IS THERE WIFI AT CAMP?
We do not have WIFI here at camp, due to the remoteness of the island. If you would like to have internet access while at TRACC, you will need to pick up a local sim card before leaving for the Island. A CELCOM SIM can be bought in KL Airport, Tawau Airport or in Semporna. We strongly recommend you choose CELCOM as most other providers do NOT work on the Pom Pom.
Local SIM’s are cheap (RM30) and easy to top up since we have credit for sale here at camp. Make sure your phone is unlocked before buying a new sim. If your phone is locked, we suggest you bring an old phone or buy a cheap smart phone in Malaysia.
We are lucky enough to have 3G quite frequently, but we do occasionally experience periods with poor or no internet service, which can last a few days.
WILL MY SPECIAL DIETARY REQUIREMENTS BE AN ISSUE?
At TRACC we do our best to cater to everyone’s individual dietary needs. We always have vegan option available for lunch and dinner, and have had volunteers with many different allergies stay with us over the years. We can also accommodate people with gluten intolerance.
IS THERE ELECTRICITY?
We do not have electricity during the day, we currently run on a combination of Solar panels and a generator. We of course want to leave the smallest carbon footprint possible at TRACC so we believe this is a small sacrifice everyone can live with.
The power is turned on after sunset, at approximately 6-7pm, and remains on until 7am. Each tent has its own power outlet where you can charge your electronic devices overnight.
WHAT KIND OF TRAVEL INSURANCE DO I NEED?
Firstly, you’ll need to check if the area you are travelling to is covered by your insurance provider, and if your cover is still valid despite travel advisories. Be sure to check that volunteering is covered by your provider. Also some providers will charge extra for cover on activities such as Scuba diving, please be sure you are covered down to a depth of 30mtrs (99ft) including Hyperbaric chamber (also called decompression chamber or recompression chamber) treatment.
IS THERE HOT WATER
AND AIRCON AT CAMP?
We do not have hot water showers, the weather is generally around 30 degrees so a cold shower is usually refreshing.
Nowhere at TRACC has air-conditioning. Our dining area is right on the beach so we get a sea breeze and each tent is equipped with a fan.
ARE THERE MOSQUITOS?
DO I NEED TO WORRY
There are mosquitos on Pom Pom Island. All tents have mosquito nets so it is quite easy to keep insect free. We also sell environmentally friendly mosquito repellent on the Island, we ask that you do not bring mosquito repellent containing DEET as it is potentially damaging to the environment. Light weight long pants are also recommended for night time to avoid bites.
We have never had a case of Malaria on Pom Pom Island, Malaria is generally not a concern in coastal areas of Malaysia particularly on small Islands.
HOW DO I WASH MY
The laundry facilities on the Island are very basic. We collect rain water and hand wash our clothes in buckets, detergent is provided. This saves electricity and water helping us to reduce our environmental impacts.
WHAT CAN I BUY ON
We have a ‘bar’ at TRACC from which you can purchase soft drinks, juice, ice tea and coffee, as well as beer and a local brand of Whiskey. If you wish to buy other alcohol you can do so in Semporna before you leave for the Island, you can find local brands of other spirits and wine there.
TRACC has merchandise for sale on the Island, depending on availably you can purchase rashies and t shirts. TRACC also sells some products you may need, such as phone credit, cigarettes, mosquito repellent, medical creams and a few other assorted essentials.
We do however ask that you read through the kit list and bring all necessary items with you.
CAN I WITHDRAW MONEY
ON THE ISLAND?
You cannot withdraw money on the Island, there are no ATM’s. You can withdraw money from Semporna but the cues can be extremely long, with waiting times of up to an hour or more. We suggest withdrawing money at one of the Airports as it will be less trouble.
CAN I GO TO SEMPORNA
DURING MY STAY?
If you need to go to Semporna for any serious medical reasons a boat can be arranged for you as soon as possible. If you need to see a doctor for something less serious, then you will be able to go to Semporna on one of our shopping trips which will be either a Monday or Thursday.
If you wish to go to Semporna for personal shopping then it is very likely possible, this is dependent on space in the boat due to arrivals and departures though. We still advise that you bring all the supplies and money you will need for your stay with you.
DO I NEED VACCINATIONS
It will depend on your vaccination history, personal preferences, travel plans and most importantly your Doctor’s advice as to which vaccinations you will need. All travellers should be up to date with routine vaccinations and injections.
ALL TRAVELLERS: MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), Tetanus, DTaP (diphtheria travel vaccine)
MOST TRAVELLERS: Typhoid, Hepatitis A.
SOME TRAVELLERS: Rabies, Hepatitis B, Cholera, Japanese encephalitis
CAN I LEAVE TRACC
Of course, if you need or want to leave TRACC early you can. If you need to leave on a day that is not one of our usual arrival/ departure days for an urgent matter, we will do our very best to get you on a boat to Semporna as soon as possible.
Refunds cannot be guaranteed, TRACC is a volunteer funded project and we cannot afford to give full refunds to people who need to cancel their stay. We are happy for people to defer their time, to complete their stay at a later more suitable date.
I HAVE A MEDICAL
CONDITION OR PHYSICAL LIMITATIONS CAN I
We do our best to accommodate anyone who wants to volunteer at TRACC. We have had volunteers with, back problems, bad knees, bad legs and arthritis to name a few. Being a communal living project means that everyone generally helps each other, we have found volunteers to be extremely supportive of each other and our staff will do everything within their capability to help you. Please contact us if you have any concerns about whether or not we can cater to your needs.
Unfortunately some medical conditions are not compatible with diving and can be dangerous. Please look over the PADI medical form and get a signed medical certificate from your doctor if you answer yes to any of the questions in the Medical Divers Questionnaire section.
WHAT IS THE WEATHER ON POM POM LIKE?
The weather on the Island is mostly consistent, the average temperature year-round is between 30-34 degrees, with a low of around 28 degrees. The average humidity is around 75%. Despite the balmy warm weather, it is wise to bring a jumper and some light pants, as some people can get a bit chilly, especially after a dive if it’s been a slightly cooler, rainy day. As we are in the tropics we do experience some heavy rainfall although the rain usually comes on hard and fast and disappears again just as suddenly. Mostly we experience rainfall at night, which is convenient, a cheap, light poncho is recommended if you want to stay dry.
TRACC operates year-round as we do not have a severe monsoon or wet season like some of the Islands surrounding peninsula Malaysia such a Tioman or Perhentian Islands.