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 Pom Pom.
Local SIM’s are cheap (RM20) 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 30 metres (98ft) 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 ask that you try not to 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 iIsland, depending on availability 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 queues can be extremely long, with waiting times of up to an hour or more. We suggest withdrawing money at one of the airports as you pass through 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 on Mondays and Thursdays.
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 here 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
ACCOMMODATION like for couples?
We are currently building larger couples tents which are better suited to fit two people and a double bed more comfortably. If we don't have any couples tents available, we will give a you two single tents, one with a double bed to sleep in and one to store luggage in.
DO I NEED TO BRING A SLEEPING BAG or towel?
No you do not need to bring a sleeping bag. Your bed comes with sheets provided, so you will have sheets and a towel in your tent when you arrive. The nights don't get very cold at all, so the vast majority of people do not need a blanket so sheet is sufficient.
We provide you with a towel to use during your stay, however some people like to have more than one towel so a light weight quick dry microfibre towel is very handy to bring.
do i need long pants and warm clothes?
Although the weather is generally very warm at around 30 degrees C, after repetitive diving some people become a bit chilly so it's nice to have some warmer clothes to warm up in.
Also for the evenings wearing long lightweight pants and even a light shirt can stop you from being bitten by pesky mosquito and sand flies.
Leggings are very useful for snorkelling and diving as they create a barrier between you and and anything that may sting you through accidental contact.