community House

Property: Fuze Ecoteer Community House
Address: Pulau Perhentian Kecil 48800, Malaysia
Region: Malaysia > Terengganu > Pulau Perhentian Kecil
Amenities:
Beach Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 10 B&Bs / Inns in Pulau Perhentian Kecil
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Number of rooms: 4
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Try something different on the Perhentians - Stay at the Community & Conservation Project a.k.a. Fuze Ecoteer House in the one and only village that can be found on the Perhentian Islands. Immerse yourself in Malay culture, go on an eco-snorkel tour, get involved in beach cleans, spread environmental awareness to the children and share a traditional Malay dinner with one of the families. It's true island life with a twist! ... more   less 

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